Deddeh Howard is a fierce fashion blogger and fashion model of African descent who just spun the internet around and shook up the fashion industry. She decided to recreate tens of famous fashion advertisements that featured only white models. Now, on the surface this may appear to be mere imitation or simply stylising classic campaigns. However, the message behind her photos is more than skin deep. She took a stand and made a political statement against the colorism that is so prevalent in the modeling industry.
She tells People Magazine that this is how she became inspired to create this project. She was looking through magazines on a trip to the supermarket last year when she noticed that there were almost no black models featured.
“I had started fashion blogging, and I was looking for inspiration,”She told PEOPLE. “I was looking for ethnic models, and I realized that I could count the black models. I freaked out. It was almost like a slap that woke me up, like, ‘Wow, we are really underrepresented. When you walk down the street, the billboards, there’s no diversity — or if there is, there is one [diverse girl] with white girls,” she says. ‘Have we not passed that stage where the audience is treated as equals?’ ”
Her profound cause has made many people of all color begin to open their eyes to issues that exist in the fashion industry. Each photo that was posted to her Instagram account had an attached caption that spilled her feelings about the image. Undeniably her photos were well executed and she is a jaw dropping fashion model. Yet, you can not help but wonder if this striking project that she has composed will erase the common practice of having the token minority model in ad campaigns. Here is what some of the public have to say about the matter. Names have been changed for privacy.
Greta, a Latina university student, has this to say, “I completely stand behind what she is doing. I think that it’s great and it will probably make some people literally see with their own eyes that a colored girl can look just as sexy and lovely as a white girl can in advertisements. Sometimes people forget that we as women of color have a firey sex appeal and that is noticeable even in her photos.”
Nicky, a black former fashion intern and university student, has this to say, “She is stunning. Period. There is no argument to that. Hopefully, this will be evidence to those superior in the fashion industry, or even in the world as a whole, that you can be black and beautiful. You can be brown and beautiful. Pale ivory skin and sheer blue eyes are nice as well but when are we going to recognize that visual appeal can extend far beyond that? I think that was her point in doing all of this. To demonstrate that very idea.”
Martha, a white fashion model, had this to say, “I think that her project was so good. Not just good for women of olor but good for the fashion industry in general. I have seen first hand that my people, white fashion models, will recieve the star roles and majority of the casting many of times. I know this to be a fact. And, it really resonates with me to see a black female call out these designers and casters on their nonsense for it. She looked better than many of the originals in her photos if you ask me!”
In short, Deddeh Howard is going places and she wants the fashion industry to do the same. We all hope for the progress to happen but are we making moves to initiate it? We could all take a note from her in learning that we have to stand up for change, as people of color, women, men, models, entertainers whatever the case may be!