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Discussing racism in fashion at LCF

Better Lives at LCF: Discussing racism in fashion
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Published date
25 February 2014

As part of LCF’s Better Lives series curated by LCF’s Dr Carolyn Mair (Course leader of the MA Psychology in Fashion and the MSc in Psychology in Fashion) last night brought together leading industry figures to discuss racism in fashion.

Casting expert, Jody Furlong, who street casts and books a diverse range of models for his agency, The Eye Casting, gave his insight into the problems within the industry. Fashion’s extensive influence and trend-setting status, he argued, means that it carries responsibility to depict diversity.

Joining Jody was award-winning photographer, James Lyon, who campaigns for diversity in fashion with the organisation, Models of Diversity. He spoke of the importance of supporting upcoming designers who recognise the opportunity diversity offers them, and the need to ignore the brand ‘dinosaurs’ who still fail to change their racist practices.

Problems of racism throughout the industry was discussed: The fact that Jourdan Dunn has not yet featured on a Vogue cover despite her international super-model status; Prada’s failure to cast even one non-white model for its catwalk in the past 20 years; and the way fashion brands continue to consider whiteness as the neutral and natural image for a model whilst other colours of skin are seen as a statement (and one they are not always willing to make).

The urgent and final message of the evening was for the young designers and fashion professionals in the audience to go out into the industry with a desire to create diversity and equality.