Howard’s ‘Black Mirror’ reflects diversity problem in fashion industry

The fashion industry is slowly becoming more diverse; according to theFashionSpot‘s biannual diversity report,  25.4 percent of all models cast in New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion shows were models of color. Yet, despite an increase in more diverse models, the numbers show that the rate of transforming fashion into a more inclusive space is moving at a glacial pace: this recent percentage only increased by 3 percent.

That’s why Los-Angeles based model Deddeh Howard decided to take matters into her own hands. According to Yahoo Canada Style, the model is taking the industry to task in a new photo series entitled, “Black Mirror,” in which Howard recreates “major fashion campaigns that feature white models like Gigi Hadid, Gisele Bundchen and Kendall Jenner.”

Working with photographer Raffael Dickreuter, Yahoo says Howard explained on her site that she decided to tackle the lack of diversity head-on as a result of her personal experiences in the industry.

“Not too 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 wish they could represent me, they already have a black model,” she wrote. “It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all.”

Stepping into the place of Kate Moss, Michelle Williams and Candice Swanepoel, Howard proves that she is just as stunning as her fellow models — and her Instagram followers certainly reinforced the meaning of her project. After releasing a few of the photos on her account, Yahoo says Howard has received praise and support in the form of “thousands of likes and comments.”

Writing on the importance of her photos, Yahoo reports that Howard expressed her hope that the photos are — at least — a first step in all women being seen.

“The visibility on these commercials and billboards matter as much as having elected a first black President. The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too…With this Black Mirror project I hope to show the world that it is time for all of us being seen.”

To see Howard’s gorgeous photos, click here.

Rousey takes on Pantene as brand ambassador

Currently ranked the No. 1 Women’s Bantamweight fighter, Ronda Rousey is no stranger to being seen as “tough” —  known by the nickname “Rowdy” and as a woman proud not to be a “do-nothing bitch,” Rousey may just be the definition fierce. But the UFC fighter will now be showing us what it means to tough outside the confines of the octagon.

According to ELLE, Rousey was just announced as Pantene’s latest brand ambassador, launching a new ad campaign centered around the intersection of strength and beauty. In what ELLE is referring to as a reboot of the haircare brand’s 1980s slogan, “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful,” Rousey stars in new ads that read, “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Strong.”

While Rousey acknowledges that many may not immediately associate her with a beauty brand, she said in a release announcing her work with Pantene that strength is so much more than something purely physical.

“I’ve been called ‘Miss Man’ and ‘savage’ because of my physique, but to me, strength isn’t only about having muscles,” she said, according to ELLE. “It’s about having heart and finding inner confidence, so I’m honored that Pantene asked me to be part of their new campaign that encourages women to break gender barriers, break the glass ceiling and never settle.”

Her new stint with Pantene follows a run in Reebok’s “#PerfectNever” campaign, which sought to highlight the ways in which “perfection never helped anyone achieve their goals.”

 

Rent the Runway opens Manhattan brick-and-mortar

Partnering with Neiman Marcus just wasn’t enough for Rent the Runway; instead of just finding a home within a department store, the luxury fashion loaner had to open their own brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

According to WWD, while the company already has freestanding stores in Chicago, Washington, D.C., California and Las Vegas, the 5,000-square-foot Manhattan flagship store opened its doors for the first time at 30 West 15th Street this week, replacing Rent the Runway’s pop-up shop in the same area.

Founder Jennifer Hyman told WWD that the Manhattan flagship is the first of 15 forthcoming flagships coming in major cities in the United States. “Two units are scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2017, she said, but declined to reveal the locations,” WWD reports.

Similar to their presence in a San Francisco Neiman Marcus, Rent the Runway’s store will feature the RTR Bar, a customer relations service where shoppers can directly “ask associates about fits and styles and address issues about orders,” says WWD. With over 200,000 products from 400-plus designers, WWD reports that Rent the Runway will change their inventory daily — something shoppers can check from the convenience of the company app.

