2012 magazine of the year

A History of Racism in Fashion

Yes, we’ve got a black president, but fashion still has plenty of WTF moments.

Let’s take a walk down not-so-fond memory lane with our History of Racism in the Fashion Industry:

Year: 1892 - 2012

Vogue magazine was started in 1892. In over 118 years and 1,416 covers, only 14 have featured minorities of any kind. That’s less than 1%. OK then. As Jay-Z put it: men lie, women lie, numbers don’t

Year: 1964

Ebony is a venerable media institution, started in 1945 to cater to the interests of the African-American community. Controversy around its mere existence dogged the publication for decades.

Year: 1966

The first black model appeared on the cover of Vogue in 1966 — unfortunately it just happens that her face was obscured. Detroit model Donyale Luna graced the cover of Vogue with her hand strategically placed over her mouth and nose. Vogue allegedly made this stylistic decision to avoid scaring off people at the newsstands at a time when black faces in pop culture were still few and far between, particularly in the fashion world. 

Year: 1968

Naomi Sims, after getting turned down for gigs by modeling agencies who felt her skin was “too dark”, took it upon herself to seek out fashion photographers directly, which paid off when NYT photographer Gosta Petersen put her in the paper’s fashion supplement in 1967. Sims linked up with former model Wilhelmina Cooper. Cooper declined to represent Sims, but Sims told the model that she would send out copies of the NYT piece, and if she got hired based on that work, the two would share the profits. It took a year to book Naomi Sims’ first cover on the November 1968 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, and the first black supermodel’s career was officially established.

Year: 1999

Top executives at Elite Model Management, which then counted Naomi Campbell amongst its biggest assets, were caught on film using racial slurs and talking about how Africa would be a much better place if it were full of white people.

Year: 2008

A beastly and intense LeBron appears next to the ethereal Gisele Bundchen in an image that ruffled feathers for playing into a variety of stereotypical depictions of black manhood. Some saw King Kong in the photo, some saw a generalized depiction of a dangerous black male and an angelic white woman.

Year: 2010

Karl Lagerfeld puts Claudia Schiffer in yellow and black face. Racism doesn’t exist in fashion, right? So it is totally cool to photograph one of the world’s greatest supermodels in both Yellowface and Blackface!

Year: 2010

Jean-Paul Guerlain, one of the world’s most well-known parfumiers, was found guilty after a trial that took him to task for making racist comments. He claimed that he worked “harder than a nigger” to make his perfumes, and went on to say that “niggers have never worked as hard as he works to make his perfumes.”

Year: 2011

Nivea’s ad campaign was all about getting guys to clean up their act, but it was the brand itself that had to clean up a mess after they released an ill-conceived ad featuring a “clean-cut” black man holding an image of his own head with an Afro along with a caption that read “Re-Civilize Yourself.” Did the company not realize that they were playing with the tired old stereotype of black men as uncivilized brutes?

Year: 2011

Vogue’s most disgraceful moments came when it ran a piece on hoop earrings that drew a comparison to the jewelry that early African slaves in the Americas brought with them from their homelands. The editors went as far as titling the article “Slave Earrings" — exhibiting a total lack of common sense, at best.

Year: 2012

Elle screwed up big time when they ran a story on what they perceived to be a new era in black style. This piece made the claim that the election of the Obama family in the US represented the first time that African-Americans were given an example on how to dress with class and poise. Before the Obamas blacks were only given "streetwear codes” rather than something chic to be inspired by. Editors declined to comment on the scandal, but we’re still shaking our heads and asking what the Elle?


These are far not all the examples from the History of Racism in Fashion. There are so many examples of recent years in this post, because today it seems especially ridiculous! It is worse than a public insult, when the whole world sees this shit! "Modern fashion community" continues to stand in the way of Black people!

Please, reblog and write, if you heard about some other disgusting examples of racism in fashion!