The problem of lack of diversity in the fashion industry is basically an open secret at this point. Earlier this week we watched as Instagram exploded with racist fervor over an image of model Aamito Lagum's lips. Now, Sudanese / Australian model Ajak Deng is quitting the industry entirely, subtly shading the racist industry in a post on social media as delicate as it is scathing.
On the coattails of New York Fashion Week comes Deng's announcement, made over Instagram:
The caption on the image reads: "Put your best foot forward. I am happy to announce that I am officially done with the fashion industry, I will be moving back to Australia In order to live the life that I fully deserved. Which is real life. I can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies. My life is too short for this dramatic life. I am thankful and grateful for every sweet souls that I have crossed path with."
Although no overt mention of the industry's racism is made, according to Refinery29 the issue had been on the model's mind for a while. "They'll book the big Caucasian girls, spend the big dollars, and fly them in from L.A., but I've yet to see them book a dark-skinned girl in that way," said Stephen Bucknall, Deng's manager of Aussie agency FRM Model Management, to the Herald Sun.
Nor is this the first time Deng has expressed frustration with the industry. Here's a twitter rant from 2014 where the model goes after her treatment by Balmain (since deleted, preserved in screenshots):
Deng's presence in the industry will certainly be missed. The beauty had "appeared in campaigns for the likes of Barneys New York, Gap, Marc Jacobs, Kenzo, and Kate Spade. She's [also] walked in shows for tony names including Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton, and Lanvin."
Deng's sudden departure from the fashion world left writer Alexandra Ilyashov with some important questions about the future: " Despite minor, gradual improvements, there clearly aren't enough minority models being booked ... what does it mean when models of color who are scoring gigs, like Deng, are so pissed off by the industry they're compelled to call it quits?"