In this era of global protest under a new feminist wave is no longer enough that announced anonymously on the catwalk stride. How sincere is the activism of these women?
“No, mademoiselle, do not talk with the girls, they don’t exist.’ The words come from Paul Poiret, French fashion designer, and biggest rival of Coco Chanel. During an interview, surrounded by models, so he was a journalist on the fingers: the models are an afterthought, they are not really present. For that time that was normal. Models that in the late nineteenth century clothing showed, were not allowed to talk or even making eye contact. The social theorist Nick Lee described the role of ‘mannequin’ as ambiguous, referring to both the lifeless dummies, and the models themselves, that no sign of life could give. Individuality and personality were a thing of the designers.
In this era of global protest under a new feminist wave, it is not enough that models are anonymous on the catwalk stride. They must be activists.
Flashforward to the fashion weeks in Paris in 2016. Chanel boss Karl Lagerfeld for his show in the Grand Palais, a Parisian boulevard, to build in bordkarton. Models with megaphones and persiflerende pancarten – Free Freedom! Make Fashion, Not War! Be Different! – pulled that namaakstraat on, dressed in his design and headed by top model Cara Delevigne. Lagerfeld, took it in on a trend: in this era of global protest under a new feminist wave, it is not enough that models are anonymous on the catwalk stride. Models must take a stand. They should be open to writing letters. They have their Instagramfoto’s with the appropriate hashtags. They must, in other words, activists are.
It started in 2013. Former model and activist Bethan Hardison sent a number plate letters to major fashion houses in Paris, New York, London and Milan. Hardison mentioned every fashion designer who is the ‘racist act’ had been guilty of no models of color to cast: ‘Whether the decision of the designer, stylist or castingdirector is, it’s about the principle: some of the white models, shows little respect for the modern society.’ In a TED Talk explained to Victoria’s Secret model Cameron Russel , later, the lack of diversity in the modeindustrie further expose: ‘I am standing on this stage because I have a beautiful white woman, am. In my industry we call that a ‘sexy woman’. I won a genetic lottery, it is my inheritance. If you’re wondering what the inheritance is: the last few centuries we have beauty is not only defined as healthy, youthful, balanced, but also as tall, slender figures with white skin. It is a legacy where I have money to earn.’
As Hardison and Russell a similar statement was made backstage at a fashion show, where models bending to the will of designers and styilisten, they had today, probably no job more. Instead, they were extremely popular. The letters of Hardison are on numerous occasions shared. The video of Russell was more than 17 million views, and her personal website is dedicated to the inspiration of other models to also be an activist.
If the models have a fantasized ideal of women represented, as they tell today that women are seen and especially heard to be.
Of course, this is not the first time that models a position to have taken. In the 1990s kantten Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford are radically against fur. They were however the exception and, moreover, very famous, so their decisions were risk free. Nowadays is so openly modellenverzet understand a warranty on a carrièreboost. You might even can go as far and argue that the rise of socially conscious models of the political climate reflects: if the models have a fantasized ideal of women represented, as they tell today that women are seen and especially heard to be. In addition, it is also logical that a strong opinion in 2017 is worth for models: a spicy Instagrambijschrift delivers quickly free media attention.
Today is activism models the norm. Hot topic, given the field, is bodyshaming. When the British Charli Howard was fired by her agency because they are too thick, she wrote that the frustrations of herself: “I’m no longer the les games about what is wrong with my looks and what I all need to change before I’m ‘nice’ enough. I refuse to be me every day to be ashamed that I can’t meet your ridiculous requirements. The more you force us to be thin and lose weight, the more the designers clothes that are adapted to these sizes and how more young girls to become sick. This is a picture that I no longer want to represent. In the event that you still do not understand: I am a woman, I am a man. I can’t miraculously my hip bones cut in order to fit into sample sizes and to meet your requirements.’
Now more models speaking out about social issues such as sexism, racism, and the environment, the question arises: is the role of the models changed from just model to role model? “Definitely”, confirmed a body-positive role model Ashley Graham recently in an interview with Knack Weekend, more and More girls in the business are aware of the scope of their voice, they realize that they are more than just ‘nice’. But even if you’re not a big range, it is important that you see yourself as a role model. On which way to go you better care for your environment and for yourself. And we are all better for ourselves.”
Models that oppose racism, ageism and lichaamsfascisme putting pressure on the industry to be more inclusive. And that is a good thing, of course. So the fashion weeks of 2017 most diverse ever. That is to be read in a diversiteitsrapport of The Fashion Spot. Never previously have more women with colored skin on the catwalk walked: in all four fashion capitals, together was 72,1% of the gecaste models blank, 27,9% had a different skin color. That is 2,5% more than last season, and 3.2% more than last year. Also more and more plus-size, transgender and models over 50 years old are represented. Model and blogger Leomie Anderson encouraged this: “to be Honest, made me smile to as many more women of color represented. It happens silently in all of the fashion weeks, not only London, where I was present. It is wonderful for me to have all different hair types, skin tones and ethnic groups at the catwalk to see.”
Despite the victories, you can also rightly ask whether this model-activism beyond personal branding.
But despite the victories, you can also rightly ask whether this model-activism beyond personal branding. When Kendall Jenner this year, a commercial for Pepsi came out, she was clearly under assault. In the video, was to see how a protest was going on on the street where Kendall for a photo shoot. The model joined the demonstration and gives a police officer a can, and then all the problems are suddenly resolved whitening. The slogan in it? ‘Live bolder’. That shot in the wrong throat: the annoyance that a large brand like Pepsi social organizations such as Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March abused to soft drinks to sell was so great that Pepsi the advertising had to attract. ‘We will remove the advertising and make sure that it is not further disseminated. We also offer our apologies that we are Kendall Jenner in this position have brought’, apologised for the company.
‘Some of the commands I would without a doubt refuse, no matter how high the pay check is’, says plus-size model Marianne Nykjaer (28) us, ‘If it is something where I’m not behind the stand, will I get the job, don’t assume.’ When Marianne started, she found it very difficult to her work as a model to match with her personality: “I’ve always been a very geopinieerd someone. Yet I was afraid to get my blog to start, because I was afraid of the reaction of my customers. At a given moment I decided to be there the shit to have and since then it has only gotten better. Ok, there are people who do not want to book because I have certain topics’. And when I’m on Facebook a discussion, enter, people will me always ask, “have I not better remain silent’. But there are also people who me just for that reason assume.’
Women with an opinion are not a fad. A fair representation of all types of bodies – regardless of skin color, age, gender or broeksmaat – on the catwalk is not a fad.
As a model, there is always more space to be a person, analyzes Marianne: “We come from a period when models were products. They were nice, but no opinion or content. That is about to change. Models should stand for something.’ Marianne finds it even necessary that models to make use of their platform: “You have a voice and you have the power to change anything. I always find it a shame when a model with a very large range and does nothing outside attractive photos of themselves to share.’ The hampered that gets them, motivates Marianne just to be even more of a big mouth: “For me, it is my opinion a positive thing. I feel now more of an influencer than a model. I do projects that relate to I believe. This is not just my job and I am more than a neutral puppet, where everyone has its own vision on the project.’
Marianne does not want to speak about a trend: “The industry is already fifteen years slowly but surely changing. Women with an opinion are not a fad. A fair representation of all types of bodies – regardless of skin color, age, gender or broeksmaat – on the catwalk is not a fad. It is a reality. This is how our world is now once look.’