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The Definition of Beauty, According to 14 Designers

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the adage goes, and beauty ideals vary not only from generation to generation, but also from culture to culture. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Western definition of conventional beauty was shockingly, offensively narrow — up until 1940, the official rules of the Miss America pageant stated that contestants had to be “of good health and of the white race” — but increasingly diverse representation in pop culture and the media has opened our eyes and minds to other ways of thinking about what makes someone or something beautiful. The through line in all of them is that beauty is not about a specific look — and in many cases, it’s not about looks at all.

Fashion designers may have more to say on the subject than just about anyone else. Historically, the fashion industry has catered to a very specific set of the population, but in recent years, more and more designers have begun to rethink and challenge beauty standards by creating fashion that is more accessible and inclusive of all bodies and people. These quotes from 14 fashion designers reflect that shift, and remind us that beauty is everywhere — and in everyone.

Individuality is beautiful. Choice is beautiful. Freedom is beautiful.
Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough

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Happiness is the secret to all beauty; there is no beauty that is attractive without happiness.
Christian Dior

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Confidence is sexy.
Nour Najem

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Let’s remember that beauty is health and health is beauty.
Diane von Furstenberg

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When it comes to beauty, sometimes it is the feature you see as a liability that can actually turn out to be your best asset.
Tippi Ocampo

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Anyone can be a model, and everyone is beautiful, so there is no specific standard for what beauty is or should be.
Santia McKoy

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You are beautiful the way you are and the way to true beauty is being be(you)tiful.
Carrie Hammer

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Beauty comes from within… Embrace who you are and find that one beautiful and unique thing about you.
Bessie Besana

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Every woman has the right to feel beautiful, no matter her age, shape, size, or color.
Camilla Franks

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To me, beauty is only skin deep; how people impact the world with love and compassion are more meaningful.
Lisseth Corrao

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Nothing is more beautiful than a naked body.
Yves Saint Laurent

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The moment you are comfortable about who you are, you feel beautiful.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee

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We need to celebrate beauty that comes in all shapes, forms, and genders.
Christian Siriano

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It’s important to have love in one’s life, because it makes us more human and, incidentally, more beautiful.
Carolina Herrera

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Photo credit: Keystone/ Hulton Archive via Getty Images

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About the Author
Kristina Wright
Kristina is a coffee-fueled writer living happily ever after with her family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
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