Like most other industries, the world of fashion is woefully homogenous, a place where diversity is often conflated with fetishization, and can merely become a fashion trend instead of something real and lasting. When it comes to Fashion Week, the runways are dominated by white bodies. Well, things may finally have begun turning something of a corner. According to a study from the Fashion Spot, Fashion Week was more racially diverse this year than ever before.
The site took a look at 241 fashion shows from New York, London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Weeks for Fall 2017. Of the 7,035 female models cast, 72.1% were white, and 27.9% were women of color. That’s the highest percentage ever, and 2.5% more than the Spring 2017 show. New York Fashion Week did particularly well, with 31.5% of the casts being women of color (even though this was a slight dip from 2016). Every single runway show at NYFW contained at least one model of color, an industry first.
Obviously, though, not everything has been solved. Plus size models made up a tiny .43% of the global casting. (New York did cast 26 plus size models, more than ever before.) Only 12 trans models were cast (.17% of castings) and all 12 were in New York. And 21 models over the age of 50 walked, making up .29% of the castings, more than ever before. Clearly the fashion industry still has an enormously long way to go until it accurately represents actual women in a meaningful way. Hopefully people won’t rest even though they’ve hit a new (still depressingly low!) benchmark.