Black girls have fulfilled their dream of rising fashion catwalks
São Paulo Fashion Week: Colors are not limited to fabric
Fashion platforms have been closed to black people in racist Brazil.
Gloria Mariah and Shirley had dreamed since their childhood of showing the fashion of great designers, but the path to the catwalks of the fashion world seemed to be long closed to these two young black women in Brazil who suffer from racism.
However, Al-Hasnawain's ambition was realized at the beginning of this month, during São Paulo Fashion Week, which is considered the most important date for the fashion design sector in the South American country.
This year, Sao Paulo Fashion Week was not the same as it was in the past, not only because it was held virtually, by broadcasting video shows over the Internet due to the "Covid-19" pandemic, but because its new system stipulated that half of the participating models be of the skin. Black, or aboriginal.
The credit for this unprecedented change is due to the efforts made by associations working to achieve racial equality, which allowed the two young women to take the podium after a long wait.
Previously, fashion houses often confined themselves to grafting blond and blue-eyed models, most notably Gisele Bundchen, with just one or two blacks, although more than half of Brazil's population were black or mixed.
The murder of the 40-year-old black man, Joao Alberto Silvera Freitas, who was beaten to death Thursday night by white security men at the Carrefour store in Porto Alegre, has revived the debate about structural racism in Brazil, which was the last country in the country. The American continent abolished slavery in 1888.
Cruel images of the attack spread on social media on Friday, which coincided with the National Day of Black Awareness.
'Towel on the head'
'Towel on the head'
However, Shirley Pitta believes that structural racism is also evident in the diaries of Brazilians, and one of its most striking manifestations is the absence of blacks from the media.
"It took me a long time to find myself beautiful," said the 21-year-old Brazilian, who had previously stood in front of the photographers of "Vogue", "Elle" and the famous "Marie Claire" magazines.
This "Cinderella" story of the 21st century has finally attracted media attention.
Before it was discovered in 2018, the beauty with short hair and bumpy cheeks was selling grilled meat with her mother near a zoo in her hometown Salvador de Bahia (northeast Brazil).
"We used to go there every day, until Sunday, from morning to evening," she recounts.
As a young girl, Shirley was ashamed of her curly hair. "I used to wrap my head with a towel to hide it," she recalls.
As for Gloria Maria Sequeira (17 years), she was not confident of her future in the fashion world, although those close to her were assuring her that she was qualified to be a model.
"I thought I would never be able to," says the African-style teenager.
I didn't trust myself, and I didn't see myself beautiful enough. ”
And this Brazilian, who has been impressed since her childhood with the most important black models, such as the British Naomi Campbell and the Sudanese Australian, Adut Akish, adds: "I now realize that I can explore the world."
And Gloria Maria, the youngest of seven siblings, gives interviews to journalists at the headquarters of the global Ford agency, and dreams that one day she will stand in front of the lens of Peruvian Mario Testino, one of the most famous fashion photographers in the world.
And Gloria Maria believes that "people often feel inferior because they are different, and girls try to imitate traditional beauty owners, but they do not realize that this difference is what makes them unique."
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