While there were some memorable inclusive moments during New York Fashion Week Spring 2018 (have you heard about Fenty Beauty's 40 shades of foundation yet?), one model got real about how far the industry still has to go. Londone Myers, who has walked for Dior, Chloé, and Louis Vuitton, posted a time-lapse video on Instagram that documents her being ignored by hairstylists.
While white models behind her were being ushered in and out of makeup chairs, Londone sat wearing headphones while waiting to be prepped for the catwalk. In her impassioned caption, Londone wrote, "I don't need special treatment from anyone. What I need is for hairstylists to learn how to do black hair. I'm so tired of people avoiding doing my hair at shows. How dare you try to send me down the runway with a linty busted afro."
Londone told Teen Vogue that she usually does her hair before arriving at a show, due to similar past experiences backstage. However, on the day the video was taken, she did not. "I just showed up without anything on hand like everyone else," she said.
She wasn't the only black model to be ignored, either. But unlike Londone, the other women with natural hair spoke French, which helped them get assistance. Londone said she "simply asked around the room for who did black hair multiple times and was cast aside."
Finally, she was put in a chair, but the hairstylist ended up leaving dust in her hair. Londone said that due to the discrimination, the hairstylist left her and the other black women looking "unpolished."
In the days since Londone's post, many models and fashion industry insiders are having an open dialogue about the situation. Melanie Smith, who also walked at Paris Fashion Week, wrote, "Had to style [my hair] myself 80% of the time... so sad." Another model named Dominique Brannon added, "I come to most shows with my hair already done (by me) because I know they won't even groom it. It's sad that we get neglected because our hair grows up instead of down like our counterparts."
Rather than attacking hairstylists or the fashion industry, Londone is using her platform to call for change. As she told Teen Vogue, "Some of these hairstylists have never had the chance to work with our hair. You can always tell when they're feeling through it haphazardly."
Along with better educating hairstylists on how to work with natural hair, another solution would be for events to hire more people of colour to style models. As Londone's post garners buzz, we hope fashion insiders will take action toward providing a more inclusive environment backstage.