The fashion industry plays a significant role in the way in which black women and most importantly, black beauty is defined. As an impressionable teenager I recall struggling to deal with the lack of black models in mainstream fashion magazines. It was frustrating to see yet another model styled to look androgynous or repeatedly featured in tribal/ethnic/sport inspired fashion stories. It would be fair to say that this had an impact on the way that I, as a black woman, viewed myself.
Occasionally fashion magazines dare to be different and step away from the usual stereotypes; the April 2011 edition of ELLE UK is a good example.
The 12 page spread could easily have featured a caucasian model as there is no reference to the ethnicity of the model. What strikes me is that the images show a model, as apposed to a ‘black model’. On this occasion we are given the opportunity to view beautiful clothes, on an equally beautiful model – who just happens to be black.
It is all too easy to focus on the negative aspects of the fashion industry but it is important to acknowledge steps in the right direction. Hopefully ELLE UK will continue to promote diversity within their magazine.
Post by Emma Case
Emma is a fashion marketing graduate, who works as a Sample Coordinator for a trimmings supplier.