Miss Petaluma On…


Naomi Campbell’s comments on the discrimination of black models by the Western fashion industry, made a timely surface a mere 5 minutes after I witnessed, first hand, the dismissed idea of a black model for a high street job as being too ‘risqué’.  I know shocking right? The iconic black supermodel, hit the runway of her first African catwalk last week. At her 5th Fashion for Relief catwalk show, the model emerged from behind a golden veil to highlight the inexcusable state of play.  In an interview with Reuters back stage, she said “Where do we see a woman of color in an advert? It’s quite blatant. There’s definitely space (for more black models) but has there been enough effort? It was getting better but it’s slipped back this year.”

Held in Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, where one woman dies every hour of childbirth. The event supported the White Ribbon Alliance, an international coalition for maternal health. The show also showcased the best of local fashion design, with extravagant outfits covered in beads, peacock feathers and over sized jewellery. In addition aspiring models from all over the continent competed to be the new ‘Face of Africa’, won by 23 year-old Tholakele Dlamini of Zimbabwe.

It’s quite poignant Ms Campbell chose to ignore the opportunity to maximise publicity on this event. Without the involvement of all her celebrity pals she would undoubtedly miss out on coverage. In the past Vivienne Westwood, Cheryl Cole and Tyson Beckford have been splashed on the front cover of all major newspapers following a Fashion for Relief show.   It goes to show despite the tantrums and diva behaviour, Naomi Campbell, realises she can make a difference. Good luck to her and the White Ribbon Alliance.


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