Naeem Khan has called out the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) over the lack of diversity in the nominees for its top prizes.
The nominees for the 2020 CFDA Fashion Awards were announced on Monday, and the Indian-American fashion designer later took to his Instagram page to criticise the all-white contenders for the American Womenswear Designer of the Year prize and suggested it was a "conflict of interest" that CFDA chairman Tom Ford landed a place on the shortlist.
"What is wrong in this picture. Its the same nominees every year...Perhaps it's time to change. I guess u have to be white or the chairman of the CFDA to get nominated. Conflict of interest and very incestuous (sic)," he wrote in the caption besides a photo of the category's nominees, which also included Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row, Brandon Maxwell, Gabriela Hearst, and Marc Jacobs.
Khan wasn't alone with his criticism. Members of fashion watchdog site Diet Prada also wrote on Instagram, "Since the CFDA awards love to position themselves as the Oscars of the fashion industry, you think they'd remember #oscarssowhite. Also, @cfda chairman @tomford is up for two awards himself... sounds like a conflict of interest. That's all."
New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman also suggested that Ford should be disqualified from competing in such categories since he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award back in 2014.
Responding to the criticism, a representative for the CFDA told Page Six Style, "The Awards nominees are the selections of the CFDA Fashion Awards Guild, which is made up of over 1,000 individuals from the fashion industry... The CFDA has no governance over the nominations submitted by the Guild, but as an organisation, we repeatedly encourage members of the Guild to consider diversity and inclusion in their selections.
"The lack of diversity in the nominees is, unfortunately, a reflection of the general lack of diversity within the fashion industry. This must change, and the CFDA and industry at large share the collective responsibility to bring long-overdue equity and racial balance to all sectors of fashion."
The winners will be revealed on 14 September, at the start of New York Fashion Week.
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