“I’m flabbergasted when I go to a fashion show and I don’t see a black model or an Indian model or an Asian model or anyone of color in the front row,” says Tailly. “It’s 2015, brands should take the memo. The buying power of those minorities is enormous—why are we still not represented enough?” While fashion is slowly becoming more diverse, it’s still remarkably white-washed—and one reason for the glacial pace, posits Tailly, is that the focus has solely been on changing front-facing fashion professionals (ie. models) rather than the industry as a whole. “The more diverse people working behind the scenes in fashion who have the power to book models, the more diverse faces we’re likely to see in magazines,” says Tailly. “As a black person, when I collaborate with a magazine, I’m more likely to want to book a black model. It’s a delicate subject but I think it’s natural to gravitate towards a model that looks like you, that you can relate to. So if you’re blond-haired and blue-eyed, you’re probably more likely to book a model that looks like that too.”
— JENKE AHMED TAILLY in Elle
In any industry, really.