All eyes are on New York as fashion week is still well underway. But, each season we shuffle from show to show and gaze at an army of women who all look relatively similar. It’s not so hard to see why people criticize the monotonous aspects that come along with this week long spectacle. However as the world around us continues to evolve with the shifting socio cultural landscape, it only makes sense that the faces of fashion reflect these changes too. Finally it seems that designers are taking steps in the right direction and becoming more inclusive of all ages, ethnicities and sizes. Who knows? Maybe it’s a sign of the times.
In the midst of the artsy commotion ensuing all over the city, the added diversity of the models being casted was pretty clear from day one. Just watching the choreographed execution of the Desigual SS18 runway show was a celebration of the global community that inspires this creative industry. I felt almost as if I was witnessing their vivid take on the Olympic opening ceremonies, and I couldn’t peel my eyes away for a second. Even brands like Rag and Bone who opted out of their usual runway presence took a stand by recruiting a variety of A-listers to promote the new Spring collection while pledging support to a charity of their choice. Meanwhile at A Détacher and Concept Korea, older models walked amongst millennial models proving their brands have no age limits. You can even argue that the timely launch of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna this week is a nod to the concept of inclusion for people of all colors in the fashion and beauty industry. But to be honest, it shouldn’t be so taboo for a cosmetic company to make a strong effort to offer a wide enough variety of options for all different skin tones. Better late than never, I suppose.
As a person of color, the influx of any form of diversity is something I can’t help but pay a bit closer attention to. For so many people, myself included, fashion was and still is the antidote to feeling like a square peg in the round whole that society sometimes tries to squeeze you into. So, of course we should all feel equally represented on the runways, in the advertisements and everywhere else. It’s a refreshing change of tone from the problematic displays of cultural appropriation shown on past runways, like the dread lock controversy at Marc Jacobs this time last year. I can’t say if the recent events in America have inspired a heightened level of sensitivity or desire for a truly inclusive society, but I look forward to the day when this trend becomes the new normal.
By Ariel Serano
Image Courtesy of WWD