Runway diversity spokeswoman and ex-model herself, Bethann Hardison is back to speaking up in the media about diversity in the fashion world. Since launching the Diversity Coalition campaign and Balance Diversity website last fall alongside fellow iconic black models Naomi Campbell and Iman, Hardison has been watching the fashion world for signs of change and improvement.
This past Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she caught up with the folks at Modelina to chat about runway diversity now and runway diversity in the future. She mentioned that she’s happy about some improvements she’s seen, but that we’ve still got a long way to go in terms of equality on the catwalk, in the pages of magazines, and on advertisements. But progress is positive, and we’re at least happy that the topic of diversity in fashion keeps coming up in the news.
Check out some of what Bethann had to say to Modelina below, and head to their site for the full interview.
On improvements she’s seen since her open letter: “…the most surprising improvements were in Milan, where Georgia Armani used a model of color to open the show, Prada used five models of color, which is almost unheard of, and Jil Sander incorporated several models of color while they usually use none. There was a noticeable shift in energy last season, and I think people suddenly felt out of their comfort zone, which is a good thing.”
On upcoming projects: “we have plans for something in February, but we never share them before it happens, so keep on the look out!”
On what young models need to know: “Young models just need to be conscious of the movement and remember to not take it personally. I ask that if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, please let your agent know.”
On her hopes for the future: “The Spring/Summer shows often have more models of color, so the real challenge will be getting the Fall/Winter shows to reflect our global diversity. That would be my dream come true.”