At Fashion Week, it's easy to make a sartorial statement. What's not easy to do, however, is use your platform to comment on a social, political, or cultural injustice simply through an article of clothing. Last season, fashion editor and consultant Shiona Turini utilized her street style and social media power to shed light on the continuing issue of police brutality against civilians, particularly African-American men, across the United States. The Pyer Morris T-shirt she wore to shows, which was printed with the 11 victim's names (including Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin) went viral just as the Black Lives Matter movement was sweeping America. This year at New York Fashion Week, we spotted another form of silent protest, this time tackling one of the fashion industry's biggest issues: a lack of diversity. While scanning the #NYFW tag on Tumblr, we came across a showgoer sporting a canvas tote and tank top, both which called out the scarcity of African-American women on the runway. The bag, which was D.I.Y'ed by New York-based artist Ashley B. Chew, is printed with "BLACK MODELS MATTER;" it's worn alongside a top designed in the vein of a Pantone color swatch that says "BLACKNESS."
This look comes on the heels @moremodelsofcolor, a new Instagram account which shows what the fashion industry would look like if the diversity of models being sent down the runway (and cast in campaigns) was less homogenous. Though the Spring/Summer 2016 collections are only a few days underway, we've already seen a variety of different types of models hit the runway — from age to body to skin color. Hopefully, continued statements like the above will assist in changing the industry for models of all types. Let's be honest: It's about time a season wasn't filled with white models only.