As New York Fashion Week approaches, the conversation about racism in fashion has resurfaced. Eric Wilson of The New York Times reports that in 2013, black models accounted for 6 per cent of looks at New York Fashion Week down from 8.2 per cent in 2012.

Iman lent her voice to the issue in an interview with The New York Times. While many pontificate on the cause behind white-washed runways, Iman’s quote focused on action and change.

Her words:

“It feels to me like the times need a real hard line drawn like in the Sixties, by saying if you don’t use black models, then we boycott,” Iman said. “If you engage the social media, trust me, it will hurt them in their pockets. If you take it out there, they will feel the uproar.”

She continued:

“There is something terribly wrong. We have a President and a First Lady who are black. You would think things have changed, and then you realise that they have not. In fact, things have gone backwards.”

Iman is wise to suggest that we protest with our dollars and inform other consumers of racist practices via social media. Historically, change doesn’t occur until brands feel it in their pockets. Do you agree?

  • Hm

    I think there are bigger issues to worry about

  • Kayla

    The reason we haven’t seen any change is because the white media doesn’t want change.Ever since Obama was in the white house there have been numerous movies about the white house under attack.( etc White house down, Olympus has fallen..) The white media couldn’t handle beautiful black models because then it would ruin the “beauty standard they have created and they would have to start from scratch. I agree with Iman its been to long and these companies are getting to comfortable. Its time to boycott.

  • omfg

    i agree. this black model/fashion stuff has just become an obsession, at least among the folks who post articles at clutch.

    you’d think this was the only and most important area were blacks are either unrepresented or underrepresented.

    at this point, i am so not concerned about whether some white designer like the self-absorbed marc jabobs wants to put black girls in his show. i don’t derived my self-worth from white people. i moved on from that when i was 16 years old. i don’t even buy fashion magazines.

    the focus on this issue is bordering on the pathetic. like, please white people, please recognize my physical beauty. pretty pleeeeaaaasssseeee.

  • http://twitter.com/JenniferLBreier Jennifer L. Breier (@JenniferLBreier)

    (1) To some it may not seem a big deal; and, compared with other issues, maybe it isn’t. But sometimes tackling a big issue requires first knocking out a supposed small issue.
    (2) I feel that wherever we see & hear white women, we should also see & hear black women. This includes fashion – so a boycott may be required.

  • Ash

    Change happens on many levels. Iman’s life is dedicated to fashion and this is something that should change.

  • lola

    Black folks have never had anything handed over to them for free in this country.

    Wall street

    These are some of the last bastions of racism in America. We can keep consuming all we want. Why do we keep buying these clothes, when they don’t find us worthy to grace them on the runaway?

    Iman is absolutely right. Unless, there is a boycott, the racism will persist.

    Without struggle, there is no progress for black folks in America.

  • Me27

    This is a boycott I’d support.

  • RJ

    @Jennifer so true. I don’t think that people realize that whenever a battle for change has been forged that issues were attacked across the board.

    From the bus, to the diner counters, to the voting booth. That is the most effective way to exact change..

  • Santi

    I’m sorry, but there are people actually dying of malnutrition, disease, and war in plenty of places across the globe. And we are talking about fashion? Fashion?! Models? Let’s get off of this consumerism, slave to capitalism, slave to fashion mentality and put our energy into issues that really matter. I repeat there are people all over this world dying, most of them women and children. I would respect Iman more if she talked about the issues of Piracy in Somalia. That’s a real issue. Whatever happened to black people not being so infatuated with what it is white people are doing? If you want more black models, support brands that hire black models, or start your own brands. Stop with this victim mentality. Enough already. Sheesh.

  • Viv

    The lack of black models in fashion shows and in the pages of magazines is unfortunate. However, it’s such a shallow and superficial industry built upon unrealistic standards of beauty. I love clothes, I love fashion, but I personally I believe that there are more important issues facing our people that warrant a large-scale boycott. I know many of the higher-end fashion brands the show in NY, London, Paris, etc are not checking for me or people who look like me, so I don’t check for them, either.

  • vintage3000

    It takes less time to ignore a brand than it took for you to write that post.

  • vintage3000

    This is not just about wanting to see pretty Black models on the runways.

    The glorification of White women is one of the oldest methods Whites have used for centuries to not only uphold their culture and race, but to denigrate others. This is how its easy for a white fashion editor to openly call Rihanna the n word. Or to produce numerous shoots of white models in blackface. It perpetuates a system of fostering hatred based on a limbic brain reaction many whites have when it comes to interacting with people who have melanin in their skin. I cannot imagine why any Black woman would brag about giving Prada money, when that brand is notorious for using only white models for years.

  • Jade

    Why can’t we use our resources to build and support our own fashion empires/companies produced by our own? We should support BLACK fashion designers that use Black models. We can’t keep begging for “scraps” all the damn time. Where is the power in that? This is why those fashion companies laugh at us. We look so pathetic begging and pleading for them to put us in THEIR shows, magazines, and clothes. Let’s support OUR OWN.

  • Viv

    I agree that the lack of Black models on the runways is unfortunate. However, the fashion industry is notoriously shallow and superficial with no reflection of real life in terms of diversity, body image, economics, etc.

