16 black models staged a runway protest at a popular bus station in the Plan Piloto area of the city to protest against racial inequality. They accuse the fashion events in Brasilia of prejudice.
In yet another example of the exclusion of the black Brazilian model that we have featured regularly on this blog, on August 16th, a group of Afro-Brazilian models, this time in the capital city of Brasília, staged a protest against the invisibility of black models in Brazil’s top fashion events. (Below is a transcribed, summarized version of the video included at the bottom of this post)
According to the latest census of the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), more than half of all Brazilians are black or brown. But for models of the capital city of Brasília, that reality is still far from being part of the fashion world. To protest, a modeling agency decided to do a show with only black models. Instead of walkways, they used the platforms of the city’s main bus station in the Plano Piloto region in the central area of Brasília. On display were clothing with African references and the beauty of black men and women.
Sign: Igualdade Racial na Moda (Racial Equality in Fashion)
Models strutted through the Plano Piloto bus station to protest the lack of job opportunities. They made the accusation of prejudice against the organizers of the Capital Fashion Week in Brasilia. They certainly attracted attention as proven by the crowd that gathered to watch the display. One man thought the protest was a very interesting and important way of fighting for racial equality. A young woman commented that “It presents more of our culture in our Brazil.”
For the entrepreneur, Daí Schimit, the greatest prejudice is that of the agencies themselves.
“The difficulty that black models have today is because unfortunately they say that black does not sell. They also say…When an agency selects a black they request that they shave their head, which is also prejudice. This devalues the beauty of black people. Some girls get depressed because if this because the girl wants to advance in her career. In most runways or events we see it only has white girls, it has only two or three blacks. So I decided together with my team to put together this project so that we can show to Brazil and Brasilia that blacks do sell, that they are beautiful, that color doesn’t make a difference.”
Photo taken from Capital Fashion Week website
Model Alice Zion responded to a few questions from a reporter:
Question: You’ve been a model for five years, can you say how many jobs you’ve had?
Alice: I’d say, more or less, 20. 20 jobs.
Question: You consider this to be many or a few, 20 jobs in five years, that’s like 4 jobs per year
Alice: I consider this very few.
Model Alice Zion
Newcomer to the fashion world, Alex Costa claims to have found resistance in being accepted by the market. “The fashion market today is very closed, very taxed. There is already an image of a model, which is the pale, tall and strong. There is a market for brown or black people. We also have talent.”
In a statement, the direction of Capital Fashion Week reported that “the protests do not take into account the existing professionalization in the sector” and that “the models selected must have a professional portfolio, proven experience and specialized training.” They explained that “the typical conditions of Brasilia’s population have impeded us from hiring more professionals classified in that ethnic condition.”
Josefina dos Santos of the Secretariat of the Promotion of Racial Equality made this statement: “We are here because we are 57 percent of the population (of Brasilia) and of this 57%, the majority are young people that are totally excluded and this is a way to make young black people visible, working with our self-esteem and proving that we are consumers, we are here and we are part of this society.”
See the complete video report as transcribed above:
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