Black designer slams white fashion industry

By Robert "Rob" Redding Jr.

Editor & Publisher

May 5, 2016, Noon - Superstar designer Oliver Rousteing continues to hit the white-controlled fashion industry for being "dinosaurs" who do not understand race.

    The Balmain designer slammed the fashion industry in fresh editions of British GQ magazine this month.

     He told the magazine: "How can a fashion brand call itself modern when they have no black or Asian models in their catwalk shows in 2016? Minimal is not modern...Counting how many black token faces you have in a show is not modern."

    These remarks go further than when Redding News Review first reported in April of last year that the only head designer for a famous French fashion was determined to make race an issue.

     “Look at perfume campaigns,” he told Out magazine. “You never see black girls, and if you do, they use Photoshop so much that they almost look white. It’s just wrong. People post on my Instagram that they are so happy to see black boys and black girls. I’m happy that they see it and don’t think that fashion belongs to white people. Comments on my Instagram are more important than what critics say. It’s deep. I don’t care if you think my shoulders are too big or too small this season. I don’t care if you think my coat isn’t oversized enough.” 

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    Models Naomi Campbell, Iman have booth garnered much attention for calling for an end to racism in the industry but Rousteing seems poised to bring it.

     Rousteing, who was teased in school because of his mixed race, says he is aware of the symbolism behind his taking over a major fashion house and is not ashamed of his race.

     “People were like, ‘Oh my God, he’s a minority taking over a French house!’ ” Rousteing recalls. “For me, I’m just French. Yeah, I’m black, but go out into the street — there’s black, white, Chinese, Arab…”

    He says that the influence of black artist like rapper Kanye West and his wife Kim supporting his brand - he has also gained attention for the brand in songs by rappers Nicki Minaj and Kid Cudi - has been key.   

      He continues, “You need to have someone from outside to make you want to rediscover Paris. I needed to have Americans in my campaign. She is American and Armenian and has a mixed-race baby. That for me is what I want to show. They’re global. Paris and Balmain need to go global.”

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