Why Black Models Are Boycotting Melbourne Fashion Week
Thirteen Black models are boycotting Melbourne Fashion Week, Australia’s largest fashion event which kicks off next Monday.
The models say they have had enough of dealing with an industry rife with discrimination. From being paid significantly less than white models, the N-word being used by photographers, and hairdressers suggesting a “buzzcut” because “Afros are too hard to style”, their stories of mistreatment are horrifying. Now, the models have banded together to bravely call out an industry they say is unsafe and unfair.
For the past five months, Antoinette Lattouf has been investigating this story, getting to know the models, their stories, their bravery in speaking out and most importantly, what they think the industry needs to do to be safer and fairer.
One of the things the models expressed repeatedly was that they could see through the box ticking tokenistic practises. For example, being pulled in for a quick photo opportunity or when it is politically convenient to have a Black model associated with a brand. But behind the camera, every single person is white.
South Sudanese born Nyaluak Leth has modelled for the past nine years, working with some of Australia’s biggest brands. She’s part of the MFW boycott. She sits down with Lattouf on today’s episode of The Briefing to explain why.
To have that sort of demand for black women to be at the forefront of the Australian fashion industry at a time where Black Lives Matters was a craze. Then to be discarded, the minute that that phrase dissipated. It’s tiring.
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