Melanin was Poppin’ at NYFW 2016

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Wow, I must say that I am full of emotions after discovering the abundance of black models who walked at this year’s NYFW 2016. For those who may not know, black models are usually few and far between (usually one per show) because they rarely get booked and once they are, there isn’t any makeup to use on their richly pigmented skin.

Claims like these have been made by popular black models in the industry such as Nykhor Paul (please check out this article). My mixture of emotions includes excitement, gratitude, optimism, and confusion. Although the change is a good one, why now? I can’t help but think the decision for more black models in NYFW 2016 was made not to benefit and give the black models a chance to portray their talents, but it was more of a business move for designers and fashion show creators.

Was it a trend or the “thing” to have done this year, or were they trying to finally present these opportunities to women of color? Regardless of the intent behind this, I am really happy for all the black super models who had the opportunity to really showcase their talents this year…as I know they’ve been waiting for so long.

A few designers and brands in NYFW 2016 were Wes Gordon, Harlem’s Fashion Row, TOME, BCBG, Creatures of the Wind, were amongst the many designers who draped their fashions on the tall queens.

According to

“Fall 2016 was the most diverse season in recent history. We tallied 120 shows and discovered that 68.1 percent of the model castings were white and 31.9 percent were nonwhite.”

Although the fashion industry still has so much more progression to make when it comes to race, I would like to commend designer like Zac Posen for stepping outside the norm, being innovative, and especially compassionate towards the discrimination blacks still get in 2016!


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My name is Anaja Smith, a Sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus majoring in Broadcast Journalism. At my university, I am apart of NABJ as the Membership Chair position, SeeYouWeekly (a broadcasting organization), and Women of Color which promotes unity and sisterhood for women on campus. I love everything fashion related whether it is clothes, makeup, bags, or simply looking to celebrities for style inspo. With that being said, my dream job is to become a fashion correspondent for E! News headquarters in California where I can interview and talk to people about it for a living! Other goals of mine is to attend Northwestern University in Evanston,IL for my masters degree and also to give back to the less fortunate and underserved communities in Chicago, my home town.

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