We wouldn’t call what happened on the runway this week revolutionary, but we would call it a larger step in the right direction.
Fashion Week committed itself to real change this season in several ways. Historically exclusive designers like Michael Kors mixed things up, designer Anniesa Hasibuan held a casting call for immigrant models, body positivity hero Christian Siriano hit another home run for body diversity, and much more occurred as well.
Now that the walks have been walked and the news has been made, it’s up to the designers to put their money where their publicity-making mouths are by actually designing for the women who walked in their shows.
For now, we’re happy to pay tribute to those who got it right this week.
Gurung’s inclusive show featured plus-size models like Candice Huffine and Marquita Pring right alongside Bella Hadid. His show also made waves for its statement-making finale, in which the models wore politically charged T-shirts with slogans like “Our Minds. Our Bodies. Our Power.” and “This is what a feminist looks like.”
This season, Tome designers (who proudly wore women’s march and Planned Parenthood T-shirts backstage) cast models of varying sizes, races and ages in its show.
Following the lead he made last season, Siriano continued with his commitment to diversity, casting plus-size models like Precious Lee, Marquita Pring and Iskra Lawrence in his show, which also included a fitting “People are People” T-shirt.
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Kanye West made waves ahead of New York Fashion Week for casting hijab-wearing model Halima Aden in his show.
For the first time since launching his line in 1981, Kors cast a plus-size model, Ashley Graham, to walk his runway.
Tracy Reese, long committed to both racial and size diversity, was unwavering when it came to her presentation this season. As she wrote on Instagram, “our beautiful models represent #diversity in race, religion, and personal #style celebrating the many facets of being a #strongwoman.”
Gypsy Sport is touted by some as being “the most diverse runway” at Fashion Week because it’s “effortlessly filled with people of color, transgender, and who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and body types,” according to Allure.
Since its inception, Chromat has been committed to celebrating every single person through its diverse casting. As its lead designer Becca McCharen told The Huffington Post in 2016, “All our runway models represent those who inspire us, whether it’s trans women, women of color, curve models, that’s my world and that’s the world we live in and that’s who I want to celebrate.” Denise Bidot, Iskra Lawrence and Sabina Karlsson helped spread that message at its show this season.
For the second season in a row, Anniesa Hasibuan has sent all of her models down the runway wearing hijabs. This year, she did one better, by putting out a casting call for immigrant models to walk in her show.