Tag Archives: diversity in fashion

A/W 2017 Fashion Edit by Naomi Shimada

NaomiPosted by Kay

Called the best thing on instagram by Refinery 29, body positive activist, model and nascent documentary maker Naomi Shimada is a warm ray of  sunshine in our cynical times.

Rarely seen without a brightly coloured outfit, a huge smile, and a great pair of kicks, half Japanese, raised-in-Spain Naomi is one of a kind and I adore her.


Collina Strada

Hilary Taymour is a friend and she’s the designer behind Collina Strada.  Hilary started her casting process by deliberately selecting models from countries on Trump’s ‘travel ban’ list. However that proved harder than it from there we started selecting a wide range of models with different ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, ideologies that are fearful of the consequences during this presidential term. “We wanted to cast humans who are fearful of what is next: homosexual models; pro-choice models; a model in need of healthcare long-term illness.” Her casting made me feel so many things. Politics and fashion can be an uncomfortable and inappropriate mix, but for me, this show presented clothes via politics from a real-life sense, and more like social commentary.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 1.57.12 PMCollina Strada


















ThandieKay A/W 2017 Fashion Edit



Ashish is alway hands down my favourite London show. Political fashion shows are obviously trending right now but Ashish’s shows have always been political, with so much heart and soul radiating through in all that glitters. His show has an authenticity that reigns over all the others.

His t-shirts were emblazoned with the slogans ‘You are much lovelier than you think’, ‘Fall in love and be more tender’ – all good reminders of what we need to be saying to each other, doing, loving, caring hugging etc! Now that other designers like Dior and Prabal are trying to jump on this bandwagon Ashish reminds them how it’s done. That this isn’t a fad – it’s a lifestyle!!! That it’s cool to care, it always has been and always will be.

Their collaboration with the US Baseball league challenged the hyper male world with rainbows and sequins! Ashish’s show castings have always been the most inclusive and diverse – this time starred some of my favourite angels Wilson Oryema and and Leomie Andersen. The models wore Mexican Lucha ‘fighter make-up’ by Issamaya French with each model wearing their own gorgeous individual designs!

Ashish A/W 2017Ashish A/W 2017



Comme Des Garcons

Hurrah for Comme! It’s just so funny and I don’t even know if it means to be! The so-called ‘ready to wear’ Comme Des Garcons collection is never dull and this season Rei really turned it on. Instead of following


Comme Des Garcons

Hurrah for Comme! It’s just so funny and I don’t even know if it means to be! The so-called ‘ready to wear’ Comme Des Garcons collection is never dull and this season Rei really turned it on. Instead of following fashion’s fascination with everything skinny, Rei Kawakubo does what Rei


Comme Des Garcons

Hurrah for Comme! It’s just so funny and I don’t even know if it means to be! The so-called ‘ready to wear’ Comme Des Garcons collection is never dull and this season Rei really turned it on. Instead of following fashion’s fascination with everything skinny, Rei Kawakubo does what Rei wants and created what she calls the ‘future silhouette’, padded, in your face, bulbous spherical Picasso-esque curves all coming at you, impossible to ignore! These outfits are a total reflection of what we need in these tumultuous times: a protective suit to hide in with trainers to run as fast as you can when need be! Your very own impenetrable fort! Obsessed with the Nike fly-knit collaboration, a white sneaker with a little bow – perfect for a girl like me who loves a glam but comfy look and avoids heels like the plague! NEED these looks to roll down the Kingsland Road and make people smile again!

Comme Des Garcons A/W 2017Comme Des Garcons A/W 2017






I almost didn’t want to pick Gucci cause it’s the obvious choice but Alessandro Michele is an absolute genius. This show was so jam-packed with every kind of fun outfit on the planet my eyes were popping out of my head! I’m completely over stimulated! Candy for the eyes!

Gucci A/W 2017Gucci A/W 2017













That’s all fashion folks!

Follow Naomi on Instagram and on Twitter

Naomi painted and photographed by Margot Bowman

Naomi painted and photographed by Margot Bowman


Distant Relatives

Post by Kay

“If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?”

John E. Lewis

As you probably know by now, ThandieKay is all about representation, so I was thrilled to stumble upon these Distant Relatives t-shirts designed by Mandy Mli.

Here is an interview we did with her.


distant relatives t-shirt thandie kayWhat is the importance of representation to you?

