Courtesy of The Grio
Fashion week may be full of glitz and glamour, but it is severely lacking in color when it comes to African-American designers showcasing their work. Out of the 127 designers showing Fall 2012 looks as part of the official presentation of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, only two individual designers are African-American.
In terms of other minorities dotting the color palate, there are 26 Asian-American designers, 17 Latino designers, and a smattering of design groups made up of a combination of ethnicities.
With total African-American buying power set to surpass $1 trillion dollars annually by 2015, black designers are facing a potential shut out from this buying audience through a lack of promotion in the fashion industry.
The fashion industry is not short of African-Americans working behind the scenes. Many of the most prominent stylists, makeup artists and show coordinators are African-American. But when it comes to the front-of-house, there are a select few black designers that have managed to climb the ranks.
“I think a lot of it stems from the lack of black models coming down the runway. So if you don’t have a lot of African-American models, I think that kind of translates into the designers,” said Deena Campbell, Associate Editor of UPTOWN magazine.
Campbell, who also runs a beauty blog on VibeVixen.com, has been attending fashion week shows for years. Out of all the shows she’s seen in the last four years, Campbell says she’s only seen between 10 and 15 black models at the big shows.