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02-04-2013
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I was going to post about Alex Wang being at Balenciaga and hoping he would change it up a bit (his debut collection for the house only had 1 asian model (Fei Fei)) but then I glanced at his eponymous label's collection in NY and the casting was pretty much the same. So I can't say I'm disappointed when it seems like he didn't advocate diversity prior to his move to Balenciaga.

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02-04-2013
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^Its a sad tradition that many famous non-white designers seem to have a preference for white girls/guys. Doesn't even shock me anymore.

Thank heavens for Jason Wu, Thakoon, ODLR, Tracey Reece.. etc.

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02-04-2013
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It's the same with casting directors, Maida herself is non-White but seems to only cast white girls and boys for Calvin Klein/Jil/Dior. I just can't wrap my head around it. Of course the designer has a say in who walks the show but the bulk is done by the casting director.

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02-04-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teaars View Post
It's the same with casting directors, Maida herself is non-White but seems to only cast white girls and boys for Calvin Klein/Jil/Dior. I just can't wrap my head around it. Of course the designer has a say in who walks the show but the bulk is done by the casting director.
There's also Michelle Lee at KCD (Marc Jacobs, Versace, Louis Vuitton..)

The designer definitely has a final say but there are many models the designer doesn't get to see because of the casting director's filtering system. The casting director deciphers an interpretation of the designer's "aesthetic" and requests specific girls from the agencies. The booker then deciphers an interpretation for the casting director's interpretation of the designer's "aesthetic" and submits additional models to go on the casting (and also decides who they don't want to submit for the casting).

I heard all sorts of "pointing finger" reasoning. There's a lot of cognitive dissonance between the designers, casting director, agencies and models. Something isn't right yet every time the public asks "why?" they play this blame game. Did the chicken or the egg come first?

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02-04-2013
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Agree - if we're really playing the blame game, it's the casting crew who's filtering out the diversity since they're the ones presenting the final top choices to the designers in cases where the houses don't do their own casting. All in all, it's really a sad state of affairs for an industry that's so welcoming to people who are otherwise marginalized in society (yes I'm specifically talking about homosexuals) to yet somehow be so exclusive and segregating when it comes to diversity.

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02-04-2013
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The modeling industry used to be more diverse in the 80s and 90s. I remember seeing many Asian (East Asian and Southeast Asian), mixed race, North African, East African etc models in high profile work like runways and fashion and beauty advertisements.

This is the industry that is known for embracing all kinds of things--it's an international industry! As the rest of the world starts evolving and changing societal views, the industry starts regressing.

Btw, I wonder what Michelle Obama thinks..has anyone tweeted her? (I know she has more concrete things on her mind but she is an influential figure in high society American fashion).

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03-04-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littleathquakes View Post
Agree - if we're really playing the blame game, it's the casting crew who's filtering out the diversity since they're the ones presenting the final top choices to the designers in cases where the houses don't do their own casting. All in all, it's really a sad state of affairs for an industry that's so welcoming to people who are otherwise marginalized in society (yes I'm specifically talking about homosexuals) to yet somehow be so exclusive and segregating when it comes to diversity.
Careful, you're making way too much sense with this statement...

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04-04-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littleathquakes View Post
Agree - if we're really playing the blame game, it's the casting crew who's filtering out the diversity since they're the ones presenting the final top choices to the designers in cases where the houses don't do their own casting. All in all, it's really a sad state of affairs for an industry that's so welcoming to people who are otherwise marginalized in society (yes I'm specifically talking about homosexuals) to yet somehow be so exclusive and segregating when it comes to diversity.
I have to agree with you there

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04-04-2013
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This is a bit late, and I'm not really trying to hand cookies out to Maida and Rami at all but just for the record they also casted Y-3 Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013 (not sure if they did again this past season).
They casted Ming Xi and Sui He, along with Nyasha Matonhodze for Spring 2012
They casted Ming Xi and Sui He for Fall 2012
Two Black models, Grace Mahary and Jeneil Williams, and three Asian models, Kim Won, Ming Xi, and Sui He for Spring 2013.

So it's definitely Raf/Francisco who request the white models.