With different stylist services and rental packages available, Rent the Runway is providing a new shopping experience that, as Hyman explained to WWD about their in-house styling, is all about “discovery, having fun with your closet and getting dressed without the commitment.”

To learn more about the new flagship, head over to WWD.

LiveSafe brings new safety measures to military

Sexual assault isn’t just an issue in the world at large; it also happens to be a major problem in military bases, with the Department of Defense reporting that there were over 6,000 reports of sexual assault in fiscal year 2015. But a new smartphone application may help bring new safety measures to the military — and help decrease sexual assaults.

According to Glamour, a free app called LiveSafe is in the midst of a six-month trial at two naval bases, one in Hampton Roads, Va. and one at the Rota Naval Base in Spain. Allowing members of the Navy to track their friends’ locations, the app can also help users “report anything suspicious they see, and access location-specific resources for crime victims, like legal and medical services,” says Glamour.

Currently in a testing phase, Glamour reports that focus groups will determine whether or not the app was effective in preventing or even addressing cases of sexual assault. With Glamour reporting that $150,000 has already gone into the app’s creation and testing, some in the military are already convinced that the app is valuable.

“When you think about what it costs to respond to one sexual assault — you think about providing medical services, doing the investigation, doing the legal processing, providing all the victim advocacy services, the amount of time the chain of command spends in reviewing and overseeing these cases and then executing the potential disciplinary action — that one case is significantly more than the cost for the pilot,” U.S. Fleet Forces Command sexual assault prevention and response officer Capt. Charles Marks told Tribune News Serviceaccording to Glamour.

Although there is no word yet on whether or not the app will be officially implemented, all signs seem to be pointing to the affirmative.

To read more about the app, click here.

 

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker gets a new home

A holiday shoe collection and a line of stunning little black dresses isn’t enough for Sarah Jessica Parker; but then again, when a girl’s wardrobe grows, it needs much more space to be displayed.

That’s where Parker’s new brick-and-more store comes in. According to WWD, the Sex and the City alum is opening her first free-standing store outside of Washington, D.C. in the upcoming MGM National Harbor Resort. Set to makes its grand opening on Dec. 8 along with the National Harbor, Md. hotel, the store “will stock Parker’s SJP Collection shoe label,” reports WWD, “as well as her little black dress collection, handbags, jewelry and other assorted accessories.

In a statement on the opening of her brand-new store, WWD says Parker explained her excitement over the project this way: “Opening a stand-alone store has long been a dream we have been working towards and we feel truly privileged to be doing so with the expertise, guidance and support of our brilliant partners at MGM Resorts.”

So if you’re already strapped in the car and ready to get to Maryland in time for the grand opening, WWD says to expect products in SJP’s store to cost between $30 and $700 — quite the range for some serious style.

Schumer to play live-action Barbie

As if a world comedy tour, a forthcoming film with Goldie Hawn and being named the highest paid female comedian weren’t enough, Amy Schumer just scored another major movie deal: to star as Barbie in a new live-action film.

According to InStyle, Deadline reported that the comedian will depict the title character in Sony Pictures’ live-action production, Barbie. But her character won’t experience the Barbie world in any typical fashion.

InStyle explains the film this way:

“Schumer will star as a doll who lives amongst all of the various Barbie characters in Barbieland, but doesn’t quite fit in. Due to the fact that she’s a bit eccentric and not exactly perfect, she ends up getting kicked out and embarking on an adventure in the real world where she comes to realize that what’s on the inside matters more than what’s on the outside.”

USA Today says that Schumer may even have a hand in the screenwriting process: although writer and producer Hilary Winston originally crafted the film’s concept and screenplay, The Hollywood Reporter says “Schumer and her sister, Inside Amy Schumer producer Kim Caramele, are expected to rewrite the script.”

The film will be released in summer 2018, says InStyle, and will have a PG rating.

