New York Fashion Week Fall 2014

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Fashion Activist Bethann Hardison Addresses Diversity in Open Letter

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Bethann Hardison
Bethann Hardison
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fashion activist Bethann Hardison has made it her mission to relentlessy address the lack of diversity in fashion.

On behalf of the Diversity Coalition, a group of industry professionals, she penned a call-to-action last year to the governing bodies of Fashion Weeks in New York, Paris, London and Milan. According to the Huffington Post, she continued on that mission this week with an update.

"Last season we addressed the international fashion industry for their lack of conduct in being racially diverse," Hardison writes. "There was a marked improvement on the runways and a positive response to the letters received be the major fashion councils and the designer brands the count as members."

She points out that, although there has been an improvement, the goal is consistency. She closed the letter by saying: "Diversity is not difficult. The resistance to do so is intriguing."

In recent seasons Black faces in major ad campaigns have become more prevalant. Designer Phillip Plein featured only Black models in his 2014 ad campaign, while Calvin Klein and Narcisco Rodriguez included several models of color on the runway.

Hardison is hopeful that this trend will become a staple in the fashion world. 

"I'm looking forward to seeing what happens—I'm hopeful" she expressed to the Huffington Post. "Diversity is just good for the world. And images have much more power than words. When people start putting those colorful images out and people of power start standing behind them, it starts to create a paradigm shift. And I believe it can happen."

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