OBVIOUS gives an unfiltered look at Melange and how they are working to shift the optics of fashion on a global scale. Presented with a Q+A with Katiti Kironde, the first African American woman to model on the cover of Glamour Magazine.
Melange by definition means a mixture or medley. This is exactly what was seen when Melange held their fashion show during NYFW. Beauty expressed through outlets of dance, art, fashion, and even tech are just some of the ways that Melange is on a progressive path. Forging a space of diversity, body positivity, and inclusion, Melange is moving forward to have an impact on the world and this is only the beginning.
In partnership with Melange is Katiti Kironde who we all know her as the first African-American woman to model on the cover of Glamour magazine. She is also the founder of the Kironde Education and Health Fund. This year, the non-profit is financing a nursing student in Uganda, East Africa to pursue their education.
OBVIOUS Magazine asks Katiti Kironde about the value of her work with Melange and its impact beyond the fashion industry.
Q & A
What inspired the birth of Melange and what does it represent for people around the world? This is the definition of who we are and what we do. What does Melange represent to the people of the world? It represents the possibility of harmony among people of all sizes, shapes, colors, races, genders, backgrounds, and walks of life as they unite and partake in this extraordinary event, stretching themselves to give all that they have to each other and to the audience peacefully and with love.
Why do you think Melange is a platform that is necessary within this current place and time? We are in a time and place of extraordinary tension and division and the opposite of everything that Melange stands for! We hope that everyone that experiences a Melange event whether they are in it or they are in the audience is infected with the hope, joy, love, and harmony that we express in our production and will pay it forward. Also in this current place and time of rampant social media messages that aggressively bombard us with unachievable images of what is accepted as beautiful. Melange challenges those destructive images by choosing models and performers that do not necessarily adhere to those standards advanced on traditional social media.
What are your plans for expanding Melange to have a further reach? How will these changes impact the future? A few years ago we took Melange to Brazil for a very successful show and are thinking of doing so again. We have done it in San Francisco and hope to do it in other states as well as maybe London or Paris, or Amsterdam in the future. This year for the first time Melange is partnering with a non-profit, Kironde Education and Health Fund to raise money to educate a nursing student in Uganda, East Africa. As we grow and expand our reach we hope to do more of that kind of thing.
The founders, advisors, and leaders of Melange all come from different experiences and have several points of perspective. What would you say is the common attribute that you all share that allows Melange to remain true to its mission? We are all fiercely committed to the equality of and the essential dignity of all human beings as well as the power of love and kindness in our dealings with all peoples. It is these values that undergird our mission and make us such a powerful team. I would say they are our secret sauce.
How has Melange expanded into other industries besides fashion? If you plan to expand into other industries, how will you successfully translate a foundation of fashion into those ventures? Melange will always continue to innovate around the arts and community building, which may intersect across many industries.
If there is any person(s) that fully embody the spirt of Melange in all that they do, who do you think that person is? What sets them apart that make them uniquely “Melange”? My personal choices would be Nelson Mandela, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
What should we be excited for in the coming year for Melange? How will this be different from the past work you’ve done? We will continue to feature better and better beautiful emerging designers, models, musicians, dancers, activists and artists.