Fierce

Fashion Institute of Technology Had An Anti-Black Fashion Show That Displayed ‘Ugly Features’

Anti-blackness has proven to be sorely out of style in the past few decades but the fashion world seems to be behind the times on this one. We’ve told you this story time and time again but somehow the presence of racism, anti-Blackness and cultural appropriation has endured on the runways. Even at institutes of learning where you’d think things like this would now be 101.

So here’s the story once again.

The Fashion Institute of Technology is under fire after they allowed a graduate student to send a racist body of work down the runway.

For the FIT’s presentation which showcased the designers from their first MFA Fashion Design class, students sent models down the runway with thier own collections. FIT alum Junkai Huang was part of the bunch but his line stood out in particular because of its blatant racism. The FIT alum sent models down the runway wearing “large prosthetic ears and lips and bushy eyebrows.” Now people are saying that the images looked quite a bit like racist caricatures.  

On Monday, Diet Prada shared images from the show on Instagram after someone who had gone to the event told the New York Post that the designer aimed to showcase and highlight “ugly features of the body” using props that had been sourced from sex toys.

Amy Lefévre was a model meant to take part in the event but decided to walk out when she saw the props.

“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,” Lefévre told the Post in an interview. According to Lefévre she made the decion to not take part when someone had told her that it was “fine to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds.”

“I was literally shaking. I could not control my emotions,” Lefévre said “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.”

Diet Prada later took to Instagram to share the situation, sparking outrage from many in the fashion community. “Sad times we live in when designers aren’t confident enough to have the clothing sell themselves,” wrote Olivia Dope while another commenter added, “When will this stop? Designers are hung up on controversy to sell cause these pieces can’t sell themselves, clearly.”

In a statement published by the Post, the Fashion Institute of Technology’s president, Dr. Joyce F. Brown, said that it would do its best to right the situation.

“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,” Dr. Brown said. “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,” they added. “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.”

In a separate statement to the Pst FIT also issued an apology.

“Currently it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race; however, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome. For that, we apologize — to those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw.”

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