The power of a Hashtag.
As I was looking through my Instagram feed this morning, stylist Elisa Nalin (who prolifically captures Fashion Week on Instagram), posts a rather blurry picture obscured by a fence with a hashtag that reads #NOTORACISM.
I honestly ignore 99% of hashtags (while totally being guilty of overusing them myself), but couldn’t with this one. As I perused the amazing pics of stylishly dressed black men at the Umit Benan show, I learned that he dedicated his Paris Men’s Fashion Week show to Jackie Robinson. According to the New York Times, at the beginning of the show he played Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, while models were standing obscured in shadows and a chain link fence (the set was designed as a long forgotten baseball field). In dramatic convention that is de rigueur in Paris Fashion Week shows, the long intro ends with the catwalk being flooded in light paving the way for the models to walk the runway.
In another historic twist, all of his male were black. While previous Paris Fashion Week shows have come under fire for underrepresenting black models, with some designers choosing unconventional tactics that didn’t feature working models, I loved that Benan chose to go a more respectful route vs resorting to shock.
The Turkish designer, who uses “identity” as a central theme in his work, came out at the end of the Paris show with a banner reading “No To Racism, For the Love of the Game”.
And a hashtag is born.
For more on Benin’s historic show, please see this New York Times Fashion Blog entry, and be sure to search the hashtag on Instagram.