New York Fashion Week has seen more diversity than ever this year, and it's been hitting the runway in massive waves. At Zac Posen's presentation, 40 of the 46 models cast by the designer were women of color. What most people probably don't realize is that this bold move was partly inspired by Ashley B. Chew, a fine arts graduate from the Midwest and the brain behind Black Models Matter movement.
While her work has always depicted women of color, none have spread Chew's message quite as far as the "Black Models Matter" tote bags she created, which have spotted on everyone from Cindy Bruna and Iman to Shaun Ross and Miss J.
"The inspiration behind the 'Black Models Matter' bag was the lack of diversity I had noticed on the runways, working as a production assistant and runway model each season," Chew tellls us. "Seeing the industry from different angles can really give you insight on how things work and what's really going on. Being on both sides of the runway is so conflicting and frustrating. Season after season, you start to notice a trend or decline in the lack of diversity or representation. That's how the idea started."