For the past year, former Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan has been busy on her upcoming book, tentatively titled One Night at Versailles. But the Pultizer Prize winner is returning to her roots, covering the spring-summer 2014 runways at New York Fashion Week for New York magazine’s The Cut blog.
In a condensed Q&A, Givhan is asked about her thoughts on the progress that’s been made in bringing diversity to Fashion Week.
I think that there has been incremental progress, certainly. I have always thought in the back of my mind that part of the reason why change has never really happened is because we‘re talking about integrating the runways in a way that is less dependent on an aesthetic mood for a season, and focused more on a moral obligation. I think if you look back at history you realize that those sorts of changes that are rooted in morality have not happened out of the goodness of people‘s hearts. They have been forced into making those changes through political efforts, through legislation, through economic pressure. So while I just said that I think Bethann‘s campaign has legitimacy because she speaks as a voice from within the industry, I don‘t know that sweeping, significant change will happen until pressure comes from outside the industry, from places that start taking the fashion industry seriously as a place that has an incredible amount of power and influence on the culture at large.
Givhan also spoke about her book, which is about the historic Battle of Versailles Fashion Show, a landmark night for African Americans in fashion.
It‘s been interesting because the seventies are very fresh in my mind, and when you bring up diversity, you know, the last great gasp for black models on the runway was really the seventies and the early eighties. And then the pendulum shifted. One of the things that has struck me about that is perhaps one of the underlying reasons was that so much attention was paid to the way that black models moved on the runway. And it was very much sort of a personality-driven movement.
Read more at The Cut.