A PALPABLE BUZZ HAS BEEN RUNNING THROUGH THE WORLD OF FASHION EVER SINCE LINEISY MONTERO WALKED HER DEBUT SHOW FOR PRADA IN THE SPRING OF THIS YEAR. WITH HER SHORT AFRO AND NATURAL BEAUTY, IT TOOK LINEISY ONLY A FEW UNSUSPECTING STRIDES DOWN THE CATWALK TO EVOKE A CLEAR ABSENCE IN THE INDUSTRY: A DISTINCT LACK OF ETHNIC DIVERSITY.
Though it would have been hard to predict the way a tiny Afro could be so revolutionary, Lineisy’s hairstyle personifies unmanipulated diversity in an industry that is still predominately white European, and where black hair is rarely ever seen without having been adjusted to the European aesthetic by being blown straight or pressed flat. It is also remarkable that Lineisy’s debut occurred on the Prada runway – a label that, between 1993, when Naomi Campbell took to the catwalk, and 2008 when Jourdan Dunn did the same, went for 15 years without a single black model participating in its’ shows. Far from being an exception however (Valentino for instance used fewer than 10 black models to showcase an homage to African culture this past season) the representation of different ethnicities has always been an issue in fashion, which now thanks to the dawn of Lineisy, has received some much-needed attention.
Far from being a decisive move however, Lineisy did not anticipate the massive ripple her style would cause in the perception of black female beauty. Instead the 19-year-old Dominican native from Santo Domingo, has always preferred a natural look. In an interview she gave following the media frenzy her appearance created, she stated that “my hair has never been a question .... I didn’t do anything special except walk the shows. I see now that it is a big thing for the fashion industry so I am proud of it. If it changes the mentality in the business for models like me I would be very happy.”
And it seems that indeed new times are at hand with labels like Prada trying to herald a new era of cultural diversity. Since the beginning of the year Lineisy’s career has truly taken off. Walking in no less than 68 shows this past season and featuring in the Prada fall winter 2015 and Prada Resort 2016 campaigns, major labels from Gucci to Celine are queuing up to work with her. Other models with natural hair have emerged on the scene as well and it appears that a new direction in fashion might possibly be at hand; an era that features a more accurate representation of women across the globe. Lineisy for one would be happy to see a lasting change in which she and girls like her can recognize themselves in the campaigns and visual texture of the fashion world.
Lineisy stands out for bringing the lack of cultural diversity in fashion to the foreground. When she debued on the autumn/winter 2015 runway for Prada, her appearance as the only girl sprouting an Afro amongst 40 slicked-back ponytails sent ripples throughout the industry.
Lineisy had her debut on the Prada FW15 runway in New York launching her into a successful career