17 September 2010

There’s nothing quite like fashion to spark a debate, but this time it’s not stick-thin models, the furore surrounding fur or Lady Gaga’s meatwear that’s got people in fierce dispute.

Back in July, controversy erupted when US black women’s lifestyle magazine, Essence, hired a new fashion director, Ellianna Placas, who is white. The magazine's editor-in-chief, Angela Burt-Murray, was quick to defend her decision though, responding to the public outcry with a statement that seemed to calm their fury.

But last week, on the opening day of New York Fashion week, a group of black women staged a protest over both the hiring of Placas and the lack of black fashion directors at any mainstream fashion magazines.

The women, dressed all in black, carried placards bearing the names of Essence's fashion directors from the past 40 years, and walked in silence from Essence’s Manhattan offices to NYFW venue, the Lincoln Centre.

Quan Lateef, the event’s producer, said: 'We chose to make this a silent demonstration because we were not angry or bitter. We didn’t need to shout or holler. We’re just over it! Whether the powers that be heard it or not, our silence spoke volumes.'

So do you agree with the protestors? Is there a lack of black women in fashion or do you think women of colour are well represented in the industry? Give us your say. [Clutch]


- Lizzie Pook


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