From Adut Akech to Winnie Harlow and Bella Hadid: model of the year nominees highlight a more diverse fashion industry

Five of the world's biggest models go head to head in the British Fashion Council Awards - the majority are women of colour, and one is 'proudly' Muslim

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20: Adut Akech, fashion detail, walks the runway at the Fendi show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 20, 2018 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

On December 10, the who's who of the global fashion industry will convene at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the British Fashion Council Awards. This year sees the inclusion of international as well as British names, across the all-important categories of brand of the year, accessories designer of the year, designer of the year and the hotly contested model of the year.

Interestingly, in this year's shortlist for the model of the year category, three of the five nominees are women of colour, showing that old assumptions about beauty are finally falling by the wayside. Furthermore, of the remaining two models, one, Bella Hadid, describes herself as "proudly" Muslim, meaning that fashion is at long last embracing diversity. Meet the nominees...

1: Adut Akech

Adut Akech is a Sudanese/Australian model who burst onto the scene when she walked in Saint Laurent's spring/summer 2017 show. Having moved to Australia as a refugee at the age of six, Akech has now walked for the likes of Valentino, Dior and Versace, and is only the second black model ever to have been the bride in a Chanel haute couture show.

2. Adwoa Aboah 

Adwoa Aboah, from Britain, is last year's winner. She is famed for her distinctive look of freckles and a shaved head, which ironically only came about because she loathed her red hair so much, she cut it all off.

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20:  Adwoa Aboah walks the runway at the Fendi show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 20, 2018 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Since then her career has taken off, and when Edward Enninful took over British Vogue in 2017, he made Aboah his first cover star.

3. Bella Hadid

Bella Hadid is one of the Hadid sisters, and has found global fame as a model. She now fronts a number of international campaigns and has already won the Award (in 2015 and 2016), the GQ Model of the Year award (2016), and was nominated for the British Fashion Awards in 2016. Her father is Palestinian-American, and she describes herself as "proudly" Muslim.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 14:  Bella Hadid attends the screening of "Blackkklansman" during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 14, 2018 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Kering)

4. Kaia Gerber

Kaia Gerber started modelling aged just ten (for Versace Junior), and is the mini-me daughter of original supermodel Cindy Crawford. Gerber hit the big time in 2017, after walking the runway for Raf Simon’s Calvin Klein. Since then, the fresh faced 16 year old has worked with Chanel, Burberry, Coach, Prada and Fendi, and even designed a collection with Karl Lagerfeld called Karl x Kaia.

5. Winnie Harlow 

Winnie Harlow is a Canadian model, as well as a spokesperson for the skin condition vitiligo. Diagnosed aged just four, Harlow's career began after she made a video about the condition, and soon the modelling offers started to roll in. In 2014 she appeared along side Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model, making her a household name.

Winnie Harlow arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards.  Evan Agostini,  AP


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