Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Two of my favorite girls on the runway right now are Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman Robinson. These two teens are making me excited again. We have had such a long time of blank, interchangeable, lifeless girls who emote nothing. I am glad to see some personality, some fierceness and (hallelujah for) some diversity back on the runway.

Jourdan Dunn is a 17yr. old British teen who was discovered while shopping in London with a friend. After only 2 seasons on the catwalk, she is expected to inherit the throne of her fellow Brit, Ms. Naomi Campbell. Something about this girl takes me back to the golden age of black models, the time of great faces like Maureen Gallagher and CoCo Mitchell. There is something so alarmingly pure and right about this girl. In that 4th pic, lil' mama is serving face on a silver platter.

What can I say about soon-to-be 18yr. old American wunderkind Chanel Iman - I just LOVE her!!! I have always liked this girl, but this season I saw a new maturity and fire in her. The 'I am a cute little girl' thing was replaced with a new found confidence and strength that was apparent in every passage she made. She really is turning into a GREAT beauty with bone structure and skin for the gods. Now much has been said about her weight, but to me she looks like the size that comes natural to her. I love it (and you know I love a big boned gal too - I don't discriminate!)!!! She reminds me so much of my sketches - long, lean, fluid and full of movement and attitude.


We had a recent trend of Asian models, and since we as fashion folks are so myopic, there was no room for other girls of color. I personally HATE these trends of picking a group to be the new 'it' ethnicity. Now I am not trying to be the Harriet Tubman of black models, but the discrimination is so blatant. When I first moved to NYC from Detroit fresh out of high school, I really thought that I was entering a creative, open world free of racism, but what I found was a world that uses trends and aesthetics to justify blatant or latent racism for people both in front of the camera and those behind the scenes as well. I wrongfully thought that fashion was immune to the ills of the real world, since it is sort of a dream world.

It is always funny to me that the creative vision of designers often does not include women of color. I personally love beauty of all walks of life. There should be room for black, white, Indian, Asian, Latin and every other type of beauty because that is what the world looks like.

Don't get me wrong, I must say that I have been extremely blessed in working for and with some amazing people (KK, IF, DB, LA) that value me for the person I am and for my abilities. I have been able to let my work speak for itself while being true to who I am as a black American man. I have experienced discrimination as well, but thankfully, it does not rule me. But, I wish that everyone had the chance to just do their thing as well without all the ridiculous drama. I hope that these two young, beautiful girls (and all the little ones in their wake) are afforded what they deserve - a chance to work hard, experience life to the fullest, excel and to just be their gorgeous, fierce selves.

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