Thursday, 21 February 2013

Black Allure

Dunn in Spanish Vogue
In the circle of high-fashion flames, there is consistently a rare presence of ebony skinned prodigies strutting down the runway, promoting the latest fashion fascination or even scantily clad in a Victoria's Secret feature. It's absurd to say that the industry simply eschews the use of black models and significants but it's evident that their use and promotion is uncommon. Is there just generally a coincidental preference of Caucasian models compared to Black, are there genuinely just less Black models, does it really matter or is this just a chauvinistic blind outrage? Some may say there's discrimination, I say that's ridiculous. Regardless of this minor controversy, the simple grace and presence of a black model is never unnoticed and deservingly celebrated. In a clique of fair skinned females it's inevitable that the silky haired dark vixen will have a phenomenal presence. 

The fash-pack adore black models. Always august and spectacular; the walking epitomes of black beauty all have some distinguishable hierarchy in the world of modelling. Often, some of the most popular and celebrated models happen to be black.  The fashion world has always been a celebrated figure of independence and freedom, with it's influences helping to bring about the equality of gays, races and supporting the voices of change and expression. These themes are outdated. All that is left to do is to praise the successes of these Black models in particular. The late 20th Century and early 21st Century has been a grand era for the rise of Black models. Joan Smalls was placed Number 1 on models.com list of "Top 50 female models" and she herself has campaigned for over 20 designers including Ralph Lauren, Giambattista Valli, Chanel and even Mercedes-Benz. Chanel Iman has walked for Yves Saint Laurent, Versace and Stella McCartney and has countless appearances in British Elle, Italian Vanity Fair and International Vogue features, she is also probably most notable for her work as a Victoria's Secret Angel. Liya Kebede has appeared on the cover of US Vogue three times, while Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Sessilee Lopez joined her in covering Vogues 'All Black' editions. Even recently, BeyoncĂ© featured as the cover girl for American Vogue and singer Robyn Fenty has started her own collection at River Island. Model veteran Tyra Banks found fame in even being named one of the most influential people by Time Magazine, while also creating and hosting America's Next Top Model after her career of catwalking for Valentino, Fendi and Chanel. And, simple enough to say, Naomi Campbell is just exquisite Fashion Gold and Fashion Legend.

Joan, Jourdan and Naomi
Recently the most quintessential example of Black brilliance in modelling is the glorious Jourdan Dunn. At just 22 years old she serves as a precious influence to young Black girls and is a social media phenomenon. Loved by all. She kick-started her career being spotted in a Hammersmith Primark and, although she debuted in the Autumn Shows of 2007 in New York, she rose to fame when in 2008 she became the first Black model to walk on a runway for Prada in over a decade. This led to complete attention in the model and her role in promoting and symbolising Black women in fashion. Her presence has highlighted the lack of black models for the simple fact that she's an impeccable attraction and the world wants more models that are just like her. Named 'Model of The Year' in November 2008, Dunn has modelled for the likes of Victoria's Secret, Topshop, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent and endless others. A desirable female, she has crowned the covers of Vogue Italia, British Vogue and Teen Vogue while appearing in editorials for Vogue magazines internationally, as well as Elle, i-D magazine and many others. Noted for those luscious legs and that signature walk (practiced to perfection), Miss Dunn is simply electric. Mother of son Riley who was born in December 2008, she is an easily recognisable figure in fashion haven risen to being part of the highest echelons of style. This was honored when in the 2012 London Olympics Closing Ceremony, she was one of the few models chosen to represent the fashion industry that Britain has pride in. Enrobed in a bespoke white and gold garment by Jonathan Saunders accompanied with a stunning gold feather headdress by Stephen Jones, Dunn was present among the likes of Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, David Gandy and Stella Tennant. Let's not call her the next Naomi Campbell because of her race, let's call her Britain's sweetheart because of her forte in fashion and enthrallment. 
Vogue Italia: Black Allure Feature
So what role do Black models have in fashion? Exactly the same as white women do. To model. Although British Vogue hasn't seen a black woman enrich it's cover since 2008, and although there is often an uneven ratio of black to white models in features, I can't stress my insouciance at the matter. It is arguable that racial problems are still arresting in society but in terms of a young woman wishing to present herself clothed in an embellished Prada Gown or Stella McCartney Satin Kimono, there is simply no need to bring up these racial accusations. Should a lack of oriental models be highlighted in frustration simply because Sun Fei Fei (who recently made Fashion History being the first Asian model on the cover of Vogue Italia), Du Juan (the first ever international Chinese supermodel) or Li Xiao Xing just aren't enough? The supermodel status shouldn't be bestowed upon a fixed amount of each race, that isn't how the world works. The supermodel status is bestowed among those that are the best. Realistically, society should have progressed to the point where we don't need to recognise 'Black' models specifically as they don't need to have this classed separation. Some would even call it "reverse racism" to constantly feel the need to climax the significance of Black models themselves and every so often use the patronising method of 'tokenism' in order to 'keep racial groups happy'. Personally I feel that none need to be celebrated because of their race, but celebrated for the model and the woman that they are.

10 comments:

  1. keep doing what you're doing, this is brilliant

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  2. This is too amazing for words, your writing and your blog are so amazing you're an inspiration!
    I agree with this post as well, there should be more black models but it shouldnt be forced just because of race, and Joan Smalls is a goddess!

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  3. Well done JayJay. Another great read. Really impressed

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  4. This post is just divine! Your writing style is amazing, you have serious talent. I have to agree with you entirely, models shouldn't be judged on their ethnicity but instead on their ability to model! If they can do their job well that's what should be celebrated in my opinion.

    Again, great post.

    Bethany Paige (www.paigeoffashion.blogspot.co.uk) x

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  5. Absolutely outstanding. Keeping going, don't let anyone put you down, you are a talented writer and you will do so so so well! xx

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  6. Absolutely amazing! I know that bringing all that twitter mess from this morning would probably be the last thing you want to hear but ignore ALL of it. You are the most amazing writer I've read on here in a very very long time. Be very proud of yourself. I think you should know that I'm recommending you to some people at the publishing company where I work so keep your eyes open. I know you will go far and be extremely successful Jason. You are extremely correct, models shouldn't be judged on their ethnicity but just on how they do their job. I do hope that you are entering that Vogue writing competition. You are a shoe-in winner! Good luck! :)

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  7. Oh wow. I figured you were good but I never realised that you were THAT good. This is bloody amazing ! Your bloody amazing. I don't really know you, I'm just one of your anonymous followers on twitter and I see you get a lot of flack, but your one of the rare ones that don't actually deserve it! Anyhoo, just to wrap it up your a bloody amazing writer, so keep it up and don't let all them other people get you down, just carry on doing you and I'm sure it will all pay off :')

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  8. Amazing as usual. Consider a slightly bigger font though x

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. I love that you pointed this out; people should stop being so patronizing about having a proportional amount of ethnicities as models, and even other professions, and rather just embrace talent! I am one of your anonymous followers and just saw the hype! Love it, keep writing. Study hard and hope you all the success in your GCSE exams.

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