Bethann Hardison, Iman and Naomi Campbell Went on TV to Talk About Racism on the Runways
Bethann Hardison -- whom we spoke to in February about the sorry state of diversity in the fashion industry -- is causing quite a stir this New York Fashion Week by creating a new advocacy group called the Diversity Coalition. Joined by fashion icons Iman and Naomi Campbell, the group sent open letters demanding more diversity to the governing bodies of fashion in New York, Paris, London and Milan. The letters called out specific brands like Armani, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan that tend to cast an inordinately small amount of models of color for their runway shows (or to not cast them at all). This morning, the three women went on Good Morning America to talk about how troubling the lack of runway diversity is: Campbell talked about the statistics (which, if you'll recall, are overall pretty terrible, with one or no black models being cast in many shows), Hardison called out designers for using "artistic vision" and "aesthetics" as excuses, and Iman made a very good point (one which designers and casting agents should keep in mind) about differentiating between being racist and perpetuating racism: "this is not the business of shaming. And as we go back again to clarify it, nobody is calling any of these designers racist. The act [of casting very few models of color] itself is racism." We're pumped that the campaign is gaining steam outside of the fashion press -- the best way to start tackling these issues is with an open dialogue and some attempt at accountability. Watch above and prepare to start slow-clapping.