Best & Worst 2017

Best & Worst 2017: Style


Diversity in fashion at an all-time high

In a perfect world, catwalks and fashion spreads should reflect the vast array of skin tones and body types in the real world. But alas, no matter how we might harp on it, the fashion world's fascination with emaciated white girls does not seem to be ending any time soon.

However, there is some good news. Diversity in fashion has made some headway this year, with models of colour gaining more opportunities and visibility.

In March, The Fashion Spot, a site that has kept a check on the demographic data on the runway for several seasons, reported that every major New York Fashion Week presentation included at least one model of colour.

The site also reports that the Fall 2017 fashion print advertisements saw an increase in the number of models of colour featured - 30.4 per cent compared with 25.5 per cent from the season before.

The most enlightened brands include Coach, Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana, which cast more than 60 per cent models of colour in their advertising campaigns this year. Three out of four models in the Saint Laurent campaigns were also people of colour - a huge improvement from their campaigns from 2001 to 2015, which had none.

Another step forward for diversity is the popularity of Adwoa Aboah, a British model who is partially of Ghanaian descent. She was named Model of the Year at the prestigious British Fashion Awards earlier this month and featured in advertisements for brands such as Gap, Christian Dior and Miu Miu.

The popularity of Adwoa Aboah, a British model who is partially of Ghanaian descent and who received the Model of the Year accolade at the British Fashion Awards recently, highlights progress in diversity in the fashion industry. PHOTO: REUTERS

Launch of inclusive make-up range by Fenty Beauty

In September, Barbadian pop star Rihanna launched her first make-up collection, Fenty Beauty, with 40 shades. The colours include red, green, blue, pink and yellow undertones - creating close colour matches no matter what a person's skin colour or ethnicity might be. The brand's marketing campaign features more models of colour than white models.

The hype for Fenty has not died down and deservedly so. For too long has the beauty industry ignored the needs of dark and extremely pale-skinned women.

Diet Prada keeps it real

Theft in fashion has been happening - often on the sly - for decades now. But thanks to the Internet, eagle-eyed fashionistas have started to call out copycat crimes.

Diet Prada, an Instagram account with 158,000 followers that started in 2014, is one of the best whistle-blowers. It became famous this year for calling out fashion plagiarism from Gucci to Dior.

Highlighting originals on the left and copycat designers on the right, the pictures show similar designs.

Earlier this month, Singapore-based designer Yoyo Cao's womenswear label Exhibit had its Singapore Fashion Week showcase featured on the account for being a "tour de force of referential looks" from the Paris runways.

From a consumer's perspective, Diet Prada is useful information. Shoppers now know better before splurging on "original" designer fashion.


End of the runway for Singapore Fashion Week

This year marked the last edition of the Singapore Fashion Week following an 11-year run.

It is a sad end to an event that showcased renowned designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, Thakoon and Victoria Beckham in Singapore, adding a shot of international glamour into the country's fashion scene.

The event also gave home-grown and regional designers and labels such as Dion Lee and Ong Shunmugam a chance to show their collections.

But market realities have caught up with the event. Its chairman, Ms Tjin Lee, managing director of public relations and events firm Mercury Marketing & Communications, said last month that it was too expensive to organise the event and that the domestic market is too small for profitable sales.

But there might be a glimmer of hope for a Singapore fashion showcase. Maybe Singapore Fashion Week will return, but in a different form - for example, as part of a larger regional platform held elsewhere.

Ms Lee said there are plans to have a "bigger, more collaborative fashion week that engages, works with and supports the neighbouring fashion weeks" starting next year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline Best & Worst 2017: Style. Subscribe