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.”