It looks like racism has once again reared its ugly head in the fashion industry. Several brown-skinned models were dismissed from a casting call for a Miami Swim Week show because of their complexion on July 12, they said.
KYA Swim, a California-based swim line designer, was put on blast for alleged discrimination in a Facebook video posted July 13.
“Maybe 10 to 15 black models were dismissed. They said casting was closed just so we can move faster and so we get out of line — and they open the line back up,” Joia Talbott, a model, said in the clip.
“I’m at a loss for words. I’m still trying to process what happened. All of us had to get out of the line — they told us they didn’t want any more black models,” said Kacey Leggett, who was a contestant on the 15th cycle of “America’s Next Top Model.”
The two models called out the racism — a long-running problem in the fashion industry. The women expressed that they wanted Black models to feel welcomed on the runway.
“And afros are a no-no so I didn’t stand a chance right?” Talbott said. “We’re ready to go back to L.A. where we’re appreciated — and booked.”
“Somebody tell Miami there’s no such thing as too much brown skin,” Leggett said.
Talbott and Leggett weren’t the only ones to speak out about the casting. Kate Citrone, who is also a model, didn’t understand why KYA Swim shut down Black models, she told Fashion Week Online.
“Not only was the casting cut short upon the dismissal of dark skin models, but upon leaving, I noticed the designer still accepting models of a fairer skin type at the door, bringing them upstairs, comp cards in hand,” she said.
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KYM Swim, unsurprisingly, expressed statements of shock over the allegations and gave a statement about “diversity-being-valued.” The industry has made progress by putting more Black models in shows, but there is still much more to do.