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“Black girls are invisible”: model reshoots fashion campaigns to highlight our need for diversity

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A black model has been making a striking statement about the lack of diversity in the fashion world by re-shooting some of its most famed ad campaigns.

Deddeh Howard, a Liberian-born model living in LA, re-imagined ads from brands including Chanel, Guess and Louis Vuitton for a photo series called Black Mirror.

“The visibility on these commercials and billboards matter as much as having elected a first black President,” she wrote on her website.

“The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too. For that reason diversity in ad campaigns is in my opinion much more important than you might think.”

Howard was inspired to create the photo series after being turned down by a number of fashion agencies because they “already had a black model on their books”.

Despite these agencies representing “an abundance” of white models, Howard wrote that she was constantly “compared to that one or two black model that they had on the roster” and found that “it seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all”.


Read more: Model Winnie Harlow speaks out against beauty ideals


In her bid to show the need for more diversity in fashion, Howard has been sharing the images with her 63,000 followers on Instagram – and the reaction has been extremely positive.

“This is the start of something great,” wrote one user on an image of Howard straddling a motorbike, which was a recreation of a Gigi Hadid advert for Guess.


Read more: All About Afro: untangling the politics of black hair


“You motivate and inspire and amaze me,” wrote another on an image of Howard wearing Calvin Kleins (below).

Howard hopes the photo series will encourage fashion houses to sit up and take note of the need to improve the diversity in their campaigns.

“With this Black Mirror project I hope to show the world that it is time for all of us being seen,” she wrote. 

“Let’s give the next generation something to believe in.”

 

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