The Fashion Institute of Technology has apologized for a "clearly racist" show where a black model was asked to wear giant red lips and black plastic ears. The model refused, but white colleages were photographed on the catwalk wearing the bizarre prostheses. The college's president is not sure if there was an explicitly racial comment being made, but is looking into it, reports the BBC:
"Currently," its president Joyce F Brown said in a statement, "it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race.
"However, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome. For that, we apologise – to those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw."
Amy Lefevre, the model who declined, talked to the New York Post and shared a test shot (above) taken before the show in which she wore the accessories.
"I stood there almost ready to break down, telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with having to wear these pieces and that they were clearly racist," Amy Lefevre, 25, told The Post.
"I was told that it was fine to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds."
The designer, Junkai Huang, is reportedly "from China" and unaware of the racial connotations of the mask. Richard Thornn, the producer of the show, is reported to have "screamed" at a student who objected before the show and has more explaining to do.