Naomi and Iman, who are part of The Diversity Coalition, are naming high profile designer names who are casting models who are nearly all white. Naomi, Iman and model-turned-advocate Bethann Hardison spoke to Good Morning Americaabout the lack of diversity on the runway, calling it 'a racist act.' Naomi said: 'I don’t like it, and I say it. I say, ‘Where’s the others?’ I’m very outspoken, as we know.'
'You know, this is not the business of shaming,' Iman points out, 'And as we go back again to clarify it, nobody is calling any of these designers racist. The act itself is racism.' The model added that the situation was better when she was walking the runway in the 70s. She said: 'There were more black models working then than it is happening in 2013. There is a time when silence is not acceptable at all. And if the conversation cannot be had publicly in our industry, then inherently there is something wrong with the industry.'
Last season 82.7% of models were white at New York Fashion Week, with only 9.1% Asian models, 6% black models, 2& Latina models and 0.3% other races. Thirteen shows had no model of colour at all. 'The statistics, it’s really shocking,' Campbell said. 'Heartbreaking. Your body and beauty, it doesn’t matter what color you are. If you’ve got the right talent, you should be there having the opportunity to do the job.' Naomi argues that designers are hiding the word 'aesthetics', as Bethann says 'I think it’s a sense of laziness and they’ve told themselves a story.'
Naomi walking at DVF [Grazia Live Instagram]
On Friday The Diversity Coalition sent four letters to the organisations in charge of Fashion Weeks in London, New York, Milan and Paris. Their powerful letter reads:
'Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches design houses consistently use one or no models of color. No matter the intention, the result is racism. Not accepting another based on the color of their skin is clearly beyond ‘aesthetic’ when it is consistent with the designer’s brand. Whether it’s the decision of the designer, stylist or casting director, that decision to use basically all white models, reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society. It can no longer be accepted, nor confused by the use of the Asian model.'
The Council of Fashion Designers of America's CEO Steven Kolb told WWD that he has sent two emails urging designers to act on the issue, writing that 'The most powerful message is one of diversity.'
Watch Naomi, Iman and Bethann Hardison speak to Good Morning America in the video above...