So anyone reading this blog would know that we here at Islandista Jourdan Dunn. We really do. We love how she’s both fierce and gazelle-like, we love that she freely admitted she wished she had a big bamsy when she was younger and we love her refreshing frankness on the paucity of black models in high fashion.
So we are torn… torn we tell you! at her recent success on the catwalk and what it means. On the one hand, Jourdan has been tearing it up – from Vogue and Elle editorials to dominating New York, London and Milan’s Fashion Weeks thus far. And we love it.
However it is her dominance of Milan Fashion Week that raises yet again the troubling question of race in fashion for Jourdan was often the token black on the runways at the recently concluded Milan Fashion Week.
New York Magazine pointed it out in a much-commented on piece last week, noting:
While New York’s runways were more diverse than in seasons past, Milan was quite the opposite. Top Italian designers Gianfranco Ferré, Giorgio Arman, Jil Sander, Marni, Missoni, Moschino, Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo featured all-white casts of models. And the few times when designers did book ethnic models, they picked from a small, highly-selective pool of girls: Jourdan Dunn, Liu Wenn and Marina Peres (Dunn, Wen, and Peres were the most requested girls from their respective groups.)
And therein lies the rub. While we revel in Jourdan’s success and love that she was the top model in London’s fashion week, walking in 14 shows, we bemoan the fact that designers are using her as the token black.
The figures from Milan, which NYM collected, bear this out in grim detail. In six out of the ten shows she walked in, she was all on her own to represent the million shades of black beauty that there are out there. In the other four, she was accompanied by Chanel Iman, who seems to be the only other black model in the world as far as most designers are concerned. She walked in seven shows but only walked two on her own as the sole black model – the others were of course with Jourdan and one with Arlenis Sosa.
So … they say a word to the wise is sufficient so leh we try a t’ing here.
Friends, Milanese, designers – lend me your ears!
Jourdan Dunn is NOT the only black model in the world.