Tag Archives: Naomi Campbell

The Heather Grey, Jersey Knit, Racism of Fashion

by Our New Fashion Correspondent Joseph Lamour

Racism in the fashion industry is still alive and well. Duh. I have to say it somewhere in an article like this, so I thought, why not get it out the way from the start? However, the opinions put forth in Charles Beckwith’s modaCYCLE rebuttal piece “Racism In Fashion” are not themselves racist. But they certainly are ironic.

Naive Boy's rendition of racism in fashion
Beckwith opens with a reference to Naiveboy’s well travelled work equating Anna Wintour with the Reich. He contends that the fashion industry isn’t racist, but in fact sensitive to the collective unconscious. And what the public wants to see is more gaunt blondes. We do? Of all the pervasive excuses diversity naysayers in the fashion community claim, profit and profit alone drives some of the racially myopic choices fashion people make. And yet, 2011’s trend is “Global Prints”. Irony alarm!

Burberry Resort Wear

Image from Burberry Prorsum’s 2012/13 Resort Collection

I think he might have forgotten to italicize part of his title. Racism: In Fashion. Can’t you just hear Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa in the background? Beckwith explains why Naomi Campbell has appeared on 8 covers of Vogue and Kate Moss has appeared on 24, is because consumers (read white consumers) want to see someone in the clothes that they want to be. Kate Moss dated Pete Doherty for a long stretch- I’m pretty sure no one’s clamoring to be in her shoes these days. But would they rather be in Naomi’s or Kate’s? An editor apparently lost their job over making the wrong choice, and Beckwith states:

“I have never met Naomi Campbell, nor can I confirm or dispel the claim of an Australian editor being fired for putting her on a cover. Though, if an editor had been fired for putting Ms. Campbell on a cover, no evidence was cited that would lead anyone to believe that the action was specifically related to racism more than likely profit motives.”

But, in what world are these mutually exclusive? In Ms. Campbell’s defense, if someone got canned partially in relation to your face, wouldn’t you be upset? I might not call a bunch of publicists, but is it so far fetched that it couldn’t be true? Maybe fashion recycles social mores as much as they recycle trends. Continue reading