New York Fashion Week concluded last week on the 18 with shows from big brands like Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Ralph Lauren but what many people were talking about after fashion week ended weren’t the collections. It was diversity.
According to an article on Fashionista, Zac Posen made the biggest impact on fashion week in New York this year. There were other brands who had diverse models walking their shows but Posen was the one who made the biggest statement.
Posen casted non-white models almost exclusively but what’s surprising is that his show was cast by Maida and Rami, an agency that has been criticized for casting all white models for shows like Dior, according to an article by Dhani Mau on Fashionista. Regardless, the show was great as Posen took inspiration from Princess Elizabeth of Toro who, as said by Mau,
“…was a Ugandan lawyer who became the first East African woman to be admitted to the English bar. She was also a successful model and covered American Vogue in 1968, and was briefly the foreign minister of Uganda in the 1970s. Black or white, she was an accomplished and beautiful woman — a perfect point of inspiration for a fashion designer.”
Posen also spoke of Princess Elizabeth’s “kind nature, stunning appearance and exceptional intellect.”
This, just a week after Posen took to Instagram and posted a photo himself holding a handbag that reads “Black Models Matter” (below) which takes inspiration from the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, started last year.
Then there were brands that used their runway shows to celebrate body type diversity, which we all know the fashion industry needs right now.
While all of this is great and makes important statements, I hope they aren’t just that. The model casting that was going on at this year’s New York Fashion week needs to stay diverse and not just be that way for a one time statement.
Not to mention, people always say that they don’t know exactly who is at fault for the lack of diversity on the runway and that designers can’t decide who is in their shows or not. Obviously they can and should. If Posen can do it, I’m sure designers of many other luxury brands can.
Designers are the ones who have the responsibility of casting models for diverse shows. They need to make it very clear to their casting directors what they are looking for and should stop working with the many model casters who won’t work with someone who wants to include a certain amount of non-white models or who use the excuse of “casting a certain look” as the reason there are mostly white models in their shows.
Hopefully, this casting diversity happens during London, Milan, and Paris fashion week but I don’t think it will. New York Fashion Week is always the first to do things for diversity and shows in Europe have always been late when it comes to things like that. They might do it during fashion week in September, but I don’t think we’ll see it this season.
So, what do you think? Is model casting diversity just “in” at the moment or will New York Fashion Week continue to be diverse? Let me know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
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