Former British first lady to launch capsule collection

While Samantha Cameron is no longer Britain’s first lady, she didn’t wait very long to find another role to undertake: fashion designer.

According to Vogue UK, Cameron will be launching Cefinn, her first fashion label early next year with retailers Net-a-Porter and Selfridges. Also available on Cefinn.com, Vogue UK says the collection’s first offerings will be 40 spring/summer 2017 styles that retail between $125 and $375 USD.

Targeting women like Cameron, according to Fashionista, she said, Cefinn — which gets its name from the initials of her children — was largely born out of a need to create a uniquely British brand of contemporary style.

“I felt that there was a lot of American and French brands out there that fit that bracket of designer contemporary with the right price point and the right styling, but there aren’t that many British brands which fill that space,” she told Vogue UK. 

No stranger to fashion and luxury goods, Vogue UK reports that Cameron previously served as the creative director at Smythson, a London-based retailer of luxury stationary, leather and fashion products and continues to serve in a “consultancy” role; she was also an ambassador for the British Fashion Council.

To learn more about Cameron’s new initiative, click here.

 

Williams wants women to reach for the stars

Serena Williams didn’t want to just be the best female tennis player in the world; she wanted to be the best. Period.

That’s what the tennis phenom wrote in an open letter published in Porter Magazine’s Incredible Women of 2016 issue, according to Women in the World. Sharing that she was able to achieve her dreams partly because of the support she received, Women in the World says Williams wrote, “I was fortunate to have a family that supported my dream and encouraged me to follow it.”

However, she knows that not all women have the same support system behind them while some are even discouraged from following their passions. Women in the World reports that for Williams, whether or not to pursue her dreams all boiled down to her resilience.

“What others marked as flaws or disadvantages about myself — my race, my gender — I embraced as fuel for my success,” she wrote. “I never let anything or anyone define me or my potential. I controlled my future.”

Through sharing her story, Williams wrote in her letter that she hopes young women will be inspired to take control of their destinies and “push for greatness and follow their dreams with steadfast resilience,” because when we continue to dream big, “we empower the next generation of women to be just as bold in their pursuits.”

To read her letter in its entirety, click here.

 

Let feminism ring

Amal Clooney knows a thing or two about human rights; as an international human rights lawyer, she’s handled cases on behalf of Julian Assange and even to seek justice for the Armenian genocide. But now she’s asserting another facet of human rights: that women’s rights are human rights.

When Clooney spoke at the Texas Conference for Women, The Cut reports that the lawyer made explicit her disdain for misogyny, encouraging women to engage in “‘everyday acts of feminism’ for each other and to support each other at work as in everyday life.”

The Cut reports that Clooney continued her remarks this way:

“The worst thing that we can do as women is not stand up for each other, and this is something we can practice every day, no matter where we are and what we do — women sticking up for other women, choosing to protect and celebrate each other instead of competing or criticizing one another.”

But in case anyone missed her point the first time around, The Cut says she simplified her point even further by putting women’s rights in a global context.

Speaking on behalf of women spanning the globe, Clooney said, “Holding back women is holding back half of every country in the world.”

SJP brings holiday sparkle to new shoe collection

There’s nothing that can elevate an outfit more than a killer pair of shoes — that is, except their heels from Sara Jessica Parker’s new holiday collection.

According to InStyle, the Sex and in the City alum recently released an exclusive 16-piece holiday shoe collection with Net-a-Porter that encapsulates “SJP’s envy-inducing style, her onscreen character Carrie Bradshaw’s wonderfully eclectic-chic aesthetic, and the holiday spirit.”

InStyle says the collection features metallic styles, T-strap silhouettes, jewel tones and even “Art Deco embellishments,” all to infuse a little holiday cheer into your look.

So how much will a pair of SJP heels set you back? InStyle says a pair from the actress’ collection costs between $355 and $585.

To shop the exclusive line, click here.