At the opening of Paris couture fashion week, popular model Naomi Campbell gave a powerful speech stating the need to “collectively call the fashion world to task regarding inequality”.
Sporting a t-shirt with the slogan “phenomenally black”, Campbell opened the event on July 6, 2020 with a two-minute speech, which was posted on Instagram by FHCM (Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode), the organisers of the Paris fashion week that went digital for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In her speech, the 50-year-old model addressed the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests going on in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“The fight for diversity and for equality has been a long journey in society and in the fashion industry,” she said. “It is up to us, it is up to you to start enforcing inclusion of the multitude of identities that compose our countries,” she continued.
Stressing on the need for an “equitable” fashion industry, Campbell added, “The time has come to build a more equitable industry with a good form of cheques and balances. It is now more than ever compulsory to include them in a permanent way and not a transient one.”
“Today, in 2020, we still have a long way to go and the time has come to collectively call the fashion world to task regarding inequality in our work spaces and in our industry,” she emphasised.
The model recently opened up about being a victim of racism herself in the fashion industry. Campbell had arrived for a shoot for the cover of Vogue Italia, where she was told my the makeup artists that he did not have foundation matching her skin tone because they “didn’t know she was black”. “He had to mix some colours that he had of foundations to make up own colour, and that consisted of a lot of grey,” she revealed on BBC’s Women’s Hour.
Several luxury fashion brands have been recently been called out for perpetuating racism in the industry. Besides Campbell, Vogue’s first black model Beverly Johnson also spoke about how racial discrimination limited her to a “significantly lower compensation than white peers”.
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour also recently sent an email to her employees to apologise for not valuing black creators enough.
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