Fashion

Instagram Supports Diversity in Fashion with #RunwayForAll

Fashion

Instagram Supports Diversity in Fashion with #RunwayForAll

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Fashion’s slowly moving in a more inclusive direction: Jaden Smith modeled a dress for the Louis Vuitton Spring ’16 campaign, labels like Hood by Air and Gypsy Sport have brought agender styles to the mainstream, full figured model Ashley Graham has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated and model Andreja Pejic became the first trans model to be interviewed by Vogue.

Instagram has joined the movement by highlighting diversity in the modeling world with #RunwayForAll, where they’ve been profiling different boundary breakers in the industry. They’ve asked a number of notable figures to tell their stories, including Shaun Ross, plus-size model Clémentine Desseaux, amputee Mama Cax, Londone Meyers and Jillian Mercado, a model with muscular dystrophy.

Mercado, who’s modeled in international campaigns, remembered what it was like looking at models as a kid: “Growing up, I had a room full of magazines and collages and would spend hours at the library reading up on designers and dreaming about being a part of that world,” she said. “But when you realize that there isn’t a single person that looks like you, it’s very had to aspire to actually make it a reality.”

Meyers shared a similar sentiment: “Growing up, it was so hard to relate to the Cindy Crawford’s and Christy Turlingtons. I was so insecure about my wide-set, mostly buck teeth,” she recalled, adding, “Agyness Deyn and Lindsey Wixson taught me to just be myself. A model should be more of a force than a person.” Mercado would like to do that for other girls. “I’m basically being the role model that I was looking for when I was a young girl.”


“#RunwayForAll means realizing that you have the ability to start a revolution,” says Jillian Mercado (@jilly_peppa), a creative director and model who is living with muscular dystrophy, a group of diseases that cause weakness and loss of muscle mass over time. “Growing up, I had a room full of magazines and collages and would spend hours at the library reading up on designers and dreaming about being a part of that world,” the Hispanic born-and-raised New Yorker says. “But when you realize that there isn’t a single person that looks like you, it’s very hard to aspire to actually make it a reality.” With self-determination like Jillian’s, it’s not impossible: she has modeled in global campaigns, with billboards in cities from Venice to Tokyo. “It was pretty historic to know that I broke that barrier of disability in mainstream fashion,” she says. “When you want something to be done, you might as well do it yourself. I’m basically being the role model that I was looking for when I was a young girl.” Every day this week, we shared the story of a model who is redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll. Photo by @jilly_peppa

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“#RunwayForAll means living in a world without color,” says Londone Myers (@londonemyers), who is from Georgia and lives in New York City. “Growing up, it was so hard to relate to the Cindy Crawfords and Christy Turlingtons,” she says. “It’s great to no longer see so many models of color with straightened hair. Can you imagine if white models were made to perm their hair to achieve a completely different texture for every single shoot? Finally, society is embracing us for how we are naturally.” Londone has come a long way from her days of being bullied in school. “I was super insecure about my wide-set, mostly buck teeth,” she says. “@aggy_deyn and @lindseywixson taught me to just be myself. A model should be more of a force than a person.” Every day this week, we’ll be sharing the story of a model who is redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll. #Boomerang by @londonemyers

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“#RunwayforAll is not so much about what we look like anymore but more about what we represent,” says Clémentine Desseaux (@bonjourclem), who grew up in France. “I was always way bigger and taller than everyone when I was growing up, and I had those freckles,” she says. “When I saw the first plus models out there, I started thinking about trying it out. At that point I had no idea it would take me to where I am now.” Three years ago, Clementine moved to New York with $2,000 to her name and never looked back. “My size and look were in the way of me feeling invincible when I was young,” she says. “I hope I was the last generation of women to think like that. Role model is the new top model.” Every day this week, we’ll be sharing the story of a model who is redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll. Photo of @bonjourclem by @emmaandhercamera

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“#RunwayForAll means any teenager feels represented when they open a magazine or watch a fashion show,” says Mama Cax (@caxmee). Mama grew up in Haiti, lives in New York City and never aspired to be a model — “not only because there were very few dark models on magazine covers but also because I grew up with very little knowledge of the fashion industry,” she says. “Eight years ago, after getting my leg amputated, the idea of being a model was even more far-fetched.” Today, Mama is modeling and doing other things that she was told there was no audience for, like sharing tips for traveling as a black female amputee. “The majority of humans do not look like the mainstream idea of beauty,” she says. “One of the greatest barriers is not belonging. Through modeling I hope to show that beauty does not always wear a size zero and beauty does not always walk on two limbs.” Every day this week, we’ll be sharing the story of a model who is redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll. Photo of @caxmee by @simonhuemaen

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