STYLE

Model Deddeh Howard Holds A 'Black Mirror' Up To The Fashion Industry's Racial Bias

'It is time for more diversity.'

08/12/2016 13:28 GMT | Updated 16/12/2016 12:11 GMT

A model is encouraging the fashion industry to take a good hard look at its racial bias, through a powerful photo series that holds a “Black Mirror” up to famous campaigns.

Deddeh Howard worked with photographer Raffael Dickreuter to recreate classic fashion campaigns - featuring the likes of Kendall Jenner, Gisele Bundchen, Gigi Hadid and Candice Swanepoel.

“At the Victoria’s Secret fashion show you could see the same pattern you can see at New York fashion week or any other famous fashion events: black girls are almost invisible,” she wrote on her website, Secret Of DD.

“More equal visibility of all races, being it white, black, Asian, Latino etc would help all of us believing in our potential.”

A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

Alongside the above side-by-side shot showing Howard recreate Kendall Jenner’s Calvin Klein ad, she wrote on Instagram:

“What do you mean you already have two to five black models that looks like me? Did you say the same thing to the 50 to 100 white models you already have?

“If Kendall Jenner can do it, so can me or any other race! Here is my proof, so open your eyes and see that fashion is not black or white! Life is not black or white.

“I’m just like her.”

A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

Howard has first hand experience of the fashion industry’s bias towards white models. She has turned up for casting calls only to be told by agencies: “that I have an amazing look and wish they could represent me, [but] they already have a black model. Besides having an abundance of white models.

“It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all,” she added. “When you are told that, trust me, it feels bizarre.”

Howard and Dickreuter worked tirelessly to create images that were the exact doubles of the fashion campaigns - matching up every detail from the lighting to the styling - aside from, of course, the model.

“I hope this project can help to bring awareness back to the positive side of black people,” said Howard.

“Unfortunately we are rarely shown in a positive light in the media, but can see countless times when yet another black person gets shot or arrested.”  

A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

Howard’s posts have hit a chord on Instagram, with plenty of praise from commenters.

“Hats off to you for highlighting the diversity problem in the fashion world in such creative way,” wrote one.

Another added: “Everytime I drive on the freeway I see a billboard for another white movie. As an actress (that isn’t white) it’s disheartening but I’m not going to let it discourage me.

“Thank you for this it was a breath of fresh air and gave me the encouragement I was looking for.”