Deddeh Howard is holding up to a mirror to the fashion industry. A “Black Mirror.”
The Liberian-born model-blogger banded together with photographer Raffael Dickreuter to launch “Black Mirror,” a project that recreates high-profile ad campaigns by brands including Chanel, Calvin Klein, Guess, Gucci, David Yurman, Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana to highlight the dearth of women of color represented in fashion and the media.
In an emailed statement to USA TODAY, Howard cites the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show as the most recent example of underrepresentation, noting, “you could see the same pattern you can see at New York Fashion Week or any other famous fashion event: Black girls are almost invisible. There is the odd one here and there, but it always feels like an afterthought.”
Or, a performance of diversity as opposed to actual inclusion.
For Howard, who says she’s been turned away by modeling agencies that “already have a black model,” the industry’s routine devaluation of women of color is “bizarre.” “What do you mean you already have 2-4 black models that looks (sic) like me?” she captioned a composite of Kendall Jenner’s Calvin Klein ad and her recreation. “Did you say the same thing to the 50-100 white models you already have? If Kendall Jenner can do it, so can me (sic) and any other race!”