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Fashion week: Diversity takes centre stage

The fashion industry is now making a concerted effort to embrace diversity and celebrate real women; from Ashley Graham to Winnie Harlow and Halima Aden, these women are part of the changing face of fashion. The appointment of Edward Enninful as the new Vogue Editor-in-Chief earlier this year heralded a new era for the magazine as he completely re-shaped the predominantly white team of his predecessor, Alexandra Shulman.

Enninful’s new team consists of big-name stars such as Naomi Campbell, Pat McGrath and model of the moment and activist Adwoa Aboah. This new team celebrates inclusivity and diversity.

However, it is not just Vogue that is making waves; a number of fashion houses are trying to make their runway shows more diverse. Alex Bruni represented the older models and participated in diversity in fashion workshop at Somerset House as part of the week’s events. Bruni, 59, only began modelling in her 40s and it is her trademark silver-grey hair that is part of her allure and what makes her the unique, sought after model that she is.

Further, following walking for labels such as Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, and Oscar De La Renta this NYFW, model Teddy Quinlivan has revealed publicly that she is a transgender woman. Quinlivan stated that she felt obliged to come out as transgender given the political climate and to express her support for the LGBT community. Quinlivan said: “If being transgender is something that gets attached to my name throughout my career, then it’s for a worthy cause. But I look forward to the day when it doesn’t matter.”

However, the spotlight was on brand Teatum Jones who had two physically disabled models walk in their ‘The body part two’ show.  The line up included model Vicky Blach, who lost her leg when the ride at Alton Towers malfunctioned in 2015. She looked stunning as walked the runway in an olive green knitted dress with minimal makeup.  Model Kelly Knox took to the runway to walk for the brand for the second time. Later she tweeted “Kat and Rob are the most beautiful souls who truly believe in diversity.”

The show was a follow up to the AW17 show in February this year which was entitled ‘The Body, Part One’. The first show was memorable for its soundtrack that featured Meryl Streep’s critique of Donald Trump mocking a disabled journalist. Designers Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones’ goal is to focus on disability fashion and gain representation for those with a disability.

Whilst there is admittedly still a long way to go, with brands like Teatum Jones and Edward Enninful leading the way the future looks bright for a more representative and inclusive fashion industry.

Tags: diversity, fashion, fashion week

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