Diane von Furstenberg, chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Steven Kolb, president and CEO of CFDA, released their health initiative letter, which included racial diversity pointers from the Diversity Coalition (founded by legendary model Bethann Hardison). CFDA members have been advised “to encourage the industry to be inclusive of racial diversity when preparing casting of models for their company needs.”
The email was outright in suggesting to modeling agencies and designers to not only scout more models of color, but also have them represented in shows. They added that they wanted “to make a shift on how the model of color is viewed so it becomes natural to see them participating each season in a greater number than seasons past,” and requested that fashion designers “add diversity to your lineup.”
Hardison has been at the forefront of fighting for diversity within the fashion industry. In 2007, she hosted a public discussion amongst fashion designers and industry insiders, pointing out the need for diversity in the industry. In 2014, she received the CFDA Founder’s Award in honor for her activism.
Bethann responded to the CFDA’s report: “I am happy to know that the CFDA thinks it is important to remind people. I wrote those guidelines four or five, or however many years ago, and they are still relevant ideas. These are basics for people to be responsible for the idea of diversity.”
Fashion designers have been making changes in support of Bethann’s work. Designer Zac Posen recently made a statement with Black Models Matter, having a show with only Black models to highlight the lack of diversity within the industry.