“Les modèles noirs importent (Black models matter)” and “Make Fashion Diverse Again,” read protesters’ signs outside the Balenciaga show over the weekend at Paris Fashion Week. A group of models — including Indi Irvin, who has worked for Nike and Yeezy — stood outside the show venue with signs as attendees streamed in.
According to BET, the protest was a reaction to the brand’s use of overwhelmingly white casts in the past (including designer Demna Gvasalia’s all-white cast for his debut last year). This season, the 47-look collection ended up featuring four models of color. (The casting of the show was swept up in controversy this year when the house severed its relationship with casting directors Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes after another casting director, James Scully, said that they had mistreated models.)
The Black Models Matter slogan originated with model Ashley Chew, who emblazoned it on a bag in September 2015. On her Instagram, Chew applauded the Paris-based models for carrying on the message.