A New York City-based fashion school apologized after a model hired to participate in her show complained that the accessories she was asked to wear on the catwalk were racist.
Models were asked to wear exaggerated ears, lips and eyebrows for the Fashion Institute of Technology's MFA show during a showcase at New York Fashion Week in Manhattan on February 7.
A model named in local reports as Amy Lefevre, refused to wear the accessories he considered "racist" and followed the show without them.
Jonathan Kyle Farmer, director of the modern fine art fashion design course responsible for the show, apologized in an Instagram post directly to Lefevre, writing: "I apologize for any damage and pain I caused to those involved in the program, including Amy LeFevre".
On a official message posted on the school websiteJoyce Brown, president of the Institute of Fashion Technology, wrote "Currently, it does not seem that the original intention of the designs, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show is to make a statement about the race".
"However, it is not obvious that this was the result," she continued. "So we apologize."
Brown said there is currently an investigation into "how it happened".
The fashion world has long courted reactions to styles and advertising campaigns that feature racist images or themes.
Dolce and Gabbana November 2018 advertising campaign with a Chinese model struggling to eat pasta and pizza with chopsticks, he was scorned in China, with many consumers calling for a boycott of luxury designer products.
The ads were finally withdrawn and the brand apologized.
In February of last year, Gucci was widely criticized for revealing a sweater that "resembled blackface", as well as a shoe design by Katy Perry and a set of accessories from Prada. All the brands involved have since apologized.
Last month, Japanese powerhouse Comme des Garcons apologized for sending white models wearing braided wigs to the Paris men's show.
Models should not be allowed to refuse the use of blatantly racist accessories on the catwalk, especially not at a show promoted by an institution like @fitnyc. In a show of alumni celebrating their 75th birthday, Junkai Huang, an MFA graduate, showed a collection designed to highlight the “ugly features of the body”. The choice of exaggerated bright red fake lips and "monkey ears", as well as the school's response, are leaving us shaking our heads. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Before a breakdown, African American model Amy Lefevre (@lefevrediary) talked about the accessories, but was told by the staff that “it was okay to be uncomfortable for just 45 seconds”. One thing is a complicated leap, but another when you are invented to look like racist caricatures from the not-so-distant past. Several complaints were made in the days leading up to the show, with several people contesting. An anonymous student who was a witness behind the scenes, said the producer of the @richardthornn program told the group to "give up and run away" when they addressed the issue again. The accessories did not reach Lefevre, but that did not stop them from going down the track in other models. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a statement to the NY Post, FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown emphasized allowing students “freedom to create their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be what some find provocative, ”but said they would investigate further. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ At a time when luxury brands act quickly, pulling offensive products and implementing diversity advice in response to similar scandals, it is a shame to see an educational institution dragging on. Shouldn't they expand the ideas to who will lead fashion in the future and not reinforce the same aspects that made the industry notoriously problematic? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • #fit #fitnyc #suny #cuny #fashionschool #college #mfa #mastersdegree #alumni #fitalumni #fashiondesigner #design #designer #runway #model #blackface #racism #monkey #grotesque #sexdoll ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) on February 17, 2020 at 10:47 am PST