The New York Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has issued an apology for its “clearly racist” runway show following a Black model’s outcry.
As Baller Alert previously reported, a Black model named Amy Lefevre refused to wear a “monkey” costume that featured enlarged ears and lips, resembling racist Black caricatures.
Reports show the model and other participants of the fashion told designers the look was “racist,” yet their concerns were neglected. The incident, which took place earlier this month, ended with Lefevre walking the runway without the costume and speaking out about the mistreatment she received from the institute, who allegedly made Lefevre out to be the troublemaker. “I 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,” Lefevre told the New York Post.
On Tuesday, FIT issued a statement about Lefevre’s experience. “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,” said Joyce Brown, the school’s president. Brown continued, apologizing to “those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw.”
Brown went on to say the school would be taking steps to alleviate the issue and is making sure it doesn’t happen in the future. Brown said school officials will be meeting with the school’s diversity council, faculty, student government association, and employee union to discuss race, according to ABC News. FIT will also reportedly implement “safeguards to ensure that a situation like this will not happen again.”
“Regardless of intent or artistic vision, we must be continually aware of that which constitutes an authentic artistic expression, and that which creates a risk to the intended message and interpretation of the art form. There is no room for error which can be interpreted as racism, homophobia, religious intolerance, or any other kind of bigotry,” Brown said.