The fashion industry is hardly exempt from racist behaviour. Earlier this year, supermodel Chanel Iman spoke to the Sunday Times Magazine about the racism she herself has experienced while working for various companies and brands. "A few times I got excused by designers who told me ‘we already found one black girl. We don’t need you anymore," she said. Sadly, this sort of thing happens and has happened more often than it should. This year alone, about 90 percent of the models who walked the fall runway shows in New York, Paris, London, and Milan were white, this according to BuzzFeed. Which is why Prada's women's Fall/Winter 2013 campaign is all the more impressive—positive, at the very least.
The Italian fashion house released the new ads this week. WWD so kindly pointed out that Christy Turlington and Freja Beha fronted the campaign. But what the publication failed to take note of, as Jezebel states, is that for the first time in nearly a decade, Prada has hired a black model.
The model in question is Malaika Firth, a 19-year-old Kenyan model who was raised in the UK and has been modeling since 2011. She's the first model to be casted by Prada since Naomi Campbell appeared in a 1994 ad.
For anyone who's paid attention to Prada's runway shows, you'd have noticed that there is a lack of colored models there as well. Take for instance, the Spring 2008 show, which had a total of zero black models. The Fall/Winter 2008-2009 show did have a black model—Jourdan Dunn—but Dunn was the first since Campell's appearance in 1997.
Prada seems to be making progress. Let's hope it won't be another 19 years before we see another black model, or a colored model, star in another ad, though.
What are your thoughts on the label's new campaign?