The fashion industry has long realized the lack of Black faces on the runway. Every Fashion Week, I watch and count to see how many mahogany girls I can spot in some of the new collections. The answer is always slim to none.
So, it wasn’t a surprise that more than a few people were upset when Dolce and Gabbana sent their Spring 2013 RTW collection, Sicilia, down the runway. Waif-thin Caucasian models waltzed down the runway, one by one, in potato sack skirts, vibrantly printed tops and head scarves. The models resembled the gypsies and tarot card readers we’ve seen in films. They also resembled the “Mammie” character many of us know from an era that many would rather not be reminded of.
The scarcity of Black models wasn’t what sparked the racist allegations; it was the content, rather. Dresses printed with Black women on the torso and chandelier earrings in the shape of what Style.com described as “street puppets” were the main concern. Unfortunately, those “puppets” look exactly like the African-American women that were not represented on the Dolce and Gabbana runway this season. I’m sure the designers realized if there had Blacks models, they surely wouldn’t be to keen on these designs. Remember what happened last time a designer was accused being a racist? Two words: John Galliano.
On Swide.com, the fashion house’s site, they explain that the figurine earrings, also known as Blackamoors, were meant to represent the history of Sicily being conquered by the Moors. What Mr. Dolce and Mr. Gabbana don’t seem to realize is those Blackamoors are also terribly offensive.
Are you offended by these images?
If you were a model, would you allow yourself to wear these items? Weigh in!