Posted on: 07/03/2013

Prada uses a black model

Prada uses a black model in their ad campaign for the first time in 19 years. This is big news,because Firth is the first black model to be cast by Prada for almost two decades.The last model to hold this accolade was the then 24-year-old Naomi Campbell in 1994,the year Firth was born. While the Italian house is still regarded as visionary in terms of its outlook � it has embraced older male models and curvier women � Prada has been slow to add racial diversity to its campaigns. Before Jourdan Dunn was included in its 2008 catwalk show,Campbell � again � was the last black model to walk for the brand,back in 1993. This issue is not unique to Prada. Most modelling agencies have fewer black models on their books than white models,claiming that this is because white models are more popular with fashion clients. In a list compiled by Forbes in 2012,the top 10 richest models were all white. owever there are signs this could be changing. Christian Dior"s couture show this week�Raf Simons" third for the brand�had a global theme and featured black,Puerto Rican and Chinese models,an interesting move for a designer who,in the past,has often had a catwalk that is largely white. Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci has been pushing this in a subtle way�he always has diverse catwalk casting and was an early supporter of Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls,who was ranked No 1 in the world late last year.The presence of Firth,who was born in Kenya and grew up in the UK,in this campaign is undeniably symbolic,but it is also a massive endorsement for her. The Prada campaign is her first advertising campaign and follows cameos on the brand"s catwalk,most recently in the menswear show for spring summer 2014. If Dunn"s career�she was the last black British model to reach Vogue cover girl status�is any guide,this should only the beginning.