I think it’s important in that it allows us all to be more knowledgeable and understanding generally. Creating a more balanced and mindful society/world. Representation to me is about clear well rounded communication. It should involve recognising diversity and studying various human experiences. I think it is important to recognise the richness in the experiences of those particularly left out of “popular culture” . I think it’s also about opening up that room for truthful dialogue and thus better understanding

It’s motivates me to celebrate and create on behalf of the underrepresented (and often misrepresented). It motivates me to paint and promote a different picture to the one handed to me from birth and hopefully inspire others to do the same. To paint their own picture of their world and experience. And with that I always like to support those who are doing the same. Representation to me should be about being able to tell your own story and inspiring others to do the same, all chapters included.

What inspired you to launch the t-shirt collection?

Distant Relatives itself was actually inspired by a few things, including my own cultural observations and further by an interview I heard, David Banner discussing his new direction/perspective now being more overtly culturally conscience in his music and using his platform to share knowledge and push towards building and educating his community.

What were you doing before making thoughtful t-shirts?

Working in education, teaching in early years education and designing as a hobby (and considering going back to university to study a postgraduate degree in Social Entrepreneurship.)

What and who inspired you as a child?

It would be hard to pinpoint one thing that inspired me but music,was a huge influence as far as opening my mind to different experiences, perspectives and the art of story telling. at one point I was learning how to DJ. I loved all things 90s, music videos and all. I still do.

How would you like your collections to evolve?

I would like to collaborate more with different artists and individuals. I see Distant Relatives as a collaborative brand. I also hope to expand the product line to include a variety of other accessories and products. Also working towards balancing a more design focused aesthetic whilst still being able to convey an important message.

Making and selling personalised and affirmative accessories. And constantly looking for ways to support social enterprise. And pretty much everything I am currently involved in is about mixing creativity, conversations and promoting positive energy. Directing energy to the things that I think are the important.

Shop Distant Relatives here

Follow Distant Relative on Instagram

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Photo: Ol Parker


Let’s All Get Nude

When it comes to describing something that matches your skin tone, the word ‘Nude’ has often been used. But who’s Nude? Your Nude, my Nude or her Nude? Bizarrely, until now many brands have assumed that we are all one colour-beige.


Christian Louboutin’s Nude flats

At Last, My Nude has come along

Christian Louboutin launched The Nudes collection giving women the choice of five different ‘nude’ shades for five of its classic shoes.

Jourdan Dunn wears an Essential T-Shirt Bra by Nubian Skin

Jourdan Dunn wears an Essential T-Shirt Bra by Nubian Skin

Then there’s Nubian Skin lingerie, which launched a couple of years ago because the founder, Ade Hassan, was frustrated at the lack of lingerie shades that suited her skin tone, and only ever being offered white or black. Now available at ASOS, the lingerie is smartly named after popular foundation names from MAC and Bobbi Brown and are the lingerie of choice for Beyonce’s Formation tour.


Finally. Someone thought about you.

5c3e31fa2cafda3921173ad454b75ad2It’s not just an issue in fashion either. Think of your sticky band-aid plaster and notice the limited shades there too. Urban Armour offer light and dark band-aids and because not everyone is a soft shade of pink or yellow.
Like foundation, natural tights should also come in many shades. Sheer Chemistry is on a mission to do something about that. This London-based hosiery company founded by Tahlia Gray in 2013, wants to offer a more diverse collection of shades of this fashion staple. our-story-rectangle-300x150
“Tights should come in all shades of brown. We are driven by a mission to create a more diverse perception of beauty. By offering a range of tights in five luscious shades that are made to blend in so you can stand out!, we empower women to feel confident and gorgeous in their own skin,” says Tahlia. 
With a background in talent development and recruitment, working in London, New York and Brazil, Tahlia says it was during one cold winter in New York that the seeds for the company were born. Frustrated with the choice of wearing only black or beige tights, she went to search for sheer brown tights and couldn’t find any.

Is My Beauty Valid?

This made her ask the question – “is my beauty valid?”. To do something about it, she decided to create an empowering brand focused on validating and celebrating the diversity and beauty of women of all shades of brown, who don’t often see themselves reflected in the mainstream products they buy.
Tahlia is now in the running to pitch Sheer Chemistry as a business idea to Richard Branson to win investment via Virgin Business Media #VOOM 2016 – the opportunity of a lifetime! To make this happen, they need to be in the top 80 on the leader board by 23 May.
Check out Sheer Chemistry’s #VOOM video here or watch below and cast your vote to help them climb the rankings and gain access to the next round.


