After accusation of racism, Fashion Rio will request more black models on the catwalk

Models regularly featured in Fashion Rio
Type of models regularly featured in Fashion Rio

Note from BW of Brazil: The fight to continue to the “blackout” of Brazil’s major fashion shows continues. While Brazilian elites continuously proclaim pride in the nation’s ethnic diversity, the phenotypes of the models continue to look as if the shows are taking place in Europe rather than South America. As this blog has covered this continuous fashion “blackout” over the past few years, it’s amazing how the relentless standard of whiteness continues even after it seems a slight glimpse of progress is made. Take note in year’s battle how it seems that organizers of these events have to be almost forced into accepting only a small percentage of black models like the child being punished after doing something wrong and then grudgingly accepting the “punishment”. Even as everyday Brazilians have noted how the “real Brazil” is never presented in its media, the “dictatorship of whiteness” continues.

After accusation of racism, Fashion Rio will request more black models on the catwalk

by Felipe Martins of UOL

The top model Lais Ribeiro is one of the Brazilian women that is part of the team of Victoria's Secret models, and model Ronaldo Martins is one of the principal faces among the men.
The top model Lais Ribeiro is one of the Brazilian women that is part of the team of Victoria’s Secret models, and model Ronaldo Martins is one of the principal faces among the men.

Fashion Rio and representatives of the NGO Educafro signed on Tuesday (5), a term of commitment to ensure the presence of black models at Fashion Rio week, after meeting two and a half hours at the registered office of the Public Defender in downtown Rio.

The agreement was signed after a complaint referred to the Ombudsman by the NGO that the models were being rejected in the selection for the parades of name brands that will be presented between the Wednesday and Saturday at Píer Mauá, the port area of the state capital, which is where the 2014 winter season event is being held.

Models of Fashion Rio 2014
Models of Fashion Rio 2014

Participants included representatives of the NGO, the Coordenadoria Especial de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial da Prefeitura do Rio (Ceppir or Special Coordinator for the Promotion of Racial Equality of City Hall of Rio), state Rep. Gilberto Palmares (PT) and the manager of the legal department of Luminosidade, Verbana Maciel. At the meeting, it was agreed that Luminosidade, the company responsible for organizing the fashion weeks in Rio and São Paulo, will forward to brand names the recommendation that there is a minimum percentage of 10% of black models in each parade. According to the public defender, Larissa Dadidovich, agents will be present in the parades to verify that brands are fulfilling the minimum agreed at the meeting.  According to the chairman of the Group Palco Mil Sonhos (Thousand Dreams Stage), Leônidas Lopes, no black model was selected for the event.

Black models like this one modeling new designs of designer Patricia Viera for the 2014 season  continue to be rare in Brazil's major fashion shows
Black models like this one modeling new designs of designer Patricia Viera for the 2014 season continue to be rare in Brazil’s major fashion shows

Over the past two years, when a TAC (Termo de Ajustamento de Conduta or Conduct Adjustment Term) signed by the Luminosidade prevailed, 46 models each year come to be called for selections. “The models were not even called for selection.  I’m not complaining just the models that are in the group. The facts are proven. This year in São Paulo, a famous fashion designer paid homage to Africa and there was no black model. The great majority were blondes and only two morenas,” Lopes said, referring to the parade of the Tufi Duek brand.

Models such as Jordão Altmann, Waleska and Rafael Desimon will be the highlight of Fashion Rio's 2014 winter spectacular
Models such as Jordão Altmann, Waleska and Rafael Desimon will be the highlight of Fashion Rio’s 2014 winter spectacular

The terms signed further provides that the brands deliver within 30 days the name and number of models that participated in the event. The Ombudsman will mediate the signing of the TAC for the brands that meet a minimum percentage (yet to be decided) in the parades that happen in the city. “Why is it that the number of blacks is so much smaller? This is a way to pressure in order to have the assurance that blacks are not excluded from this process because of a hidden bias,” added Lopes.

The model Bianca Lima, winner of the last Beleza Negra Rio 2013 (Black Beauty Rio 2013), was part of the conference after an agreement for a greater presence of black models on the runways of Fashion Rio.
The model Bianca Lima, winner of the last Beleza Negra Rio 2013 (Black Beauty Rio 2013), was part of the conference after an agreement for a greater presence of black models on the runways of Fashion Rio.

Model says she suffered prejudice

Present at the press conference, the model Bianca Lima, winner of the last contest Beleza Negra Rio 2013, said she has gone through situations of racial discrimination during her career. “People who select never say that the problem is prejudice, but when you go to see the show or the pictures they are all white women,” she said.

The model said that various renowned brands act in a racially discriminating manner during the selection process for the catwalk and photographic works. “The excuses are always the same, they say that I don’t fit the profile, that the designer is thinking in another way, that the clothing was not good, to wait for the next selection,” she said. According to Bianca, she failed the castings for Fashion Rio because of height, being shorter than the runway models.

For the coordinator of public policy of Educafro, Moisés Alcunha, there is a lack of thinking on the part of brand name clothing according to the ethnic diversity of Brazilians. “The aesthetic dialogues of the dresses are just for white women, as if the majority of Brazil’s population lived in Rio Grande do Sul. What exists is a real dictatorship in fashion,” he said.

Agreement breached

According to the general coordinator of Educafro, Melquizedeque Ramos da Silva, the first TAC was signed in 2009 between Luminosidade and the Public Prosecutor of São Paulo and was valid for two years. The agreement provided for the inclusion of 10% black models in the São Paulo Fashion Week and Fashion Rio. Still, according to the coordinator, the agreement was fulfilled, but from 2012, when it was no longer in force, he said that there was a setback that happened again and the exclusion of blacks from parades. “Luminosidade undid all that had been constructed in those two years. Instead of amplifying the number of blacks, they were further decreasing it. We did two protests, one last year and one the year before. If necessary, we will make another this year too,” said Silva. It’s worth noting that as the responsible party for the choice of the models for the brands responsible in the parades, Luminosidade can give direction to the brands and ask that they contemplate this or that profile, as happened with the TAC. A company representative left the conference without speaking to the press.

In the Verão 2012 (Summer 2012) of SPFW, and even for the duration of the TAC, Osklen caused controversy by affirming that they failed to mount to fulfill 100% the casting requirement of black models. At the time, UOL accepted the challenge and selected 60 candidates for the catwalk of the Rio brand.

Source: UOL Mulher Moda

About Marques Travae 3413 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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