There were 116 labels that held shows at the recently ended New York fashion week; that’s 3,697 spots in runway and presentation lineups. Of those, 668 were given to models of color â€” which, at just over 18%, is 6% better than one year ago. (And certainly better than in the fall of 2007, when WWD reported that one-third of the New York shows used no models of color at all.)[Jezebel]
The blog did further analysis breaking down the 668 models of color by race (41% Black models, 38% Asian models, 22% Latin models.) I know what you are thinking – where the Desi at? Using the nifty Desi Filter, I searched the names of the models of color in the top 25 shows in New York’s Fashion Week, just to see if the increased diversity included ‘our’ kind of diversity.
And the winner is, drum roll please…Lakshmi Menon is the only Desi model reppin’ on the runway at New York’s Fashion Week. Lakshmi appeared in the shows of Alexander Wang, Badgley Mishka, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, and Jason Wu. Looks like Padma needs to beware – there’s a new Lakshmi in town.
Who is Lakshmi? Born in Bangalore in 1981, she started modeling in 2006 and signed with Ford Agency. She is known for her “pout” and is seen as a “rising star.”
Tall and darkâ€” in many ways, Lakshmi Menon is the typical â€˜Indianâ€™ beauty. But in many other ways, sheâ€™s as unconventional as they come. With a strong jaw line and endless legs, Menon is global fashionâ€™s latest muse. Sheâ€™s walked the ramp for biggies like Hermes, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors.[Express India]
The good news: we had sexy, dark and lovely Lakshmi as our token brown skinned girl on New York Fashion Week’s runways. The bad news: Out of 3,697 spots, they couldn’t find another brown girl to step on to the runway? How is that possible? Desi girls are HOT. Have they seen the picture of Padma on a swing? Or Sunny getting out the vote? Or the desi cover girls on Indian Vogue, Indian Elle, or Indian Cosmopolitan? When in Delhi last month I spent hours in front of the magazine rack enamored by seeing beautiful brown women as cover girls. We have great potential desi supermodels, despite what ANTM may have us believe.
It’s great that the runways were more diverse this time around, but as far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t diverse enough. They can do better next time. As for now, I’ll take Lakshmi as our token, any day. Both Padma and Menon.