Brazilian Models Stage Topless Protest To Combat Fashion Industry Racism
More than 30 female models (and some men) of African descent staged a topless protest in Brazil to combat racism within the industry. The Afro-Brazilian models held the topless protest in Rio de Janeiro to protest a lack of black models walking down runways in fashion shows, despite Brazil having more than 100 million people of African descent. It’s the second largest black population in the world only to Nigeria.
“If we are buying clothes, why can’t we parade in the (fashion) shows?” asked a 15-year-old model in the protest. “Does that mean that only white women can sell and the rest of us can only buy?” Jose Flores, a former Brazilian model, said that “claiming to showcase Brazilian fashion without the real Brazilians amounts to showing Brazilian fashion (only) with white models.”
In 2009, Sao Paulo Fashion Week imposed quotas that required at least 10 percent of the runway models to be black or indigenous. The quota was removed the following year after a conservative prosecutor deemed it constitutional.
However, Rio Fashion Week organizers have just signed a deal with the Rio ombudsman’s office to set a 10 percent black model quota. Civil rights advocate Moises Alcuna said the deal “crowns a joint initiative that can open a space that does not yet exist.”