Organizer Adama Ndiaye a.k.a. Adama Paris (pictured below) said, “I am against it [skin bleaching]. It’s not even pretty. For me, it’s just a turn off.”
Ndiaye, who launched the six-day event in 2002, announced the ban at the start of the 2013 edition, which ended last Sunday. For her, it extends beyond her distaste.
“I’m trying to teach them to like themselves,” she added. For this year’s show, only natural-toned models were allowed down the catwalk.
In the Senegalese capital and West Africa, some fashion models have turned to skin-lightening creams in order to adopt an Eurocentric appearance popular in Western culture.
Watch the casting call for Dakar Fashion Week 2013 here:
And there may be a health benefit to banning skin-lightening creams too. “When absorbed in to the bloodstream, corticosteroids pose serious risks, particularly for the heart,” dermatologist Fatoumata Ly said. Skin cancer is another possible side effect of skin lightening.
Women who use the creams can be distinguished from their blotches of discolored skin on their arms and faces.
And Ndiaye isn’t the only one who thought that models who bleach their skin should be banned. In fact, both the models and attendees reportedly supported Ndiaye’s decision as well.
Model Dorinex Mboumba says, “I think [banning those models] is a great idea. It will discourage others from the practice. We don’t need to change the color of our skin to be beautiful.”
As for the advertisements promoting skin-lightening creams around Dakar, couturier Sophie Nzinga Sy adds, “It [the skin-lightening ads] was ridiculous. Our skin is something that we should value.”