A Tom Ford model has praised the designer for his open-mindedness, recalling how he once offered to change the design of her dress because it had a chain detail on it, and he didn’t want her to feel as though she had to ‘portray a black women in chains’.  

Fashion star Anok Yai, 21, who is originally from South Sudan, let Vogue into her world during New York Fashion Week by letting the publication follow her around for one particularly busy day. On that day, one of the jobs on Yai’s schedule was walking in Tom Ford’s fashion show. 

Yai explained to viewers why she enjoyed working with Ford, recalling the moment when the designer asked for her opinion on the dress that she would be wearing on the runway – noting that he was prepared to alter the garment in order to make her feel comfortable. 

On the go: Model Anok Yai, 21, let Vogue follow her around for a day for New York Fashion Week

Stunning: The model walked in Tom Ford's fashion show on Monday for the second time, and she detailed to the publication why she liked the designer

Stunning: The model walked in Tom Ford’s fashion show on Monday for the second time, and she detailed to the publication why she liked the designer

Throwback: She detailed to Vogue how her respect for Tom Ford and his brand first formed last season when he asked for her opinion on her dress

Throwback: She detailed to Vogue how her respect for Tom Ford and his brand first formed last season when he asked for her opinion on her dress 

‘This is my second times walking Tom Ford, first time I met him was last season,’ Yai detailed while on the way to the fashion show, which was held on Monday in a New York City subway station. 

Thoughtful: The dress had a chain, and Ford said he would take it off if it made her uneasy because he didn't want to put 'black women in chains'

Thoughtful: The dress had a chain, and Ford said he would take it off if it made her uneasy because he didn’t want to put ‘black women in chains’

She added: ‘The way he works, he is very aware of what his clothes portray and he gives the models the opportunity to give their opinion on dress. 

‘My clothing look was a crystal dress and he decided to put a chain on it. 

‘He came up to me and personally said, “Oh, how do you feel about having a chain with the dress? I don’t want to portray a black women in chains.”‘ 

Ford went on to tell Yai that it was fine if she was uncomfortable with the look, and if that was the case then he would remove the item from the dress.’  

‘I liked the chain, and then we kept it. So that was cool,’ she said. 

The moment she is referencing is from Ford’s Fall 2019 fashion show during New York Fashion Week in February. 

She wore a floor-length silver gown with a matching chain across her chest. 

Yai went on to closeout the Tom Ford fashion show on Monday evening for her second season with the designer. 

Making a stand: Yai also spoke about why she never modeled straight hair on the runway

Making a stand: Yai also spoke about why she never modeled straight hair on the runway

Important: 'I don’t walk shows with straight hair because I wanted people to see you can walk with cornrows or a little afro and still be sexy,' Yai said

Important: 'I don’t walk shows with straight hair because I wanted people to see you can walk with cornrows or a little afro and still be sexy,' Yai said

Important: ‘I don’t walk shows with straight hair because I wanted people to see you can walk with cornrows or a little afro and still be sexy,’ Yai said

But first, a selfie! One moment during the Vogue video showed Yai taking time to pose with a fan who saw her on the street between jobs

But first, a selfie! One moment during the Vogue video showed Yai taking time to pose with a fan who saw her on the street between jobs

When getting ready for the show, she explained to Vogue why she preferred to not model straight hair when on the catwalk. 

‘I don’t walk shows with straight hair because I wanted people to see you can walk with cornrows or a little afro and still be sexy,’ Yai said. 

Fashion star: Designer Tom, 58, held his New York Fashion Week show in an abandoned subway station

Fashion star: Designer Tom, 58, held his New York Fashion Week show in an abandoned subway station

She modeled an afro on the catwalk when closing out the Tom Ford fashion show. 

Before the evening show, Yai’s Monday was jam packed with fittings and another fashion show with designer Carolina Herrera.  

When running to the next stop on her schedule, though, Yai took a moment to stop and take a picture with one woman who praised the model for helping make the fashion industry more diverse. 

‘She’s so beautiful. She represents dark beauty like myself,’ the woman said when Yai walked by her.

They then took a selfie together before Yai moved on to her next fitting for the day. 

‘Welcome to the life of the model during New York Fashion Week,’ Yai said between jobs, adding: ‘Thirty shows a season tires you out. By Paris, I’m crying in the car every day.’ 

She was able to go home after the Tom Ford Fashion Show and rest up for the following day of back-to-back jobs.  

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