Diversity in Beauty and Fashion 2016

diversity black indian asian models elle magazine

Last year in December I went through a year’s worth of magazines that I had bought to catch up on my reading to recap on the trends and to seek inspiration.

One thing I noticed was that towards the end of 2015 and into 2016 there was a real effort to be more diverse in fashion and beauty. There were more darker-skinned beauties on the catwalks, in fashion and beauty features and in advertisements in most of the magazines. There were even diversity features in themselves.

Better still, the models were allowed to show their natural beauty, that is, their natural hair texture.  It shouldn’t have been a “thing” when Linesy Montero walked the Prada catwalk rocking her natural hair a couple of years ago but it was and it seems to me that since then, the fashion world is slowly accepting that afro hair is beautiful. I don’t have afro hair but my hair is curly. There are more curly-haired women in magazines too. As a child growing up in the 90s where to be beautiful meant having hair like Rachel from Friends, this is significant.

What wasn’t so great was that unflattering words and phrases are still being used to describe curly hair such as “frizz” or “untamed”. How can you celebrate curls on one hand and put them down with the other? Here is my plea to magazine editors: this year, can you find some nicer words please?

Beauty features also used more black models to the extent that I was no longer surprised when month after month, beauty trends were modelled on darker-skinned women. It felt like it was just right. I could finally open magazines and gauge what a product would look like on me.  It’s a great feeling! This is arguably down to Lupita Nyong’o, the actress who has always kept her heritage at the forefront and in my opinion inspired Lancôme to take darker-skinned women seriously.  Lancôme was one of the earliest luxury brands I used and will always have a place in my collection but until Lupita, there was no point in my trying to buy Lancôme base products. Well, I did try and I wasn’t successful.  Lupita’s Lancôme adverts are still in magazines and remain as beautiful as ever.

I live in London which is an incredibly diverse city. All I really want is for the media to reflect my reality. I am hopeful that we are getting there. I’ll be exploring this a little more in upcoming posts so follow me here on the blog or on social media (@tashasface) so you don’t miss out.

diversity black indian asian models elle magazine

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