“I think there’s diversity already. I think it’s been a little bit blown up out of proportion.” -Nina Garcia
We are in the middle of fashion weeks (month, actually), and the usual issues come up. The race issue is always up there, and for good reason. I usually don’t really pay attention to it, but this Nina Garcia comment annoyed the shit out of me.
Nina Garcia was Fashion Director at Elle for 13 years until she took up the position at Marie Claire in 2008. She’s been a judge on Project Runway since season 1. I’ve always admired her taste and her approach to fashion. I actually think she is great at what she does.
But this statement makes no sense and seems completely unfounded. Where is she seeing all this diversity? Just because she is Hispanic and has succeeded in the industry doesn’t mean there’s diversity. And to be frank, she barely counts as diversity simply because she looks very European. She has a look that is accepted and valued. It goes along with why models like Gisele and Adriana Lima don’t count as diversity; they fit right along with the eurocentric standards of beauty created by the fashion industry.
Every season the race debate comes back, because every season there is a grave underrepresentation of non-white models on the runways, which reflects the industry itself. The runways this fashion week are no more diverse than in previous years. Caucasian models still dominate. There was not a single runway where Caucasian models were not featured.
Diversity is a great term, and everyone wants to be able to say that they are diverse by incorporating a few “exotic” faces here and there. But that’s the issue: white should not be the standard by which everyone else is judged. It should not be a shock every time you see a black, Asian, or Latina model. It needs to not be a big deal if at ONE fucking show there are more non-white models walking.
Some might think the issue is “blown out of proportion,” but that’s just because people hate talking about this—and especially hate being called out.