It’s no secret that fashion has a racial diversity problem. The general lack of non-white women depicted on the pages of magazines and appearing on catwalks spurs constant debate on the issue of inclusion. Just two years ago, supermodels Naomi Campbell and Iman teamed up with fashion activist, casting agent and former model, Bethann Hardison, to form the Diversity Coalition. The group drew attention to this serious discrepancy by launching a campaign aimed at the members of the fashion councils of New York, Milan, London and Paris, calling for an end to racism on the runway. They specifically cited a number of fashion houses that had consistently used little or no women of colour in their shows. Their actions achieved a noticeable increase in models of colour on the runway that season, but the promotion of diversity in all aspects of the fashion industry, Films included, needs to be ongoing.
With that in mind, meet Indian-American actor and fashion and jewellery designer, Walis Ahluwalia. You may recognise him from smaller roles in some of Wes Anderson’s films (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Darjeeling Limited, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) or possibly GAP’s 2013 “Make Love” advertising campaign in the US. His latest project is Indian Gigolo, a short Fashion Film by Peter Glanz that mimics the opening credits of the 1980 classic American Gigolo, starring Richard Gere. The nearly 3-minute video purposely piques the sensibilities of our cultural spectrum and features the finely tailored creations of Doyle Mueser, a bespoke menswear studio based in Manhattan.
Back in August, Swiss luxury brand Bally launched a new line of boots and backpacks in collaboration with hip-hop artist, J. Cole. To promote the new range and celebrate the brand’s decades-long affiliation with rap culture (Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh proudly donned suede Bally shoes and even Bally sneakers in the early eighties as rap began gathering momentum), they produced Off the Grid, a Fashion Film directed by Maxim Bohichik. Shot in Jamaica and featuring a visit to Bob Marley’s recording studios, the Fashion Film follows J. Cole as he gradually makes his way through the everyday noise of his life as a musician and the non-stop hustle of Kingston, eventually escaping into the hushed beauty of the Blue Mountains.