New York Fashion Week is well underway and some of the most exciting and talked about moments of the event have been linked to the industry's very visible change in representation on the runways.
Whether it be diversity across race or gender, designers and fashion insiders are finally coming to terms with the importance of showcasing a variety of shapes, sizes, and backgrounds on the runway.
We've highlighted five models who have made waves simply by owning their individuality and going against the grain by defying standards in the fashion world. See below for the round-up of models and their stories.
1. Denise Bidot
One of the most recognizable faces and outspoken voices of the plus-sized modeling world, Denise Bidot is no stranger to making a splash.
Bidot has worked with a number of household names including Nordstrom's, Lane Bryant, and Levi's. Recently, Bidot was one of two plus-sized models for the #NYFW Chromat SS16 show. An advocate for body diversity in fashion, Bidot is quick to push labels aside, telling E! "Why does it have to be straight size vs plus-sized. I think it is one big industry. I am doing amazing things."
2. Aya Jones
French native hailing from the Ivory Coast, Aya Jones was scouted in her home city of Paris and has since had the whirlwind of an introduction into the fashion industry. Jones made her debut on the runway exclusively for Prada — one of the few models of color to walk for the prestigious fashion house.
Since then, the 20 year old has become a sought-after model for campaigns and runways all over the globe. The model who cites her inspiration as Naomi Campbell for her legacy and charity work, toldi.D. magazine that she would use her new platform to, "promote more ethnic diversity in the world and encourage a healthy body image for models."
3. Dylan Xue
Similar to the plight for black models, models of Asian descent are also a rarity on the runway. Beijing native, Dylan Xue, 22, is slowly changing this with her back-to-back features on runways, most notably for Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler. In her spare time, Xue sketches backstage and is currently designing her own T-shirt line in Beijing.
4. Sabrina Karlsson
A native of Sweden, Sabrina Karlsson bursted onto the scene catching eyes for her red curly mane, full-figure, and face full of freckles. With Karlsson identifying as African and Swedish, her presence on runways transcends the very essence of labels when it comes to both racial diversity and body types. She joined Denise Bidot as one of two plus-sized models on the NYFW runway for Chromat.
5. Madeline Stuart
Perhaps the most exciting and talked about event at NYFW was the debut of Australian Madeline Stuart, 18. Stuart — who has Down syndrome and a leaky heart valve — stole the show on the catwalk for American label FTL Moda. When asked about her daughter's success, Stuart's mother Rosanne stated in a recent interview, "This isn't about us. It's fighting the fight for all the people there that are a bit different."
Stuart was recently hired to model for Manifesta, a woman's activewear brand.
Photo Credit: Getty Images