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Pushing The Boundary for A More Inclusive NYFW

With protests across the country and the globe standing up for women's and immigrants' rights, New York Fashion Week might not seem like the most relevant topic on our mind. But this year, a number of designers got political and pushing the runway boundary to be more inclusive.

Fashion shows are being live-streamed on the Internet nowadays, and people around the world are eyeing on the latest aspirational runway snaps. While Vogue magazine is getting blasted for using a white model (Karlie Kloss) as a geisha in their “diversity” issue photo shoot (lame), it’s refreshingly that runway model casting has got the diversity memo. 

Here are some noteworthy boundary-pushing moments on the runway:


1. 27 Plus Size Models Were Featured


27 may seem like a small number when compared to the number of models used during the entire fashion week. But it is a major step when compared to the 12 plus-size models appeared last year.

Plus size models including appearances by supers such as Ashley Graham on Michael Kors’ show, and Jocelyn and Corona and Iskra Lawrence for Christian Siriano, and even Instagram influencer Minahil Mahmood (@bae.doe) were taking away the spot light from the other more expected casts.


View Runway Images of All Plus-Size Models Casted in NYFW 



2. Prabal Gurung and Christian Siriano Got Political

Both designers incorporated political statement into their designs —

Gurung sent his models down in a tee printed with phrases such as “The Future Is Female” and “I Am an Immigrant”.

Siriano presented a T-shirt with “People Are People” and paired with a pink skirt.


View Vanity Fair' Roundup of Protest Tees at NYFW


3. Transgenders Got More Transparent

Becca McCharen-Tran, CEO of Chromat, featured 5 transgender or gender-nonconforming models in her fall 2017 lineup.

“Growing up not being represented in fashion makes you feel like ‘Is there something wrong with me? Why don’t people look like me on the runway? Maybe I should change’”, says Becca McCharen-Tran, the label’s designer.

This is not Chromat’s first time. The brand consistently features diverse models with a wide range of backgrounds, body types, and gender identities.


Learn about Each Chromat Model on NY Magazine's Slide Show



4. Model Put Other Model’s Health First

Sara Ziff, model and founder of the Model Alliance, led a powerful #DearNYFW campaign with a study in which they found that 81 percent of models have body mass indexes that are underweight; 62 percent of models have been asked to lose weight by their agency; and 21 percent of models were told their agency would stop representing them unless they lost weight!

It also features an open letter signed by 100 models and influencers to the “American Fashion Industry” asking them to “prioritize health and celebrate diversity” with the start of New York Fashion Week approaching.


Read The Open Letter To the American Fashion Industry Here




With all of these wonderfulness, I still have yet to see runways featuring models representing women of my height! Even thought 50 percent to of the American women are 5’4” and shorter according to a CDC survey conducted between 2011 — 2014, the fashion industry still clings to the use of tall, white models like they had been since the 40s. Back then white were definitely more affluent.

But ethnicities in the U.S. has got more diverse, and so has people’s economic power and HEIGHT. So let’s hope that the size chart inclusivity keeps growing wide in all dimensions.


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Posted on 17 February 2017

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