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.

Take Her Look [For Less]

There is nothing better to wear to a black-tie affair than a classic black and white ensemble, and that’s exactly what actress Gwyneth Paltrow wore to the The Broad Museum Black Tie Dinner on Sept. 17 in Los Angeles, California.

Paltrow attended the museum launch party in what InStyle reports are Monique Lhullier separates — a black and white floral-print top and black wide-leg pants. She completed her look with some shine to frame her face in the form of Norman Silverman diamond earrings while adding some height to her look with Brian Atwood pumps.

Although Paltrow’s stunned in her elegant black and white ensemble, the price of even one of these pieces is equally as stunning. Take her trousers, for example. Her Monique Lhullier Wide Leg Tuxedo Pants will set you back a lofty $1,295 — and that’s not even considering her Monique Lhullier top! But if you love this look, there’s no need to shell out upwards of $1,000 to make it yours. We’ve found all the pieces necessary to recreate Paltrow’s entire look for under $200. Read on for the results!

Finding a black and white floral top to rival Paltrow’s Monique Lhullier style was no easy task, but we finally landed on this floral top from Choies.com. Featuring a similar box cut and cropped style, this top will deliver a silhouette and print reminiscent of Paltrow’s top for a fraction of the cost, coming in at only $16.99.

The White T-Shirt with Black Floral, found on Choies.com.

The White T-Shirt with Black Floral, found on Choies.com.

Since wide-leg trousers have been increasingly popular, finding a pair of these trendy pants to pair with the top was fairly simple. We quickly found the Premium Crepe Wide Leg Trousers from Missguided, which offer a similar wide-legged, high-waisted silhouette, but for much less than the Monique Lhullier style’s $1,295 price — these trousers will only set you back $60.

The Premium Crepe Wide Leg Trousers, found on Missguidedus.com.

The Premium Crepe Wide Leg Trousers, found on Missguidedus.com.

Every outfit needs a little bit of shine, and there is no better accessory for the job than the Rhinestone Fringe Duster Earrings from Forever 21. These earrings will add a much-needed dose of sparkle while framing your gorgeous face. While these earrings may look like they cost a fortune, they will only cost you an easy $5.90.

The Rhinestone Duster Fringe Earrings, found on Forever21.com.

The Rhinestone Duster Fringe Earrings, found on Forever21.com.

Heels are the final thing to check off of our shopping list, and the Mix No. 6 Sarti Platform Pumps from DSW are just the pumps to elevate your look to the next level. Featuring a tonal snake print, this pump has a subtle texture that will make your outfit that much more chic. These pumps will complete our look for less for only $39.95.

The Mix No. 6 Sarti Platform Pumps, found on DSW.com.

The Mix No. 6 Sarti Platform Pumps, found on DSW.com.

Although we love Gwyneth Paltrow’s head-to-toe Monique Lhullier look, we believe that you don’t have to spend like a star to look like a star. Paltrow’s Monique Lhullier tuxedo pants cost $1,295, but our entire recreated outfit will deliver a similar look for only $122.84. Now if only you had a black-tie event to attend…

Happy Shopping!

A ‘Model’ of Confidence

Confidence can be born out of any set of circumstances — that’s what model Kanya Sesser is teaching us.

The 23-year-old Los Angeles model is representing top brands such as Nike, Billabong and Rip Curl says The Huffington Post UK, and earns earning $1,000 every day to do so. But Sesser isn’t your average model.

According to The Huffington Post, Sesser was born without legs, only to be abandoned on the steps of Buddhist temple in Thailand. At 5 years old, she was adopted and brought to live in Portland. Now, she’s shattering industry standards by showing that confidence is not reserved for the flawless.

The Huffington Post says Sesser started her career at 15 years old, originally modeling sportswear before finally landing in underwear modeling. Sesser spoke of her modeling to the Mail Onlinesaying “It’s something fun and it shows my story — I’m different and that’s sexy.”

Sesser went on to say that her photos show her strength while also letting her beauty shine through. “I love showing people what beauty can look like,” she said. “I don’t need legs to feel sexy.”

And as if modeling weren’t enough, The Huffington Post says that Sesser, a lover of extreme sports, hopes to be able to compete in mono-ski competition in the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea.

Thank you, Kanya Sesser, for being the definition of confidence, beauty and determination.