Saturday, 08 October 2011

We don't want black people at London Fashion Week

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A few years back I started the Black BUT Invisible campaign which aimed to bring to the forefront the lack of people of colour involved in the fashion industry and via our successful campaing with the Italian Vogue All Black Issue we were able to get world wide press coverage that brought some changes to the industry and for a while at least models of colour were seen on the catwalk.

Sadly that was very short lived and things have gone back to normal and in some cases things are worst than before.

With all the chatter about diversity and inclusion in the UK you would have imagined that during London Fashion Week 2011, possibly one of the largest events of the year you would have seen a good representation of fashion designers and models of colour actively taking part in the main shows, but once again this was not the case and it looks like it would never be the case particularly here in the UK.
Model: Nasai Forna

From time it has been hard if not close to impossible for black press to gain access to the main fashion shows at London Fashion Week, which also includes getting official photography accreditation for LFW.

We are treated like unwanted pest and like second class citizens by the LFW staff. Some of the people I interviewed said they were spoken down to and interrogated by, and even made to point out their work to members of the PR company whom were giving out passes on the day. The impression given was that we were trying to obtain passes by deceit or that their publications and work were not worthy of a pass to access London Fashion Week. We must remember that they had already been given accreditation by email having pre registered and I assume all the checks had been done before the accreditation was issued and that is the reason they were there in the first place. If this were a universal practice being done to everyone it would not have been a problem but once again it seemed that this rule only applied to the black press or people that were black. Dont get me wrong it did not happen to everyone, before people start saying "I attended and that did not happen to me".

Model: Tanya Beresford

Talk can be very cheap if it's not followed up by action and I for one am fed up of being treated like a second class citizen, being made to justify why I am worthy to attend despite the fact that Fashions Finest is currently one of the biggest fashion websites out, i am fed up of not being given invitations to shows or when they are given, they are standing only, but straight after the show the PR companies contact us to publish articles of their designers on Fashions Finest despite the fact that they refused to give us invitations.

The only real things of colour to come out of London Fashion Week 2011 were in the collections, bold mixes of colours with a hint of ethnicity about them brought to us by designers such as Mary Katrantzou SS12, Michael van der Ham SS12, Peter Pilotto SS12 to name a few.
Model: Forough Hosseini Jonghani

Fashion is a universal thing and people of all backgrounds are interested in and want to keep up to date with the latest trends and even buy some of the pieces if they are within their budget. It's money in the designers pocket regardless of the pocket it came from, surely it's time to stop the talk, open closed doors and see some positive changes in the UK, it's LONDON Fashion Week after all - should it not also have a good representation of the diversity within LONDON?

Photo Credits: iDeLick Media