Published on March 3, 2014 | by Juliet Atto0
LCF’s Better Lives lecture series: Racism in fashion
Though London Fashion Week has come and gone, it has left behind the trends for A/W 2014.
However, it’s not so much about the trends that it has left us, but rather the ‘trend’ that it continues to allow: no diversity allowed.
Of course, you see the odd few black and Asian girls, but how does that represent the multicultural and multiethnic world that we live in, let alone the melting pot that is London?
LCF are currently hosting the 2014 Better Lives lecture series, with each lecture focusing on the ‘Looking Ahead…isms in fashion’.
The second lecture of the series focused on racism in fashion and had two speakers working in the industry discussing this highly talked about issue.
The first speaker was Jody Furlong, director of The Eye Casting Company and The Eye Models.
Furlong was also a co-presenter on Find Me A Face and Hot Like Us and helped with the casting for Dove’s Real Beauty campaign.
Furlong spoke with passion and insider knowledge when discussing the massive issue of racism and the lack of diversity in fashion.
He highlighted legendary models Naomi Campbell, Iman and Bethann Hardison’s campaign against racism in fashion, which named and shamed all designers who don’t include enough women of colour.
Standard of beauty
He brought examples in the form of YouTube videos, magazines and articles.
One of the videos, Black Doll White Doll, was shown to demonstrate the idea of white being the ultimate standard of beauty, as something that is instilled in our minds at a very young age.
Furlong went on to talk about how fashion, with its immense influence on society and culture, has the power to change this.
Instead, designers decide to hide behind the idea of ‘aesthetics’ when asked why they don’t cast models of colour.
Fashion is meant to push the boundaries and set trends, but it’s remarkable how most designers constantly follow the status quo.
“Racism is still alive, but how people express it is different. But with fashion, it’s blatant.” Jody Furlong
The second speaker was James Lyon, a photographer and spokesperson for ‘Models of Diversity’.
He spoke about how we, the people, could help change the lack of diversity by boycotting big designers, or ‘dinosaurs’ as he called them, because of their refusal to adhere to modern multicultural society and use ethnic models.
The audience at the lecture was as diverse as the city we live in, but all of us shared the frustration of how little things have changed in regards to race.
We’d like to think that it has, because it’s 2014, but like Furlong said: “Racism is still alive, but how people express it is different. But with fashion, it’s blatant.”
We see the racism in fashion everyday on the runways, in advertising and in magazines. Since it’s right in front of us, we can’t deny it anymore and have to do something about it.
The next Better Lives lecture discusses Ablism in Fashion and is on March 10 at 6pm. Click here to book.