FIT officials placed on leave after 'clearly racist' fashion show: report

1010 WINS Newsroom
February 22, 2020 - 1:57 pm
FIT fashion show

Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Fashion Institute Of Technology

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Editors Note: this story contains photos that many consider offensive.

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Two top academic officials at the SUNY-run Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan have been placed on leave after they hosted a fashion show that has been called offensive and racist.

The New York Post reports that the show included models with oversized ears and red lips—elements historically associated with blackface. Photos below show some of the outfits that appeared on the runway.

Model Amy Lefévre, who is black, told the Post that she decided not to go onstage wearing the accessories because they were "clearly racist."

“I stood there almost ready to break down, telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable,” she said.

The controversial show led to Mary Davis, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and Jonathan Kyle Farmer, chair of the MFA Fashion Design Department, being placed on administrative leave, FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown wrote to the Post.

The two officials will remain on leave amid an investigation into the Feb. 7 show at Pier 59, Brown said, adding that meetings have also been planned with students, faculty and staff in the coming days.

“Those in charge of and responsible for overseeing the show failed to recognize or anticipate the racist references and cultural insensitivities that were obvious to almost everybody else,” Brown said.

Brown told the Post that designer Junkai Hunag shouldn't be blamed. She said it appears “the styling and accessorizing used in the show were provided to him rather than chosen at his discretion.”

“The collection he designed and produced was not aimed at invoking or provoking racial implications,” she said.

FIT fashion show
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Fashion Institute Of Technology

FIT fashion show
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Fashion Institute Of Technology

FIT fashion show
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Fashion Institute Of Technology

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