There Were More Black Models On The Runway, But Still Not Enough
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. Designers and Models Speak Out About Diversity in Fashion 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. Naomi Campbell Addresses Inadequate Hair Stylists for Black Models at Fashion Week 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. Bethann Hardison Continues Her Mission To Make Fashion More Diverse 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. #TheySlay: See Every Black Model Gracing the Runways at NYFW So Far “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. WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.

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