The fashion world’s lack of diversity is well known. Despite history-makers like Iman, Beverly Johnson, Naomi Sims, Peggy Dillard-Toone, and others paving the way in the ‘70s and ‘80s, since the seeming black model boom in the 1990s (Naomi, Tyra, Roshumba, Verionica Webb, Beverly Peeele, et. al), the industry hasn’t been too kind to sistas.

Of the four major fashion weeks earlier this season—New York, London, Paris, and Milan—nearly 90% of all models walking the runway were white.

The breakdown: 848 White models, 63 Black models, 59 Asian models, 20 Hispanic models, and 3 from the Middle East.

Which brings us to the latest, “Look! A black girl!” fashion news circling the web.

After 19-years of keeping their ad campaigns all-white (with an Asian woman sprinkled in for flavor), Prada finally cast a black (biracial) woman in one of its ads.


Kenyan-born, British-raised Malaika Firth is the first sista to snag a Prada ad since Naomi Campbell in 1994.


Let that sink in.

Though some are giving the Italian house props and wondering if this will signal a new, more inclusive era for Prada, I won’t hold my breath.

The fashion industry is one of contradictions. While it pats itself on the back for “all black editorials” and including black models in a show (After a brand has been publicly shamed, no less. Hello, Dior), it continues to literally prefer white skin while craving everyone’s dollars.

And while I’m happy for Firth–because, let’s face it, this could make her career–Prada should not and will not get any kudos from me for failing to recognize the beauty of black women (or all women for that matter) for nearly TWO DECADES.

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  • Hays

    Good lord. Who cares about this. And if you actually look at past runway shows, Prada actually is more inclusive than any other fashion house. And to dismiss them over Naomi Campbell back in 1994. Are you kidding. Naomi is still the Queen on runway. And if you want an all ‘non ghetto’ show then do something about it. Who said that a luxury brand can’t come from an all black beginning. Ever thought why that hasn’t happend? Maybe we need to stop buying up all the fakes and start putting our money with them. Carly Cushnie, Duro Olowu, Dexter and Byron Peart, Scott Barrie, Joe Casely-Hayford … hmmm seems we have a lot to go and shop with. Protest by supporting them with your money instead of whinging about white folk campaigns. Yawn.

  • Common Sense

    Yet black people run out and pay good money to buy designer apparel and bags even though they act as though you don’t exist!!! This is nothing new. When will people ever learn?!?!?!?!?!?

  • WhatIThink

    The funniest part in all of this is that European leather handbags (and leatherwork in general) was learned from the Africans. One example being the ancestors of the Tuareg who introduced frilly leather bags and tassels into Europe. Another example is the embossed leather tradition that is very ancient in Africa being found in Egypt and elsewhere. Then you have the elaborate bags and casks of the Islamic period in Spain combining African, Persian and other cultural traditions…… All of this is where the Europeans get their ideas from and we turn around and pay them big money for repackaging our ideas. Another example is the cosmetic industry where that also started in Africa, from face painting, body painting to lipstick, hair styling, fragrances and so forth…… And it is no coincidence that these ideas were sucked up and repackaged by the French and others during the colonial period in West Africa. And you wonder why we are attracted to it. Because it is OUR STUFF to begin with…. LOL!

    Black folks need to go to Africa and learn some craft and then they can make the same stuff these white Europeans are making because most of their ideas come from others in the first place. LOL!

    Morocco is a good spot because it is closest to Europe and has the longest history with the leather souks and tanneries which directly influenced the European tradition.

  • J310

    Prada please clean out your closet and get rid of racism. That closet cleaning includes racist store managers like the Miu Miu Beverly Hills store manager that drops the N Bomb. Please Please Please get with the times. Fashion is about moving forward not dragging out the worst things from the past. The model choice shows ethnic diversity but it still evident that the company is still in the past with its ideals.

  • GeorgeLanceRockwell

    It hurts but it’s true: nobody caters to Black people because nobody likes us, we have little monetary value, and we’ll spend money on them anyway. Black people shouldn’t support these businesses and should instead strive to make our own. Black people need to stop going where we are not wanted and stop trying to associate with other races that hate us and all want us dead. Fact is, they’ve succeeded and Black people will be extinct by 2016.