Melanin & The Millennial

Mahogany, ivory, honey, golden or midnight. An overwhelming plethora of pigmentation floods ones’ visual senses. This phenomenon being determined by the amount of Melanin produced by cells in the body. The darker the skin, the more Melanin. A genetic process, which cannot be influenced, yet it influences so much outside of the objective terms by which it was created.

Entrenched in our country’s history is the criticism of skin colour. Intensified by the global mentality, that richer & darker skin tones are to be shunned by the fashion industry, as backward ideologies prevail, while pale skin has been deemed as “unhealthy looking”.


First impressions and judgements are daily social “norms” carried out by society. Constantly under criticism and deductions, appearance and presentation dominate many aspects of daily life. An unspoken message is understood by the way you present yourself to others. Fashion allows for freedom of expression and identity. An outfit choice is linked to many associations and understandings, creating an “idealised” image of oneself. However, as much as fashion allows for self creation, it is limited. No matter what is worn, skin colour, and therefore Melanin, will always be noted and judged. The past of systematic judgements is very much a prevalent act in the present day. However, the Millennial faces a new culture of unity through diversity. An ideology which is growing amongst the Millennials of fashion.

Our visual statement was based around the concept of celebrating the upcoming rise of inclusivity in the fashion industry. Contrasting a range of Melanin, the beauty of diversity is highlighted. The isolated location, giving an eerie feeling, with burnt debris and exposed earth, assisted in elevating the vision of our project. In the rawest form of nature, Melanin & the Millennial are left to interact. Wearing pieces by A Seam Studios, a cohesiveness is carried throughout the images, while the variety of textures creates a sense of individuality for each model. The light and minimalistic pieces allow for the emphasis to be on the models and their interconnectivity. The main idea behind the styling was the use of transparent pieces as symbols for prejudice and assumptions, as well as empowerment. No matter what someone wears, skin colour will always be noticed. This means that individuals should embrace and emphasize their unique pigmentation, as a way of reclaiming identity. Melanin is something that cannot be hidden, nor should it be hidden. The transparency of the clothing linking to the transparency of fashion, and therefore society.


The fashion industry has a long way to go in order to reach a level of inclusivity, as well as realistic representations of the range of Melanin. As much as fashion is governed by prevailing corporations, fashion is persuaded and guided by those who embrace it. By taking ownership of ourselves and our Melanin, we take ownership over fashion.

Written by: Nicola Kruger


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