Models are accusing a brand of discrimination during Miami Swim Week

The past few years have ushered in an age of diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry. More often, we’re seeing brands not only actively include models of different ethnicities in their campaigns and runway shows, but also models with sometimes visible differences like diabetes and vitiligo. This is why it’s disheartening that fashion brand KYA Swim has been accused of discrimination during Miami Swim Week.

Cosmo was first to report that model Joia Talbott claimed that 10 to 15 models were turned away from an audition simply because they were Black. She took to her Facebook to put the brand on blast, with America’s Next Top Model alum, Kacey Leggett, chiming in to say:

"I'm at a loss for words. I'm still trying to process what happened. All of us had to get out of the line – they told us they didn't want any more Black models."

It goes without saying that this is beyond unacceptable. Miami Swim Week was created to celebrate swimsuit season. For representatives of KYA Swim to say, “no dark skin,” as Talbott claims they did, is reprehensible.

Other models have also come forward with similar claims against KYA Swim during Miami Swim Week.

This is extremely upsetting. We need to be doing better, fashion world. As reported by Cosmo, KYA Swim released a statement on the issue, saying:

"Everyone at KYA Swim is deeply disturbed by the allegations brought by Joia Talbott and other models about the casting event at Miami Swim Week. KYA Swim is proud of its record of diversity and we are in the midst of looking into the events of last Thursday to review the actions of the production company in charge of the casting call."

It’s possible that someone without the authority to do so made this call. Regardless, it’s not a good look for KYA Swim. According to the brand’s social media, it looks like they did hire a black woman for the show.

We uncertain if this decision predated the controversy or if KYA Swim hired her as a result of the bad press. Hopefully, incidents like this won’t happen again anytime soon.

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