Racism on the Runway? NYFW Sparks Criticism

By ETONLINE STAFF

September 10, 2013

Naomi Campbell made quite a splash when she closed designer Diane Von Furstenberg's show during New York Fashion Week, but the supermodel's strut down the catwalk turned out to be one of only a handful of runway appearances this season in NYC by a person of color.

Sports Illustrated model Damaris Lewis, who booked a small number of shows during the festivities, tells ET that she felt shut out by many big designers because of her dark skin.

Pics: ETonline's Fashion Hub

"There's always been a lack of diversity," the 22-year-old laments. "I did a show today where I was the only African American."

Also outraged by what she condemns as a "racist act" on the catwalk, former model Bethann Hardison sent strongly worded letters to about fifty of the major fashion design councils for using "one or no models of color" in their Fall NYFW collections last February.

"We aren't really saying anyone particular person is racist," she clarifies. "We are saying, if you don't look at what you are doing, the results of that is that."

Related: Oprah Gets Apology for Racist Shopping Encounter

All of the designers we contacted have declined to comment.

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