Fashion designer Zac Posen: 'Black models matter'
Black models matter: Fashion designer Zac Posen made that bold statement during New York Fashion Week.
Indeed, 25 of the 33 models chosen for Posen's runway show were black women, including Tasha Moore and Viviane Oliveira.
On Monday, Posen posted a photo of himself on Instagram holding a bag embossed with the words "Black models matter." The photo caption read, "#BlackModelsMatter #womanofcolormatter #Diversity is what makes the world beautiful and inspiring!"
The bag was made by Ashley B. Chew, a black model and artist, and plays off the rallying cry chanted nationwide last year by demonstrators protesting police shootings of unarmed African-American men.
Not only were the models black, but so was the inspiration behind Posen's Fall/Spring line: Ugandan Princess Elizabeth of Toro.
His royal muse studied law at Oxford, modeled for Vogue and represented her country at the United Nations, Posen said in a statement. He chose to close his fall 2016 collection with Ugandan model Aamito Lagum for that reason.
"Since the inspiration was Elizabeth of Toro it made sense to have a casting reflecting this," Posen said. "Their presence and the diversity of the casting complimented the collection and made it more striking."
Posen, who launched his self-titled collections in 2001, posted several photos of black models on Instagram as part of his "mood boards."
Posen's team worked with casting directors Maida and Rami to find models that would "embody Elizabeth's elegance and intelligence," he said.
"Within this global environment - diversity is very important and it is something that has always been equally important to me as well as a key component of my collections whether it is shapes, sizes or skin color," said Posen.
In an industry that is often criticized for the lack of diversity, Posen said, it is "essential" that diversity is represented in the fashion world.
Posen's designs have been worn by some big names, such as first lady Michelle Obama and actresses Naomi Watts and Uma Thurman.