The recent events we discussed in the first part of this series explored the situation taking place in the United States. However, as many on social media have rightfully pointed out, Australians could do much more to reflect on our own history and shortcomings when it comes to the Indigenous and POC communities across the country. As such, we chatted to Milo Hartil, one of the talented models who took part in our AW 20 ‘Slow’ collection presentation back in March to find out her thoughts on the situation locally and within the Australian fashion industry at large.
It might be easy to believe that instances similar to the one in America don’t happen here in Australia, but the fact is that this is happening everywhere. Facing our own shortcomings is difficult but important. Milo shares that the most important thing is that people are trying. “The change isn’t going to happen unless everyone is talking about it.” Ignoring the problem or staying silent about the problem only hurts the problem. It’s important that we are aware of the issues that are occurring in our own country. Milo agrees that one of the most important things we can do is learn and help people learn.
photo by Charlie Brophy
We asked Milo to share some experiences that she has faced as a woman of colour in the arts and if she has struggled with inequality in the field. Milo says inequality absolutely exists. Most of the arts is determining whether you suit the role, and a lot of the time women of colour are deemed unfit for roles exclusively made for people who fit the Eurocentric ideal. Roles and stories often only reflect stereotypes that are outdated and unfair. Even off screen, young Australian people don’t see people that look like them in magazines or in advertisements unless they’re Eurocentric and white. The lack of diversity in the arts is something that our people have been forced to become accustomed to.
This movement is offering a chance to educate and change the lack of diversity in the arts. Milo compiled a numerous amount of resources for us, but we asked her to share three of her favorites. The first one is to start these conversations within your peers and at home. Especially as an ally, it is important to speak up and incite change even if it is uncomfortable.
With that considered, Milo says the second most important thing is to practice what you preach. Posting without any intention of advocating for people of colour is essentially empty. Milo says, “Not being racist isn’t enough, you have to be anti-racist.”
The third most important thing is to do your research. Too many people out there want to support, but don’t know exactly what it is that they’re supporting. Unfortunately, indigenous and POC history is not taught nearly enough in schools. As an ally, it is important to have a larger grasp of the big picture that we are supporting besides the minimal information that we are taught when we are young. Milo shares a book recommendation that is a great place for people who don’t necessarily know where to start, Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad. The book outlines things that contribute to white privilege and is a hands-on journey into understanding what white privilege is. Milo was kind enough to provide us with a list of educational resources to learn from that we will link below or on our Instagram page.
We went on to ask Milo what she hopes to see out of the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. “For so long the hope was that we would have equality and that we would be equal, but now, I’m like, that’s not enough. I don’t think we need equality, I think we need equity.” It is important that everyone is in a position where they can be successful and not have any preconceived notions towards them.
As a company, we advocate for people to keep the conversation going and keep the Black Lives Matter movement in the mainstream. Along with the resources that Milo can provide you, it is very important to support black creatives work and to help amplify their voices within the industry and out.
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#blacklivesmatter movement has sparked a global movement. Inequality and racism needs to be addressed in every country especially Australia. @milohartill is model/performer who featured in our aw20 runway. We sat down with her to discuss what needs to be addressed here and she has made it super easy for everyone by creating a ton of content and resources to help educate/inform you of the problem in Australia and what you can do about it.