By Kym B.
Designer Ashley Chew, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, created a free hand purse stating “Black Models Matter”; which went completely viral. As a fashion correspondent
at the 2016 New York Fashion Week, I was able to take a look at if the frequent shun of African American artists, such as recent actor and musician awards, continues to rear its ugly head in the fashion world?
Surprisingly New York Fashion week heard our cry and more black and biracial models with textured hair and voluptuous curves have walked the runways in 2016, than preceding years.
There has been an increased movement, this year, in the fashion world towards the inclusion of all shapes and colors. The fashion momentum continues even off the runway. Sports Illustrated recently made history by placing a plus-sized model, Ashley Graham, on its cover. Even more exciting, the magazine went one step further, with their reveal of the first plus–sized African American women, Precious Lee, in an advertisement that exudes confidence, poise and sexuality.
While the fashion world has made great strides with embracing beautiful brown women in healthy body acceptance images; there is still more work to do. Unfortunately, style remains biased and one-sided and diversity is rare in the fashion and modeling industry. Black models are still feeling pressure to chemically straighten or wear their hair in European textured styles to be even considered for a model audition.
As we slowly progress towards an all-inclusive world, throughout all fields of work, I can’t help but be proud of the growth that has recently been made…..at least at New York Fashion week.
Kym B. is an International Policy Analyst and she owns a clothing design boutique with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter@AlwaysRich777
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