Famous Ads Recreated By Deddeh Howard, A Black Model - Because Fashion So White

Dec 13, 2016

Flip open any magazine to the first few pages. What do you see? Ads, ads, ads... notice anything in common? Probably all of the models are white. But model Deddeh Howard is out to change that. Thank god.

Really, take a look. For example, in the December issue of Allure, there are ads for Dior, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Narciso Rodriguez. All white models. InStyle has Louis Vuitton, Estee Lauder, and David Yurman. Also all white models. In fact, in the opening ads of all the magazines I looked at (using my handy Texture app) I only found two featuring people of color - one for Banana Republic and one for Karl Lagerfeld. Why?

Deddeh Howard is a stunning black woman who takes captivating photographs. But over and over again she's been told by modeling agencies that "they already have someone who looks like her." Really? One model to represent everyone with darker skin? Ugh.

Howard is taking a stand by recreating some famous fashion shoots, and the results are utterly gorgeous. She and photographer Raffael Dickreuter started by looking for brands who rarely (if ever) feature models of color. Chanel, Calvin Klein, Dolce and Gabbana, all look beautiful with Howard at the helm. Here are a few:


A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on


A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on


A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

Howard and the Black Mirror campaign were recently featured by the BBC, take a look:


You can see all the photos from the Black Mirror project on Howard's website, http://secretofdd.com.

Teen Vogue Takes On Trump And Gives Us Hope For The Future

Dec 12, 2016

This weekend the internet took a collective gulp of fresh air. Which came, of all places, from Teen Vogue.

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/donald-trump-is-gaslighting-america

The firestorm was created by a fabulous piece called, "Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America," in which author Lauren Duca lays out a well researched perspective on how our president-elect became so. And just how terrifying that is.

As Duca says, "Trump won the Presidency by gas light. His rise to power has awakened a force of bigotry by condoning and encouraging hatred, but also by normalizing deception. Civil rights are now on trial, though before we can fight to reassert the march toward equality, we must regain control of the truth. If that seems melodramatic, I would encourage you to dump a bucket of ice over your head while listening to 'Duel of the Fates.' Donald Trump is our President now; it’s time to wake up."

(Need to try it? Here's "Duel of the Fates" (the ominous Star Wars theme) for you:)



Slate calls the piece, "a fierce polemic against Trump’s insidiously deceptive style of politicking, his habit of fueling hate with lies and capitalizing on the toxic combination to drum up bigotry and fear." Mashable calls it "scathing." The Wrap says it's "blistering." All of which is true - if you haven't read it yet, do so now.

Besides being so on point with what our country needs to hear right now, here's why I love this: it's delightful to see magazines made for teenagers delving into important topics. When I was a teen, my magazines were full of "15 ways to wear blush." Having not read Teen Vogue for the past decade, I was elated to see articles like:
With young women reading pieces like this, and being exposed to role models like Duca, we have hope for the future. Major kudos to Teen Vogue. To the ladies inspired by reading it, us old folks will be here to help you change the world!

Photo credit: Screenshot of original Teen Vogue article

Halima Aden, First Somali-American Beauty Queen?

Nov 21, 2016

Halima Aden, a Somali-American Muslim woman, is trying to become the next Miss Minnesota.

Aden was born in a Kenyan refugee camp. At six, she moved to Minnesota. Although she is now in an area with a large Somali community, Aden recognized the lack of diversity in local and national portrayals of beauty. And she's out to change that.


Now 19-year-old Aden says, "As long as I could remember, the media portrays Muslim women as oppressed and, you know, in a very negative light. But you never see the beauty and, like, the good things, positive things that come from Muslim women." Aden will be take an active role in reversing that stereotype as a Miss Minnesota contestant. 

Not willing to compromise her religious values, Aden reached out to the contest officials and was assured she can wear religiously-appropriate swimwear for the bathing suit portion of the competition.

Although the Miss Minnesota competition is still predominantly white, there are a few diverse contestants  and winners including Courtney Igbo-Ogbonna, newly crowned Miss Central Minnesota!



According to Aden“Not seeing women that look like you in media in general and especially in beauty competitions sends the message that you’re not beautiful or you have to change the way you look to be considered beautiful. And that’s not true.” We couldn't agree more. 

Aden will compete in the Miss Minnesota competition on November 26th and 27th. We'll be cheering her on!

Sharpe Suiting - Custom Clothing for All Genders

Nov 16, 2016

Sharpe Suiting is making clothes that fit you. Because gender shouldn't limit your choices.


Sharpe Suiting developed a system of measurement called "andropometrics" to make sure their clothing fits the wearer perfectly. Instead of assuming women want smaller waists and shorter skirts, for example, Sharpe Suiting measures the woman individually and tailors the suit to her tastes.

Sharpe Suiting was created by Leon Wu, who grew up as a little girl but knew from an early age that he preferred men's clothing. Wu, a UCLA alum, told the Daily Bruin that he recognized clothing was a problem when he accompanied a friend as she was shopping for a wedding. When the sales associate said his friend didn't fit any of their clothing, Wu realized It might be the other way around, that you don’t have anything that fits her."


Sharpe Suiting has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, AT&T, and Racked to name just a few. They are known for customized, tailored pieces, but also have a ready-to-wear collection starting at $115.

Wu will be speaking in Westwood at the UCLA Anderson School of Management on Thursday, 11/17 as part of their Diversity Week.

Find out more at sharpesuiting.com.

A Sustainable Fashion Show (For Those Who Believe in Climate Change)

Nov 15, 2016

Sure, some people believe climate change is a hoax created by China. If you believe that, I have a bridge I can sell you. Luckily there are incredible people coming together to combat the environmental impact of our fashion industry. And they're inviting you to take part!



Join Beyond the Label for a Sustainable Fashion Show - this Thursday (11/17) from 7-9pm here in Los Angeles. The event is free and even includes wine and cheese.

The event will include pieces from sustainable brands and resale shops like:                                                                  
  • Bead & Reel / Fair Trade LA - Fair Trade E-commerce Site
  • LA Relaxed - Sustainable, All Natural Designer Fashions for Your Busy Life
  • Mink - Luxury vegan shoes
  • Outerknown - Kelly Slater's surf brand 
  • Prana - Sustainable Yoga
  • TredAgain - Flip flops made from tires
  • SITA Couture - Sustainable Fashion, Effortlessly Beautiful, Made in the USA
  • American Cancer Society  Discovery Shop
  • Cherry Picked:A Just Cause Thrift Shop
  • The Closet Trading Company
  • The Colleagues
This event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.

Not in LA? To learn how you can make sustainable sartorial choices, visit http://www.labeyondthelabel.com
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