Model Deddeh Howard was sick of the lack of diversity in major fashion campaigns.
So, the Liberian model collaborated with photographer Raffael Dickreuter on the Black Mirror project, in which Howard recreated nine fashion brands’ advertisements that feature white models.
“When you browse through the average fashion magazine you almost never see any black models. Same for big ad campaigns of the big billboards. That really stood out for so long that it just really made sense to take these pictures,” photographer Dickreuter wrote to Mashable.
In a statement, Howard elaborated on that.
In a time where black people too often are in the media for being underrepresented at important events such as the Oscars or make headlines for being targeted by the police I felt it was time to do something positive and inspiring about my race,” Howard said.
“At the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show you could see the same pattern you can see at New York Fashion Week or any other famous fashion event: black girls are almost invisible. There is the odd one here and there, but it always feels like an afterthought,” she said. “We live in a globalized world with nowadays many interracial couples producing mixed babies. Why can’t the big brands not embrace our diversity more and give all of us visibility? With this Black Mirror project I hope to show the world that it is time for all of us being seen.
Howard now resides in Los Angeles.
She recreated each photo almost exactly the only intentional differences are the absence of brand logos and her skin tone.
Dickreuter explained to Mashable how they chose which photos to recreate.
“We definitely researched which famous brands never use black models and that was a good starting point. Then we also checked on what pictures we liked and felt would work well together for this project,” he said. “We also were looking for that she as a black model could look great in and that worked well with the overall story on diversity.”
The pair didn’t hold back when it came to getting the perfect props, clothing and more for the shoot.
“The shooting part did not take that long. What took much longer is the research for each shot, reverse engineer how they were created, find all the right elements, from clothing to jewelry to tracking down a rare 1939 motorcycle That took the most time to get to the point where you could actually shoot,” Dickreuter told Mashable.
“A real challenge is when you say, ‘let’s go up against the biggest brands in the world, who have huge budgets and access to stars and we would shoot this basically in our apartment,'” he said. “I knew very few people could pull this off. Go up against all these stars like Gisele or Kate Moss all at the same time. Big credit to Deddeh for pulling off all those looks.”
We hope to be seeing more of Deddeh Howard in the future.