Riccardo Tisci, creative director for the French fashion house Givenchy, has made headlines today by debuting to Style.com that the talented and super intellectual neo-soul singer Erykah Badu will be the new face for his Spring 2014 campaign. When designing the African and Japanese inspired Spring 2014 collection he had Erykah Badu in thought for being the muse for his collection. Tisci applauds the neo-soul singer by telling Style.com, “She’s one of the most stylish women I’ve met in my life,” he said. “She’s got such a good sense of proportion, of colors.” Unfortunately, what makes this campaign so innovative and thought provoking is that he chose to use Maria Borges, Riley and Asia Chow who are all models of color. Although it’s 2014 and there are many models of color that designers and casting directors can choose from, but only a few of them are lucky enough to be selected to grace campaigns, strut the runways during fashion week, have their faces plastered in major magazines such as vogue, and let alone become the face of one of the top and most respected brands in fashion. Since the late 1990’s the runway shows in New York, Milan and Paris has been dominated by models of European decent who hail from countries such as the Ukraine and Russia. During the SS14 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 80% of the models were of European decent while 8.1% were Asian, 8.08% were Black & Latina’s made up a sad 3.19%. The fashion industry has been chastised by fashion industry leaders such as Naomi Campbell, Iman and the honorable Andre Leon Tally for racism, discrimination and a call for diversity in the fashion industry. Tisci states, “There was a lot of talk this season in fashion,” Tisci said. “Me, I was one of the persons who ended up not being touched by this. I discovered Joan Smalls, I discovered Maria [Borges]. I discovered a lot of black girls, and I’ve been always supporting them. For me, I grew up in a family and I grew up in a culture, an education, that we all are the same…It’s 2013. Everybody’s being so cool about Instagram, about Facebook, any media—everybody’s being so open. At the end of the day, why are not so many black girls or Latin girls in shows? When you have an American president who is black! When I see this happening, it’s quite sad, I think. People can be so avant-garde, so advanced, but actually not, because people are still making differences between skin color.” I applaud Ricardo Tisci and his stand out against the fashion “norm”! I hope that more emerging and top fashion brands will follow Givenchy’s foot steps in employing more models of color on the runways, in print publications and in their campaigns.
How do you feel about Erykah Badu being the new face of Givenchy’s Spring 2014 Campaign? Do you feel that other major fashion brands will start to diversify the models they choose to work with?