    There is no personal aspiration to own Prada shoes, Dior bag, etc. I can’t afford them, for starters, but I also know that these high-end brands don’t reflect me in any way, so I’m not checking for them. We can certainly refuse to support brands that don’t use us in ads or runways, but I just feel that larger-scale actions should be directed toward issues more pertinent to the upliftment of our people.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    I glad the Iman is taking a stand but this won’t wroke because of two large groups. One group that thinks there is more important issues to boycott over and the second group who is addicted to name brands and the status that having a Gucci bag brings.

  • http://gravatar.com/beejcee beejcee

    Good luck getting the housewives (ATL) and basketball wives on board! Those ladies are constantly boasting about wearing Gucci, Prada and the like. If what they say is correct regarding their spending habits, that would be the group to start with!

  • MimiLuvs

    My opinion is going to ruffle a lot of feathers and make someone’s hair stand on end. But here it goes:

    Unless we’re talking about a starter up fashion company, I believe that nothing is going to happen. It’s been known that “us” (black people, in general) are the top consumers in this country. It is also known that we’re the “bottom b*tches”, when it comes to consumerism. We’re cool, when we’re supplying starting companies (or companies that are ‘down and out’) with business. But once it captures the attention of mainstream America, it’s like “See Ya!”
    We are talking about decades-old fashion houses. Sh*t, they refer to themselves as ‘fashion houses’ for Pete’s sake.
    This subject is something that I refuse to throw on my armor for, but I will say that it is admirable.
    Do I think that this will work? No, not really.
    I believe just as long there are the Kim Kardashians, Jennifer Annistons, Angelina Jolies, Cate Blanchetts, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrences, Coco Rochas, Nicole Kidmans, Blake Livelys, (insert random teen celebrity), Lady GaGa, Madonna and other white A-List celebrity wearing these designers’ apparel at ‘red carpet’ events and in fashion magazine editorials, these designers don’t give a sh*t about black women’s protests.
    This is not Cristal.

  • sassychloe

    I hate to say it, but I agree.

  • Phillygurl

    I don’t see the issue with supporting this boycott, who says we can’t do this while supporting other issues. What, can’t we walk and chew gum at the same time and this is simply not spending your money; it’s not like Iman is requesting a march on Washington.

  • felicia

    Exactly!!! Finally someone who gets it. Take Tyler, Oprah, Queen Latifah, Tyra, and Russell Simmons for example. And even Iman, herself started her own makeup line. We need to stop begging. “Oh please let me in.” and take matters in our own hands.

  • felicia

    Preach sister!

  • Santi

    So all these years of living with white people and you still don’t know who you’re dealing with? Black people, listen up, these people will NEVER change. Stop trying to force them to accept you, and first accept yourselves, and then start your own clothing brands. Stop with the victim mentality. No one respects that whatsoever. Take note from Indians, Jews, Africans, and Asians, and build your own empires. At this point it’s sad and pathetic.

  • Alonzo

    Black women aint gonna boycott a damn thing and the white folks know it!

  • Phillygurl

    Black women has been the key to any movement in the black. community…we are the doers, don’t get it twisted…

  • Peaceful

    Hello Alonzo,

    Are you a black woman? Since the answer is NO shut your stupid mouth.

    Economic backlash is the only thing hateful white companies will respond to becuase that is how greedy they are. Black women will respond with a boycott just like we did in the sixties with the buses. Shut up Alon-stupid-zo.

    Let real black women speak for real black women. You are not my spokesperson.

  • Alonzo

    Shieeeeet get boycotting then!!!

  • http://twitter.com/verityreign verityreign

    It’s about time! I’ve been wanting a celeb to speak on this AND take action for a minute now, like since I was about 16.

  • Lya

    This is admirable and all but why should we care. Why would I want there to be more anorexic black women walking down a runway. If we need people like Kim K and the basketball wives as a defense we are better of focusing out attention elsewhere. Why not have clutch advertise websites of young black designers. Then when they blow up we can talk about them forgetting about where they came from. We are scared to support our own because they turn on us so quickly when they get what they want.

  • http://asmaajama.wordpress.com asmaajama

    I agree with this article 100%. Just because we have a black president it does not mean that things have changed. In fact, instead of going forward it want backwards. We may have a black women as an anchor or an actress, or a black models like Tyra Banks and Iman. But how often do we see a black women on a runway fashion week compare to a white women ? I say we should boycott all brands and media till they use a black person.

  • CommonSense

    Wow, where has she been? The fashion industry has been like this since forever!!!! I remember back in the seventies and eighties they barely wanted to use Black models!! Now all of a sudden in 2013 she wants to boycott. She should have been boycotting all along. When I see those stars and rappers and rappers’ girlfriends wearing all their designer gear advertising for those people who don’t even want you in their clothes, I feel like they are a bunch of idiots for buying gear from a company that wants notjhing to do with you. Maybe one day they will learn. Hopefully!!!!

    Why did it take her so long to come to her senses?

  • NikkiB

    I agree!!! Where is the list!!! I want to add all fast food companies and all celebrity endorsed sports paraphernalia to that list as well. I’m always game for a boycott. We should also boycott any company that has less than 14 percent black employees. Shot, its time to start saving and stop consuming anyway.

  • http://www.growup.org John

    ………………………………………I guess it doesn’t matter that blacks are 10% of Americas population, therefore a fair representation would be around 10% which is what the article said was usual. the black popular culture is built on white and self hate. This needs to be fixed before blacks receive more representation than their population calls for. I think most blacks cry racism so much they never look at themselves as being racist.

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