NYFW Spring 2012: Beverly Johnson, Vivienne Tam, Wendy Williams Talk Fashion Diversity
1 year ago
Celebs, journalists and fashion experts weigh in on color-less runways
Loop 21 attended the Spring 2012 New York Fashion Week and couldn't help but wonder if the debate over fashion designer's including more models of color had any impact this season (see our NYFW diversity count here). We weren't alone in our thinking and asked some notable fashion week attendees, designers and organizers to give their thoughts on the matter.
Beverly Johnson, first black woman on the cover of American VOGUE
Loop21.com: Why do you think some designers don’t use a diverse stable of models on their runways?
Johnson: You would have to ask the designers that but I don’t think it’s right and it may help explain why some of their shows are so boring.
Fern Mallis, Organizer of New York Fashion Week
Loop21.com: What do you think about model diversity on runways?
Mallis: Well obviously diversity is the world as it is and so seeing more on the runways is how things should be. There’s been progress but of course not as much as I’m sure we’d all like.
Loop21.com: I spoke with someone who mentioned that the trend towards less diversity on runways in the last decade and towards using white models exclusively in some cases began with a specific Miuccia Prada show a few years ago. You’re a fashion insider. Do you think that’s where it all began?
Mallis: Well I’m not sure if one can entirely say it was Miuccia but she is someone who is known to have a point of view that can be very specific and she is very influential.
But I really don’t think a lot of designers think about the issue of diversity. It’s not intentional. They just don’t think about it…for many they see it as another aesthetic issue…
Loop21.com: Like hair color?
Mallis: You could say something like that, even though obviously it’s not.
Robin Givhan, Newsweek and The Daily Beast and Pulitzer Prize winning fashion writer
Loop21.com: You’re a veteran of all of the fashion shows. What do you think of diversity on the runways? Is it better this year or worse?
Givhan: Do I think it’s perfect? No. But I think considering where the runways were a few years ago I think it’s a significant improvement. There was a point 3 or 4 years ago where I regularly went to shows and there wasn’t a single model of color on the runways.
I think people are much more aware of it. But I definitely see that there’s more diversity.