The full title of this article by Anne of Carversville (blog), is “Joan Smalls Takes Paris, Lensed by Chrisean Rose for InStyle December 2022.” The article focuses on the career Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls and underlines her activism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the rise of BLM protests.
Seeing supermodel Joan Smalls wearing a Louis Vuitton coat with magnificent Bettina Vermillon boots, in a December 2021 InStyle Magazine fashion story headline that reads: Joan Smalls Turned the Streets of Paris into Her Personal Catwalk — well my heart literally tightened with emotion.
“It’s where I broke through,” says the Puerto Rican model, recalling the gig that launched her career: a place in Givenchy’s spring 2010 haute couture show. “That was one of the most memorable moments I’ve ever experienced.” It was an opportunity she had to fight for.
Paris is challenging and nurturing at the same time for all of us. Then we add on the reality of Joan Smalls being a person of color battling for more diversity in a fashion industry that wasn’t. However Paris has challenged me, it has challenged Joan Smalls even more so.
When I write that Paris understands certain people, Smalls articulates the feeling. “Looking back, I appreciate what I have that much more because of what it took to get here,” she says. “It wasn’t handed to me easily. I had this hunger in me to achieve more and not just settle for what I was given.”
In the days after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and the rise of BLM protests, Joan Smalls raised her voice loudly and in ways that resonated deeply. In February, 2021 Joan was joined by IMG and the Black Fashion Council to Launch #Change Fashion.
WWD explains the new organization, dedicated to encouraging companies to take responsibility for their impact on the world and provides concrete steps that will ensure the industry is working toward racial justice.
[Shown above, Smalls by Chrisean Rose.]