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Olivier Rousteing Continues to Keep Balmain at the Forefront of Diversity in Paris

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Olivier Rousteing Continues to Keep Balmain at the Forefront of Diversity in Paris

As casting controversies pierce the city, the creative director discusses why diversity matters

BY ARIA DARCELLA

NEWS  -  MARCH 03

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Photo: firstVIEW

Olivier Rousteing has long been a champion of powerful women. That's who he designs for, and this season was no different.

“I think women today are fighting for so many reasons, which I think is good. To have more power, to be more respected, to be stronger, and I think this collection shows that they are not scared and they take a risk,” Rousteing told FU’s EIC Katharine K. Zarrella backstage after his Fall 2017 show

“I think diversity is not an important subject to so many people and I think that's sad, because the problem of today is that there is not enough diversity represented in fashion," the designer continued. "I think fashion is an example of what the generation of today is, and what could be the future. We need to think of being an example for the next generation, and I think people sometimes forget that and this makes me sad. That's why I'm happy that today you saw so much diversity.”

Rousteing’s words ring all too true at the moment, as many are turning an extra critical eye on Paris, in light of the recent allegations from James Scully that some houses were not willing to work with models of color. In this regard, Rousteing (and by extension, Balmain) is even more of a force for change, putting his money where his mouth is in terms of casting a racially diverse group of models in both his runway shows and advertising for Balmain.

Last fashion month the designer told CNN: “I want to reach people that dream big and that's why, for me, diversity is such an important topic. It's something that is part of me and something that I will always fight for.” His positive outlook is likely what is changing minds, as diversity on the runway is on a steady rise in Paris—even if it still has a long way to go.

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