Fashion week features few black runway models
By Christine Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A dearth of black models strutting the catwalks is a persistent issue in the fashion world and while the numbers have improved, there are still too few, fashion observers say.
At New York's semi-annual Fashion Week ending on Friday, many designers used two or three black models, in the more than 30 shows attended by Reuters reporters. Several only used one, and some had none. Most of the shows featured between 12 and 25 models.
Labels Tracy Reese, DKNY and Diane von Furstenberg displayed a high number of black models this season while others, such as Vivienne Tam, did not use any.
Too few industry types are following the lead of former Vogue editor Grace Mirabella, the first to use a black model on the magazine's cover, said Tim Gunn, creative director at Liz Claiborne and co-host of Bravo television's "Project Runway."
Some designers consider cultural and ethnic diversity on the runway, "but there are not enough," he said.
While the issue was once left to pioneering black models Iman and Naomi Campbell to note, attention has grown recently.
This year, Vogue Italia's first "Black Issue," with more than 20 black models, created worldwide buzz and sold out.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, the U.S. industry trade group, has said it is up to the designers to establish ethnic diversity. This season, the group's president, Diane von Furstenberg, urged them to seek a diversity of models. Continued...