Indonesian fashion designer Anniesa Hasibuan made a political statement at New York Fashion Week by exclusively casting immigrant models for her show. She has included women of minority faiths and women of color. Creating both a bold statment and making history for the New York Fashion Week.
she unveiled the fashion world’s first all-hijab collection in New York — told Elle.com that one of the purposes of her show was to prove that hijab-wearing women “can be as stylish and glamorous as other women can be.”
“This show was the opportunity to show that Islam is beautiful,” she told the outlet:
“I believe everyone should be presented with equal opportunities, especially if he or she has passion, talents, and skills, because not all immigrants are ‘bad.’ We’ve proved they are beautiful and a great contribution to the States.”
The mindset of her and other designers like her need to be encouraged more and appreciated more. It’s very rare to say the least that designers willingly opt for models of a minority faith and ethnicity in the fashion industry.
In an ever growing world of design, color, and originality, the one focus that does not seem to grow and change with the times is the model the clothes are fitted on. For one, the predominant and preferred color of skin for models (as per the choice of the designer) is white as opposed to the numerous other colors of skins out there (and ethnicities that wear them).
Secondly, (again, referring to the mainstream) they have a strict set of rules; 1) Nothing over a size 4,6..etc..etc… 2) You need to be of a particular Weight and height 3) The presence of body hair, freckles, stretch marks, piercings, tattoos and even hyperpigmentation ( A skin pigmentation disorders, which affect the color of your skin – a condition that causes patches of light skin.) is considered a falter in the ‘Ideal Model Candidate’.
So clearly, when you come across someone that chooses to break the norm and include women of color, you have to celebrate it or at the very least appreciate it. Someone out there is basing their line on the concept (and truth) that women of color ARE beautiful. They are nothing short of showcasing potential and all the more perfect for the on-lookers to behold.
To put it statistically, only an estimate of 18% of the world is ‘white’.(Han Chinese are about 19%, Indians are about 18%, Blacks are about 18% -Africa’s population alone is 1.001 billion, but most of North Africa is Arab, with the final 27% being a mixture largely comprised of Hispanic, Arab, and Southeast Asian.) That mean there’s an 82% out there which belongs to people of color so it’s absurd, to say the least, that modeling should strictly be a ‘white dominated’ calling when by popular demands of the people, by the people is color. Every color of the spectrum.
Anniesa Hasibuan did, what most of the agencies and designers out there were scared to do, or didn’t feel confident doing, and that is, embrace diversity.
Understanding, that the clothes don’t make the people; the people make the clothes.
The wonderful, exotic and vibrant and beautiful men and women out there that are rightly proud and ready to model in the skin that they’re in deserve the chance and should be given it.
If fashion can change so much over the years, why can’t people? Why can’t ideas? Why can’t standards and expecations?
‘Design’ is inclusive of all because it can never be limited. It’s quite literally endless and overflowing with possibilities. Putting a stop sign on that concept by saying “No, youre too tan/ white/ brown/ olive/ dark” etc just defeats the whole purpose of it.
Color should be celebrated. Always.