Black models are not just struggling in the United States — they're not getting any work in the UK, either. A summit to discuss the culture of "blatant" racism in the modeling industry will take place in London next year, reports The Independent. Dee Doocey, a former managing director of an international fashion company, is organizing the meeting. "I can't remember being sent a model who wasn't white," says Doocey. "I don't know if it's racism, or just the fashion industry languishing in the doldrums, but it needs to change. Agencies only seem interested in leggy white blonde girls."
Designers, modeling agencies and politicians are among those who will be invited to the event. In November, a contest called the "Top Model of Colour" competition will kick off in the UK. Sola Oyebade, managing director of Mahogany, the model agency behind the contest, says,"There are so many good quality black and mixed race-models that would be great, but the agencies and the clients are not willing to take a gamble. Non-white people make up about 30 per cent of the population of London but we don't even make up 1 per cent of the models."
Clearly something's gotta give, but is a summit really going to be the catalyst? It's not just that the racism is pervasive — no one seems to be ashamed!
Maya Schulz, managing director at Acclaim models, an agency that specializes in choosing models from an ethnically diverse range of backgrounds, said: "I always find it more difficult putting black faces out there. The racism you come across is not underlying, it's blatant. People will say things like 'Don't send any more black models', and one designer even said black people didn't suit his clothes. And we're not talking about small designers here; it's all the big ones. The colour debate is far more important than the size-zero debate, but it's hardly had any coverage."
Talking about hiring more models of color is a start, but what's it going to take to actually see more non-white models working?
Modelling Agencies Blamed For Racist Culture [The Independent]