All Articles Tagged "high fashion"

The New Face Of Prada Is Black, The First In Almost 20 Years

July 3rd, 2013 - By La Truly
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 Malaika Firth

With the noticeable lack of minorities in high fashion, it has been a sweet surprise for many to know that 19-year-old Kenyan, Malaika Firth, has been cast as the new face of Prada. This hasn’t happened since Naomi Campbell was named the face of the high fashion label’s ads in 1994 – almost 20 years ago.

Over the course of the years it seems there has been an almost blatant exclusion of women of color from high fashion runways, fashion spreads, and print ads for any number of reasons. Things have even become so sparse that folks have gone as far as to have white models in blackface for certain fashion spreads or white models with arms painted black for runway shows. And though much uproar has been made about this or that, things have seemed slow to change as even Firth has admitted that she has been dismissed from model castings because she was “non-white.” But with Firth’s casting, and model Joan Smalls dominating runways, changes are happening.

Fashion designer Raf Simons seems to have received the memo that we are living in a progressive age as he also recently cast six minority models for his recent runway show for Dior. He hadn’t used any non-white models prior, and because of that, Simons has been criticized for the lack of color in his castings in the past.

One can never really be sure if these changes are happening as a result of designers trying to cover themselves after allegations of unfair casting due to race came up, or if they really are trying to be progressive and incorporate more cultures into high fashion in a non-stereotypically offensive way.

Either way, we’re glad to see more models of color being showcased, including this Kenyan beauty.

Have you noticed that there have not really been many women of color in high fashion? Or do you think things have improved?

Pass Or Play Part II: Cassie Tries Her Best At The Heatfelt Ballad With “End Of The Line”

December 18th, 2012 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Cassie End Of The Line

If Alicia Keys’s “Brand New Me” video wasn’t enough for you today in the “Pass Or Play” department, I thought I’d share this newest joint and video by Cassie called “End Of The Line.” Still going strong trying to make this music thing work (I’m sure most would kick back and let Diddy take care of them), the singer with her still half-shaven head sings about a relationship that’s no longer worth it to make work. Standing in the middle of nowhere wearing a chain-linked halter, white jeans and boots, Cassie does more high fashion as opposed to showcasing serious vocal skills. Seriously, it’s like watching what probably was a gorgeous photo shoot, and then someone decided to stop and make a music video with their free time. While I was hoping it was a hoax, this is the clip that has been circling around the Internet, and it’s definitely tagged as the “official” joint.

As for the track, it’s definitely a little slow and sad for my taste. Slow in the sense that not only are the vocals like someone singing in slow motion stuck in molasses, but the track in itself is kind of depressing. It almost feels like it’s not done being put together in the studio. But I respect Cassie’s hustle, it’s just that she’s so much better at being a beauty and model than she is at trying to be a respectable musician in this rough and tough industry. I appreciate the attempts, but man, I can sooooo do without “End Of The Line.” What about you though? Check out the clip below and let us know what you’re thinking.

Do Black Designers Skip Over Black Models to Gain White Customers?

June 7th, 2012 - By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
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Ready-to-wear looks by Designer Mychael Knight -

l to r: photos by James Anthony Photo, Elliot & Erick

Quick. Which of these looks is “high-fashion”? Which is “urban”?

The answer to the second question is none of them, according to Mychael Knight, the designer who created all of them.

“I will correct someone very quickly when they say I am an ‘urban designer’ or a ‘hip-hop designer,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with [designing hip-hop-inspired sportswear], but it’s just not what I do.”

As for the answer to the first question, Knight, who is black, cites an “invisible barrier” that reserves “high-fashion” anointing for a privileged circle of designers—very few of which are black. “Tracy Reese and Rachel Roy – they’ve penetrated that, but I don’t ever really see any placement of them in fashion magazines”—an indication that Reese and Roy are not readily on the mind of prominent editors and stylists.

Perhaps observant of this trend, some black designers early in their careers choose to use white models, particularly for lookbooks, which are prepared for press and buyers, and on their websites where customers seeking high-fashion looks (assumed to be white) can immediately imagine themselves in their pieces.  Though Knight regularly casts models of color for both his runway shows and his lookbooks, he can guess why some African-American designers skip over black models altogether.

“When you open up a fashion magazine—a Vogue or an Elle,” Knight points out, “you never see black models. You think, as a black designer, ‘well, if I need my brand [or] my product to get noticed I need to use the white models.’”  It’s like high school, Knight explains. “People feel like they to need fit in.”

Model booker Carole White gave New York Magazine the racial breakdown as it applies to models.  “Asian girls do really well. You can’t have too many, but they do really well, and it’s quite easy to book them. For Black girls, it is more difficult.” White is further quoted as saying, “[Black models] have to be utterly amazing. There will be less work. It takes much longer to establish them… because clients don’t take the risk on black girls so much.” For this reason, White admits agencies are “very, very picky” when it comes to signing black models. “Maybe you’re not as picky with the white girls, because there’s more work for them.”

With African-American models facing a shrunken market, getting passed over by black designers only further threatens their livelihood. It also perpetuates old school notions of what, and who, represents luxury versus the aesthetic of the street.

The Highest Fashion of All

October 1st, 2010 - By Khadija Allen
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"fashion" "heels" "high heels"

Heels, heels, heels..we love them! There is something about great legs in stilletos that has us talking more on the street. The average (red, black, or brown) pair is easily susceptible to conversation, late night dinners or a fine gentlemen’s interests. They are infinitely one of the most desirable pieces in the closet (not including the diamonds and pearls). Yet, the reasons we love them doesn’t give justice to how we feel about them. They’re sophisticated, feminine and Hot! But the three, four, and five-inch heels we signed up for, may no longer be the tallest ones on the market. Fashion designers are creating the new and improved pair for women to squeeze into these days. Try seven, eight, and nine inches!

If you think you can handle any size, then take a look at these insanely crafted heels…

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This Week’s Featured Designer: Mr. Binitie

July 15th, 2010 - By China Okasi
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Madame Noire caught up with London-based Tsemaye Binitie as his new fashion line takes off. Just how did the brother go from working for Stella McCartney to launching his own line? Here’s what we found out:

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High-Fashion Purse Designer Unites Chic and Socially Conscious

July 8th, 2010 - By Danielle Kwateng
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A good purse is hard to find. The factors when trying to buy a bag are dependent upon a couple factors. While some go for inexpensive and cute, others want something more expensive but of higher quality.

For those of you looking for a healthy mix, meet Ayana Evans.

She’s a fab New York City-based designer who creates handmade purses that are high-fashion chic, environmentally friendly and socially conscious. The Brown University-grad created her line of purses from a need she saw in the accessories world. A lover of leather goods and whimsical fashion, she found a great way to combine the two with Yana Handbags.

We spoke to her about her journey from teaching art class to creating hot purses.

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