When I started open casting in March 2015 I had to fight to put ‘regular’ people on the runway. As a young designer, I risked getting a reputation as difficult to work with but as soon as I could I thought it was important to use my platform to push things forward. For me, it is less about diversity and more about representation. It has become trendy to put conventional models of different shapes and ethnicities on the runway, but I want to truly represent my customer base. Whether you are trans, non-binary, a person with a disability, or your curves are not the ‘right’ ratio, I want you to be able to see yourself in my clothing.
I feel very strongly that fashion needs to be more inclusive, and will continue to fight for that, but we need more mainstream brands to take up the cause in a real way. I honestly feel that casting the way I do makes my shows more entertaining and engaging, and helps people see themselves in my clothing. That said, it needs to come from an authentic place. That is why I want to showcase the stories of my models, and let them speak for themselves. Tokenism is not progress.