Naomi Campbell speaks out against ‘tick box’ practices in fashion industry

Naomi Campbell speaks out against ‘tick box’ practices in fashion industry

Naomi Campbell has shared her frustrations with the fashion industry and its unfulfilled commitments to diversity and inclusion.

The British supermodel has been a prominent figure in fashion since the 1980s and soon became known as one of the foremost Black models in the world. Campbell was the first Black model to appear on the cover of several publications, including Vogue France and Time, and has repeatedly used her platform to promote diversity in fashion.

In celebration of her work, Campbell, 54, will soon launch Naomi: In Fashionan exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum that displays garments and memorabilia from her near-40-year career.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, she touched upon the topic of diversity in the industry and hit out at those who want to “look good” without investing in long-term inclusion.

“A lot of people can come up to me and say, ‘Oh we want this, we want that.’ But that can go through one ear or the other if it’s just for a ‘tick the box’,” she told the publication.

“I’m not into ticking the box. You have to show me that you really want to commit into the community and the infrastructure.”

Campbell then noted that she has previously offered her insights to brands, only to be dissatisfied with their work on diversity and inclusion in their output afterwards.

Naomi Campbell (Getty Images)
Naomi Campbell (Getty Images)

“You know, there’s been brands where they’ve been in trouble, they just want to look good. And I’ve gone out to help, and then once I’ve helped, or things have turned around, they’ve just forgotten.

“It doesn’t work that way – so I’m learning too.”

Campbell also shared her concerns about the industry and its approach to diversity at a promotional event for the exhibition earlier this year.

Speaking at the V&A in March, Campbell said: “Will [diversity] remain? That is a question I don’t really want to think about but that is what I’m thinking about, because as I am again looking at the collections, I’m starting to get nervous that we are sliding back.

“Why do I stay doing what I do?” she added. “Because my work is not done. I feel that I have to use my voice and platform to keep at them.”

In his four-star review of Naomi: In Fashion, The Independent’s Adam White praised the exhibition’s visual triumphs.

He writes: “This is an exhibition largely defined by pleasure, gorgeous gowns and remarkable bone structure – not at all bad in itself, but perhaps not quite as arresting or insightful as it could have been. Still, though, what pleasure.”

Naomi: In Fashion opens on 22 June.