This week, RJ Mitte (or otherwise affectionately known as Walter Jr. from the television series Breaking Bad) walked for Vivienne Westwood in her SS16 show at Milan Men’s Fashion Week. Aside from his striking features and masculine physique being an obvious reason for his male modelling, it draws attention to the fact that there are calls for diversity in the industry, and equal opportunity.
The fashion industry has always been subject to criticism. Whether it be that its standards are too high or its purpose too trivial, yet the industry continues ticking along with its loyal set of in-crowd enthusiasts and eager followers to give them something worth continuing for. However, certain criticisms the industry faces are not with the purpose of mocking. They consider the genuine basics of human rights and societal values: equality.
Each year, as the bi-annual fashion weeks roll around, it is truly astonishing to note the lack of diversity amongst the designers’ models, with Caucasian women making up the majority of those walking for the labels. The misrepresentation of other ethnicities is undeniable, and thus fuels the criticisms the industry faces of being an elite focussed and somewhat discriminatory industry.
RJ Mitte has been a strong advocate for disabled people since his rise to fame, as he himself has cerebral palsy (like his character on the show). But do not be mistaken – he’s all about equal opportunity and not about letting a disability hamper any goals or future prospects. Therefore with this in mind, its important to observe the fact that fashion ought to encompass a broader range of representatives in their industry, enabling this positive outset to thrive.
So, aside from totally killing it on the runway, RJ Mitte has given us all something to think about and to reflect on. Whilst the industry finds itself constantly having to keep up and evolve with contemporary society, then surely the next most logical step would be to represent the audience they’re actually reaching out to. A diverse one.