Early Tuesday, James Scully, a prominent casting director who has worked with brands like Oscar de la Renta, Tom Ford, Jason Wu and more in model casting and development, took to Instagram to speak up about quite a few things in the fashion industry.
In short, the Paris Fashion Week dispatch accused French-based houses like Balenciaga of treating models inhumanely and Lanvin of what amounts to racism.
According to Scully, in a now disputed account, casting directors Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes left 150 models in a stairwell with no lights for three hours while they went off for lunch. Others, like model Judith Schiltz who attended the casting supported Scully’s account and later Balenciaga confirmed that they had already fired the casting agents.
But the day of the show, there was another issue. A group of models protested outside of the venue for the runway presentation bearing “Black Models Matter” signs, a phrase that was first seen on a handbag at New York Fashion Week. There, the models were pointing out the fact that the brand’s creative director Demna Gvasalia had been casting some of the least diverse shows since he ascended to the top post. Inside, at the show, there were four black models out of 47 looks total which was an improvement from seasons past.
Model Ashely B. Chew poses during #NYFW16 with Black Models Matter shirt:
Scully’s first message addressed another brand though. According to him, Lanvin sent out a mandate to model agents to not send any models of color to their casting. Lanvin denied that claim vehemently and at their show, there were two black models and two Asian models. It was a similar casting to what they had done last season.
The industry took note of Scully’s missive. Today, he wrote another. After thanking people for sharing and supporting his original message he announced that some changes were on the way for fashion week.
“I have now gathered major support behind the scenes and both Kering and LVMH have pledged to fully support me in any way possible to reverse this behavior and return some of the joy and humanity back to this business,” he said mentioning the largest two fashion conglomerates in the industry. “And more houses are ready to join. So this season has passed and you can say goodbye to the way it was because September will be a whole new ballgame.”
Seems like a change is certainly on the way.