Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | January 24, 2011

I Have A Dream In Fashion

With MLK’s legacy swirling in my brain, I got to thinking about how this great man’s vision for equality – applied to fashion. How far has the world of fashion come in promoting diversity? Sure it’s à la mode to talk about diversity (especially with Obama in The White House); sometimes, though, it feels similar to throwing around the word “green” just because. First, there was all of the hype surrounding the All-Black Italian Vogue issue (that stemmed from 1) Obama and 2) lack of diversity on runways according to photographer Steven Meisel).

Don't these ladies look GORGEOUS?

Yes, I was pretty excited to pick it up because the new/different is always intriguing (by the by, what’s up with this new trend of throwing colors around, e.g. green, black?). And while all the ladies look stunning, it’s disappointing to see talented and beautiful women pigeonholed, i.e. limited. And if anyone thinks that (the social construct that we call) race is done and over with – think again! I don’t think the public would’ve reacted the way they did over Gabourey Sidibe’s skin lightening on the cover of ELLE or Kobe Bryant’s skin darkening for his L.A. Times Magazine  fashion shoot; some have even suggested that Bryant’s shoot is reminiscent of blackface.

He's darker, she's confusing and trivial!

If race wasn’t a big deal anymore, then this lightening/darkening wouldn’t even be an issue. But, hey, then there are Lara Stone’s French Vogue photographs and Tyra Banks’ top models unabashedly in blackface. It’s kind of funny and ironic when you think about this pervasive use of blackface and yet some feel that black models aren’t marketable enough? So, dear readers, how far has the world of fashion come in promoting diversity?  And does anyone feel uncomfortable about blackface in photoshoots now, or are we cool with saying it’s just artistic?  Maybe the more we make a big deal out of it the more the chasm seems to spread?  So many questions. 

Blackface then and now



  1. Your topic definitely raises some very interesting points about our times. Check out the story that was on ABC World News tonight:

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