HARDISON’S COUNTDOWN: However telling the seasonal post-fashion week tallies of non-Caucasian models on designers’ runways can be, activist Bethann Hardison has taken a different track. The activist has joined forces with Models.com editor in chief Stefan Moskovic to showcase a Diversity Rules! online series. Rather than draw attention to what’s missing, Hardison said she wanted to call attention to what’s working, or more specifically whom. So far a bevy of ethnic and models of color from Ford, Wilhelmina and three other agencies have been featured, and Hardison aims to highlight five to 10 more women’s agencies. Once spotlighted for a few days, the profiles and information about each agency will remain on the site. There are also plans to showcase male agencies.
“Where there is clear improvement over the years…are the model agencies. They have improved their inclusion of the model of color and continue to seek those beauties.” Hardison said. “So I decided, instead of looking at what and where it isn’t happening (for now), to show where it continues to grow. There are agencies with far more ethnic models than others, but there are many still open to growth.”
Hardison, the recipient of the 2014 CFDA Founders award, came up with the idea 18 months ago. With 1.5 million unique visitors each month to his site, Moskovic was enthusiastic about the initial response and the potential reach of the recently-launched “Diversity Rules!”. “There’s definitely been a very good response through social media and people who work in the industry, which is who we want to see a good response from.” he said.
“This feels nice and looks nice. I just want to remind people of skin tones. This seemed like a nice creative way to do that.” Hardison said.