theGrio’s 100: Bethann Hardison, a fashion icon fighting for diversity in the field

Who is Bethann Hardison?

With legs that have strutted some of the world’s most renowned fashion shows and a mind that is as sharp as the stilettos she wore, Bethann Hardison’s body of work is more than impressive. Born and raised in New York, Hardison grew up with heavy exposure to the city’s garment district and fashion world. She was discovered as a model at a young age and went on to break numerous barriers in the industry.

Since then, she has worked in almost every facet of the field – from producing unforgettable runway shows to writing about them in high-fashion magazines.  She later turned to activism and continues to spread her influence on the changing dynamics within the industry.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

As an advocate for increasing diversity on the runway, Hardison led the charge and called on some of fashion’s biggest brands to include more women of color. She was proactive and wrote a letter to the fashion governing bodies singling out specific brands and highlighting the lack of minority women they use in runway shows.

“Did I hear personally from designers? No,” she previously told theGrio. “Did we hear back from the councils of fashion? Yes. They don’t dictate to the designers, but yes, you hear back. But what’s been so nice is that it’s penetrated, because then certain people start improving. What we have to do is keep making sure that it maintains itself.”

What’s next for Hardison?

Hardison has lived a life always in pursuit of accomplishing her goals, setting new highs and challenging others to do the same. She continues to help change the face of fashion and has attracted national attention to the cause.

“I want everyone to be conscious,” Hardison said. “I think if you can be conscious of what’s going on, be aware of what’s happening, and then you make your decision. But definitely be aware that we’re doing something, and we’re changing something.”