AFP, May 22, 2009
Latin America’s top fashion event, the Sao Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) to be held in Brazil next month, has agreed to boost the number of black models on its catwalks after being targeted by anti-racism campaigners.
Under the terms of the deal, signed Thursday with prosecutors in the state of Sao Paulo, the number of black and indigenous models have to meet a set quota, otherwise fines could be levied against labels taking part.
“The management of the SPFW is going to indicate to all the labels that at least 10 percent of the casting has to be composed of black, African-descendant or indigenous models,” it said on its website.
The move came after the prosecutors threatened legal action against the SPFW’s organizers unless they increase the number of black models.
In the last SPFW, in January, just eight of the 344 models were black.
An anti-racism group, Educafro, last week warned it would hold a rogue black fashion event in front of the SPFW if the number of black models was not increased.
Advocates of the quota system say the fashion event should be more representative of Brazil’s population.
According to official figures, just seven percent of Brazil’s famously varied population consider themselves purely black–but another 43 percent see themselves as mixed-race of African descent. The other 50 percent call themselves white.