A still from the FashionBombDaily Instagram account from the Rick Owens show.

A still on the FashionBombDaily Instagram account from the Rick Owens show.

Paris Fashion Week. You’re thinking tall, thin models doing their horse trot thing down the catwalk. Not at Rick Owens. The designer sent members of step teams from American colleges down the runway wearing his latest fashions for the Spring 2014 season. And for stepping out of the box (sorry!), he’s reaping some serious buzz.

Fashion has a serious diversity problem. And the efforts taken thus far to change things have seemed cosmetic at best and pitiful at worst. Either some designers ignore calls for shows that are more representative of the buying public, or they’ve added a model or two with a minority background to the lineup as a gesture. A few designers — Tracy Reese, Diane von Furstenburg, Anna Sui — actually populate their fashion shows with a diverse cast. But they truly are few and far between.

So this Rick Owens step show could’ve gone badly. It could’ve been panned by the fashion elite. It might’ve been a stunt that fizzled. Instead, the steppers put on a serious show that had everyone talking and showed us how to do something different to full and magnificent effect. How did he pull it off? Let’s discuss.
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