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February 20, 2013  | by: Amanda Fiore



Fashion is celebrated all over the world, from the streets of Paris to the chic city goers of Milan. It’s a global passion, as the different fashion capitals of the world compete to produce the boldest, most eye-catching designs of the season. If fashion is a crucial part of everybody’s lives, then why is only a portion of the world’s people being represented? New York Time’s T Magazine is a guilty proponent in misrepresenting the fashion world as “white.” After recent criticisms, T recognizes its fault and vows to include more people of color in future issues.

T Magazine is part of the New York Times family, a publication focused on fashion, living, beauty, holiday, travel and design. The T is published fifteen times per year as a feature in the Sunday edition of the New York Times. Although the magazine first debuted in the United States in 2004, three years later in 2007 it went international reaching a diverse audience. Despite its worldwide availability, the T Magazine has failed to appeal to its international readership because of its overwhelming inclusion of white models only.


Google Images

Creative Commons (Google Images)


Recently the T was criticized for its lack of diversity. One reader wrote to the magazine, “The T doesn’t look like my neighborhood or America.” Others wrote they were “disturbed” by the magazine’s homogeneous nature. When asked for comment Deborah Needleman, the editor-in-chief of the T, both apologized and recognized the dominance of white models in the magazine. “It was something I noticed and regretted as we were putting the issue together. We are a global magazine and so would like the content, subjects and geography of stories to reflect that” she stated.

She also spoke of a rising use of white models in the entire fashion world, yet vowed to turn the T around and include more people of color. Needleman stated of the magazine’s future “…it  is our aim to celebrate quality and beauty in all its diverse forms.”

Yes, it is true that Needleman and the T are taking a step in the right direction, but it is still startling that in the year 2013 we still encounter blatant racism. Racism and white domination are almost expected in the political world, but is definitely a shock in the fashion world. Fashion is universal, regardless of what language you speak or customs you practice, you can recognize and appreciate fashion. Fashion is a world where we would expect the most diversity, the most ethnic freedom, and most artistic opportunity. Yet racism has reared its ugly head in the fashion world, from the white models in magazine advertisements to the white models on the runways of last week’s New York Fashion Show.

Flickr (henryjose)

Flickr (henryjose)


Although the lack of international people in world of fashion is troubling, things are looking up. The ability for T Magazine to recognize and accept their content as predominantly white means there is a bright future for the multicultural fashion world. If other magazines like the T begin to see and challenge their racism, it can be solved one colored model at a time.

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