Race in the fashion industry has always been..." complex" to say the least. While the labels and experts have embraced models of all shades, from pale Europeans to bronze Brazilian beauties, black models are often seen relegated to "token status". Black models never, with single-digit exceptions in a decade, appear on the cover of major fashion magazines due to an assumption that if you have a black face on the cover, the magazine will not sell. The sentiment "one is enough" seems to have long permeated throughout the fashion world, but recently there appear to be strides in the right direction being made.
This year's New York Fashion Week boasted an almost 3% increase in the number of black models walking the runways from the previous year. From 6% in 2015 to the current 8.08%, we saw lines such Zac Posen, Diane von Furstenberg and others whose show has 30% or more models of colors.
Another highlight was the Black Models Matter bag sported by Indiana artist and designer, Ashley Chew, a play on the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement. It became a must have item and designers such as Posen have been seeing rocking the statement piece.
Beyond the Campbells, Dunns, Smalls, Banks and Beckford, there is a cast of emerging models of color who are making remarkable strides on the runway or in print. Here are some of our favorite up -and-comers:
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