Testing! Testing!!

The discussion of color and racism in fashion always peaks my interest!

Last year, we saw fashion try to "embrace" the black community with Vogue Italia's all black issue! It was embraced by some and destroyed by others.

The world may feel like the color issue is at bay now with all the hoopla over president Obama but for people like myself and other members of the fashion community, color comes into play in many ways. Shocking? For those of us experiencing it not really for others that don't have to deal with it, ignorance is bliss.

There seems to be this belief that just because Obama is the president of the United States, people of color around the world are being treated fairly. This thought process does not mean that industries especially the fashion industries around the world have gotten rid of their prejudices.

In Canada alone or in Calgary, the city and province of Alberta provides the fashion world with some major models eg Heather Marks, but it's interesting to see that black models in the city can barely get a break even with the "change in direction" or so you would think of the fashion model market. It's also really funny because Calgary has a large Sudanese community who are famous for being tall regal beauties who provide fashion with an alternative look of the norm. The Native community also holds women of great bone structure and height, so where are these groups of people represented in Calgary and Canada? I'm not sure what the scene is like in Toronto but i'm guessing it has been rather difficult for black models or models of color to strut their stuff on the runway or in the Canadian fashion scene in general.

The hype of black models or even a Canadian Native model hasn't really been news that I have heard much about in Canada, different in the States, but do you know who these models are?

What are your thoughts on models of color, do you think Canada embraces their ethnically diverse community in their fashion world?
Can you name one famous Canadian model of color other than the well established and popular Stacie McKenzie and Yasmine Warsame?


Who is Diandra Forrest?
Does being black only mean you are American now?
Who is Stacey McKenzie?
Stacey McKenzie Official Website
Is Facehunter racist?

Photos courtesy of The Fashion Spot


davidj said...

GREAT article Kim!

With my experience with the Mode offices in Calgary, about 98% of the girls walking in are White, the other 2% fall into other ethnicity's. That being said, one of the strongest models Mode is currently holding secret is a 13 year old Nigeran girl, who is seriously one of the most breath taking girls I have ever laid eyes on. She is from Kelowna, and Mode will be 'unleashing' (so-to-speak) once she is 14.

I don't think, from my eyes, that Calgary in particular holds a strong prejudice, I just think a lot of what is available to us, has yet to put themselves out there.

And I can't name a lot of models generally haha, I have a hard time remembering co-workers names hahaha.

Nike said...

yeah your right, although we have a few black models breaking through, its still hard for black models to make it through, but we still have a handful of black models out there doing their thing.

tyra Banks
Naomi Campbel
Liya Kebede
Chanel Iman
Jourdan Dunn
Sessilee Lopez
Mimi Roche
Yasmin Warsame
Alek Wek

Rich Hippie said...

Well Im like a cross bread of a hippie and grunge maniac, so im thinking something that embodies the laid back lifestyle of a bohemian woman but the brutaly real attitude to life of a grunge artist.
The Twist is well the luxurious lifestyle i love to live in so im thinking a twisted modern approach of both these identies....or to make it easy anything high fashion in the style of Gareth pugh?
Anything with the peace logo is fine would me to be honest.
Any samples would be fine, effort is well appreciated. Thank you, i will most greatfully return any favour!

Mel said...

There is an absolute, blatant barrier for ethnic models in the industry. I find on a regular basis that models who are from a background other than white cannot puncture the industry, like signing a contract with an agency and being promoted, because they have ethnic features. The industry is extremely, and disgustingly opposed to embracing the celebrating different facial features that are enormously beautiful and diverse. Many ethnic models who make it in the industry possess 'white' features.

But this problem is everywhere. In Asia, for example many white models are flown in because whiteness is superior and pure. Later, in the postproduction of shoots, these white models are altered to appear more euro-asian.

Either way, it is an issue, and it is unbearable to deal with.

Rebecca said...


Found you through links a la mode.

If you are wondering about the diversity issue in Toronto Fashion Week, you should read a post I did where I systematically broke down the races of the models by designer.



I love your site.

We must exchange links.

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