Last week, Prada made major history at their Fall 2018 runway show during Milan Fashion Week. Sudanese model Anok Yai, who rose to fame after being discovered at Howard University’s homecoming last year, became the second Black model to open the runway. In case you’re wondering who was the first, it was none other than the iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell back in 1997. Yai hit the Prada runway at the new Fondazione Prada complex in Milan wearing a black puffer coat with a structured bag and ankle boots.
Yai expressed her excitement about the honor on Instagram and said, “PRADA WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE. This is something that I'd only dream of. Thank you Ms Prada, Olivier Rizzo @willyvanderperre @ashleybrokaw @kylehagler and the Next team for giving the little girl from Manch a chance. Can't believe I'm the first black woman to open for Prada since queen @iamnaomicampbell, forever grateful.”
Although Campbell opened Prada’s show back in 1997, the second Black model to walk for Prada didn’t happen until over ten years later when Jourdan Dunn hit their Fall 2008 runway (which also happened to be Dunn’s breakout year). As for Prada’s Fall 2018 show, up-and-coming Nigerian model Eniola Obioro also appeared on Prada’s runway this season, and became the first Nigerian model to walk for the label.
Considering Yai is now the second Black model to open a show for Prada and one of a few lucky Black models to ever be casted for Prada’s runway, this is such a major moment for Yai as well as the luxury fashion brand.
We can only hope that Prada continues to champion diversity on their runways as well as in their ad campaigns, and that it isn’t another decade or two before we see another Black model open for the luxury fashion label.
Watch Yai’s iconic runway debut below, or check out the entire show here.