Joan Smalls Is Refreshingly Optimistic About Diversity In Fashion

Joan Smalls held court over the teensy David Yurman boutique on Madison Avenue for Fashion’s Night Out last night, where she told us what it’s like being one of the few super successful models of color in the business.

Smalls, shod in flat Balenciaga combat boots so it would be easy to walk from store to store, is as optimistic about diversity in the fashion and modeling industries as she is about her new campaign with Yurman, which also stars models Arizona Muse and Jon Kortajarena. Smalls says more diversity is coming; we just have to be patient.

“I think you’re seeing an evolution, and you see more chances and more opportunities being open to diversity,” she said, pointing out that her campaign with beauty company Estee Lauder also includes a white girl (Constance Jablonski) and a Chinese girl (Liu Wen). “I think people start seeing that and think, if a brand such as Estee Lauder is doing it, it’s OK. You know, beauty is diverse. And I think a lot of companies are noticing that. And it’s little by little. There’s a couple more that need to be done, but I think we’re getting there. You just gotta keep knocking on that door.”

After fashion week, Smalls will be knocking on the door of Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who she says she’s dying to work with.

“I would love to do the show and the campaign,” she said. “I think it would be a beautiful collaboration!”

Hey, beauty is diverse. Are you listening, Karl?

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