Instagram Addresses Diversity In Fashion (& The Lack Of It) With #RunwayForAll

Instagram is getting in on the conversation about inclusivity in fashion, thanks to a new hashtag. Yesterday, the app rolled out a new initiative, #RunwayForAll, to highlight diversity in the industry, specifically in terms of modeling. Each day, a different model’s story is being shared on the app’s namesake handle (and, thus, reaching a whopping 162 million followers). The five models included were chosen for “redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll,” according to an Instagram rep.

Yesterday, the initiative kicked off with Mama Cax (@caxmee), a Haitian blogger and model whose leg was amputated at age 18. “The majority of humans do not look like the mainstream idea of beauty...Through modeling I hope to show that beauty does not always wear a size zero and beauty does not always walk on two limbs,” Cax writes in the caption.

Today’s post is about Shaun Ross (@shaundross), a gay male model with albinism. “I remember when I first entered the industry all I saw were models that looked the same,” Ross writes. “Now here we are almost 10 years later, and I see the choice I’ve made has helped the industry to see beauty in many ways, such as casting models and rising icons like @winnieharlow, @jilly_peppa, and more to help lead the fight with me to diversity.” Ross also shares the challenges he faced as an openly gay model during the early years of career: “Agents always told male models to be masculine, but that was never the case for me. I never wanted to hide my sexuality,” he writes.

On Wednesday, plus-size model Clémentine Desseaux (@bonjourclem) will be featured, followed by Black model (and former autopsy technician’s assistant) Londone Myers (@londonemyers) on Thursday, and Jillian Mercado (@jilly_peppa), a model with muscular dystrophy, on Friday.

“Our goal is to highlight some of the bravest and most creative models on Instagram who are building their own audiences and telling their own stories,” Kristen Joy Watts, fashion and arts community lead at Instagram, told Refinery29. “These breakout stars aren't conforming to the industry's traditional mold, and in fact, are redefining it."

Other Instagram created hashtags akin to #RunwayForAll include #WhyIMove, celebrating dancers all over the world; #MyStory, which highlighted inspiring women on Instagram, and (on a decidedly lighter note) #TinyCanvas, a series of images of nail artists and their minuscule masterpieces.

Anyone can create a hashtag to contribute to the discourse about diversity and inclusivity on the catwalk — and the lack thereof — as we’ve seen before with the likes of #BlackModelsMatter and #NYFW4All. Most notably, the photo sharing app, which has become pretty much integral to the experience of going to or vicariously, remotely experiencing a fashion show, has created a hashtag (in effect, a virtual “space”) to address the dearth of diversity in the industry.
Advertisement

More from Fashion

You never want something until you can't have it. So, each week in The Sell-Out, we're getting the scoop from your favorite retailers on what's selling ...
The switch happened recently: Whereas half-dome breasts achieved via push-up bras were once the shape to mimic, bralettes have made way for more natural ...
Some trends are easy to dive into head-first: Give us all the athleisure in the world, and we're definitely not complaining. Because no matter how many ...
Laura Delarato and plus-size TRX trainer and pole dancer Roz Mays try on workout tops and talk about what makes a good plus-size workout top
Carlton Banks, your moment as a fashion icon has come. On Wednesday, Miuccia Prada showed a collection that, at first glance, might not immediately remind ...
Sometimes it can feel like life is just a constant rotation between large plastic bins of clothing — as soon as you're finally getting settled into your ...
We first heard about Nike's plans to really, truly make the self-lacing sneakers from Back to the Future Part II a reality back in March, after the ...
(Paid Content) Dressing for your age is a game that's rigged: Try as you may, the outcome is fixed and not often in your favor. One moment women are told ...
This story was originally published on October 8, 2015. You can expect to see a certain set of characters at every Halloween party. Cher Horowitz is in ...
The cast of Stranger Things is continuing its world tour of stealing your heart. First, Millie Bobby Brown took over the front row of New York Fashion ...
Kendall Jenner recently admitted that she's always either braless or in a bralette, and she's not the only one. Tons of women (regardless of chest size) ...
With close to 4 million followers on Instagram, Aimee Song (a.k.a. Song of Style) knows how to take a pretty decent photo. The Los Angeles-based interior ...
Sometimes, looking a certain height is all about perspective
For the past few months, we’ve been hearing the term “see now, buy now” ad nauseam. It's all about offering customers instant gratification — the ability ...