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Black model recasts herself in fashion campaigns

In a series titled Black Mirror, Deddeh Howard challenges the lack of models of colour in fashion advertising

Fashion is constantly – and not unfairly – getting flack for its diversity, or lack thereof. While progress has been undoubtedly been made in recent years, there’s still a long way to go and, in a bid to promote better representation, one black model has taken things into her own hands.

Liberian-born, US-based Deddeh Howard has unveiled a project titled Black Mirror in which she has inserted herself into the campaigns of famous fashion brands, including Dolce & Gabbana and Guess. Kind of like a fashion equivalent to The Diary of a Victorian Dandy series by Yinka Shonibare, in which the British-Nigerian artist flips the idea of the black man being an outsider on its head by putting him in the centre of different historical scenes.

“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,” Howard writes. “I hope this project can help to bring awareness back to the positive side of black people. Unfortunately we are rarely shown in a positive light in the media, but can see countless times when yet another black person gets shot or arrested.”

As a model herself (and a medical student and fashion blogger), Howard recalls the racism she’s experienced first-hand working in the industry. “Not to long ago it happened to me that I would walk into various fashion model agencies and I would immediately be compared to that one or two black model that they had on the roster.”

“Even though I was told by those agencies that I have an amazing look and they wished they could represent me, they already have a black model. Besides having an abundance of white models. It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all.”

Head to Howard’s website to see the full project.