When Black Is Chic: Jourdan Dunn On Runway Diversity



22-jwu-nw-66Photographed by Nina Westervelt.


Bethann Hardison is making news with letters she's sent to various fashion designers around the world, demanding that more models of color be used on a regular basis in shows. "No matter the intention, the result is racism," she wrote, indicting long list of designers like Marc Jacobs, Prada, Rodarte, Rag & Bone, Calvin Klein, Celine, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. Jason Wu, as Fashionista points out, didn't make the list — this season, the designer used five non-white models in his spring/summer 2014 show. Jourdan Dunn was among them, and Leah Chernikoff caught up with the fashion-favorite model (who has commented on the issue in the past) to see what she thought of Hardison's letter.

"I hope it helps," Dunn said of the letter, which has been making the rounds on the Internet after it was posted on Balance Diversity. "I hope more people speak out, then hopefully people listen and realize it’s not right and something needs to be done." While she's certainly right, some of us in the industry have been hopeful that change is on the way after Jezebel found that Fashion Week in February of last year was notably more diverse. However, Dunn thinks that was just a fluke. "I mean, there was a season where ethnic models were being represented and then it went back to the same routine of just using one or none at all," Dunn explained, saying that from her perspective, "it seems like [non-white models] are only cast when it’s hot for one season and everyone jumps on board. It’s a look."

Hear that, people? Apparently, the color of your skin is just an accessory to be donned or discarded at whim. Hopefully, this time, designers are listening — to Dunn and to Hardison's necessary words. (Fashionista)