As the Fall 2017 runway shows begin to take place so does the topic of diversity and activism in fashion. This season it seems designers have finally woken up to the fact that fashion not only interests all ages but different races and cultures. Sparked by the current political and social situations of the world, designs used this inspiration to create the most diverse castings ever seen during fashion week.
While many designers sent direct messages via political slogans on their garments, several opted for a more subtle approach by casting models who showcased the cultural inclusivity and diversity of fashion.
Yeezy Season 5
Starting the fashion week in New York, Kanye West booked 19-year-old Somali-American model Halima Aden. Halima, born in a Kenyan refugee camp, became the first ever hijab-wearing model to sign with a major agency after making news last year when she competed in Minnesota’s Miss USA pageant wearing a burkini in the swimsuit portion. Halima made news again this season, walking Yeezy Season 5 in her hijab and a floor length fur coat.
Not only did Marc Jacobs shake up the unsaid rules of fashion week by banning all social media, starting on time and seating everyone in the front row, but he gave a nod to the diversity lacking in fashion. By casting trans heroes Casil McArthur and Stav Strashko with Harlem born Simone Thompson alias Slick Woods, activist Winnie Harlow and Gurls Talk founder Adwoa Aboah, Marc Jacobs made up for the dreadlocks fiasco of last season.
Taking a stand on America’s current political situation, Anniesa Hasibuan cast only first or second generation immigrants. During the casting Anniesa asked the models their political views, ensuring her show would be the perfect representation to show Islam as a beautiful country and a great contribution to America.
Using an open call casting via their social media, Gypsy Sport ensured diversity in all aspects of their AW17 runway. This season the brand focused on activism, casting protestors and social media ambassadors. Kelvin Pena founder of ‘Everybody Eats’, a non-profit organisation that helps feed single parent families was a part of the diverse cast, alongside Kabrina Adams from ‘Free my Boobs’ and vitiligo beauty activist Jesi Taylor.
Showing that fashion isn’t solely for the young, Brandon Maxwell not only filled his cast with now famous models, but established ones who’ve played a huge role in diversifying fashion for all generations. James Scully won over the fashion elite with his casting choices, having Alanna Arrington, Imaan Hammam and Karly Loyce rocking out their amazing natural curly hair. The cast also included Joan Smalls and all-round girl power wonder woman Adwoa Aboah.