New York Fashion Week Embraces Inclusivity

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As the stages of New York Fashion Week came to life this past week, we noticed a refreshing pursuit of authentic diversity represented across the runways.

Designers took a more deliberate attempt to foster an inclusive environment when it came to race, size, age, ability and gender with a diverse array of models showcasing an assortment of high fashion. 

While the fashion industry at its core has typically been an exclusionary system, we are witnessing an age where traditional beauty standards are being broken.

While there still may be a long road ahead, fashion is moving away from its narrow past and into an era of well-rounded representation. 

Across the 2019 fall shows, 94 non-sample-size models graced the runways.

We saw black and queer culture celebrated at the Pyer Moss show with an entirely black cast of models.

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Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi dressed transgender model Ariel Nicholson in theatrical designs.

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Other designers stood out as inclusivity leaders with a diverse cast of models including Chromat, Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung. 

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But the standout of the season was the Savage x Fenty show, which featured a highly inclusive cast.

“The casting of this year’s Savage x Fenty show was unparalleled in terms of choosing models that represent all walks of life,” said Hayley Francise, stylist assistant at Savage x Fenty. “Diversity and inclusion is the brand’s DNA, so making sure the cast not only featured top models, but talent that was also relatable so the audience could see themselves in the show, was a huge standout amongst other shows.”

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More than just a fashion show, the entire Savage x Fenty showcase combined fashion, music and entertainment to create a joyous celebration of diversity, sexuality and inclusion.

“Not only did we cast runway veterans such as the Hadids, Cara Delevigne, Slick Woods, Joan Smalls and Alek Wek, we had models of varying abilities like Mama Cax & Lauren Wasser,” Francise said. “We also had so many plus size models, models that represented the in-between, trans models, non-binary models, male models and also so many talented dancers that oozed sexuality and transcended the traditional idea of what a dancer should look like.”

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While the fashion industry aims to forge a new path, we hope to see that diversity and inclusion in fashion is not just the latest trend, but a mindset to commit to moving forward.  

“Seeing models of varying sizes, ethnicities and abilities standing together in the finale of the show was so powerful,” Francise said. “The only way we can continue breaking this system is if the people watching can see versions of themselves being included.”

The Savage x Fenty show will be available on Amazon Prime starting Sept. 20, 2019.

Brittany Maher

Brittany Maher is a Georgia born writer, poet and journalist. When she’s not wrangling words and slingin’ ink, you can find her by the river with her dog Lego, at a local concert venue or sipping coffee in the poetry section of a bookstore.

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