'Obama Effect' Gives Black Models a Boost

Models see shift away from whites-only runways
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2009 6:06 AM CST
Models watch a run-through before the Duckie Brown 2008 spring/summer show at Fashion Week in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – The figurative—and sometimes real—"Whites Only" signs in the fashion world are starting to come down in the wake of Barack Obama's election win, male models tell the New York Times. Fashion shows in the US and Europe are starting to more closely resemble the real world's diversity, the models say, and scouts are beginning to pay a lot more attention to African-Americans.

"It’s totally about Obama,” said an African-American model from Dallas, who remembers his agent telling him "If Obama does become president, there’s going to be a lot more work for you guys." In New York, where the fashion industry employs an estimated 175,000 people, many hope the new trend will see a surge in homegrown talent on the catwalks.
(Read more Barack Obama stories.)