Written by Amy Jackson
As a growing adolescent, I used to admire, even idolise the models I saw on the front cover of fashion magazines. Fashion has always fixated on a certain type of beauty. If I asked you to picture a supermodel walking the catwalk, it’s likely you’d envision a tall, slim, young female, with symmetrical features and porcelain skin. Today, however, if a young girl takes a glimpse through the latest issue of Vogue, or catches up with the new collections at fashion week, there’s a possibility that she will see a different, more diverse expression of beauty. With more and more cases of models of different sizes, races, ages and with a range of abilities; you can’t help but wonder, is fashion bored of the typical?
– Chantelle Winnie for i-D Magazine –
As Coco Chanel said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different“. As of 2015, Fashion is definitely embracing the different. Vitiligo sufferer Chantelle Winnie has had a big career break, modelling for brands such as Diesel, and black models Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls are ranked some of the highest earning models of the past year. After a long history of racial discrimination on the runway, this is a big step in the right direction, and whilst many aspects of the industry are still plagued by racism, this is a sign that things are changing. However, is this introduction of diversity in fashion something that will last, or is it just another trend, a fad that will be discarded until it next becomes ‘relevant’?
Dolce & Gabbana challenged age stereotypes in their latest campaign, featuring elderly Italian women, surrounded by their younger counterparts. Whilst Dolce & Gabbana are certainly including an aspect of diversity in their ad, the older women’s inclusion in the photos seems to hold a more light-hearted, comical purpose. The women aren’t styled in a glamorous way, unlike the models surrounding them, and the ad’s don’t give the impression that these women are fashionable or representative of the clothing. Céline is another brand that’s dived onto the silver-haired bandwagon, whose most recent Ad Campaign features legendary author Joan Didion, shot by Juergen Teller. The difference between the two Campaigns, is that Céline has chosen to represent the older woman in a stronger light. Didion, the influential female figure that she is, looks effortlessly cool as the face of the brand, making every other Ad in the magazine featuring Karlie Kloss or Cara Delevigne seem quite lame in comparison.
– Joan Didion for Céline accessories campaign –
If diversity is a trend, then its biggest follower of 2015 is New York fashion week. We saw impressive casting at the highly anticipated debut of Kanye West x Adidas, with a refreshing medley of body types and races. Whilst at FTL Moda and Carrie Hammer, we witnessed a fashion revelation, as models with varying abilities rocked the catwalk. Down-syndrome model Jamie Brewer walked for Carrie Hammer, and disabled models represented FTL Moda. The aim of a fashion show is to showcase your designs in a creative, eye-catching way, gaining publicity for your brand. This ultimately leads to the conclusion that yes, perhaps diversity is a trend that those in the industry are latching onto to get noticed. If this is the case, then who are we to complain? The power of trends is huge, just look at the miniskirt; way over a decade ago and still going strong. There is hope that diversity will join the miniskirt as a fashion statement that stands the test of time, but we need to help it thrive. We are all the voices of our generation, and if we continue to promote a diverse image, we can abolish the ‘typical’ for good. And above all else, the young girls noticing these models can realise that no matter their skin colour, height, weight or range of abilities; everybody can fit perfectly into the world of fashion.