Australia’s fashion industry lagging behind in diversity, top models say

Source: http://www.abc.net.au

Top models from diverse backgrounds say they find it hard to get work in Australia, as they use Sydney’s Fashion Week to call for more inclusivity in the local industry.

“It’s not right that we have to spend a lot of time overseas and not do anything in Australia so it would be nice if we could come here and do more stuff for us,” Australian model Akiima told Hack.

“I guess we’re not seeing enough [diversity] which is why we keep talking about it.”

Akiima, 23, has become a top international model in a few short years and has walked overseas for the likes of Prada and Valentino.

She said Australia’s fashion industry has made strides in terms of diversity but we lag far behind the rest of the world.

“Just more diversity in any shows or any shoots… have makeup artists who know how to do make up as well,” she said.

“Because it does make it hard if no one knows how to do your makeup and you’re not showing your beauty.

“It’s always like, my nude colour is not the same as other girl’s nude colour, we’re not the same skin colour.”

Akiima has been pushing things forward in the fashion scene and inspired Vogue Australia to create this groundbreaking cover last month, featuring models from different backgrounds.

People with blonde hair and fair skin the most popular, models say

Another local model, Victoria, said as someone with an African background, diversity in modelling is often front and centre for her.

“I think it’s definitely improving, but there’s room for more… I feel like the designers and what not have a certain look they go for,” she told Hack.

“If you don’t fit into it you’re cut off… I feel like blonde hair, fair skin all that stuff.”

Overseas, there’s a lot of scrutiny on diversity in the industry with reports on how many people of colour, plus size, trans, and older models are showcased at each fashion week.

The latest New York Fashion Week was found to be the most diverse internationally with about 37 per cent of models on the runway who weren’t white.

Analysts welcomed the improving statistics but said the industry needs to be doing better.

We don’t have these statistics in Australia, however there’s consensus that things should improve.

“There’s just no question you wanna have a good representation, our brand’s all about accessibility and it’s for everyone,” Mikey from Australian label, Double Rainouu told Hack.

“We need the full spectrum and we’re gender non binary… we cast diversity but we don’t think about it consciously it’s a no- brainer.

The label is being hailed for its showcase of diversity in its shows and campaigns.

“I think there’s more that could be done… I think if you actually say to people you need to change then it’s forced,” Double Rainbouu’s Toby said.

“People need to realise themselves that this is happening and they need to wake up to it.”

Akiima is hopeful and said the Australian fashion industry has to become more inclusive to keep up with the rest of the world.

“Beauty doesn’t come in one colour… if you have a show and it’s just one colour it’s like ‘Okay well I’m not gonna come’ because you don’t have anything to offer me,” she says.

“Just include everyone… if Vogue can do it, everyone can.”



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