Bethann Hardison was a model. She is now an activist for the Diversity Coalition. Just recently she wrote four scathing letters to four different companies that are responsible for Fashion Week in New York, Paris, London, and Milan. These letters contained accusations of racism on the runways at the Fashion Week shows.
In the letters Hardison states that rarely if ever are colored models seen on the runways because they don’t fit the “image” of the designers but this is racism whether they may think it is or not. She also states that the racism cannot be hidden by the use of an Asian model.
At the end of her letter she lists off the names of the four different “houses” that are responsible for the Fashion Week shows and also lists some of the designers names that are involved in all of this. Some of the names on this list are top designers such as Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Chanel, Prada, and Alexander McQueen.
This is not the first time that Hardison has fought for equality. In 2007 and 2008 she campaigned to get the designers to change their outlook on their clothes and start including models of color. As a result in 2008 Vogue Italia put out the “Black Issue” which was inspired by Hardison’s campaign. She applauded Vogue for trying, but said that she didn’t want a magazine that was dedicated only to black women. She wants every race and color to be published as that is what diversity is all about.
Diane von Furstenburg is a leading designer and president of one of the houses that holds Fashion Week. She says that her shows always try to incorporate diversity. Hardison has not revealed what she will be doing next.