Liu Wen's Marie Claire China covers
Times are changing in fashion and I'm not simply talking about the new A/W 09/10 catwalk trends. The last year or so has seen the fashion industry slowly welcome South and East Asian models into the fashion fold. From once being unthinkable to imagine Asian models on the runway, today their presence is felt and embraced on the catwalk from New York to Paris and London to Milan.
A decade ago, Devon Aoki was the most recognised and possibly the most famous of the small group of Asian model on the 'circuit'. In the past, people have attributed the lack of Asian models in the fashion industry to everything from the cultural differences between the East and West, the view that the girls see it as means to an end of poverty or the alleged heavy and strict influence of their parents.
Tao Okamoto and Mey Ban in Vogue Russia July 09
However, in recent times models from Asia have proved that despite perceived barriers, they are still very much forces to be reckoned with.
The rise of Jourdan Dunn, who was catapulted in supermodel stardom following an appearance on the cover of Italian Vogue's 'black issue', and the launch of several well known fashion publications in Asia have somewhat paved the way for aspiring 'exotic' models. Many argue that this is a direct result of the burgeoning interest in Asian models.
Tao Okamoto for Ralph Lauren Fall Campaign
Lakshmi Menon and Deepika Padukone are both set to become India's first fully fledged supermodels thanks to appearances on the covers of well known publications such as Dazed and Confused. Industry insiders are also hailing Japanese model, Tao Okamoto, and Chinese Liu Wen, as the next big names in fashion. Okamoto has modelled for top names including Marc Jacobs, D&G and Moschino and has graced the cover of French and Russian Vogue whilst Wen has starred in campaigns for the likes of Chanel, Dries Van Noten and Louis Vuitton.
Aside from the catwalk and big name ad campaigns, high street stores are also following suit as evidenced by Next and its use of Kiren Modi, the 23 year old Anglo- Asian and star of their recent ad campaigns.
Keep your eyes peeled during the upcoming London Fashion Week shows as there are rumours of an invasion of Asian models following their strong presence on the catwalks during the February shows.