Claudia Li: Destroying Stereotypes at NYFW 2018

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Improving model diversity has been a popular topic in the fashion world for a long time now. Fashion shows have been notorious for featuring models with the same look – same skin color, same body type, same chiseled face.

However, after the most recent New York Fashion Week, we can see that many steps have been taken toward a more inclusive direction. Models of all shapes, races and identities got the chance to strut down this year’s runways.

The designer we are going to focus on is the incredible Claudia Li, who brought her collection to life by selecting only Asian women to be in her show this year.

Having experience designing womenswear for J.W. Anderson as well as working at Haus of Gaga under Brandon Maxwell, Li has quite the fashion résumé. She received an MFA in fashion at Parsons School of Design and actually was an honoree in 2017’s Forbes “30 under 30.”

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Now overseeing her own personal brand, she takes her fine arts background and blends it with her interpretations of real-life scenes, memories and emotions to produce her own flavor of high fashion.

Showcasing contrasting colors, silk trousers and dreamy floral prints, Li called upon inspiration from the garden at her childhood home in New Zealand for these spring 2019 looks. Collectively, it all came together to create a light and airy, yet totally clean and contemporary vibe.

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Clothing aside, though, she wanted to do even more to make her show stand out. Li, who is Chinese herself, knows that Asian people are often expected to look and act a certain cookie-cutter way, especially in the fashion world.

So, she made the bold move of casting 35 uniquely beautiful Asian women. She thought it was important to emphasize just how dimensional the Asian community can be.

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“I want them to have their own personalities,” she tells Teen Vogue. “I feel like this collection is really connecting that with who I am, who they are, and who Asian women are. We have so many differences to show.”

This could be a spark that ignites a much-needed change in the fashion world. Our differences should be celebrated, not muted, and what better way to do it than to showcase them in the best fashion from around the world?

“It would be great if people can start casting Asian women not just because they’re Asian. Diversity is within each race and country, and I would like to see more of that represented,” Li says. VALLEY stands with you, Claudia.


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