Fashfest 2014: Models of fashionable diversity

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  Models from racially inclusive Fashfest… Minthaka Wrjeyaratra, Eric Nugent, Wanile Mlaisa and Adam Ridwan. Photo by Gary Schafer

Models from racially inclusive Fashfest… Minthaka Wrjeyaratra, Eric Nugent, Wanile Mlaisa and Adam Ridwan. Photo by Gary Schafer
FASHFEST, the biggest fashion show ever held in Canberra, is determined to do things its own way and has broken boundaries again this year with its selection of models.

Organisers called for models of different nationalities as well as different shapes and sizes. And the final selection is more racially inclusive than some of the world’s most well-established fashion events, according to Steve Wright, who teaches fashion design at the Canberra Institute of Technology and is the producer of Fashfest.

“Shouldn’t the fashion industry mirror society?” asks Steve. “The reality is white models are favoured, and the taller and thinner the better.”

Ten out of Fashfest 2014’s 70 models are of different nationalities, including an indigenous Australian. Other countries of origin represented include China, Japan, Ethiopia and Croatia.

“The industry can be secretive with its stats on the issue,” says Steve, “but we know, for example, that the organisers of one Brazil Fashion Week had two per cent black models on the runway – 28 out of 1128. “They thought this was fair representation, even though more than half of Brazil’s population is black. And Dolce & Gabbana’s fashion show during Milan Fashion Week last year featured all white models. The list goes on. It’s very one-dimensional.”

 Fashfest, Canberra Airport, until May 3.

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