Justin Cassin and Men of Colour

Getty Images 2017

Getty Images 2017

This show was sickkkkk. Can I say sickkkkk?

It is very rare where I go to a presentation and find that I see myself in every look on the runway. The Justin Cassin presentation stood out from the standard fare of MBFWA in this respect. Each monochrome look was comfortable, modern and it seemed like the fit was something I would not have to worry about.

Getty Images 2017

Getty Images 2017

One of the key reasons  I could imagine myself in every look was the number of men of colour that were cast in this show - in particular, brown, black and east Asian men. Whilst casting diverse models is still an uphill battle in Australia, women of colour are slightly further ahead than men of colour.

Most menswear shows and campaigns tend to stick within their Caucasian archetype comfort zone. Rarely do I see black, brown or east Asian men strut up and down the runway, setting the beauty standards of the future. This perpetuates the challenges  men of colour face when it comes to being desired and feeling desired. This is evidenced by statistics regarding dating preferences and asian men. While Asian women are always sought after, asian men are often neglected.

In a 2007 study run by Columbia University, more than 400 students were surveyed during speed dating sessions. They found African-American women and white women said “yes” 65 per cent less often to the prospect of dating Asian men after the speed dating session, in comparison to men of their own race.

Getty Images 2017

Getty Images 2017

What does this all mean? It means that we have been socialised into thinking that Asian men are less attractive, are inadequate partners, and aren't worthy of desire. Having men of colour feature in a show that acknowledges them as attractive, sexy and modern -  the way Justin Cassin has done, only validates our existence and our worth. 

Getty Images 2017

Getty Images 2017