Fashion Week cranked up in New York yesterday and one of the things I and other interested observers will be scrutinizing is not if they use a transgender model like they did in Brazil, but how many African descended models participate in the various fashion shows in the mid town Bryant Park tent village that's Ground Zero for the event?
In the wake of last year's biannual shows that were overwhelmingly melanin free and Italian Vogue doing an all Black models filled July 2008 issue to highlight the racist reluctance of designers and advertisers to use Black models, the question that we'll be pondering is did the designers and advertisers get the message, or will the catwalks continue to be overrun by Eastern European glamazons and little or no models of color despite a historic presidential election here in the States?
There was an event held by the African Fashion Collective last night that starred Grace Jones and a diverse lineup of models from a dozen countries that included Ethiopia, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Russia, China and the Netherlands. It also included male supermodel Tyson Beckford, and runway supermodels Alek Wek and Chanel Iman.
The show featured an array of African inspired collections and presidential prints by designers Xuly Bet from Mali, Nkhensani Nkosi who designs the South African label Stoned Cherrie, and Nigerians Fati Asibelua of Momo and Tiffany Amber.
Now after the African Fashion Collective showed them how it's supposed to be done and threw in some flava as well, will the rest of the fashion world's designers follow suit, or will it be the same tired-ass business as usual as Fashion Week continues?