Fashion designer changing the look of New York Fashion Week through her models

Shirleen Allicot Image
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Fashion designer changing look of NYFW through her models
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Shirleen Allicot has the details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The face of fashion is becoming more diverse. It's evident at New York Fashion Week.

As part of Black History Month, Eyewitness News went backstage to speak to a designer who's helping lead the way.

Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week can always be a bit frantic.

The makeup, hair, the show's choreography, and everything need to be just right.

But when you have a designer with confidence like Sophie Theallet, all usually goes well.

"I always love to do this fashion show," Theallet said.

Her love can be seen in the shapes and textiles used in her fall 2016 collection.

The French born designer is also fearlessly showing it in her casting.

This is her second major show to feature women of all varieties, something not normally seen on the runway.

"For me it's not even a question. This is something I have in my heart, it's something I believe. That collection is inspired by humans," Theallet said.

For decades the fashion industry has been criticized for not being diverse enough.

In fact, the fashion spot's biannual diversity report shows that this time last year 80 percent of shows featured white models.

"The runways had frankly become so white it was glaring," Theallet said.

In the March issue of InStyle Magazine, Editor Eric Wilson applauded the efforts of designers like Theallet.

He says thinks with the help of social media; change will come faster than we think.

"Social media has completely changed the game and designers are being held accountable on an instant basis. Designers are getting feedback on the casting of their shows on Instagram. People are going to keep talking about it until it changes, and I think it's going to happen fairly quickly," Wilson said.

This is not just about upping the count of models of color. Designers like Theallet are giving you so much more.

Supermodel Veronica Webb and rising plus size model Candice Huffine are Theallet's girls and are featured grandly in her shows.

"If you're going to be about women, it's about celebrating all of them. You can't alienate certain groups of them because it's been going on for too long," Theallet said.

"What you see on the runway with Sophie, I feel when I look around I see someone who looks like every single person in my family," Wilson said.