French designer and creative director of American Wardrobe Myriam Chalek took an interesting approach to New York Fashion Week, having sexual assault survivors walk the runway Feb. 9.
The eight models walked into the beautiful hotel ballroom filled with guests; each of them shared their stories. These stories consisted of all types of sexual misconduct, from abduction to rape. Photographers and TV crews were present to document this monumental fashion show.
The women were encouraged to share their stories by the #MeToo movement. According to an ABC article, runway model Alicia Kozakiewicz who was kidnapped at age 13, held captive in another state with her torture videos streaming live on the Internet, said that she feels like she is “no longer just a victim.”
Kozakiewicz illustrated the importance of the #MeToo movement, describing it as “not about man hating.”
“It is not about fighting violence with violence,” Kozakiewicz said. “It is, however, empowering women and girls to live in a world free of fear.”
Another model who walked in the show was Cheyenne Johnson. Johnson has a history of suffering from sexual abuse. ABC states that one incident occurred when she was a senior in college when a date “attempted to rape her.”
Chalek wanted to use the hype of fashion week to raise awareness that it is okay to speak up if you have been sexually victimized in any way. According to ABC, she clothed the models in “leather and gladiator looks but also in light, sheer outfits that included a winged butterfly paired with a tiara because the combination is just like a woman.”