Models of Colour Matter, the Initiative Bringing Diversity onto the Runway
Fashion2 Minutes Read

Models of Colour Matter, the Initiative Bringing Diversity onto the Runway

August 26, 2022 Share

Models of Colour Matter is your go-to source for all things diversity in the fashion world both on the runway and backstage.

Models of Colour Matter sets the facts up straight; despite vast improvements, fashion is in dire need of updating its efforts and notion of diversity, because whatever is happening right now simply is not working.

Actively involving the community through petitions, awareness campaigns and instigating change, Models of Colour Matter is shedding light on a much-needed conversation regarding diversity (or lack thereof) in the fashion world.

Vakoo Kauapirura, Shareefa J, Nyaluak Leth, Zoe McCracken and Mahalia Handley / Carlo Fernandes. Image courtesy of Shine 4 Diversity

Here’s some staggering statistics. According to MoCM, 45% of models of colour have come across makeup artists that did not have foundations of their colour and 66% found their hair not appropriately catered to. With figures so shocking, initiatives have started to pop up, such as Models of Colour Matter, which aims to spark conversations on the need for an increased diversity both on the runway, backstage, and everywhere in the fashion process.

It is not just a lack of representation walking the runway, but a series of deeply embedded exclusions which start at the casting process and continue all the way through to post-production. From castings calling exclusively for caucasian models, photography being lightened in editing or even having to provide one’s own foundation colour for the MUA – a lack of diversity is deeply rooted into the backstage of fashion.

@iamangemarie Image courtesy of @ryanmichaelkelly

Although 2016 statistics are outdated and 2022 has seen the most diverse fashion month of all time, the fashion industry has begun to view diversity as tokenism. Models are still walking into sets to makeup artists who are not equipped with appropriate foundations or have little knowledge of how to work with Black hair.

As hairstylist Lacy Redway spoke to Refinery29, “Someone just decided that if we have one or two models in cornrows then that counts as representation, but that shouldn’t be considered the gold standard. Our hair comes in different shapes and sizes and can do so many cool things. We shouldn’t limit that.”

The latest Models of Colour Matter campaign, in fact, tackles precisely that. Under the hashtag of #texturedhairmatters, MoCM has launched a beauty pledge that tackles a 2022 change in cosmetology education in the United States. With recent attempts to dis regulate the NY Natural Hairstyling Licence, the only licence providing education on all types of hair textures, Models of Colour Matter is fighting for a more diverse hairstyling education, advocating to stop deregulation of said licence and for the inclusion of African American contributions to hairstyling history.

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