Right now with fashion, we’re smack dab in the middle of a progress zone you can actually feel. The race toward inclusion has been steadily picking up some momentum and these days, it’s a time of one-stride-after-another in the area of what people have been clamoring to see.
All of this forward progress is punctuated by some very splashy moments. So today, RunwayRiot honors some of the incredible forces on the frontlines of this movement by featuring nine models who are true agents of change: Sabina Karlsson, Denise Bidot, Nicola Griffin, Kamie Crawford, Alisha Sheperd, Osha Waiters, Danielle Van Grondelle, Samantha Brooks, and our very own Iskra Lawrence. They each ruminated on their exciting careers and shared one moment when they felt fashion was getting more inclusive with RunwayRiot.
From Denise Bidot walking past Anna Wintour at the Serena Williams show to choruses of affectionate applause to Nicola Griffin serving golden goddess in Sports Illustrated, these were the moments when they felt fashion was getting better.
“My defining experience included an all encompassing kickass moment for the fashion industry, too. In 2014, after wrapping the CHROMAT show, which I opened, I was honored to walk in and close the Serena Williams show as the only “plus size” model. The most epic moment of all was walking by the one and only Anna Wintour as the crowd erupted in applause like something straight out of a movie. Absolutely unforgettable!”
“I realised the moment I had a phone call from a New York newspaper asking me, “how does it feel to be the oldest model to ever appear in Sports Illustrated?” I knew then, that very moment, times are changing and all women are being recognised for their beauty, all ages and all sizes. Amazing and groundbreaking. Thanks to SwimsuitsForAll for having the vision.”
“The change I’ve seen in the industry over the past six years has been major. All kinds of models are now working together, with different ethnicities and sizes. It’s so refreshing to see that clients book a variety of models because that’s what our society looks like, we’re all different and unique. I’m happy to feel that I one day will have a chance of working with all different fashion clients and not be judged by my size. The norm that the society has come up with is changing, diversity is what’s around the corner.”
“I was walking in a show for NYFW and in the middle of the runway, all I thought was “wow”. The feeling was amazing. When I think back on that moment, it reminds me of the times I wouldn’t give myself all of the self-love I deserved because I wanted to be a model from a young age, and I didn’t have the knowledge that I now have. But to be on that runway, in that moment, as a plus size model. That moment to me, was the defining moment of the fashion industry being more inclusive. And it was truly amazing!”
“I knew the modeling industry was taking a more inclusive turn for the better as soon as we starting doing press introducing JAG Models to the world. The feedback was overwhelming and the level of media attention that we received was incredible. When you have Elle, Cosmo, Vogue Italia, GMA, Nightline and basically every major magazine and media outlet reaching out to you to promote your cause of simply giving women a healthy image to look up to, you know you’re making waves.”
“One of the most memorable experiences in the past for me was modeling in the Dapper q VERGE: Queer NYFW show. I loved working with Jag & Co. In the beginning of the night with Jag as my coach, I felt as if I was about to get in the game. Our energy together was on point. For instance, I was able to ask her questions like what hair style would she want, accessories, which shoes? Jag and I share the same passion – artistry. I respect her vision as an artist that represents androgynous apparel and look forward to working with her in the future. Prior to modeling in the VERGE show, I never fully grasped why there had to be such an emphasis on the labels “androgynous” or “gender neutral”. For me, I wear whatever I want to and always have. However, during that particular event I realized how important it was to represent today’s current society/lifestyle of “androgynous” women, or any labeling in general.”
Danielle Van Grondelle
“For me, walking NYFW was that moment. This was the first time they used curvy models on Project Runway’s Finale. The crowd did not know there were going to be plus models walking. And when we came out you could hear them cheer. It was such a special moment. Diversity is beautiful, and I hope to see more of that in the future of fashion.”
“It was being named as the Aerie real role model, knowing that I wasn’t just being used as a token plus model. It wasn’t about size at all. It was that they loved my message and what I was about. It’s the first time ever a “straight sized” brand has used a curvier model as the spokesperson.”
“One moment I remember when I felt like fashion was getting inclusive, was when I got posted on a popular clothing company’s Instagram account. I happened to browse through some comments and a few girls said things like “Finally they posted a girl who has the same body as me!” & “Now I know how this would look on me.” That’s when I suddenly noticed that they rarely post plus or curvy women. It was great to see them switching things up.”
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