The Colour of Beauty is a short documentary about racial discrimination in the fashion industry. Director Elizabeth St. Philip follows a young and fiercely talented Black model, Renee Thompson, as she navigates the fashion world as a visible minority.
This film asks: Why isn’t the multi-cultural society that we live in reflected in our magazines, on billboards and on the runways of fashion shows? And who are the parties involved in this industry’s lack of diversity? Does the answer lie somewhere in the back rooms of fashion magazines or in the offices of casting directors of fashion shows? Is it something that is discussed at advertising agencies, or between designers and modelling agencies? Whatever the answer, the fact is that models of colour work less, and their chances of success are very low.
While making this film, we found many examples of racism in the fashion industry. Take the L’Oreal scandal in France, where it was felt that the French woman would not be represented by a model without white skin. Or the famous “Black issue” of Italian Vogue that made headline news in 2008 and sold out in 72 hours. Some saw this as a turning point for Black models, but others considered it a poor apology for the lack of diversity at Milan’s fashion week and a token gesture to models of colour.
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