Whoever said progress was a slow process was right — and it’s certainly the case when it comes to the fight for diversity on the runway.
New York Fashion Week along with the other major Fashion Weeks around the world — London, Milan and Paris — are officially over, which means it’s time to see just how diverse the shows were this season. While the official talley is far from ideal, there was a very small increase to the number of models of color that were cast.
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According to The Fashion Spot, out of the month’s 312 shows, in which 8,727 models were cast, 24.75% (around 2,159) of the models featured on the runway were non-white. That’s just a bit more compared to the Spring 2016 shows, which featured 22.4% models of color.
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It is to be noted that “models of color” refer to a number of races — including Black, Asian, Latina, Middle Eastern and those denoted as “other.” And when it comes to Black models, they made up 9.22% of the 24.75%. Yikes!
Coming through with the most diverse shows were Kanye West, Zac Posen, Chromat and Sophie Theallet.
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Aside from the usual advocates for diversity (Hey, Bethann Hardison!), designers and even casting directors seemed to be more vocal about the discrepancies.
Zac Posen made headlines during New York Fashion Week when he made a public declaration that “Black Models Matter” sporting a tote bag emblazoned with the charge and cast a bevy of beautiful brown faces (25 out of 33, to be exact) in his show, which was inspired by Ugandan Princess Elizabeth.
Casting director James Scully took to Instagram to voice his frustrations with Balenciaga designer Demma Gvasalia, who’s show featured a dismal 2% models of color.
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“So if you’re the designer the whole world is looking to right now how, great that your message is one of exclusion which is never in fashion. It must feel like a slap to all if the people of color who line up to buy your clothes that your message to them you don’t see them in your world. Two strikes out. And the award for most anticipated and biggest disappointment at once goes to…… Demma Gvasalia.”
We’re with Scully on that one.
Here’s to next season and hopes of a significant spike in beautiful faces of all shades.
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