Joan Smalls took part in a discussion on diversity to help further educate individuals within the fashion industry and to promote discussion.
The fashion industry serves as one of the most powerful and dynamic platforms today. That’s why when it comes to diversity, many discussions arise, because of discrimination and lack of real representation. VOICES, a fashion industry gathering established by the Business of Fashion, held their first annual forum on issues in the fashion industry in London, United Kingdom.
Joan, who is biracial, expressed her concerns during the discussion;
“You should be reflective of the world you live in. I look at this crowd, beautiful faces from different backgrounds and that’s the world I see. So when I see a runway with all the same models that are just cloned, I’m like: ‘Is that your beauty? Is that your world?’
Joan also expresses that the overall look of the fashion industry is bland and lacks different perspectives. She strongly believes there needs to be a better representation of diversity, especially from the brands that are featured; “Brands have to be more open-minded when they choose their cast; they hold a responsibility to represent consumers.” Her views are right in alignment with the CFDA, who released a statement last New York Fashion Week, about the importance of diversity. Joan was also joined by colleague Hari Nef, who is transgender. Hari has had her own experiences with discrimination in the fashion industry and didn’t hesitate to talk about it. “There needs to be a greater awareness of who wears the clothes…the fashion industry fetishes diversity.”
With VOICES being the new annual gathering for Business of Fashion, a lot can be expected in future forums including how they plan to relate to their audiences. Stay up to date with their latest talks on their main website.