Franca Sozzani Candidly Speaks on Black Model Struggles

Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani has spoken on the struggles some black models face when it comes to landing work. She points out that white models are favoured time and time again while people overlook black models, something which she especially noticed while attending Rio Fashion Week. She was even shocked when someone told her there wasn't many attractive black models:

"At Fashion week in Rio it’s the same old story. White girls, and less than 10% of the models are black. What is the reason for not choosing black girls? They have amazing faces and bodies, and their skin cannot be compared with that of white girls, so even and glowing it is. Why? This has nothing to do with racism. I am positive about that. I often raise the topic and I am often told that nobody proposes them and that, in any case, there are few good-looking ones. I don’t know what to say."

Franca believes that fashion itself isn't racist and she wants those working in the industry to put in a greater effort to promote diversity. She points out that in Rio most of the models were white even though the country has just as many beautiful black models:

I don’t think there isn’t any scouting going on because I know that competitions are held in Africa to discover new models. Then I also think of all the prejudice that still exists. But not in fashion. And so? Let’s all make an effort to increase the number of black models on runways and in magazines. I have the feeling I have written so many times on this theme and that I am repeating myself, and begin to sound boring. But how can you stop talking about it, when even in Rio, where Afro-Brazilian girls amount to 50% of the population, white girls are still preferred? Then you hear someone say that there is no one as beautiful as Naomi. Isn’t she black? Yes, she is, but for the people, and for readers, she is Naomi, period."

She asks people to give black models a chance to show their potential which she hopes will change people's overall mentality:

"I can assure you that, although you don’t see thousands of Naomi lookalikes around, there are surely lots of beautiful black girls. Let’s not leave them out of fashion shows, of magazines, of television. It’s amazing how having a black President and First Lady at the White House is not helping to change people’s mentality. I really don’t mean to oversimplify, but there are truly plenty of black girls around so, as I have said many times, we should give them a chance. This is also a way of "Rebranding Africa."

Franca recently visited several African countries to show her support and learn about African designers.

 Franca Sozzani in Accra with Ghanaian designer Kofi Ansah

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