It’s no surprise that the fashion industry is lacking in the diversity department, but while some are willing to sit back and let things lie, Deddeh Howard will not.
The stunning Liberian model is taking a stand with “Black Mirror,” a photo project that features original shoots from notable brands like Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Victoria’s Secret with her version of the ad beside it.
“It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all. When you are told that, trust me, it feels bizarre,” Howard wrote on her website. “For this project I decided to re-shoot several of the inspiring and famous campaigns out there and try to show what they could look like with a black model.”
She continued, “At the Victoria’s Secret fashion show you could see the same pattern you can see at New York fashion week or any other famous fashion events: black girls are almost invisible. There is the odd one here and there, but it always feels like an afterthought. We live in a globalized world with nowadays many interracial couples producing mixed babies. Why can’t the big brands not embrace our diversity more and give all of us visibility?”
According to the Fashion Spot, stats support Howard’s observations. The site is known for their “diversity reports,” which catalog the number of models who walk the runways for major brands during various seasons. The latest report stated that the most recent fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan were severely lacking in diversity, with 74.65 percent of the models being white and only 25.35 percent being models of color.
“The visibility on these commercials and billboards matter as much as having elected a first black president,” Howard added. “The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too. For that reason diversity in ad campaigns is in my opinion much more important than you might think.”
Check out her photos from the project below.
Follow Deddeh Howard on Instagram.