With diversity awareness hashtags like #Oscarssowhite, #blacklivesmatter and #blackgirlmagic, it’s refreshing to see another diversity driven hashtag come to the scene, #blackmodelsmatter. The fashion community is notorious for their lack of diversity on the runway. Zac Posen’s Fall 2016 collection strove to counteract that. Inspired by Ugandan Princess, Elizabeth Toro, Posen’s melanin driven runway show boasted 25 models of color out of the 33 models casted to showcase his latest collection.
As another lackluster fashion week comes and goes it seems that the constant pattern of flaxen haired models with pale skin still prevails most of the top runway and presentation shows.
Having attended quite a few notable fashion shows this season, it still shocks me that the audience members in attendance are vastly diverse, but the catwalks barely showcase women of color.
The thunderous applause following the end of Posen’s runway show is deafening. To further support his belief in diversity in the fashion world, Posen bravely shared an image of himself via his Instagram page donning, designer Ashley B. Chew’s tote design, “Black Models Matter.” When asked to elaborate on the lineup of women debuting his new looks, Posen explains:
“Since the inspiration was Elizabeth of Toro it made sense to have a casting reflecting this . . . Their presence and the diversity of the casting complemented the collection and made it more striking. Within this global environment – diversity is very important and it is something that has always been equally important to me as well as a key component of my collections, whether it is shapes, sizes, or skin color.”
Caps off to designers like Zac Posen and model turned activist Bethanne Hardison, who have steadily been vocal about the lack of diversity showcased in the fashion world. Let’s hope more famed names will continue to push and demand for more degrees of color to strut down the runway.
One thing does hold true, for Posen, black models do matter.
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