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]

Nothing says it’s the holiday season quite like Christmas sweater — or a Fair Isle sweater, to be exact.

Actress Reese Witherspoon was spotted trolling about Los Angeles on Sunday, Dec. 13 in the cozy winter style, which she paired a classic pair of straight-leg jeans. She completed her out-and-about look with a red and white striped tote and black slip-on sneakers.

Witherspoon’s festive sweater may just be the perfect piece for all of our holiday needs, but its price isn’t so perfect. Courtesy of her Draper James line, the sweater — the Fontaine Fair Isle Sweater — totals $200, and quite frankly, that’s money that we could be using to buy gifts for our friends and family. So we set out to recreate Witherspoon’s entire look for less than $200 — read on for the results!

Finding a sweater to rival Witherspoon’s Draper James style was fairly simple, and we found the perfect style in the form of the Raglan Pullover Sweater from American Eagle Outfitters. Featuring a similar red and blue pattern draped about the shoulders, this sweater also features a hidden element: a small heart motif throughout the body of the sweater. This sweater will easily pass for Witherspoon’s look, but it will only cost you $41.21.

raglan pullover sweater

The AEO Raglan Pullover Sweater, found on AE.com.

We found the perfect pair of straight-leg jeans from Old Navy in their Curvy Straight Jeans. Done in a lighter wash with a slight whiskering at the hip, these jeans look like Witherspoon’s jeans, but will only set you back $25.

old navy curvy straight jeans

The Curvy Straight Jean, found on OldNavy.Gap.com.

Completing our look for less is a pair of slip-on sneakers — the Report Arvon Reptile Slip-On Sneaker from DSW, to be exact. These look-alike slip-ons will add extra detail to your outfit with its reptile-embossed faux leather, but they won’t take any extra from your wallet, costing only $34.95.

reptile slip ons

The Report Arvon Reptile Slip-On Sneaker, found on DSW.com.

If you love Witherspoon’s festive casual look, our look for less can be yours for only $101.16, almost $100 less than the cost of her Draper James sweater. Just add some Wayfarer sunglasses and a striped bag, and you’ll be ready for the holidays in no time!

Happy Shopping!

Makeup-Free and Still a ‘Pretty Woman’

Scroll through your Instagram feed any day, and you’re bound to see at least one makeup-free selfie, if not from one of your friends, then from a celebrity. And the latest celebrity to add her own makeup-free selfie to the social media site was Julia Roberts.

According to Yahoo Style, the actress posted the image of herself along with the words, “Perfection is a disease of a nation,” which are lyrics from Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts.” Roberts didn’t stop there, adding in her caption, “We overlay our faces with tons of make-up. We get botoxs [sic] and even starve ourselves to become that perfect size. We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see. It’s the soul that needs the surgery.”

Her statement about beauty standards continued, with Yahoo reporting that she asked her followers, “How can you expect someone else to love you if you don’t love yourself?” Therefore, Roberts explained that we have to be happy with ourselves, saying that who we are on the inside trumps our outward appearance.

As for her own appearance, the actress says that while she is aware of her wrinkles, she hopes her followers and fans can see past the superficial to accept her for who she is. “I want to embrace the real me and I want you to embrace who you are, the way you are, and love yourself just the way you are.”

Thank you, Julia Roberts, for teaching us not only to see the beauty in others, but to see the beauty within ourselves.

The Girl Gang Game

From Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video to Madonna’s “B*tch I’m Madonna” video, the girl gang seems to be everywhere. And on Tuesday, Yahoo Style’s Kayleen Schaefer tackled the topic head-on, attempting to answer the question we’ve all had on our minds when it comes to girl gangs: are these allegiances real?

The article, entitled “Why We’re Obsessed With Girl Gangs Right Now,” called upon psychologist and friendship expert Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. to provide some insight to this new type of celebrity friendship. Levine explained that these friendships are real, stating that successful women need to be friends with other successful women because “‘Whether she’s a celebrity or a CEO, a star never knows whom she can trust. She’s usually surrounded by people whose livelihood depends on hers.’”

Furthermore, the fact that the members of these ‘celebrity sororities’ are all living similar lives and experiencing similar things allows them a chance to form a true friendship. Levine told Yahoo Style, “‘These women are equals, which offers the possibility for true friendships. Moreover, when there is mutual respect and admiration, women can be informal mentors and role models to one another.'”

The article also points out that the public is largely fascinated by girl gangs for two reasons: there is a stereotype present in our society that true friendship among successful females rarely exists because females jump into competition with other hard-working females, and since these girl gangs are quite rare, they can feel fake or forced, leading us to question the integrity of the friendship. But Levine explains that because these relationships are “‘volitional'” — they chose to enter these friendships — they come together in a way that creates a sort of ‘sisterhood’ in which they can bond over their similarities and support each other as a result.

The idea of the girl gang is certainly different —we have been conditioned to believe that successful women are in a state of perpetual competition with each other, that women are always trying to out-do and one-up other women. To see groups of women sticking together and supporting each other looks promising, but it also makes us immediately question the validity of those friendships. And it shouldn’t.

It is more than possible for women to be friends, allies and confidants to each other, especially when they all work in similar industries. As Levine explained to Yahoo Style, these women all know what each other is going through, so they can not only offer each other support and advice, they can also be trustworthy friends because they are in the same positions; they know that being successful often attracts false friends that only seek their friendship for personal benefits, so finding friends among peers is a safe option.

Girl gangs tell the young girls of our society that real friendship among women is possible; they tell girls that being successful does not automatically isolate them to a life of constant competition with other women. In fact, girl gangs show that women are not alone in their quests to be successful, and that there are women out there that can serve as mentors to them to help them achieve their goals.

Female friendship isn’t a farce. The rise of the girl gang is [hopefully] only the beginning of changing the image of females from competitive and catty to comradely and cordial.

XO,

Nicole