NYFW is over and we can officially say we’ve survived fashion’s biggest season and all it’s offerings. However, it isn’t over for one Black model, who refused to walk in a show hosted by the Fashion Institute of Technology because of its racist accessories. Amy Lefevre said “no” when was being pressured to wear “monkey ears” and “oversized lips” in Junkai Huang runway show.
“I stood there almost ready to break down telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with having to wear these pieces and that they were clearly racist,” Lefevre told the New York Post. “I was told that it was fine to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds.” Though she opted to still walk in the show, Amy left the event “immediately afterwards,” claims a source to The Post.
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F.I.T. graduate and lead designer of the line Junkai Huang claims he did not understand the “racial overtones of his work,” and Amy’s modeling agency later received calls conflicting and discrediting her accounts of the events that occurred that night. The original concept of Huang’s show called for highlighting “ugly features of the body,” but what does that mean for Black people who are naturally born with larger lips and other paralleled facial features?
“I was literally shaking. I could not control my emotions,” explained Amy Lefevre. “My whole body was shaking. I have never felt like that in my life. People of color are struggling too much in 2020 for the promoters not to have vetted and cleared accessories for the shows.”
F.I.T. president Joyce F. Brown has released a statement and assured that there will be a further investigation into the account that occurred on February 7th.
The statement reads,
“This program protects a student’s freedom to craft their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be even what some would consider to be provocative, so that they find that voice. However provocative design and fashion might be though, my commitment to ensure that people are not made to feel uncomfortable, offended, or intimidated is also of the utmost importance not only to me personally but to the college community as well. We take this obligation very, very seriously and will investigate and take appropriate action regarding any complaint or concern that is made in this situation.”
With the backlash of the Gucci’s blackface sweater and Burberry’s noose hoodie, the fashion world has a lot of learning to do when it comes to racism, colorism and cultural appropriation.
How many times are designers going to make the same mistake and simply apologize after? This tireless circle of offense then apology, with intentions to offend again, is exhausting. This was a blatant attack on Black features disguised as a misunderstanding. You should have known better. Period.
Black Model Refuses To Wear Racist Monkey Ears And Oversized Lips In Fashion Show was originally published on hellobeautiful.com