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Iconic black models that shaped the fashion industry

by Raspreet kaur

Ethnicity in almost every field, for example, fashion or business- has not reached the ideal percentage yet. The oppression towards the blacks and especially towards black females lead to suppression of pure talent. In the light of the recent black lives matter movement, a lot of light is shed on the history of crucial black personalities that had primary influence in the music, art, cinema, and fashion industry. From setting the latest fashion trends to making it to the cover of Vogue US, here is the list of iconic black models that shaped the fashion industry.

Donyale Luna

 Peggy Anne Donyale Aragonea Peugeot Luna was an actress and the first-ever black model to earn the status of a supermodel. She broke all stereotypes and paved the way for future black models in the fashion industry. Her journey wasn’t easy. She was faced with harsh criticism and in fact, the sales outlet refused to sell the latest fashion magazines that had a black girl photographed on it. Despite the hatred and racial prejudice, Luna starred in many movies, magazines covers and became the first African American model to be on the cover of Vogue Britain. Her colleague Beverly Johnson became the first black woman to be on the cover of Vogue US.


The iconic black Somali supermodel, businesswoman, and actress started her career when she was studying at the University of Nairobi. Her birth name is Iman Mohammed Abdulmajid. Iman has always believed in donating to the greater causes, for instance, a portion of the sales from her collaboration with Missy Elliott to create a lipstick called ‘Misdemeanor’ went to an organization called ‘Break the Cycle’ that aimed to end domestic violence. Later she started her own beauty line that made makeup products for people of color. She has graced covers like Vogue US, Harper’s Bazaar, etc. She’s also famously known for being a muse to designers such as Yves Saint Laurent who dedicated the latest fashion collection ‘African Queen’ to her.

Tyra Banks

She is a model and an American Tv personality. Due to the color of her skin Tyra faced rejection from modeling managements when she was just 17, but soon after she appeared on the cover of seventeen, a popular term magazine. She was featured in many pop songs videos, for instance, MJ’s “Black or White” and George Michael’s “Too Funky”. She became the first African American woman to feature on the cover of GQ magazine. Since then she was walked runways of luxurious latest fashion brands, became a Victoria’s Secret Angel, and featured in magazines like Vogue US, Spain, and People’s magazine.

Naomi Campbell

The gorgeous model is considered one of the top supermodels across the world and has set several latest fashion trends by featuring in campaigns for brands like Prada, Versace, Chanel, Burberry, etc. She was the first Black woman to feature in Times Magazine, French, and Russian Vogue. Naomi Campbell Victoria’s secret runway walk and her Victoria’s secret photoshoots define beauty and boldness. She has raised a lot of money for people in need and beliefs strongly in doing charity. In the year of 2019, she was the first black model to win the CFDA fashion icon award.

These Black covergirl models  and many other black models, for example, Joan Smalls and Noami Sims, Winnie Harlow, etc have encouraged many women and people with color to step forward and showcase their talent. From Naomi Campbell Victoria Secret’s walk to Iman’s philanthropic work, their extraordinary beauty and inspiring strength have created a mark on the fashion industry. 

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