Minority Models Missing From Fashion Magazines? Blame “Wide Noses,” For Starters…

30 Years of Black Beauty, Annie Leibovitz, Vanity Fair (2009)

“Why aren’t there more minority models in fashion magazines?”

While this should come as absolutely NO surprise to anyone who follows fashion or works in the industry, there is a conscious choice not to use minority fashion models in magazines — gasp!

30 Years of Black Beauty by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair (2009)

30 Years of Black Beauty by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair (2009)

The fashion industry’s racial bigotry is so profound that it’s almost comical when people defend fashion houses such as Dolce & Gabbana, who could fetishize Black women for a collection, yet couldn’t hire a single one for its Fashion Week show in Milan this summer.

From the horses mouth

Spotted on Micropolis NYC, below you’ll find a few “not to be racist but…” quotes from fashion industry employees revealed in an article by Ashley Mears, a sociologist and former model, titled “Size zero high-end ethnic: Cultural production and the reproduction of culture in fashion modeling.”

To say the answers are “disturbing” barely scrapes the barrel. Despite the lack of “surprise,” the sting is undeniable.

A lot of black girls have got very wide noses… The rest of her face is flat, therefore, in a flat image, your nose, it broadens in a photograph. It’s already wide, it looks humongous in the photograph. I think that’s, there’s an element of that, a lot of very beautiful black girls are moved out by their noses, some of them.” —H, London Agency Director

“But it’s also really hard to scout a good black girl. Because they have to have the right nose and the right bottom. Most black girls have wide noses and big bottoms so if you can find that right body and that right face, but it’s hard.” —A, NYC Agency Scout

“Okay let’s say Prada. You don’t have a huge amount of black people buying Prada. They can’t afford it. Okay so that’s economics there. So why put a black face? They put a white face, because those are the ones that buy the clothes.” —L, NYC Stylist

“We don’t like using the same model too often, but it’s harder to find ethnic girls. And…well, I don’t want to sound racist, but— well for Asians, it’s hard to find tall girls that will fit the clothes because most of them are very petit. For black girls, I guess—black girls have a harder edge kind of look, like if I’m shooting something really edgy, I’ll use a black girl, it always just depends on the clothes.” —A, NYC Magazine Editor

Me personally, in my opinion, there really is no good, good, black girl around. The really good, good black girl around are still the same, and are still the one that everybody wants… It’s very difficult to find one. The agency don’t deliver enough choice to make happy the client [sic].” —O, NYC Casting Director

Kanye West Blank Face

You don’t even have to say it, Yeezy…

This why we admire, support and often rely on sites such as Beauty Is Diverse, who celebrates all forms of beauty and has personally widened my view of minority fashion talent around the world.

Author