André Leon Talley Talks Racial Diversity in the Fashion World

He's paying attention.

By Jamilah King Oct 09, 2013

Fashion world icon Andre Leon Talley sat down for a quick interview with the Daily Beast and touched on racism in the fashion world:

Now that fashion month is winding down, do you think there has been any progress with the issue of racism on the runways? How are you continuing your work towards improving this problem?

We, the Black Coalition, have made great strides. Valentino opened its show in Pariswith a black model, Malaika Firth. There are still houses that need educating, but it’s not my place to name them here. What we have witnessed is a great new moment in the impact of the international letters sent by the Diversity and Balance Coalition. In Milan, Phillip Plein did an all-black cabine and went even further — making the ultimate commitment — by booking all black models for his spring 2014 ad campaign.

Talley’s comments come after a scathing letter was published accusing the fashion world’s biggest designer’s of racism. Part of the letter read:

Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches design houses consistently use one or no models of color. No matter the intention, the result is racism. Not accepting another based on the color of their skin is clearly beyond ‘aesthetic’ when it is consistent with the designer’s brand. Whether it’s the decision of the designer, stylist or casting director, that decision to use basically all white models, reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society. It can no longer be accepted, nor confused by the use of the Asian model.

And clearly, Talley was keeping score.