Outrage over all-white brigade of models walking to “Formation”
This week fashion brand Misha Collection angered the public when it sent a troupe of all-white models down the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia ramp, while Beyoncé’s “Formation” – hailed as a “fiery black power only anthem ? ” – played.
Leading the homogenous pack was ‘It’ model Bella Hadid, sister of Gigi Hadid. The young emerging model was apparently paid upwards of $400 K according to the Mail Online to walk this single show.
There is no doubt that from the casting to the finale walk, this show failed miserably. Not only in terms of diversity but also in the designer, Michelle Aznavorian’s utter lack of judgement when she appropriated a song that was not meant for her whitewashed show.
Taking a black power song and using it for your own short-sighted means is downright insensitive. It’s also a blatant form of cultural appropriation. By using “Formation” in this show, this particular show so devoid of women of colour, the designer basically gave black women the finger. She clearly has no idea about the significance of this song for black women around the world and she doesn’t recognise that this is a cultural thing.
Valentino incited outrage with their pre-fall 2015 lookbook when styling a predominantly white cast of models in cornrows. Dolce and Gabbana has been a culprit for many years; their most recent error in judgment came in the form of the “slave sandal”, sold online. More than 10 recent fashion shows didn’t feature any models of colour – these included renowned designers like David Koma, Anrealage, Ann Demeulemeester, Noir Kei Ninomiya, Undercover, Junya Watanabe, Veronique Branquinho, Vetements, Balenciaga and Commes des Garçons. These catwalks were so white it was like staring directly into the sun. And the list goes on…
Unfortunately, the disrespect, cultural appropriation and blatant lack of diversity persist. In many cases I believe it’s a form of laziness that is ultimately very racist; with white models being all the more prevalent, they go for the easy casting option. That’s why we need to demand that change happens on every level.
– South African News Women24