Naomi Campbell’s Fashion Revolution: Empowering Black Designers and Redefining Culture
“The world has taken from our culture long enough. We need now to own all these things that have been taken from us.”
Almost four decades deep into her illustrious career, Naomi Campbell continues to be a constant presence on the world’s most prestigious runways, from Versace to Schiaparelli, Saint Laurent to Alexander McQueen. However, this year’s fashion show held a unique significance. It wasn’t just another runway stroll; it was an event that proudly showcased her name in lights. On the evening of September 5th, at the renowned Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York City, the legendary supermodel unveiled a stunning 70-piece collection for PrettyLittleThing, a collaboration brought to life with the creative minds of Edvin Thompson from Theophilio and Victor Anate of Vicnate. The choice to collaborate with two exceptionally talented Black artists was a deliberate one, rooted in Naomi’s desire to uplift those who have been historically underrepresented.
The runway witnessed models donning chainmail minidresses, layers of structured suiting beneath faux-fur coats, and exquisite crystal-beaded skirts, all perfectly paired with strappy sandals and black cat-eye sunglasses. The collection exuded an air of confidence, glamour, and timeless beauty, much like Naomi Campbell herself. “I love the white dress,” she exclaimed, referring to a cowl-neck tiered skirt design that evoked memories of her late ’90s soirées with Kate Moss. “For me, it was just so easy and comfortable and sexy and chic.” Naomi’s closet boasts an array of such dresses, all awaiting the day she can pass them on to her daughter. With a playful twinkle in her eye, she teased, “She’ll have a lot. You’ll understand more come mid-October.”
Bedazzled in a floor-length, backless gown, Naomi took her signature walk, commanding thunderous applause from the star-studded crowd, including Julia Fox, Lori Harvey, Emily Ratajkowski, and Teyana Taylor. The grand finale featured Afrobeats sensation Davido performing his global hit “If” while Naomi danced with unbridled joy in her seat. The inclusion of this Nigerian-born musical genre in the NYFW calendar was just one example of the diasporic unity displayed throughout the event.
Naomi was resolute in her commitment to Black cultural ownership, as she emphasized, “The world is looking at our culture. The world has taken from our culture long enough. We need now to own all these things that have been taken from us.”
In an industry often guilty of discrimination against Black individuals while appropriating their cultural contributions, Edvin Thompson saw this PrettyLittleThing collaboration as a tangible step towards rectifying fashion’s wrongs. He stressed, “I think it’s paramount to really support people that look like us, and this is what that looks like.”
Victor Anate acknowledged that there’s still much work ahead. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but moments like this are what keep us going, and we hope that more designers get the privilege to do things like this with bigger platforms,” he added.
Criticism, however, hasn’t been absent from the collection, despite its warm reception on that Tuesday night. Some fans expressed surprise at Naomi’s collaboration with a fast-fashion brand, given the industry’s growing emphasis on sustainability.
In response, Naomi recognizes the need for industry-wide improvement but finds the criticism directed at her to be unfair and selective. She firmly pointed out, “When the white model has done fast fashion, they get praised.”
Nevertheless, the collection continues to earn accolades for its inclusivity, offering sizes ranging from XS to 5X and prices starting as low as $6. It’s an accessible and glamorous range that allows everyone to channel a bit of Naomi’s iconic style. Shop these key pieces from the collaboration and embrace the timeless allure that is Naomi Campbell.