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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Diane Von Furstenberg | Baby Phat | Tracy Reese

Every year the same question comes up at Fashion Week, were is the diversity? Much attention has been given to the weight of the models, however race has been an issue at the annual showcases for years and much hasn't changed about that...
At New York's Fashion Week many top designers chose to employ one or two black models and a few Asians in shows and some had none, Reuters reporters who attended over 40 shows by found. Blacks, and blacks in combination with another race, make up about 13 percent of Americans, U.S. Census data shows.

Diane von Furstenberg and Baby Phat were among the few that had a more equal racial mix of models. At least half the models used for Baby Phat, which features Kimora Lee Simmons' glitzy urban designs, were black or Asian.

J. Alexander, a runway coach on TV's "America's Next Top Model" who helped produce Baby Phat's show, said the standard for using black models is "two girls, three maximum" per show.

"And you normally get one to make it clear that she is obviously dark too so they don't get any lip from journalists or any backlash for being racist," he said.

Several designers and a few models, including top black model Alek Wek, were reticent to comment on race, although Wek acknowledged difficulties at the start of her career.

"There were people who criticized me but I took no notice," the Sudanese model told Reuters. "You can see I am black, that's who I am.

"Whether you are black or white, modeling is hard work and you have to be really determined to succeed." [SOURCE]
See more from the runways of Baby Phat's KLS Collection and Tracy Reese at the Mercedes-Benz 2008 Spring Fashion Week...

Kimora Lee Simmon's Baby Phat and KLS Collection

Tracy Reese Collection