Calling Out The Fashion Industry - The Most Common Racist Art
by d.iwanzwich on October 19, 2015 - 7:42pm
The article "Black Model Nykhor Paul Is 'Tired Of Apologizing For [Her] Blackness' posted by Julee Wilson on August 17th 2015 to Huffington Post Canada centers around the idea of racism in the fashion industry. South Sudanese model Nykhor Paul's Instagram post is referenced, where she expresses her annoyance of professional makeup/hair stylists not being prepared to deal with a black girl by not having the right color makeup or never having practiced with dark hair textures. Wilson expresses that Paul is not the first model in the industry to have faced such disrespect due to her skin color. Wilson explains that supermodel Jourdan Dunn had a makeup artist refuse to work with her because of her skin, while Beverly Johnson would skip interacting with the stylists by doing her own hair and makeup. Paul goes on to say that she is tired of apologizing for her blackness, because fashion is an art and art should never be racist. Together, Wilson and Paul emphasize how the stylists should make a greater effort in accommodating all models because that is, after all, their profession. The author, greatly saddened by the disrespect in the fashion community, hopes the industry will try to break this pattern and create more diversity and representation on the catwalk.
I think Wilson has a valid point, the fashion industry is lacking in diversity, however I did not know that the disrespect went so deep. Wilson's article which strongly ties Paul's Instagram post to similar events, opens my eyes. However, I feel as though she should have included more commentary on the struggles women of color face besides just stylists, such as designers making clothing for slim-hipped women and agencies wanting women with 'white' features. Whenever I look through a magazine it is very rare to find any woman of color; and if there is one, she is usually the token woman of color. Although now I am starting to actively notice the lack of color in fashion, Erin N. Winkler, author of "Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race" insists that children begin to notice race as young as six months old (pg.1). To young children, race means almost nothing in their daily endeavors, but as they age they begin to notice how people are treated based on their skin tones. Soon, they will begin to notice that everywhere they look, whiteness seems to be more widely accepted, and wanted.
Wilson, J., (2015) Black model Nykhor Paul is 'tired of apologizing for [her] blackness'. The Huffington Post Canada. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.ca
Winkler, N., E., (2009). Children are not colorblind: How young children learn race. PACE 3(3), 1-7.