02/01/2017
It's not all doom and gloom.

Words by

Giulia Brugliera

We know, we know. 2016 was not the greatest year.

Dubbed 'the worst year that ever was' by undeniable authority, the internet, it's fair to admit that a lot of really awful stuff happened.

But some really great stuff happened too. 

Northern Territory selected its first ever Indigenous contender for Miss World Australia

Magnolia ‘Maminydjama’ Maymuru, a 19-year-old from the remote community of Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, was the first Indigenous woman to represent NT at the Miss World Australia finals. The opportunity also led to Magnolia fronting Chadstone's SS16 campaign and established her as a role model for other Indigenous women. In an interview with Fashion Journal, Magnolia said:

"I am just a 19-year-old girl chasing her dreams, and who happens to be Indigenous. I hope that my presence opens doors for other Indigenous Australians and gives them the courage to try [modelling] out."

Playboy released an issue with no retouching and no nudity

2016 was the year the traditionally risqué magazine received a total overhaul. For the first time ever, Playboy released an issue with no nudity and no retouching whatsoever.

It was a huge step forward for the magazine which traditionally featured overly and unrealistically retouched women. As you can see here, the results were surprisingly cool.

adidas released a sneaker made entirely from recycled plastic

With increased awareness and demand for sustainability in fashion, adidas joined Parley for the Oceans to release the first ever running shoe made from recycled ocean plastic. 

The shoe's Primeknit upper is made from 95 per cent recycled ocean plastic, retrieved from clean-up operations in the Maldives. The other five per cent is recycled polyester. 

After limited releases throughout 2016, adidas started mass-producing the new style. And yes, it's available in Aus right now. 

Mattel added curvy, tall and petite Barbies to its range

2016 may officially be remembered as the year Mattel got with the times. Along with three new body shapes for Barbie, the toy company also delivered a total of seven skin tones, 18 eye colours and 18 hairstyles.

Ken received a similar makeover shortly after, with the release of 'Dad Bod Ken', 'Hipster Ken' and 'Balding Ken'. Unsurprisingly, the new releases weren't an official Mattel creation, instead produced by e-comm retailer, Lyst.

IMG Models introduced a plus-size male division

While 2016 was the year in which female plus-size models hit the mainstream, it seems body inclusivity for males was left behind. April saw American retailer, Aerie, release a plus-size male campaign, which sadly turned out to be a bad April Fools' joke.

Fortunately, the introduction of a plus-size male division to IMG Models was a step in the right direction for body positivity for men.

Christian Louboutin released flats in seven shades of 'nude'

In an industry that had traditionally described 'nude' as a pinky-beige colour, Louboutin's Nudes collection was a huge step forward. Following the initial release a few years earlier, 2016 saw Louboutin's seven shades of nude span the SS16 Solasofia ballet flat.

Other companies began following suit, with both Björn Borg and Naja releasing colour-diverse nude underwear lines. Australian cosmetics company, Kester Black, also released a diverse line of nude nail polishes, with six colours making up its Birthday Suit collection.

Lonely cast staff in its Swim campaign, instead of models

2016 was a big year for Lonely. It kicked off the year with a Swim campaign that celebrated real women, showcasing the label's staff over professional models. 

The year also saw the label release a lingerie campaign featuring un-retouched beauties, Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke. Another campaign swiftly followed, celebrating a variety of women with different ethnicities, ages and body types. 

Sports Illustrated finally cast a curve model

The model was none other than mega babe, Ashley Graham. Her appearance in a swimsuit editorial made her the curviest swimsuit model to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated.

It was a big year for Ashley, who also released her first swimwear collection. In a badass move, the range is inspired by James Bond himself (yes, the man, not his many beautiful women).

Oh, and while we're talking about Sports Illustrated, 2016 also saw the Buzzfeed team recreate its covers with real, diverse women. It was amazing, by the way.

Disney announced an LGBTQI+ prince(ss) could be on the horizon

While they didn't exactly confirm that this is definitely happening, two Disney directors said that they wouldn't rule anything out. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Moana director, Ron Clements, said: “it seems like the possibilities are pretty open at this point."

Women's Running put a curve model and a transgender model on its cover

2016 was the year that celebrating diversity hit peak public consciousness. Fittingly, it was the year that leading health magazine, Women's Running, followed suit.

March saw the mag cast curve model, Nadia Aboulhosn, as its cover girl – a first for the magazine. Soon after, it welcomed its first ever transgender cover girl, Amelia Gapin.

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