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Rebecca Arnold Essay

In her Political Fashion essay, Fashion Historian and theorist Dr Rebecca Arnold examines the subject of race and ethnicity within the fashion industry. Despite the freedom of expression in fashion, Arnold argues that racism is the final taboo which fashion, and perhaps society in general, is unable - or unwilling – to overcome.


  1. Landon
    17:52 10 Mar 2008
    It's hard to argue against this without sounding 'pro-racism', but I'm giving it a shot. Devil's Advocate or just a prick? You decide!
    If the majority of the designers are white -
    if the majority of their market is white -
    isn't it perfectly natural that the majority of the models they use are white? I don't think that's evidence of racism.
    Do countries outside of the West have the same moral obligation to use models of all ethnicities? If we were to tell Japan for instance, 'you MUST use a variety of different ehnicities in your advertisements, or else you're being racist!' Wouldn't that be 'cultural imperialism' or 'subjugation of 'the Other''? It sounds absurd on the face of it, but isn't it in principal the same thing this essay is arguing for?
    You could argue that in a multicultural society it's unconstitutional to hire someone based on race. Not hiring someone for an engineering job based on race is one thing. But, if the job is your appearance, it's not discrimination to choose who you hire based on ethnicity.
  2. KarlFuler
    20:20 10 Mar 2008
    I find it a little bizarre how people talk about fashion as if it is directed or controlled by designers and stylists or whoever. Crazy! And Rebecca has a phd in fashion theory?!
  3. alex.fury
    13:19 11 Mar 2008
    I'm curious - how do you feel fashion is directed, if not by a select few of the industry's taste-makers?
  4. KarlFuler
    14:12 11 Mar 2008
    Fashion evolves within society, constantly churning around, absorbing a myriad of new influences, rejecting and reforming. Those 'taste-makers' wouldn't get anywhere if they did not adhere to the relevent fashions of the day. Those who are successful in the fashion business have to be keen followers.