Recently, social media posts have reignited discussions about the lack of representation for black models and major personalities on the fashion runway. This issue has been explored in several documentaries, including "The True Cost" (2015), "Straight/Curve" (2017), "The Colour of Beauty" (2010), "Shaded" (2020), "In Vogue: The Editor's Eye" (2012), and Ep. 5 "Era of One Black Model Per Runway" via Vogue.
Some of these documentaries delve into the experiences of black models, highlighting the systemic racism they face both on and off the runway. Other documentaries, while not solely focused on diversity and inclusiveness, explore the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry, as well as issues related to race, body image, and exploitation in garment factories.
These documentaries serve as important reminders that the fashion industry has a long way to go in terms of diversity and inclusiveness. By shedding light on these issues, they can help to spark important conversations and inspire change.
"Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution" is a documentary film that tells the story of a historic fashion show that took place in 1973 in Versailles, France. The show featured American fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein, and Bill Blass, who were relatively unknown at the time and were pitted against established French designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. The American team featured 10 black models in their runway show, which was a significant departure from the industry norm at the time. This event was a turning point in the history of fashion, as it marked the first time that American designers had been taken seriously on the international stage. The film explores the cultural and racial tensions that surrounded the event, and how it helped to break down barriers in the fashion industry by paving the way for greater diversity on the runway.
In contrast, the episode that has recently caused a stir on Twitter is episode 5 of Vogue's "Era of One Black Model Per Runway" series. This episode sheds light on the struggles faced by black models in the fashion industry during the 1960s and 1970s, when they were often the only black model featured in runway shows and were subjected to discrimination and exclusion. Through interviews with models and industry insiders, the episode explores their experiences and the progress that has been made towards greater diversity and inclusivity in the industry.
Both Versailles '73 and Vogue's "Era of One Black Model Per Runway" shed light on the racial issues that exist in the fashion industry. Although they cover different events and time periods, both documentaries highlight how black models are underrepresented and how blackness is not considered the beauty standard.
Versailles '73 focuses on a specific moment in fashion history, while the Vogue episode takes a broader look at the struggles of black models over a longer period. However, both documentaries serve as a reminder that one or two major events do not necessarily bring about permanent change. The push for change and inclusivity is an ongoing issue in the fashion industry.
The fashion industry has long been criticized for its lack of diversity on the runway. For many years, models of color were often excluded from fashion shows, which were dominated by white models. However, over the past few decades, the industry has slowly started to change, and models of all races, sizes, and genders are now being featured on runways around the world.
In the 1960s, African-American models such as Donyale Luna and Naomi Sims broke down barriers in the fashion industry by appearing on the covers of major magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. However, it wasn't until the 1980s and 1990s that diversity on the runway really started to gain traction. Supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, and Iman paved the way for models of color, and soon, designers began to include more diverse models in their shows.
Despite this progress, the fashion industry still had a long way to go. In the early 2000s, models of color were still severely underrepresented on the runway, with many fashion shows featuring only one or two non-white models. It wasn't until the mid-2000s that the industry began to take notice of the issue and make real efforts to change.
One person who played a major role in this change was Tyra Banks. Banks, who had experienced racism and discrimination in the industry herself, used her platform as host and executive producer of America's Next Top Model to champion diversity and inclusivity in fashion. Throughout the show's 24 seasons, Banks made a point to feature models of all shapes, sizes, and races, and even introduced a transgender model on the show in 2018.
However, while Banks was a trailblazer for diversity in the fashion industry, her show was not without its issues.
Many former contestants have spoken out about the toxic environment on the show, with some claiming that they were exploited and mistreated by the show's producers. Additionally, the show has faced criticism for perpetuating harmful beauty standards and promoting unrealistic expectations for models.
Despite these issues, there is no denying the impact that America's Next Top Model had on the fashion industry. The show helped to bring awareness to the need for diversity on the runway and inspired other industry leaders to follow suit. Today, many designers and fashion houses are making conscious efforts to be more inclusive in their casting, and the industry as a whole is becoming more diverse and representative.
In conclusion, the history of diversity on the runway has been a long and complicated one, but it is clear that progress has been made over the past few decades. While there is still work to be done, the fashion industry is moving in the right direction, and models of all races, sizes, and genders are finally being given the chance to shine on the runway.