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The New York City-based Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and the chair of the Modern Arts Fashion Design course have publicly apologised after the school displayed a catwalk show that many labelled as “racist”.
In an open letter Tuesday, FIT President Joyce F. Brown addressed the “unfortunate and disturbing reaction” on the college’s official Instagram account.
“Currently, it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race,” Brown wrote. “However, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome. For that, we apologize — to those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw.”
Amy Lefevre, an African American model who participated in the runway show, said she refused to wear the “monkey ear” accessories because they were “clearly racist.”
“I stood there almost ready to break down, telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with having to wear these pieces and that they were clearly racist,” Lefevre told the New York Post.