Naomi Campbell says it’s time to ‘call the fashion world to task’ over inequality

The supermodel was giving an opening speech at Paris couture fashion week 

Naomi Campbell talks about inequality in fashion industry

Naomi Campbell has said “the time has come to collectively call the fashion world to task regarding inequality” in a speech she delivered at the opening of Paris couture fashion week.

On Monday 6 July, opening the event, Campbell appeared via video link from her home in the US, wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “phenomenally black”. The annual event has gone digital for the first time in 2020, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 50-year-old delivered a two minute speech, which has since been posted on the Instagram account of FHCM (Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode), the organisers of Paris fashion week.

In her address, Campbell discussed the recent growth in the Black Lives Matter movement and the increasing protests around the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death. She said: “The fight for diversity and for equality has been a long journey in society and in the fashion industry.

“Today, in 2020, we still have a long way to go and the time has come to collectively call the fashion world to task regarding inequality in our work spaces and in our industry.”

The supermodel added that the conversation is “starting now and will last as long as is needed”.

“It is up to us, it is up to you to start enforcing inclusion of the multitude of identities that compose our countries,” she continued.

“The time has come to build a more equitable industry with a good form of cheques and balances. It is now more than ever compulsory to include them in a permanent way and not a transient one.

“It is time to have regular and sustainable conversations with minorities of each country and culture, who are already invisible actors of this mega industry.”

Campbell has recently spoken out about being a victim of racism in the fashion industry: including one incident when she appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia.

Speaking on BBC’s Women’s Hour on 18 June, Campbell said she arrived at the shoot and was told by the makeup artist he did not have any foundation in her skin tone because they “didn’t know she was black”.

“He said he didn’t have the foundation for me,” the model continued. “He had to mix some colours that he had of foundations to make up own colour, and that consisted of a lot of grey."

Campbell explained that seeing the result on the cover of the magazine made her cry. “When that cover came out, I just cried,” she said on the programme.

“I wanted so much to be on the cover of this publication so much... it was Italian Vogue actually. But I didn’t want to be grey.”

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