Paper Magazine’s October 2015 ‘Black Light’ editorial, photographed by renowned artist Kehinde Wiley and styled by Shiona Turini, was conceived to highlight the importance of black lives in fashion.
In addition to casting only black models, Turini plucked pieces from black designers ranging from Hood by Air and LaQuan Smith to Harbison.
About the project, Wiley wrote, “Black lives matter because it’s the prescient thing to highlight in this moment of cultural evolution. But black lives have mattered for thousands of years. My interest is in the now – what does it feel like to be black in 2015?”
Turini told the Man Repeller,” This shoot with Paper Magazine was an opportunity to speak out about the injustices in our society in a creative manner, to uplift those who rarely have a voice. It was a way for us to communicate that Black Lives Matter. Black Talent Matters. Black People Matter.
Designers of all races and ethnic backgrounds matter. But this was a special project where, by focusing on a black artist, black designers and a black team, we could assert our contribution in the industry and highlight talented men and women of color. I’ve said it before: black culture is often part of the inspiration but rarely are black people part of the conversation.
It was important that we didn’t just celebrate the well-known designers of color like Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, Duro Olowu, or Tracy Reese. We wanted to support up-and-coming brands too, like Harbison, Off-White, Armando Cabral, Chelsea Paris, Telfar, Pyer Moss, Camille Tanoh, KHIRY Collection jewelry, Casely-Hayford, Brother Vellies, Azede Jean-Pierre, LaQuan Smith, Stella Jean, Hood By Air and Public School.
What’s overwhelming and important is that this list of young designers could go on.
We also made an effort to call in brands that have done interesting collaborations with designers and creatives of color, like Puma’s collections with Rihanna and Solange.
Working with Kehinde Wiley was a career highlight; it was magic. But it was also different from any shoot I’ve ever done. He didn’t want anything to feel contrived. He was motivated by whether or not he liked the clothes as opposed to who designed them, which was a spectacular and unique point of view to work under; so often in fashion we get distracted by the label, but Wiley was completely moved by the vision of the final image, not the designer name attached to the garment.
Still, there were so many more brands that I wanted to call in to at the very least have present on set, like Grace Wales Bonner and William Okpo, but the timing didn’t allow. What I wouldn’t give for a part two.”
I’m glad that stylists like Shiona and photographers like Kehinde are taking a stand in a supremely creative way.
I’d love to see a part 2!
What do you think?