New York fashion week just ended and some pretty awesome things happened this year. The high profile event sets the stage for fashion statements and trends we’ll see throughout the year but is also historically known to reinforce narrow beauty archetypes that limit both men and women’s bodies. However, in recent years designers have made shows more inclusive in terms of the models they select to walk their runway. The 2018 New York Fashion week continued this trend and even raised the bar for representation.
Designer Marco Morante, known for his swimsuit and underwear lines, is a LGBTQIA activist whose shows reflect his effort to improve representation on the runway. Several of his shows have featured popular drag queens like Alyssa Edwards, Raja, Willam and Laganja Estranja (all Rupaul’s Drag Race alumni), as well as gay, lesbian and queer models. This year the Marco Marco’s Collection Seven line set a new precedent when 34 openly transgender and non-binary models walked the runway in stunning dresses, colorful tops, and ofc ourse tight-fitting underwear. Marco told Mic Magazine that he wanted his show “to create a space to celebrate trans bodies”, and his star-studded all-trans cast, which included actors Laverne Cox, Dominique Jackson and Gigi Gorgeous, as well as several other talented models, did just that.
Chromat, a New York-based clothing line, also contributed to the progressive week of fashion with their new Saturation Collection. Their runway featured disabled models as well as several women of color such as Mama Pax, who rocked the show with her gorgeous white prosthetic leg. Chromat’s Sample Size T made major headlines when curvy models clad in tight-fitting wet shirts sent a message to high fashion. Sample size clothing is used by designers in runway shows and is usually only made in sizes zero to four; These narrow fits are used as an excuse to cast only thin models and exclude other body types. In an interview, Becca Mcharen-Train (founder of Chromat) said, “Our goal is to encourage more designers to sample their collections in a range of sizes, in order to celebrate all different size bodies on the runway.” The positive reception of the collection and it’s models will hopefully push more designers to expand representation.
Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line has pushed boundaries since it was first created, and her New York fashion show was no exception. Ri’s lingerie line empowers all women to feel sexy, something her steamy 2018 show reflected to perfection. The theatrical show featured symbolic performance and choreography while models of all shapes and races showed off the gorgeous line. Models Gigi and Bella Hadid donned the runway as well as Duckie Thot, Joan Smalls, and Jazzelle Zanaughtti. RiRi’s show also included pregnant models like Slick Woods who has been with Fenty since it was created. Walking the runway nine months pregnant in pasties and a stunning black lace set, Woods reportedly went into labor after the show (Now that’s a birth story).
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the inclusive shows seen in New York last week, but a brief snapshot of some exciting new trends taking place in fashion. Representation on the runway affects how young people view themselves and shapes society’s standards of beauty, and hopefully fashion will continue to reflect the wide range of people who wear it.