By The Numbers: Diversity During the Fall/Winter 2018 Fashion Shows

Anok Yai opens the Fall/Winter 2018 Prada show at New York Fashion Week (The Independent UK)

Anok Yai opens the Fall/Winter 2018 Prada show at Milan Fashion Week (The Independent UK)

Diversity in the fashion industry has been a hot-button topic for some time. Diversity in fashion shows has been a large part of that discussion. Fortunately, “The Fashion Spot” tracks this and keeps the industry accountable. The site puts the findings in a report and releases them to the public.

Here’s what “The Fashion Spot” found for diversity on the runway for the Fall/Winter 2018 fashion shows:

  • New York had the most racially-diverse models, ahead of London, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks.
  • Nonwhite models comprised 37%+ of models for New York Fashion Week. This was just a .4% increase from last year.
  • 7 designers had fashion shows that were 62%+ diverse.
  • 33 transgender women and non-binary models walked in shows this year.
  • Plus-size models comprised 1%+ of all models.
  • There were 9 models aged 50+. This is down from 10 the year before.

 

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Trends: Muslim Firsts in Popular Culture

Halima Aden covering 'CR Fashion Book' (CR Fashion Book)

Halima Aden covering ‘CR Fashion Book’ (CR Fashion Book)

Recently, Muslims in the U.S. have gained prominence in a series of firsts in mainstream culture.

Last year, Halima Aden competed in the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant. Aden wears hijab, and wore a burkini during the swimsuit portion of the event. Though she didm’t win the title, people took notice of her, especially the fashion industry. IMG Models recently signed Aden, who’s now their first hijabi model. (It’s important to note that while Aden is the first hijabi model for the company, she is not their first Muslim model.) Aden recently appeared on the cover of CR Fashionbook, where the headline cemented her one-name-only status (similar to that of Iman, who interviewed Aden for the issue).

Earlier this week, actor Mahershala Ali won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work in “Moonlight.” This wasn’t a surprise: Ali had been winning awards at all of the awards running up the Oscars. But Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award. He spoke about converting to Islam in his acceptance speech for male actor in a supporting role at this year’s SAG Awards, where he warned against letting the minutia of differences overtake the similarities.

Hopefully this exposure normalizes Muslims for people who may not have met one in person. I hope this is just the start of more prominent Muslims in pop culture to come.

#ThrowbackThursday: Halima Aden’s Burkini, 2016

Halima Aden's burkini in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, 2016 (WFDD).jpg

Halima Aden’s burkini in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, 2016 (WFDD).jpg

In November 2016, Halima Aden competed in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Naturally, the pageant had the typical swimsuit portion. While other contestants strutted out in colorful bikinis, Aden went in a different direction. The Somalian model chose to put her Muslim faith front and center. She wears hijab, and wore a burkini for the swimsuit portion of the event.

Aden is the first woman to compete in hijab and burkini. Though she didn’t take home the title, Aden’s sartorial choice and adherence to her values made headlines.

Trends: The Bikini in 1960s Film

Ursula Andress in "Dr. No," 1962 (YouTube)

Ursula Andress in “Dr. No,” 1962 (YouTube)

This year, the bikini turns 70 years old. How can it be that old?! And love it or hate it, the iconic swimsuit isn’t not going anywhere anytime soon.

The bikini’s invention is credited to French engineer Louis Reard. When he went to the beach, he noticed women trying to get a better tan by adjusting their suits. Sensing a hole in the market, he designed the first bikini out of 30 square inches of fabric in 1946.

Though the bikini took some time to catch on with the average consumer, it caught fire on film in the 1960s. The decade featured some instantly iconic bikini moments, ensuring that the garment had earned its place in fashion and film history.

One of the first to appear was in 1962’s James Bond film “Dr. No.” Ursula Andress, playing shell diver Honey Ryder, appears from the ocean clad in a white bikini. Bikini sales rose after audiences saw the movie, and the bikini was later auctioned off for $61.5K in 2001.

After that head-turning debut, bikinis became a wardrobe staple of the beach party genre, starting with 1963’s “Beach Party” with Annette Funicello. In 1966’s “One Million Years B.C.,” actress Raquel Welch rocked a deerskin bikini.

