‘Clearly racist’: Fashion college sorry for catwalk show

Models wore enlarged prosthetic ears, lips and bushy eyebrows

CATWALK CONTROVERSY: The Fashion Institute of Techonoly, New York (Photo: Ajay Suresh/Wikimedia Commons)

A NEW York fashion college has issued an apology after one of its runway shows was deemed “clearly racist”.

The catwalk, a showcase of designs by students at the Fashion Institute of Technology, featured models wearing prosthetic ears, lips and bushy eyebrows.

Amy Lefevre, a black model, was due to walk in the show wearing the prosthetics but refused. She did take part in the show but did not wear the offensive accessories.

Lefevre told the New York Post last week: β€œI stood there almost ready to break down, telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with having to wear these pieces and that they were clearly racist.”

She added: β€œI was literally shaking. I could not control my emotions. My whole body was shaking. I have never felt like that in my life.”

Yesterday the Fashion Institute of Technology issued an apology.

The fashion school’s president, Joyce F Brown acknowledged that the show had made some “uncomfortable” but said it did not appear that the original intent had been to make a statement about race.

She said: “Currently it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race; however, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome. For that, we apologise – to those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw.”

Brown also said that an investigation will be launched and that the school will be taking steps to address concerns.

Jonathan Kyle Farmer, chair of the modern fine arts fashion design course, which put on the show, also issued an apology.

In an Instagram post, he said: “I deeply apologise for any harm and pain I’ve caused to those involved with the show, including Amy Lefevre.”

He added: “I take full responsibility and am committed to learning from this situation and taking steps to do better.”

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