Next To The Floor: Model Edition - Jourdan Dunn

African American " SUPER" models are a rare breed these days, since the ruling of Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell the percentage of black female models have dropped. The one "lucky" girl that has been able to peek through the cracks has been everyone's favorite, Chanel Iman. But now she has a "sister" to "ki-ki" with backstage! I give you Jourdan Dunn. I have talked about her and mentioned her several times in articles, but now is the time she is spotlighted.

She recently broke the barrier during fashion week in Milan when she walked the runway for Prada (who hadn't had featured an African American model in 10 years),which had the industry buzzing for weeks considering the fact that racial issues have been rising consistently. Such is the heat around Dunn and the ethnic issue right now that, in an attempt to stave off accusations of inequality, both Italian and American Vogue have been fighting over her for their covers. Italian Vogue’s entire July issue has been shot with black models (the last time it featured one on its cover was 2002); American Vogue has also shot Dunn for its July edition.

Incidentally, the last time British Vogue had a black woman (Naomi Campbell) on the cover was also in 2002. Doukas, who this year celebrates 21 years of Storm, says that when she first started out, there was plenty of diversity — not so now. “It’s ridiculous that we have so little diversity in our idea of beauty,” she says. In the 1960s and 1970s, ethnic women were much more visible in fashion. That was a time of exuberance and change; the time of the Black Power movement, the mantra “black is beautiful”, Roberta Flack singing Be Real Black for Me. This mood continued into the 1980s, with models such as Iman, Pat Cleveland and the young Campbell splashed

Fashionistas will admit that it is now extremely rare to see a black girl on a magazine cover, and that there were almost no ethnic girls at the catwalk shows in Paris, Milan and New York in February. One or two Chinese models made it, but otherwise, the Aryan look dominated. The question is: why? The standard answer is that it all comes down to money. Beauty is what sells — the magazine, the label, the skincare and the bag. Editors and managers say that, however much they want to use ethnic girls, putting one on the cover of a glossy magazine will depress sales. If ethnic women brought in big profits, nobody in the industry would be in the slightest bit interested in their skin tones or their racial type. Rightly or wrongly, though women from ethnic minorities are considered a bad commercial bet.

As one insider stated regretfully: “Fashion is aspirational, magazines are aspirational and, to aspire, you need to be able to identify with someone – at least a little. And readers don’t identify with ethnic women. They don’t see them as aspirational.” WOW. That is all I can say. "We" are not viewed as aspirational in the fashion industry..... that MUST and WILL change soon.

It has to.

(Pictured here at the Costume Gala with designer Peter Som)

((...the TIME is coming))

iCON :)