Naomi Campbell has shared her thoughts on racial diversity in the fashion industry after it was revealed that she would be the recipient of the British Fashion Council’s (BFC) 2019 Fashion Icon Award.
Campbell appeared on BBC Newsnight following the announcement, where she discussed the fashion industry, colourism, #MeToo and the Windrush scandal.
Campbell praised the industry’s progress in regards to diversity, but acknowledged that it still hasn’t gone far enough.
“It’s amazing to see this diversity that’s happening on the runways and in magazine covers. To see more than one woman of colour or diversity on a magazine cover at a time is a big deal – but it really shouldn’t be,” said Campbell.
“It’s not a trend and people shouldn’t feel that if they don’t use diversity then they’re not doing what’s right.”
The Jamaican-Brit model also referenced the lack of diversity in British Vogue under former editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman’s reign.
In 2017, Shulman posted an image of herself and the British Vogue staff – an image which showed all-white employees and highlighted the lack of diversity at the publication.
Campbell reposted the image after Shulman’s departure and the appointment of Edward Enninful – the first black male editor-in-chief in British Vogue history. Alongside the image, the 49-year-old model wrote: “This is the staff photo of @britishvogue under the previous editor #AlexandraShulman. Looking forward to an inclusive and diverse staff now that @edward_enninful is the editor. Let’s hear your thoughts?”
When asked about the post on Newsnight Campbell said: “She put the picture up I just reposted the picture. She needs to look at that picture and see that it’s not diverse – a child could see that. Just the mere fact that I’m black, I’m British and I reposted it made it a headline.”
The supermodel also discussed the Windrush scandal and how it affected her.
“I know about Windrush because my grandparents are that and they came here to work hard like my grandparents did and there only dream was to go home and buy their dream home back in Jamaica.
“[Windrush scandal] It was very upsetting – I didn’t go to an event because of that,” she added. “I was invited to something and I chose not to go because I was not going to go and validate something I didn’t agree with.”
Campbell will receive the BFC Fashion Icon Award at the ceremony which takes place December 2 at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Fashion Icon award is one of the special accolades from the council that celebrates outstanding contributions to the fashion industry
Campbell will be recognised “for her incredible contribution to the fashion industry, her world-renowned career as a supermodel, as well as her philanthropist work with charities and incredible efforts for a more diverse and equal future, especially in Africa,” the BFC said in a statement.
The BFC chief executive, Caroline Rush added: “We cannot think of a more deserving recipient than iconic Londoner Naomi Campbell, she has achieved exceptional work in the industry.”