The battle for diversity in the fashion industry is never-ending and it seems like every year it is slowly making a turn for the better. At this year’s NYFW, there was a noticeable change on the representation of black models on the runway.
From Kanye’s Yeezy Season 3 showcase casting all black models to more non white models being casted for Chromat, Rihanna’s collaboration with Puma, and Sophie Theallet, there are contributions to diversity more than ever. However, none could match the powerful statement by Designer Zac Posen whose model lineup for this year’s show composed of mostly black models such as Aya Jones, Aamito Lagum, Cindy Bruna, Riley Montana and Grace Bol
Posen’s runway showcase not only provided diversity but the story behind the collection honored black women in a profound way, by appreciating the brazen beauty and intellect of Princess Elizabeth of Tora, a successful model who even graced the cover of American Vogue in 1968 but not only was she beautiful but she was quite brilliant. Also a Ugandan Lawyer, Princess Elizabeth became the first East African woman to admit to the English Bar and was briefly the foreign minister of Uganda in the 1970s. In Posen show notes, he stated his admiration for her “kind nature, stunning appearance and exceptional intellect.”
Though there was no mention of his casting decision of mostly black models, it’s a clear statement that needed no explanation. How else could one be inspired by an intellectual beauty of Africa and not let it show in wholeness on the runway.
He told Harper’s Bazaar “We live in a diverse world and it is essential it is represented in the fashion industry – it has always been critical to me, as well as a key component of my collection – whether it’s shapes, sizes or skin color – as my customers are global and part of all diverse groups.”
In full support of diversity, Posen poses with “Black Models Matter” bag by Ashley Chew. The overall theme of this timeless collection was effortlessly executed as a statement of complete for a culture that he may not understand but he definitely could admire. One can only hope that other designers will follow suit.
Check out the rest of Zac Posen’s FW16 Collection.