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Fab Flash: Diversity Is Still an Issue on the Runway

Strike while the iron's hot. That's exactly what model veteran Bethann Hardison has done in "Race on the Runway", a discussion of the ongoing epidemic of a seemingly all-white runway. Though New York Fashion Week showed a great improvement of diversity from designers, the issue still remains a huge concern in the industry.

(L-R: Oscar de la Renta, Sophie Théallet, Calvin Klein)

"I think we should feel really good about the changes we have seen," said Hardison, who credited André Leon Talley and Naomi Campbell for motivating her to take action.

To find out more about this issue,


Attendees such as Rachel Roy, Tyson Beckford, and modeling and casting agents listened as Hardison suggested that modeling agents seek out African-American models, have designers be more involved with fashion models and booking African-American models for ad campaigns. And while criticizing Vera Wang and Badgley Mischka for their non-African-American casting, she praised Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta for their diverse choices. Issues regarding the lack of black models coming from the agencies and low pay were also raised.

Hopefully, this discussion will be one of many in the ongoing fight for diversity on the runway, and in the words of designer Michael Vollbracht, "I hate this forum because it shouldn't even be an issue."

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Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
there definitely are a lot more diverse models walking this year. i've been watching full frontal all week and i think that some of the best girls are the ones that aren't typical white or eastern european. there are a lot of AMAZING girls that are caucasian but i think that it's nice to see a well balanced mix
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
strike out is
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
If people would read the article and go beyond the pictures that fab post they would see that this movement is involves all races and not one in particular. hat was the consensus Monday at "Race on the Runway," a discussion led by Bethann Hardison at the Bryant Park Hotel in Manhattan, a year after she first rounded up fashion types to lambast the industry for its seemingly all-white runways. Last fall, many observers were up in arms about the numerous all-white runway shows in New York. Hardison made it clear her movement is on behalf of all races and not any one type.
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 8 years
It's part of the model must have package these days, I think. Tall, super thin, white. I think maybe white skinny girl = waif, whereas african american or asian skinny girl = famine? Either way it's crap. I'll bet you'll see more asian and indian models soon, with the advent of a wealthy class in those cultures.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 8 years
Ive noticed diversity on the runway this season, its not much but Im glad some designers are doing something about it.
oliveoyle625 oliveoyle625 8 years
Shoot, how about the Asian population? There are so many gorgeous under represented Asian women AND men.
austerity austerity 8 years
gatsby, you're so right! I feel like buying these people a world map or something! It's also annoying when they stuff all-black (again, only black) models into one runway show to be done with the whole diversity issue...then, next show, it's back to an all-white cast.
Aniya Aniya 8 years
I'm Black and Asian, I feel it's easy for people who aren't minorities to be ridiculously insensitive concerning this issue. We have to take a moment to be honest with ourselves, 9 times out of 10 ethnic aren't what the designers are going for. They do go for a certain image when they design clothes and they have to keep in mind the demographics of their customers. I would love for the designers to cast a broader range of girls because there is beauty in all the different ethnicites.
Taadie Taadie 8 years
Diversity means all people which is why I wwish they would have always just said 'models of color' instead of black models. However, you will find that where there are no black models, there are no models of any other race as well. Its all about getting that foot in the door for everyone.
HLHArts HLHArts 8 years
As I read the article, I was wondering the same thing. Since when does diversity only mean black or white?
gatsby-esque gatsby-esque 8 years
Does diversity ONLY mean having black models? What about models of Asian or Indian or Mediterranean descent? They too are not featured enough on the runways. Why is it when anyone talks about diversity, it's always about blacks or African-Americans? It reeks of ignorance and makes people shy away from the cause.
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