Claudia Li's First NYFW Runway Event Featured Only Asian Models


This designer featured only Asian models for her New York Fashion Week debut — and people are pumped about the message of inclusivity.

Claudia Li is a New Zealand-born Chinese designer who says she has long been “plotting” this all-Asian runway cast. For her debut runway event at New York Fashion Week, 35 Asian models strutted Li’s Spring 2019 collection.

Among the show’s attendees was “Crazy Rich Asians” star Awkwafina, who made a front row appearance wearing a piece from Li’s collection.

Li said she wanted to celebrate the individual uniqueness among Asians of all backgrounds and acknowledge each model’s personal style instead of just “stamping a diversity box.”

“Every single one of these women has her own personality. I’m so very connected to that,” she stated to Teen Vogue.
Li said she spent her life boxed into stereotypes growing up in New Zealand, and she’s using her platform in the fashion industry to break that cycle.

“My whole life I’ve been assumed to be submissive, timid, and obedient, or it’s been assumed that I play violin or excelled at calculus,” she stated on Instagram. “Many other women in my life deal with these same experiences — it is past time that we are seen for, and allowed, our full humanity. We can be rebellious, loud, dramatic, obnoxious, fun.”