Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 12:36 UK

Deal in Brazil fashion race row

By Gary Duffy,
BBC News, Sao Paulo

Model at Sao Paulo
Relatively few black models have made it onto the Sao Paulo catwalk

Brazilian prosecutors and organisers of Sao Paulo Fashion Week have reached a deal over claims that too few black and mixed-race models are taking part.

Under its terms, fashion brands must ensure that 10% of the models are of African or Indigenous descent.

Last year, an investigation concluded eight of 344 the models taking part in the event were black - just 2.3%.

If the organisers fail to meet the new target they could face the prospect of being fined more than $120,000

Sao Paulo Fashion Week, being held in June, attracts worldwide attention.

But when the Brazilian newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo, drew attention to the fact that few black models were used, the legal authority responsible for looking after the public interest opened an investigation.

Easier to work abroad

Brazil has more people of African descent than anywhere outside Africa itself.

Almost half of the population is said to be black or of mixed race.

But black Brazilian models say it has often been easier to get work abroad than in their own country.

It is a sensitive time for the issue of racial quotas in Brazil.

While there has been little visible sign of tension over race, people of African heritage make up the poorest section of society.

An attempt to create a national law to establish quotas to address this inequality has once again been delayed in the Brazilian Congress, because of a failure to reach a consensus.

Some legislators are arguing that the best way to tackle inequality would be to use social rather than racial criteria in setting targets.

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