Sean "Diddy" Combs takes a strong stand against the lack of diversity in the fashion industry with his breakthrough Sean John runway show that capped Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Friday. The entire show consisted of black male models.
The new collection boasted fashion forward designs—especially buzz-worthy are the sweaters and high-waist trousers—and gorgeous faces of yesterday and tomorrow. Will Lemay was one of the prominent models walking in the show—he was once the brand's signature model, opening many shows and appearing in the print campaigns.
Models of the moment Salieu Jalloh, Ibrahim Baath, Marcus Lloyd and Wendell Lissimore, all of whom are represented by RED, walked in the show. One of the top bookers at the agency says he is happy the "beautiful black boys were given a shot to strut their stuff. ... There still seems to be a very narrow and closed-minded approach used by many casting agents and designers to exclude blacks and other ethnic groups from their projects."
The real surprise was at the end of the collection when Rod 2.0 fave Tyson Beckford walked for Sean John. Formerly one of the brand's top faces, Beckford has been feuding with Combs and filed a lawsuit against the producer slash designer and his brand. It looks like they kissed and made up. For now.
Beckford attended several shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and told the Associated Press the lack of black models this season has been particularly acute. "What happened to all the black people on the runway? ... There used to be myself, Naomi Campbell, Veronica Webb, Tyra Banks. There used to be a lot of us out there, but today a lot of the designers just aren't catering to black people."
On a final note, several times Rod 2.0 has reported that iconic fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg—whose studio and atellier is around the corner—has always supported black models and designers. Remember her rave reviews for Michael Knight in Project Runway? In her new role as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, she reportedly has "sent a memo to its members encouraging them to create fashion shows 'that are truly multicultural.' "
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