FASHION HAS A NEW FACE
“The improvement on showcasing diversity put magazine covers is on a faster track – the Spring 2017 shows saw the number of non-white models increase,” says Time Magazine’s Kastalia Medrano.
The word diversity- relating synonyms: ‘range, assortment or heterogeneity,’ should perhaps define its purpose. Despite taking more than a century, the inevitable evolving fashion world is finally putting rare faces on the frontline. The true face of UK’s £66 billion industry seemed stagnantly unhinged when it came to representation. British Fashion Council 2017 stats proved the volume of the industry, accounting to provide more than 800.000 jobs - which begs the irritable question, why has it taken this long to diversify the industry?
British Vogue Magazine finally puts Kenyan born model Halima Aiden wearing a Hijab on the May 2018 cover, joining the ranks of other legendary faces like Naomi Campbell – the magazine’s first black cover model. The ‘fashion bible’ known to elevate the recognition of young artists has had a notable series of white editors. However, last year Edward Enninful took over as British Vogue’s first black editor since its inception– putting biracial model and activist Adwoa Aboah on the highly treasured December 2017 issue.
Recent years have seen Times 100 Most Influentialdesigner Virgil Abloh’s Off-White and other brands like Acne Studios, Vetements take high street trends and have given them their Super Bowl championship status in fashion. Evidently there is a demand as sales skyrocket and clothing is presented in the likes of Vogue Magazine. This widening interest and acknowledgement in street style attracts more than just the sponsored sportsman - rather celebrities and influencers in all genres such as Rihanna and Bella Hadid.
Vetements’ CEO Guram Gvasalia says, "We had hoodies from the first season that sold out super quickly and we had thousands of requests to make the hoodies again. If we were to, we would probably be able to make a million in a day. It’s out of respect to the people that bought them first that we don’t." Realising there is such a demand, perhaps now - there is in one word, hope- in changing representations that reflect the markets in fashion campaigns anddigitalmarketing.
Likewise, if brands like Erdem, Balmain and Moschino recognise the demand and reach for collaborations with high street brands like H&M to target a wider demographic surely it is imminent to represent all types of faces. Perhaps one can try avoiding the hot topic of Cultural Appropriation, if respect is given when using a culture and surely we should be representing them as part of the beauty aesthetic.
Modelling agencies like Rare Select Models aim to promote a diverse industry - where standards of beauty are challenged, recognises the demand and catapults the industry into the future.
Words by Xavier Rodrigues