Walking tall: from far left, Iman, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls and Malaika Firth
Iman — the Somali-born supermodel and wife of David Bowie — is growing increasingly incensed in this CNN intweview. “There were more black models on the catwalk when I started in the 1970s than there are today,” she says.
Iman has joined Naomi Campbell and they aren’t taking it lying down. The high-profile pair have joined forces with Bethann Hardison, former model-turned-agent-turned activist, to highlight the lack of models of colour currently taking to the catwalk.
On September 5, the opening of New York Fashion Week, the three women sent an open letter to the heads of the fashion governing bodies in New York, London, Paris and Madrid, “Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches design houses consistently use one or no models of colour,” the letter reads. “No matter the intention, the result is racism.” The coalition then called out the designers and fashion houses it says are “guilty of this racist act”, among them Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Chanel, Armani, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Victoria Beckham, Roberto Cavalli and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Naomi herself speaks out here