Outrage After White Models Walk the Runway to Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’

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Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

People are talking about Aussie label Misha Collection’s spring runway show — but not because of the clothes or even the fact that “it”-girl Bella Hadid closed it out. Rather, the attention comes courtesy of the show’s questionable soundtrack and the selection of models walking to it.

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Early on Monday, IMG Models (which reps Hadid) posted a video of the show’s finale on Instagram. In the clip, a cast of all-Caucasian models struts to the tune of Beyoncé’s “Formation” — a song that’s been hailed as a “fiery black power anthem” and “an ode to powerful black women around the world.”

So commenters wanted to know: Where were the women of color on the runway?

“Not a person of color in sight….” wrote user jadedeutrom. “Love their stuff but where is the variation in skin colors for their models,” said tayelapetterwood. “How you gonna use black songs but not black people smh,” added gi.i.s, while chriannaxx noted, “Why are they walking to formation? Not one black model or POC in sight. Tried it.”

Diversity on the runway — and lack thereof — has been a hot-button issue in the fashion industry for years. Despite the efforts of some designers, including Sophie Theallet and Zac Posen, to cast models from a variety of races, the catwalk remains whitewashed. According to the Fashion Spot, the models who walked the fall 2016 runways (including New York, London, Milan, and Paris) were 75.25% white — a minor improvement from the previous season, when they were 77.6% white.

Clearly, there’s still a long way to go before equality finds its way to fashion runways. But there is a silver lining to unfortunate events like Misha Collection’s: They bring much-needed attention to an important issue that’s been plaguing the industry for WAY too long.

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