Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lack of Black Models At Sao Paulo Fashion Week Sparks Protest

SAO PAULO–Showgoers at Sao Paulo fashion week were greeted by a group of about a dozen protestors from non profit organization Educafro Brazil, who had chained themselves together in front of the Fundação Bienal (Sao Paulo fashion week’s official venue), to call for more black models on the catwalks in Brazil. While 12 protestors outside an event might not seem like enough to raise a stink, the story was all over Brazil’s papers and news sites for the rest of the week.
Brazil is known for its beautiful models almost than for its fashion. While Gisele, Brazil’s most famous model, didn’t walk in Sao Paulo fashion week this season (she walked last season for Colcci), Brazilian models Raquel Zimmerman, Daiane Conterato, Bruna Tenorio, and Viviane Orth walked countless shows. The pervading look of the models on the runways in Sao Paulo is undeniably blond, white, and European. As Educafro Brazil pointed out in their literature, the models do not reflect Brazil’s population, which is over 50% black.

A regulation currently stipulates that 10% of models in each show at Sao Paulo fashion week are black. Educafro Brazil would like that number to be increased to 20%. In their pamphlet, the non profit puts forth that the “current European standards upheld in fashion shows in Brazil” are “unacceptable.”

According to Estadao.com, the issue was raised after Osklen creative director Oskar Metsahvat tried to cast an all black show for his Royal Black collection and said he couldn’t find enough models (he was only able to cast 10). “If he really wanted to cast a completely black show, he would learn that there are more than 30 companies that work exclusively with black models.” David Santos, the executive director of Educafro Brazil, told Terra.com.

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