While we are just getting ready for Fall 2009 Fashion Week here in New York, Menswear shows have been well under way in Milan since last weekend. Last season, The Shophound paid extra attention to how minorities have been faring on the runways. While we plan to continue that sidebar, The New York Times' Guy Trebay weighed in this week on minority representation in the current round of shows in Milan, and found it disappointingly lacking, particularly in light of Italian Vogue's highly touted Black Issue last fall.
Where to lay blame appears to be in question, as designers claim that agents aren't sending them enough diverse models, and agents claim that they are sending out models of color who aren't getting hired. It sounds like a Catch-22 of apathy, with few designers willing to take a chance on even a few black male models, and standardbearers like Gucci and Prada continuing to present all-white, minority free shows. Trebay writes:
Interestingly, as with the women's shows, it is the older generation of designers who are most likely to present a diverse model cast. It was at Versace and Giorgio Armani, who is probably the oldest designer to retain creative control at an Italian fashion house, where Trebay found anything close to a diversity of models. A quick glance at Men.Style.Com's runway reports bears this out.
We are betting that the Obama effect works to models' advantage in New York at the very least, and hopefully may have some influence on the European Women's shows that follow.
We're still watching.
Fashion Diary: In Milan, Models Still Come in Only One Color By Guy Trebay (NYTimes)