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A designer featured all Asian models in her show at New York Fashion Week — and people are applauding the representation

INSIDER logoINSIDER 9/12/2018 Lucy Yang
a woman standing in front of a crowd © Frazer Harrison/Getty Images People are applauding a designer for casting all Asian models in her show at New York Fashion Week.


On Sunday, Claudia Li debuted her Spring 2019 collection at Spring Studios in New York City. The show, which was Li's first official runway event, featured 35 models in total.

Speaking to HuffPost, the designer said she wanted to highlight the "incredible diversity" and individuality within Asians. In her experience, Li explained, the fashion industry often sees Asians as a monolithic group, as a box to check (Asian) instead of a diverse community of people from all different backgrounds (Filipinos, Singaporeans, Koreans), who do not look and act the same way.

a group of people posing for the camera © Frazer Harrison/Getty Images "Asians aren't just one nationality - it's not just Chinese, it's not just Japanese, there are girls from everywhere [on the runway]," Li told Refinery29 backstage at her show. "It's time to break free from that singular definition of Asian beauty."

Following the designer's show, many took to social media to commend her casting decision. On Twitter, fans called the Li's runway event "amazing" and "important," and thanked the designer for representing Asians at New York Fashion Week. 

On Monday, Li called the show her "personal contribution" to the cultural conversation about "how Asian identity is represented and portrayed" in a post on her official Instagram account.

"This [wasn't] a fashion show with one or two Asian women used as a token to stamp a 'diversity' box," the designer, who was born and raised in New Zealand, wrote.

She continued: "We are too frequently OK with a single-note, easily-understood image of Asian femininity. Instead, I [showcased] my collection on 35 individual women, each with different styles, personalities, and looks of their own."

In the post below, click the arrow on the right to see Li's full comments. 

Claudia Li did not immediately reply to INSIDER's request for comment.

Related video: Right Now: Here’s What All of the Stars Are Wearing to New York Fashion Week (Provided by Instyle)

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