By Julee Wilson
The moment has arrived — Bethann Hardison has finally launched her attack against fashion’s glaring diversity problem. The fashion insider-cum-activist and former model, on behalf of The Diversity Coalition, sent out four letters on Thursday to the governing bodies of Fashion Weeks in New York (Council of Fashion Designers of America), Paris (Fédération Française de la Couture), London (British Fashion Council) and Milan (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana) accusing racism on the runways.
The brief yet powerful letter reads:
Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches design houses consistently use one or no models of color. No matter the intention, the result is racism. Not accepting another based on the color of their skin is clearly beyond ‘aesthetic’ when it is consistent with the designer’s brand. Whether it’s the decision of the designer, stylist or casting director, that decision to use basically all white models, reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society. It can no longer be accepted, nor confused by the use of the Asian model.
At the end of the letter, Hardison includes a list of “fashion houses guilty of this racist act” based on last season’s shows in each respective city. The roster of alleged offenders reads like a who’s who of fashion’s top designers and brands– Donna Karan, Versace, Céline, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, BCBG, Prada and Chanel, just to name a few.
“This way there’s no hiding,” Hardison told The Huffington Post. “If you say who, then nobody can say, ‘This has nothing to do with me.'”
“I’m trying to educate those with a careless attitude or [who] just don’t care. But you have to care. This is a responsibility to many.” she said.