Sri Lankan Model Jeenu Mahadevan Says Colourism Is Just As Prominent In Men's Fashion

BY Sara Tardiff / Jan 21 2019 / 15:03 PM

After walking the runways for major fashion houses like Fendi, Versace, and Burberry, the 20-year-old model recognises the discrimination that goes on at Men's Fashion Week

Sri Lankan Model Jeenu Mahadevan Says Colourism Is Just As Prominent In Men's Fashion

The women's fashion and beauty industries have been at the forefront of calling out racism and dated beauty standards - whether it's Rihanna introducing Fenty's 40 shades of foundation or ushering the first-ever Arab plus-sized model into the industry. That, of course, doesn't mean the same issues aren't prevalent in the menswear industry: in fact, during Men's Fashion Month, Sri Lankan-Norwegian model Jeenu Mahadevan called out the colourism that is still a reality for male models.

"I felt so out of place the first few times, because there's a bunch of white people, there's a few black people, and you have me," he told BBC. "And I just felt like I stood out everywhere I go, and not necessarily in a good way."

After being discovered on a bus in his home city of Oslo back in 2016, the 20-year-old has since walked for fashion's biggest names including Versace, Givenchy, and Fendi. Although that alone is a testament to the industry's progress models, but Mahadevan shared that he still feels very much an exception to the rule. He is one of only a handful of South Asian male models, including Neelam Gill and Lakshmi Menon.

"I was one of the first few dark-skinned guys. And now you see that every time there's a new Asian guy joining the industry, they know of me and they're always like 'Wow you're famous'."

Although he's certainly making a name for himself in men's fashion, from New York to Milan, there's still room for other male models with dark complexions to be welcomed by the community. This Men's Fashion Month has been more inclusive than ever before, but there's always room for more diverse contributors at the table.

Do you agree with Jeenu's thoughts on the men's fashion industry? Drop us a comment on Facebook and let us know.

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