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Pornhub stars walk runway at Namilia’s fashion show

February 12, 2020 GMT
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A model is prepped backstage before the Namilia fashion show at Pier 59 Studios during NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
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A model is prepped backstage before the Namilia fashion show at Pier 59 Studios during NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Fashion label Namilia deconstructed Asian stereotypes in the porn industry, empowering the demure, submissive woman with bold dominatrix looks worn exclusively by Asian models at Sunday’s show, including several Pornhub actors.

The Herotica collection shown during New York Fashion Week flipped on its head the traditional, buttoned-up Chinese dress. The gown kept the same silhouette but was done in dominatrix leather with a hand-embroidered electric blue dragon snaking across the front.

Another look featured the same traditional dress on one side of the model, but the other side was stripped down to black leather dominatrix garb.

A short, colorful look folded elaborately around the collar into a Chinese takeout box, complete with long, dripping. crystal ramen noodles and pieces of shrimp with words about male genitalia.

Namilia’s message is clear. Women like sex as much as men but are often shamed for it. Porn is typically seen as a man’s thing, “but women are also interested in porn and sex, but we were just excluded in the past,” said one of the designers, Emilia Pfohl.

The brand reached out to porn stars to help them reframe that narrative.

“I don’t think motherhood and sexuality are mutually exclusive at all,” said Pornhub brand ambassador Asa Akira, a 35-year-old college graduate whose been in the business for a dozen years and gave birth to a son last year.

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She walked the show wearing a sexy, black kimono-style bodysuit. When she unfurled her arms, fabric hung dramatically to the floor with a reference to wrecking male genitalia.

Nothing is off limits for the Berlin-based brand, composed of Pfohl and Nan Li, who met in design school. Their first collection, whose title can’t be repeated, featured vagina-empowering references to pop idols including Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus.

Paris Hilton opened their show in 2018, and last year’s show featured holograms of a crying Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber prints photo-edited onto Jesus’ body.

Celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Rihanna, Cardi B and Ellie Goulding have all worn the brand.

On Sunday, several looks turned models into Transformers, with oversize, clawlike arms inscribed with sexually empowering words. A sculptural neon-green and black look included a riff on the Louis Vuitton pattern, but with dollar signs and male genitalia and large, insect-style wings coming out the back. The designers said it was their take on the Victoria’s Secret angel wings, in a way that less objectified women.

The schoolgirl uniform was also turned on its head, with a pink and white monogram on a pleated leather skirt.

“When is something part of fashion, what’s high culture, what’s low culture, what’s profane, what’s not? And we wanted to take porn into a new context to kind of normalize sex work, prostitution, pornography and put it in a fashion show context, so there’s not as much shame and taboo,” Li said during a backstage interview.

Their designs are heavily inspired by pop culture, “looking from the outside at American culture” to create “a revolutionary new feminist youth culture,” said Li, who freelanced for Kanye West’s brand Yeezy in the past.

Several streetwear looks included edgy motorcycle race suits in feminine pinks, and sweatshirts with the Pornhub and Herotica label. The brands were also printed on a stylish black velour tracksuit.

“My scariest thing before I became a porn star was that people judge me and also fear of what my mom would think,” said Marica Hase, a 38-year-old from Japan who also walked in the show. “I love porn. I’m a little bit of a naughty girl.”