Ari Fitz has appreciated the power of fashion since she was a little kid, finding ways to express herself in clothes even when movies, television, and magazines seemed to look past people who looked like she did.

“They don’t immediately see the strength or the creativity or the beauty,” she said, reading a letter she wrote to her younger self for’sFashion for All series. “No, they see difference, they see ambiguity, they see something that they don’t understand. And since they don’t understand you, they will reject you—many, many, many times.”

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“You are different than the current standards of beauty,” Fitz explains. “Your jaw is pronounced, you’re naturally very muscular, your skin is dark and your hair is kinky.”

Maybe so, but Fitz assures herself that she will eventually find her place in fashion, that she will remember why she loves clothes and what they can do. “So get dressed,” she says. “And change the game.”

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