Fashion Month’s conclusion is almost here as Paris closes. So ends a circus that doubles as trend predictor under an elitist crystal ball. Cultural appropriation took a decline throughout each presenting city. Thankfully, designers were more interested in ripping the ’70s than cultures they are clueless about. But while minorities weren’t jacked for their style this season, they were not well represented on the runway. New York Fashion Week was the most diverse in castings with 22.6% non-white models, according to The Fashion Spot.
Majority-white runways aren’t going away, however. The real diversity lies in digital content, which cuts out the corporate middle man and appoints editors the opportunity to give readers what they truly want. Below are my favorite pieces of content which insert minorities into lifestyle conversations instead of marginalizing them as a runway number.
Through time lapse video, Cut highlights significant hairstyles from 1910 to 2010. The series showcases Iran’s political landscape’s influence on women’s style and the awesome versatility of natural hair, which brings me to my next favorite.
Photo Credit: Marissa Kaiser
NYC model Brandee Brown, who is featured in DKNY’s Resort 15 campaign, spilled the deets with Refinery 29’s Phillip Picardi about the relationship between her hair, getting casted, and show stylists. Through open conversation, Brown reveals the stylist’s lack of knowledge and unwillingness to understand the natural hair of black models:
“If you’re hired for a job, you expect everyone to be on-point,” Brandee says. “They show up, know what they’re doing, and stay focused. That’s why they’re working; that’s their specialty. So, to show up as a hairstylist and not know how to work with Black hair — how is that professional?”
Bethann Hardison–who was one of the first black models to walk the runway in 1973 at the Battle of Versailles— partnered with Models.com for an online series which features photos and short videos that highlight the personalities of models. Of her vision, Hardison states:
So I decided, instead of looking at what and where it isn’t happening (for now), to show where it continues to grow. There are agencies with far more ethnic models than others, but there are many still open to growth.
The series highlights which agencies are getting it right instead of continuing to give attention to stubborn, white-washed agencies. As the series also doubles as advertisement, perhaps more agencies will follow suit?
Though inspiring, the fashion industry has its ills like all industries. Things can improve through creative collaboration and digital media. Hopefully the continued diverse content will trickle into Fashion Month’s next cycle in September.