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Could Racial Diversity in Fashion Be Improving? (Forum Buzz)

With Men’s Fashion Week underway and models hitting the runways once again, discussion has flared back up in the forums regarding diversity (or the lack thereof) in the fashion industry. What most notably struck up the conversation was the casting of the female models at Prada’s Spring 2014 Menswear show. Casting Director Ashley Brokaw picked four women of color (out of the twelve who were cast) to walk the show: Leona “Binx” Walton, Marina Nery, Tamila Naser, and Malaika Firth. Considering Prada’s not-so-hot track record with racially diverse casting, the runway selections for this show were notable.

Could Racial Diversity in Fashion Be Improving? (Forum Buzz)

Clockwise from top left: Leona “Binx” Walton, Marina Nery, Tamila Naser, and Malaika Firth. Images via IMAXtree.

Forum members were pleased, but not fully convinced that this casting is a sign of consistent change for future collections.

“Cast at Prada was really top notch, four female models of color (!!!) pretty amazing if you ask me," teaars commented. "Would hope to see the same kind of casting for the womenswear RTW show.

Marc10 wrote, “Prada was indeed great… but I can’t help but wonder if it was only because of the collection’s mood or if they’re really embracing diversity.”

“Is Prada finally feeling the heat after all those articles sprung up about the lack of diversity on the runways?” HeatherAnne asked. “I'll save my praises for them and Brokaw until after I see their Spring 2014 show,” she added. 

Cold is also adopting a wait-and-see attitude. “I'm cautiously optimistic,” she shared. “I hope this isn't just one of those instances where they felt more daring since casting for menswear isn't as amplified as womenswear.”

Another concern with Prada was the racial ambiguity of the selected models. Since the women featured are so light-skinned, Seaj didn’t really find the casting to be cause for celebration. Intern22 disagreed, arguing that non-white models come in many shades, and that this is still something of a victory. 

What do you think? Are casting directors taking a step in the right direction? Or could this all just be a one-off to placate the recent outcries against fashion’s lack of diversity? The debate rages on in the forums: read more here.