While the fashion and beauty industries continue to grapple with how to be more inclusive and representative of all consumers, there are a few brands that are working hard to get it right. New York Fashion Week packed a few powerful punches of standout moments where diversity was not only used as a marketing tool, but also as an empowering message that told remarkable stories. Here are the top six moments that made a statement beyond style and showcased models of a variety of ages, sizes, ethnicities, and genders.

Texture on the Runway


What better way to celebrate 20 years of NaturallyCurly than with an epic display of textured hair on the runway to kick off New York Fashion Week? Once again, Texture on the Runway powered by Sally Beauty, proved itself as the most diverse show during New York Fashion Week (in my humble opinion). With models of all sizes, ages, curl types, ethnicities, and genders, NaturallyCurly’s biggest hair event of the year exemplified that beauty comes in every form.

The runway showcased iconic hair and fashion looks from seven of our favorite hair brands: Camille Rose Naturals, Cantu, Carol’s Daughter, Creme of Nature, Mielle, Shea Moisture, and The Mane Choice.

Studio 189

Image: AP images

The designer Abrima Erwiah and actress Rosario Dawson offered a sustainable collection of vibrant, wearable clothing that brought a joyous moment of glory to NYFW. As a recent winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lexus Fashion Initiative for its efforts in sustainability, the brand is deeply committed to using fashion to make the world a better place by supporting artisans and empowering women in West Africa. From bold, colorful prints to voluminous afros, this show exemplified pure melanin magic.


Image: AP images

Carly Cushnie took center stage to present her first solo collection to celebrate her Caribbean roots in a bold, elegant, and sexy way. Coral reds, neon yellows, seafoam greens, and nautical blues danced down the catwalk with touches of simplicity and femininity. With a powerful message of natural beauty and empowerment, she featured top model Winnie Harlow, who closed the show in true fierce fashion.


Image: AP images

Designer Becca McCharen-Tran continues to remain true to her vision of creating an inclusive space of unconditional body acceptance. The upbeat show was inspired by wet t-shirts to reclaim the experience of hiding under a giant t-shirt at a pool party (when you’re too embarrassed to be seen in a swimsuit). The show featured body-positive advocates Ericka Hart and Mama Caxx, who are using their platforms to shift the trajectory of how women are viewed in media. As the influencers came down the runway, the crowd cheered and showed their support for their relentless work.

Pyer Moss

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Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond showcased his fifth collection in the most intentional way by paying homage to black culture and holding his show in a historically black neighborhood, Brooklyn’s Weeskville. Jean-Raymond is known for using his designs as a way to broadcast racial inequality and social injustice, and this collection was no different as models strutted down the runway wearing messages that read, “See us now?” and “Stop calling 911 on the culture.” As if the historically significant runway location and bold clothing themselves weren’t moving enough, a gospel choir sang Stevie Wonder's "Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away," as the all-black cast of models walked the show — including the effortlessly beautiful afro Queen, Ebonee Davis.

Savage X Fenty

Image: AP images

Leave it to Rihanna to close out Fashion Week in the most unique way possible by unleashing her latest loungewear and lingerie collection, Savage X Fenty. She presented her collection in a lush tropical greenhouse setting that showcased true diversity and a celebration of womanhood. It was by far one of the most epic experiences fashion week has ever seen, and it featured an elaborate production with dancers, runway choreography, an incredibly produced set and an expansive line-up of models representing a variety of ethnicities, shapes ,and sizes — including Slick Woods, Paloma Elsesser, Molly Constable, Joan Smalls, and sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid.

Did you tune in to New York Fashion Week? Which show was your favorite? Let us know in the comments.