The 2012 edition of the Fashion Rio winter fashion show began a few days ago in the Píer Mauá area of downtown Rio de Janeiro. And while the Fashion Rio event of January and the São Paulo Fashion Week of June both draw international attention, both have also drawn fire in the past five years with the near lilly whiteness of the models walking the runways. This in a country where non-whites now make up the majority of Brazil’s 200 million citizens. Every year since 2007, black models and organizations have staged protests against the exclusion of darker faces and bodies in both events. So, will the 2012 edition be yet another near complete “blackout”? Of course, all eyes will again be on the runway of Rio’s Winter 2012 edition, but here is how the invisibility and protest of black models was reported back on January 11th of 2008:
Black models in protest at the 12th Fashion Week*
At the end of the day of January 11 (2008), at the 2008 Winter Fashion Rio event a group black models made a manifestation against the casting of the event shows. Peacefully, 15-20 models, men and women, gathered in front of the booth of Oi, the sponsor of fashion week in Rio, saying it was unfair to select those who are walking on the runways. The protesters contend that most of the models scheduled for this edition of Fashion Rio were selected in São Paulo, preventing many of them to attend the tests.
The protest also took place on the very day that the couple Lázaro Ramos and Taís Araujo would stroll the catwalk. Currently, the two are the top male and female Afro-Brazilian actors. The protest highlighted the lack of black models cast for the Fashion Rio event. With thumbs pointed downward, they sat in front of the Corcovado tent in a peaceful protest to draw the attention of the producers of the shows.
“They put on 30 white models parading on the catwalk, but there is only one black person. Why can’t blacks wear clothes for the cold for the winter campaign? We just want to work,” explains the model Katito.
Among blacks who earned their place on the catwalks and campaigns are Brazilians Ana Bela, who was successful in national and international catwalks, Emanuela de Paula, the darling of Paulo Borges, Fabrícia Santana and Sudanese model Alec Wec, who is recognized for her androgynous style.
Brazilian models Ana Bela, Emanuela de Paula, Fabrícia Santana
* – From January 11, 20008