According to the Fashion Spot’s diversity report, this year was the most diverse fashion week there has ever been. Although at first this seems positive, it disguises the vast problems still present in the industry.
Yeezy Season 3, a brand directed by a person of color, took the prize for the most diverse show. Labels like R13 Denim, Monse, Yigal Azrouël and A.P.C. still continued to lack diversity.The majority of model castings with a whopping 68.10% were white, while only 32.90% of hires were to people of color. Fashion’s diversity issue goes deeper than its hiring problem. Even behind the scenes, makeup artists and hair stylists are not always capable of working with “different” hair and skin tones. A true artist or stylist should know how to work with all races.
Recently Ajak Deng, one of Australia’s best models, declared her exit from the fashion industry. Ajak is a prominent model having walked for Dior, Marc Jacobs, and Louis Vuitton as well as having appeared in campaigns for Barneys New York, Gap and Kate Spade. Although she has achieved notable success in the industry, Deng has also faced numerous problems involving her race and her ethnicity. Stephen Bucknell, her manager, commented it is always difficult to book Deng in Australia because the industry prefers white models.
In 2014, Balmain cut Deng out of their Paris Fashion Week show for “being black”. Later, she powerfully exposed the company’s wrongdoing on Twitter before deleting her account on the platform. Recently, Deng instagrammed a picture of herself walking the runway accompanied with the caption: “Put your best foot forward. I am happy to announce that I am officially done with the fashion industry, I will be moving back to Australia in order to live the life that I fully deserved. Which is real life. I can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies. My life is too short for this dramatic life. I am thankful and grateful for every sweet soul that I have crossed paths with.”
Deng has removed herself from an industry that did discriminated against her – one she was not comfortable working in.