I noticed three things about the models during Fashion Week. One, there were hardly any African-American models. Two, there were more Asian models than I have ever seen before. Three, some of the models were still so painfully thin.
photographer and "America’s Next Top Model" judge Nigel Barker said,
"Everyone is always talking about the weight issue, I think they should
be talking about race." Often it’s the celebrity designers, not the
ready-to-wear or couture ones, who are willing to use a wider range of
models, Barker said. "Showing different girls of different shapes and
ethnicities involves taking a risk and some are not willing to take
More often than not, diverse casting was not the
norm. Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion
Designers of America, said the variety of ethnicities in Phillip Lim’s
and Diane von Furstenberg’s shows jumped out at him.
casting for her show, Kai Milla said she looks for someone interesting
and who fits into her clothes. "I think great models are of all
ethnicities. We’re living in the real world and the real world exists
with a real mixed group of people. What we as fashion designers show in
magazines and on the runway is really important to young girls because
it affects their self image," she said.
Maybe the borderless business is being interpreted in unusual ways. One
executive at a major design firm noted matter-of-factly, "We use all
types of girls: English, Irish, American, Swedish. There is always a
After modeling for Temperley, Rosa Cha
and others, Solange Wilvert said she didn’t think the casting in Bryant
Park was drastically different than in seasons past. "Maybe there
aren’t many black models," she suggested.