Last edited by ad31214; 04-04-2013 at 10:36 PM.
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04-04-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littleathquakes View Post
I was going to post about Alex Wang being at Balenciaga and hoping he would change it up a bit (his debut collection for the house only had 1 asian model (Fei Fei)) but then I glanced at his eponymous label's collection in NY and the casting was pretty much the same. So I can't say I'm disappointed when it seems like he didn't advocate diversity prior to his move to Balenciaga.
which is sad because Alex seems to be someone who would have a lot more say in who gets cast in his shows and be a lot more open to diversity

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05-04-2013
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So it's definitely Raf/Francisco who request the white models.
Maybe and maybe not. It's truly hard to say unless we have clear evidence of the emails between the bookers, casting directors and designers!

It could very well be that Raf and Francisco are emailing Maida and Rami specific directions like "please do not consider using any non-white models."

Or, what if something was lost in translation of aesthetic? Just putting something up for hypothetical consideration.
What if Francisco emailed Maida and Rami something like "I'm looking for a clean cut, intellectual, All American look this season." Then either Maida and Rami interpret "clean cut, intellectual, All American" as "white" as that is what many people associate with that look/stereotype. Or it could be that the bookers are only sending white girls because the bookers interpret "clean cut, All American" with white models.

For some reason, I have a very strong feeling that casting is like a game of telephone. It starts off as one idea, which might have zero racial bias, but then turns into something else. I wish we could see the emails between the parties. I personally know black models who were denied getting castings for "girl next door" and "All American" even though they were the quintessential "girl next door who is black" and "All American black girl." I guess their bookers are living in 1860 in which they see "All American" as blond and blue eyed.

There are people who say things like black models can't be ethereal. But there are definitely some black girls who can do ethereal.
After all, aren't these designers claiming that fashion is a fantasy? Why do they have to typecast to what they see in their every day life? Some of these productions are starting to look like Hitler's fantasy.

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05-04-2013
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having been on the casting side i can tell you it's the designer that presents the first idea of the look they're going for, the casting director's job is then to take that idea or image and begin to start contacting agencies asking for those type of models that may fit the category including requesting models they already may want. A lot of times designers don't use ethnic backgrounds to request models but more like words as alien-like, edgy, fresh and casting directors usually take the rest of the job into their own hands. Casting directors usually pick all of their girls they want present them to the designer and then the designer will usually pick from their selection. The designers wont usually get involved until the fitting process.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TREVOFASHIONISTO View Post
having been on the casting side i can tell you it's the designer that presents the first idea of the look they're going for, the casting director's job is then to take that idea or image and begin to start contacting agencies asking for those type of models that may fit the category including requesting models they already may want. A lot of times designers don't use ethnic backgrounds to request models but more like words as alien-like, edgy, fresh and casting directors usually take the rest of the job into their own hands. Casting directors usually pick all of their girls they want present them to the designer and then the designer will usually pick from their selection. The designers wont usually get involved until the fitting process.
This is exactly the information I needed, thank you so much for your insight!!!! I was assuming up until know that it all went this way, and I'm glad I haven't been wrong.

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05-04-2013
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I find it odd how Miuccia (Rusell/Ashley for that matters) only uses 1 girl for fall/winter shows and then 2 for spring/summer ones, as if she were triying to say: hey, black girls only come out to play in the summer, they stay home for the winter...lol (not that im complaining tho, i mean, black girls didnt even exist for Prada not so long ago, haha)

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05-04-2013
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Thanks TREVOFASHIONISTO!

So based on that, wouldn't you say that perhaps one of the issues is interpretation?
The designer doesn't have any racial preference but they ask for a certain type of look like edgy or fresh--aren't those types of adjectives open to interpretation? What one person finds edgy may not be another person's edgy. What one person finds "alien" may be pedestrian for another person.

I know concepts like "girl next door" and "intellectual" and "All-American" are also tossed around a lot in casting just like "fresh" and "alien-esque."
I think there are still people in the casting process who have antiquated, racially biased interpretations of these terms.

It's just like the casually accepted definition of an "All American model" has racial suggestions as white, dark blond, blue eyed. People tend to think of it in a subconsciously racist way without realizing that "All American" could and should be any race. (I'm thinking about that V magazine editorial on American models with Arizona, Karlie, Dree..)

And then as far as the "Alien" look, I find that many times models of color will be described or typecast as "Alien" in show reviews...


Last edited by theBlueRider; 05-04-2013 at 01:29 AM.
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