There’s a slow change coming. With more black models in the fashion industry than ever before, an opportunity has arisen for creative teams to explore concepts beyond the confines of the played out Grace Jones/Josephine Baker/ghetto fabulous tropes so prevalent in fashion editorial of the past.

In this story stylist Rhona Ezuma and photographer Silvia Draz re-imagine the British youth culture of punk — a movement often referenced but seldom associated with people of colour. New faces Mopesola, Mariam, Daniella, Sol and Shane explore the infusion of brazen aesthetics, bold sexuality, and androgyny which made punk such a liberating moment.

While the fashion industry still has a – shamefully, embarrassingly – long way to go before inclusivity becomes status quo, there’s a chance for creative direction to also diversify in order to ensure that representation becomes authentic and organic, something for clients to embrace with enthusiasm rather than as a PR necessity to avoid being named and shamed.

This is an immensely exciting time to be a model scout— countries and communities that were previously overlooked are now firmly on the radar. While previously Eastern European models dominated the catwalks, there’s a strong tide of new faces from West Africa (in particular Nigeria), the Dominican Republic and the North African and Middle Eastern diaspora of the US, UK, and Europe debuting each season. There’s also change in those countries known for their models of European descent: South American agencies have begun to seriously search for black models, and Australia’s biggest export is a South Sudanese refugee.

Be done with tokenism, with diversity as trend but not change. The next frontiers? More models from South East Asia (Indonesia, in particular, seems on the verge of a model boom) and South Asian backgrounds. More exposure for trans models of colour. More high fashion opportunities for curve models.

What do you think fashion needs to embrace next?

Photography — Silvia Draz (assisted by Lottie Turner)
Creative Director & Stylist — Rhona Ezuma (assisted by Chiamaka Aligbe)
Hair — Joe Burwin
Makeup — Riona O’sullivan (assisted by Megumi)
Models — Sol Malila and Shane Guyher @ Models 1 (London), Mopesola, Daniella Daiuto and Mariam Aluede @ Nii Agency
Special thanks to Rokit

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  • Can we please see more mexican talent that looks like me and my people? Where are our latinx brothers and sisters? Mestizos kids. With all the negativity towards Mexico and particularly Mexicans in America, this is what I would really live for. We consume fashion just as much. Include Mexicans (and other brown latinx people) in the runways where we belong.