New York Fashion Week embraces diversity: fashion for everyone

Yara M. El Banna

Staff Writer

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Model walk the runway at the Anniesa Hasibuan during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at The Dock, Skylight at Moynihan Station on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)

  The New York Fashion Week is a semi-annual event that takes place every February and September of each year. Ever since the phenomenon of fashion week had first been introduced to this world in 1943 under the name of “Press Week,” the world has been witnessing shows that have the same vibe, pace, and even faces. While these faces are definitely not the same as those in 1943, many models looked so similar that it was hard for one of them to stand out.

  This September was indeed glorious; an innovation. A fashion week for everyone, one might say. For the first time since it’s launch, the New York Fashion Week debuted shows with the largest diversity and representation.

  One could tell that this September’s fashion week was different just by watching the opening ceremony. It was named “Pageant of the People,” and it took place at the Javits center. This stage performance celebrated diversity, fashion, and feminism. Actresses Rashida Jones, Natasha Lyonne, Rowan Blanchard, Aubrey Plaza, and Whoopi Goldberg walked at the opening ceremony, spreading a message on body positivity and gender equality.

  So here is something that really stands out, other than all the outfits that Kylie Jenner wore that week, how some of Kanye’s models collapsed in the heat, or even Madonna’s nip-slip.

  In her show, Tracy Reese debuted her “inclusive sizing” collection, now ranging from sizes 0 to 18, featuring models of different sizes, ages, and races. The Tome show featured plus-size model Marquita Pring.

  Additionally, Brooklyn-based athletic and swimwear brand Chromat had arguably the most diverse cast at fashion week. The show starred trans models, plus size models (including body positivity activist Iskra Lawrence), amputee Lauren Wasser, and other ethnically diverse models.

  J.Crew was greatly publicized on social media for casting “real people” in its show. Models ranged from ages 13 to 70, with style from classic to eclectic.

  Although Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 4 show was highly criticized for its casting and performance, it definitely was on the list of the top most diverse shows of this week when it comes to race and ethnicities.

  One of the most talked about shows was Christian Siriano’s. Siriano casted five plus-size models. He also dressed model and designer Ashley Graham to sit front row. Siriano was highly credited for designing Leslie Jones’ “Ghostbusters” premiere dress after she confessed that no designer would help dress her for the premiere.

   Indian model Reshma Quereshi, 19, is a survivor of an acid attack that made her suffer severe facial burns and lose an eye two years ago. The brave model opened the FTL Moda show on the 8th of September. She hit the runway in a long-sleeved white dressed with colorful designs at the center. She was welcomed with cheers and encouragement as she helped raise awareness to her cause “Make Love Not Scars”.

    Ashley Graham had her fair share this season as she modeled her own lingerie collection for the brand “Addition Elle” on the catwalk. The plus size model, 27, owned the runway as she modeled luxurious lingerie and sleepwear designs along with many other beautiful models.

  Blogger Nadia Aboulhosn, of Lebanese origin, also walked the runway in the brand’s ready-to-wear outfits. The model lineup also included high-profile plus size models Sabina Karlsson, Precious Lee, Marquita Pring, Candice Huffine, Barbie Ferreira, Tara Lynn, and Jordyn Woods. Graham later shared a message on Instagram expressing how happy and proud she was. She also dedicated the show to “any girl or woman who has ever felt that they weren’t represented in fashion/TV/media because of your size – you are now and forever will be!”

  There was one show that took New York Fashion Week by storm on September 12th. The world witnessed the first ever show in fashion week where every single model wore the hijab as she took the runway. Indonesian Muslim designer Anniesa Hasibuan exhibited her collection of colorful silk and velvet tunics, kimonos and gowns. The collection was inspired by the designer’s hometown Jakarta. The designer was honored by a standing ovation after the show’s finale. Modest fashion has been growing more popular in the western world, but the show was definitely historical.

  In other news, New York Fashion Week witnessed live Snapchat filters as Desigual had their runway models rock the filter inspired looks created by MAC.

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