Chanel Iman may be one of the most sought-after models in the world, but, as a Black woman, even she is still faced with racism in the fashion industry.
The Victoria Secret model recently sat down with The Sunday Times for a chat about her career, and when asked if her race has ever posed a challenge in her career she had to come clean.
“Yeah, most definitely,” Chanel admitted. “A few times I got excused by designers who told me, ‘We already found one black girl. We don’t need you anymore.’ I felt very discouraged. When someone tells you, ‘We don’t want you because we already have one of your kind,’ it’s really sad.”
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She acknowledged, though, that not all designers are so resistant to the idea of adding a little more color to the runway and fashion magazines. “I appreciate designers making a strong statement that black women are beautiful. Black women like fashion,” said Chanel. “And when there’s more diversity on the runway, it makes our world more inclusive.”
More designers may need to adopt more of an inclusive attitude when casting runway shows if 2013 Fall New York Fashion Week is any indication. According to The Huffington Post, the number of Black models declined from last year’s 8 percent down to 6 percent.
The decline may come from the misconception that Black models do not make fore good marketing. Despite the fact that their Black issue was wildly successful Vogue Italia Editor-In-Chief Franca Sozzani has had trouble getting more Black women splashed on the pages of the magazine.
She revealed to The Times, “I’ve asked my advertising clients so many times, ‘Can we use a black girl?’ They say ,’No. Advertisers say black models don’t sell.”