Follow Sheer Chemistry on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and online.




Q+A with Cameron Russell


Photo Angelo Pennetta for The New York Times ‘T’ Magazine

“Becoming a model was very counter-culture for my background, which is hyper-liberal, academic, and feminist. Some people were definitely horrified…but it was a blessing and allowed me to pay for college and have the freedom to work on projects of my choosing…

Cameron Russell is editor of the participatory Interrupt magazine & director of a grassroots public art organisation called The Big Bad Lab as well as a successful fashion model. She was one of a few young women I worked with on a Craig McDean shoot in NY back in something like 2006, and again, when she was one of a few on a John Frieda commercial with director Jake Nava.

It wasn’t until I saw her Ted Talk (below) that I actually saw her, because even though I’ve spent my entire adult life around models on a fairly intimate level, I am guilty at times of being distracted by their otherworldly appearance, perhaps not quite bothering to find the time to see ‘a person’ as I would someone who’s currency was not ‘just physical’ at that moment in time.

Growing up in the fashion industry, I’ve observed how a select few become superstars whilst still in their early twenties, before they’ve even truly grown up as people, before getting the opportunities that create an environment in which to garner any sense of their real selves, never occupying any space without continual projection based on their looks alone. Models- who are they? Cameron models for a living, and what’s more interesting is that she both embraces, and explores the projection.


 1. What is your earliest beauty memory?

Cameron meeting President Clinton as a girl.

Cameron meeting President Clinton as a girl.

My mom didn’t talk about beauty when I was a kid. She did that on purpose because she wanted us to value ourselves and others for attributes besides beauty.

2. I feel most beautiful when…….

I’m wearing a piece of clothing that’s my absolute favorite. Like these baggy black jeans that have a shape I love, or this bright blue sweater that is a beautiful color. They are familiar and I always feel confident in them.

3. When you were a child, what was your Mother’s beauty routine?

My mom didn’t really pay much attention to beauty. Her only make-up was this little tin of kohl (black eye liner) and when she went out to a party or special event she’d use a bit on her eyes.

4 Is make-up a chore or a delight?

Cameron PRADAI don’t wear make up when I’m not working. But when I am at work sometimes it is pretty amazing to see how transformative make-up can be. At Work:

It’s also lovely to work with people who are passionate about make-up because they’ll have all these amazing references and ideas and characters they want to build, and I get to be part of that.

Cmeron Russell on ThandieKay.com

Cameron Russell on ThandieKay.com


Cameron Russell on ThandieKay.com

5. Did your father refer to your Mother’s beauty, and how?

Launch event for Interrupt Magazine

Launch event for Interrupt Magazine

My mom loves textiles, and she’s an avid knitter and seamstress so my dad would always compliment her handiwork and style.

6. What’s been your worst beauty mishap (or simply a memorable one)?

I’ve bleached my eyebrows on various occasions (most recently two weeks ago backstage at Prada) and usually it’s no big deal (they’re back to normal now!) But one time when I was a teenager I bleached them on a job and the team decided they didn’t like the look so we died them back, but they weren’t the right color and we died them two more times. Then they started to break off and fall out. I looked pretty crazy with thinned out super orange-y eyebrows for a while!

7. If you could give one beauty gift what would it be?

I wish I could pass on the gift my mother gave to me, which is not to worry too much about how you look. She always appreciated clothing, and I even remember her talking about some movie star whose hair she loved once. But it never was more important than being happy and healthy.

8. What’s the craziest place you’ve ever done your make-up in?

Where to start….on a glacier in Alaska, in a dust storm, in the back of many vans, RVs, cars, and tents, and of course backstage at a show with 3 people doing my make up and 4 people doing hair … in less than 5 minutes!

Victoria's Secret, Balmain & Isabel Marant

Victoria’s Secret, Balmain & Isabel Marant

Cameron's Interrupt Magazine

Cameron’s Interrupt Magazine

Cameron Russell Victoria’s Secret model, Cameron Russell at Balmain, Cameron Russell at Isabel Marant

Cameron Russell’s Interrup Magazine

9. What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry?

More diversity. Media that reflects and includes all people.

10. When was the last time your mascara ran, and why?

Yesterday, I changed my make-up too many times, ow!





See Cameron’s participatory Interrupt Magazine here

Check out The Big Bad Lab project here

Follow Cameron on twitter here


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