A Los Angeles-based model, medical student and fashion blogger from Liberia is advocating for more diversity in the fashion industry – by recreating some of the world’s most famous modeling campaigns.
Deddeh Howard, 27, collaborated with her photographer boyfriend Raffael Dickreuter to recreate photos produced by major brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Victoria’s Secret. The series, entitled “Black Mirror”, represents “a call for more diversity” in the industry.
“I thought it was perfect because we are mirroring two images,” Howard told Buzzfeed News.
“When you [black women] look in the mirror you question: ‘This could be me, why is this not me?”
The series took roughly three months to produce and was inspired, according to Howard, by the discrimination she herself faced as a model.
“Agencies would often tell me, ‘We like your look but there’s a black girl already’. It shouldn’t be limited to just one black girl; there can be more than one!” she said.
“It’s as if they [agencies] are ashamed to represent diversity. It’s very painful and it made me feel insecure and bad of myself.”
Howard called it “unbelievable” that there aren’t more models of color featured in fashion magazines, adding that she wants to send the message that models of color are just as beautiful as anyone else.
“There are many beautiful black models and they are not represented the way they should be,” she said.
Howard said gathering the right clothes and accessories – including a similar motorcycle to the one used in the Guess advert featuring Gigi Hadid, which took Howard and Dickreuter months to find – was “quite difficult,” but “worthwhile.”
Howard has been thrilled with the response to Black Mirror so far.
“I’m very grateful people feel the same that I do, people are telling me that I’m an inspiration to them and it feels unreal. We should keep fighting for what we believe in.”
h/t Buzzfeed News.
Banner image: Debbdeh Howard (buzzfeed.com)