Adwoa Aboah Talks Feminism in the Fashion industry on Set of Her New John Hardy Campaign

Adwoa Aboah Talks Feminism in the Fashion industry on Set of Her New John Hardy Campaign

"I hope that activism in fashion and diversity being quite a big priority at the moment isn’t just a trend, I hope its something that’s here to stay."

"I hope that activism in fashion and diversity being quite a big priority at the moment isn’t just a trend, I hope its something that’s here to stay."

Text: Emma Blanchard

V sat down with British fashion model and feminist activist Adwoa Aboah on set of the new John Hardy campaign 'Made For Legends.' In the new collection, each piece of John Hardy jewelry imbues its wearer with strength and protection. Hollie Bonneville Barden, John Hardy’s first ever female creative director, was inspired by women like Aboah while she crafted this debut collection, making the campaign a perfect pairing. We caught up with Adowa backstage and discussed feminism in the fashion industry, her personal style and her female role models.

John Hardy’s first ever female creative director was inspired by powerful women such as yourself as she designed this debut collection. What’s your definition of a powerful woman?

I would define a powerful woman as someone who is not afraid to be vulnerable. A strong woman is unapologetic and isn’t afraid to speak her mind or to just do them without anyone else’s judgment or opinion.

What makes you feel most beautiful?

When I’m with family and friends and I am in my own clothes and own jewelery. It's when I am myself that I feel most beautiful.

We’d say you represent a new wave of feminism within the fashion industry. What does being a feminist mean to you, especially as a prominent figure in the fashion industry?

My idea of a feminist is any type of woman. A feminist can be a single mom, a stay at home mom, a businesswoman or a model. You can be anything. You can choose to not shave your armpits or choose to protest every day. I think the term is very broad. I think one of the important parts of being a powerful woman in 2017 and being a feminist is that it’s all-encompassing. In the industry, it’s the same. I don’t see that much difference. I see it for myself as paving a path for newer girls in the industry who might feel like they have to do certain things to get to a certain place. I don’t think it’s going to be that way anymore. It should be about us having the power.

Describe your personal style in three words.

It changes all the time. Comfy, I live in tracksuits, and boyish. I am not really bothered by any trend; I just wear whatever I want.

Can you name a female figure that inspires and empowers you? 

Yara Shahidi. She’s a lot younger than me but feels as if she’s lived 100 lives. She’s grounded, normal and opinionated. Lena Dunham, Gloria Steinman, Cecile Richards and my sister are women who have also inspired and empowered me.

What is one change you hope to see in the fashion industry in years to come?

I hope that activism in fashion and diversity being quite a big priority at the moment isn’t just a trend, I hope its something that’s here to stay. I hope that everyone takes responsibility for the imagery and the message they are putting out there. I hope everyone continues to see the importance of girls seeing all different types of women and different types of beauty.

What advice would you give young girls trying to enter the industry?

I have a lot of girls that come and talk to me about wanting to get into the industry. You have to be aware that this industry is fickle and not forever. It’s not a sad thing, but I think it’s really important you have to have other things going on in your life when you’re in it or wanting to get into it. Being a model shouldn’t be the be all and end all of your life. Rejection is part of being a model. There is nothing bad about that. Sit on it, take it, move on and realize they aren’t the right people for you. If I had to tell my younger self, I suppose Id say no one tells you how difficult it is growing up. It’s just about keeping at it. One day, things will start to fall into place. You won't seem as lost; you are not as lost as you were before. Its hard work, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

What is one major goal you want to accomplish in the next 10 years?

10 years, wow that’s loads! I want to do a TedTalk, own my own house, have children, and have my own fixed space for Gurls Talk.

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How do you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I want to help others. I hope I’m remembered for trying to make a change.

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