July 4, 2013
#Opinion #Fashion | Black & African models in Dior's Runway for the first time in many seasons

We are in 2013, and still reporting “first black model to” news in the fashion industry. But here we are!

Since Raf Simons became the lead designer at Christian Dior, the brand didn’t hire black models (or any other model of color) until now. In Dior couture show on July 3rd in Paris, France, there was room for 6 black models, including African beauties Alek Wek (South Soudan), Grace Mahary (Erythrea/Canada), Maria Borges (Angola), Kelly Moreira (Cap Verde), and Yasmin Warsame (Somalia). Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls also made the cut.

In Dior's previous six collections overseen by Raf Simons, the fashion shows were all white. It is sad that Dior can get away with excluding models of color from its projects, especially now that we are supposed to be living in this diverse “global village.” But I guess we aren’t really that close.

In past seasons, Dior had been criticized for its “all white cast”, maybe this new colorful runway is the result of the pressure on the fashion industry to diversify its runways. According to Simons himself, the inspiration for this show was "women from different continents and cultures who wear couture." With the global approach in mind, we can see the need for Africa and black women this time. But will Dior keep the diversity? There is no way to say! They could decide to go back to hiring only white models and apparently, there is not much people can do. 

Race is still a big issue in the fashion industry.  Black models are still not selected to represent some big fashion and beauty houses. About this problem, Julee Wilson of The Huffington Post writes “we’ll count Dior’s show of diversity as a #win and hope that others follow.” But personally, I think all these wins here and there are getting tiring, let’s make the complete move already people! Why all the discrimination and closed minds? 

Peep images of the African models walking the runway at Dior's Fall-Winter 2013/2014
Image: HuffingtonPost

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