Instagram is joining the conversation about diversity in fashion with an incredible new campaign.
Every day this week, the social media app is sharing the stories of models who are “redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll”.
The initiative started on Monday 30 May, with Mama Cax (@caxmee), a Haitian blogger and model who had her leg amputated at 18 years old.
“#RunwayForAll means any teenager feels represented when they open a magazine or watch a fashion show,” she said, explaining that she never aspired to be a model. “Not only because there were very few dark models on magazine covers but also because I grew up with very little knowledge of the fashion industry.”
Cax also explained that through modelling, she hopes to change the definition of beauty: “The majority of humans do not look like the mainstream idea of beauty. One of the greatest barriers is not belonging.
“Through modeling I hope to show that beauty does not always wear a size zero and beauty does not always walk on two limbs.”
The second day starred Shaun Ross (@shaundross), who was the only male model of colour with albinism when he first started modelling a decade ago.
“I remember when I first entered the industry all I saw were models that looked the same,” Ross said.
“Now here we are almost 10 years later, and I see the choice I’ve made has helped the industry to see beauty in many ways, such as casting models and rising icons like @winnieharlow, @jilly_peppa and more to help lead the fight with me to diversity.”
Ross also revealed that, at the start of his career, he was one of only a few openly gay models in the industry: “Agents always told male models to be masculine, but that was never the case for me. I never wanted to hide my sexuality. I’d rather be myself.”
Next up was French model Clémentine Desseaux (@bonjourclem), who now lives and works in New York.
“I was always way bigger and taller than everyone when I was growing up, and I had those freckles,” Desseaux said.
“When I saw the first plus models out there, I started thinking about trying it out. At that point I had no idea it would take me to where I am now.”
Desseaux believes #RunwayForAll is not about what you look like, but what you represent: “My size and look were in the way of me feeling invincible when I was young. I hope I was the last generation of women to think like that. Role model is the new top model.”
On 2 June Instagram’s campaign featured Londone Myers (@londonemyers), who believes #RunwayForAll means living in a world without colour.
“Growing up, it was so hard to relate to the Cindy Crawfords and Christy Turlingtons,” Myers said.
“It’s great to no longer see so many models of colour with straightened hair. Can you imagine if white models were made to perm their hair to achieve a completely different texture for every single shoot?
:Finally, society is embracing us for how we are naturally.”
Myers also revealed how inspirational women helped her overcome her insecuritiesl: “I was super insecure about my wide-set, mostly buck teeth. @aggy_deyn and @lindseywixson taught me to just be myself. A model should be more of a force than a person.”