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Is Fashion becoming more diverse?

By Noa Mokhnachi

The fashion industry has been highly criticized for having unfair standards for women by constantly showcasing skinny white blonde models on the Runway but it seems to be slowly evolving now.

Any fashion week is a must for any fashionista; it’s a place to see and to be seen with the most outrageous outfits and a chance to spot your most worshiped celebs on the front row of your favorite fashion shows.

In the last few years, Fashion Weeks have come under fire for their lack of diversity on the runway. According to the Runway Diversity Report published by the Fashion Spot, Fall 2016 shows were less than 25% diverse. Every show of all four fashion hubs – Paris, London, New York and Milan – were studied and London came last behind New York and Paris.

Capture d_écran 2017-05-11 à 17.56.10
This Graph shows the percentage of models of colors during fashion weeks. source: StanceMag

Three hundred and twelve shows and 8,727 models casting from New York, Paris, London, and Milan were examined and less than 25% of the models cast were models of color. This season London was the only city that was less diverse than its previous seasons with only 19.9% models of a different ethnicity other than Caucasian.

But famous curvy models like Ashley Graham seem to be changing the fashion industry slowly with her huge social media following of 4.1 million followers. Designers and editors are starting to change their standards by employing more diverse models in photo-shoots and magazines but when it comes to runaway the change is still very slow. In Fall 2016 only 14 plus-size models made an appearance in shows.

Maria Diaz is 24-year-old African-American curvy model signed by MSA NYC agency: “ They are pretty unfair standards for models in the fashion industry, we need to look a certain way but I do think it is changing now, I have been lucky enough to always been surrounded by a very diverse group when modelling but I think that is because I mostly do shoots and not fashion shows, ” she said.

From Spring 2015 to Fall 2016, the diversity of models in NY fashion grew to 10%. Kanye West led the movement with 100% of colored models walking the show, and Zac Posen followed closely with 87% of colored models.

Markus Roberts-Clarke is a 33-year-old British androgynous-looking model: “My personality and unique look are what made me successful, but the annoying thing now is that I get type-cast now, I am not considered like a normal model, they have labeled me a little.” He explained that models like him tend to be cast only for particular jobs and not regular shows.

In an interview for the Huffington post, the CEO of Models of Diversity Angel Sinclair said that she has been seeing a constant evolution with all skin colors being represented at London Fashion week in February 2017.

With New York leading the way, the industry seems to be moving in a new direction and heading towards more diverse fashion.


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