I am an immigrant is a simple but touching production by W magazine in response to the popular vote of the American people to build a $12bn “impenetrable” southern-border wall along the US-Mexican frontier, a vote in support of the refugee ban to restrict inbound travel to the States from 7 predominantly Islamic countries, a vote that signals a belief in President Trump’s promises of a stronger, more prosperous economy built on anti-immigration rhetoric, echoing the outlandish claims of the Brexit campaign and giving life to the harrowing rise in popularity of France’s Le Pen.
Over the last 12 months, political swings closer and closer to the extreme right, continue to send shockwaves across the globe, leaving no corner and no industry, including fashion, untouched. Led by W Magazine’s Creative and Fashion Director, later announced incoming Editor-In-Chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful published a powerful piece of film. The video alerts us to the reality that the fashion community is made up of designers, models, photographers and other actors from all over the world. Enninful himself was born in Ghana and raised in the UK. Adriana Lima, Anya Rubik and 79 other contributors are also immigrants. The wide use of languages in the video, “I am an immigrant”, “Soy immigrante”, “Je suis immigrant(e)”, “Я иммигрант”, remind us that fashion is inspired by a variety of countries and cultures and that the industry, like many Western nations, have thrived because of the richness that comes from diversity of influence and contribution.
That’s what I enjoy about fashion, the way it manages social and political disruption. Fashion embraces what’s different, the unusual, the unique. He or she or what stands out is not threatening but interesting and beautiful.
I am of the second generation, born and living in London, of Sudanese and Ugandan descent. I am an immigrant, I love fashion and W’s take on what that means in the midst of political strife and uncertainty makes me proud.