But why were bikinis taking off during the 1960s? There are a few reasons. One is that women’s dress standards had somewhat relaxed due to the sexual revolution. While a woman might’ve felt a bikini was too revealing in the 1950s, many women grew comfortable showing their bodies (up to a point) in the 1960s.

Though the bikini gained popularity a good 15 years after its debut, the classic women’s swimwear item shows no signs of slowing down in the near or distant future.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Micheline Bernardini in a Bikini, 1946

Micheline Bernardini in a bikini (Culturify)

Micheline Bernardini in a bikini (Culturify)

You may not recognize Micheline Bernardini’s name, but you know her impact: Bernardini was the first woman ever to wear a bikini.

In 1946, French engineer Louis Reard cut up some fabric and sewed four triangles to get the first bikini. He wanted to announce his new invention to the world with a press conference. There was only one problem: he couldn’t find a woman willing to wear his creation. Reard eventually hired teenage exotic dancer Micheline Bernardini to model the bikini.

The bikini gets its name from Bikini Atoll, where nuclear weapons were tested on war artillery. The first test was completed five days before Reard announced his new sartorial creation.

Burkini Sales Rise by 200% After French Ban

Burkini designer Aheda Zanetti (Saudi Gazette)

Burkini designer Aheda Zanetti (Saudi Gazette)

Earlier this summer, coastal French towns courted controversy when their respective mayors decided to ban burkinis on beaches. The burkini consists of a long-sleeved top with long pants and a head covering, and was developed for women who follow Islamic modesty standards so that they could go swimming while still covered. The term “burkini” comes from a portmanteau of the words “burqa” and “bikini.”

Despite the ban, burkini creator Aheda Zanetti says that online sales of now-famous swimwear have risen over 200%+ recently. (Now, we don’t know what her sales had been previously, or what the year-over-year change has proved to be, so unfortunately we have incomplete information.)

Zanetti says that her customers are not homogeneously Muslim. She reports that about 40% of her customers are from other faith traditions, such as Judaism and Mormonism, that adhere to modest dress standards.

The burkini ban stems from a stringent French view on separating religion from the state. The French government has banned religious symbols from government buildings since 2004. A ban specifically on burqas was passed in 2011.

Right now, about 30 French towns have instituted the ban, though the town of Villeneuve-Loubet has since overturned it.

 

Trends: Latex Dresses

Beyoncé, Met Ball 2016 (US Magazine)

Beyoncé, Met Ball 2016 (US Magazine)

The 2016 Met Ball (that is, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit’s annual swanky party) took place this past Monday, and all eyes were on the stars to see who wore what. The theme “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” ensured that attendees and fashion obsessives would see some futuristic outfits.

And what could be more futuristic than latex?

Beyoncé wore a light-pink long-sleeved beaded latex dress. Model Bella Hadid wore a tight black spaghetti-strap bustier and pencil skirt, designed by custom latex couturier Atsuko Kudo, to the after party.

The latex dress trend isn’t limited to real life. Taylor Swift wore a white two-piece latex outfit in her “Bad Blood” video, and the aforementioned Beyoncé has a bright red minidress as one of her current “Formation” tour costumes. Both of these were Kudo pieces.

But neither of the aforementioned ladies started this trend. That honor goes to Kim Kardashian back in 2014. She wore a peachy-pink Kudo creation (can you tell he’s got the custom latex market on lock?) to the Australian launch of her fragrance. Incidentally, her outfit was the identical forerunner of Hadid’s (though Kardashian has also worn the black version of the outfit).

Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian (Wetpaint)

Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian (Wetpaint)

Why is latex having a moment right now?

It’s possible that this is part of the long-range ripple effect from “Fifty Shades of Grey” that began ramping up last year. Everybody remembers (and was intrigued/titillated by) the playroom scenes, whether they read the book(s), saw the movie or both.

The book and movie’s success can be traced to many women’s hidden desires to be more sexually daring. However, in real life, some women may not feel comfortable completely putting themselves out there, sexually-speaking, in all their freak-flag glory. Donning a latex dress (or any fetishwear) can feel liberating, as if a woman is letting her “bad” side out to play. But it’s also safe in that the wearer can take it off at the end of the night (or session).

“Fashion Police” co-host Tim Gunn (also of “Project Runway” fame) hit the nail on the head when critiquing Beyoncé’s Met Gala look: “It has S&M written all over it.”

Well, yes. That’s sort of the point.