Zac Posen: 'It's my job to intensify diversity in fashion'
Zac Posen feels a responsibility to support and highlight social issues in fashion.
The American designer cast a diverse catwalk line-up for his F/W 16 presentation during New York Fashion Week in February (16), featuring mainly models of colour. Being such a big name in the industry, Zac wants to put his status to good use by bringing racial awareness to the forefront of fashion.
“I believe the fashion community needs to be aware of social issues, and we have a responsibility to spotlight and support them,” he told Yahoo Style. “People who work in culture and the arts and have a social media influence, because so much of the next generation is following us and looking to us for images of what’s next, it’s our job to guide people to understand diversity through beauty.”
Quizzed on how fashion’s elite can achieve this, Zac said he hopes people “blast messages” of equality as he finds living in this generation of fashion “very upsetting”. Overall he views the business as reverted, especially having known the struggles his grandmother – “a first-generation immigrant” and a “real New York City Girl” – faced in being accepted.
“She fought in her career for racial diversity. And in a way, I’m happy she’s not with us anymore, because the world right now would break her heart,” he sighed. “There’s a time to stand up and fight through our work, and this is that time. That was a very intense answer...”
Zac’s outlook isn’t all serious though; in fact, his latest ‘client’ is one nobody would expect. Iconic cartoon character Betty Boop has been given a revamp in a new cocktail dress dreamed up by the designer, 86 years after she first appeared under King Features.
“In my opinion, she’s a femme-fatale feminist,” Zac gushed. “I’m working on the rebranding of Betty Boop with an illustrator, with the blessing of the Betty Boop estate, and also with the Hearst Corporation. I’m helping a girl out.”