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Chanel Iman on the cover of Harper's Bazaar (Dubai)

Dear Pennies,

For this week’s Model Mondays, I decided to feature supermodel Chanel Iman. While brainstorming which model to feature for this week, the name Chanel Iman kept popping up in my head. However, for the last few weeks, I’ve been featuring up & coming models and that brought more traffic to the blog & even earned me a mention on The Fashion Bomb. Writing about new talent is fun and as a blogger you feel like you broke the story. On the other hand, when featuring established talent, it’s harder to find an angle when so much has been written about the person or subject. Nevertheless, I decided to feature Chanel and make this post an ode to her and her career, and how she brings diversity to fashion.

Chanel Iman (Image property of Ford Models)

Chanel Iman has been modeling since 2004, when she signed with Ford Models. Since then she has walked the runways of Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, and Dior, just to name a few. She’s also appeared in Vogue (on the cover and in editorials), Flare, i-D Magazine, Teen Vogue, and TIME. A few months ago, Chanel signed with IMG and she is officially a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Chanel Iman with Jourdan Dunn on the cover of Teen Vogue

Chanel Iman with Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn, and Arlenis Sosa on the cover of i-D Magazine

So what is it that makes Chanel so special? Is it her name? After all being named after one of fashion’s most famous designers the illustrious Coco Chanel and a top African supermodel, Iman, certainly can’t hurt her. Or maybe it’s those ridiculously long legs that really never end? It could be her gorgeous smile and beautiful brown eyes. Or maybe it’s the fact that she never seems to have skin issues? And what about her overall positive attitude? Seriously, I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about Chanel…have you?

Chanel Iman for Vogue Germany

But all these things have been said before. So where’s the story? It’s right here: Chanel Iman is a proud woman of African American and Asian descent. It’s not just about her being a woman of color, or saying that she’d like more diversity in fashion in interviews (seemingly a new trend amongst minority fashion folks), it’s about her standing for it. If you visit Chanel’s website, it constantly reiterates her race and ethnic background, additionally, the website states that Chanel was only the third African-American model to be featured on the cover of American Vogue in 2007. If you think about it, that’s ridiculous! American Vogue began in 1892, and you can probably count the number of models of color featured in the magazine and on the cover with two hands. So for Chanel to make light of that on her website shows that she’s aware of the racism in fashion and she wants to make it known to the world.

Chanel Iman for Christian Lacroix

In essence, Chanel is truly an advocate for diversity in fashion. Every time she steps onto the runway, she proves that a young woman of color can make it in fashion. Every time someone reads her website, they learn the difficulties of being a model of color. One runway and editorial at a time, Chanel is proving that diversity is beautiful and a necessity in fashion.

And there it is. The Fashion and Style of the Pen…de la Pen.

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