There was a time not too long ago when presenting a collection on a diverse cast including models of colors was a statement in and of itself. In 2017, inclusive runways are increasingly common place, and sending all white models down the runway is now a statement (one that is increasingly looked down on).
In fact, the most recent fashion month, made up of fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris, was the most inclusive for models of color ever. For the first time, every major NYFW presentation included at least one model of color.
The data comes from The Fashion Spot, a site that has kept a check on the demographic data on the runway for several seasons now. They combed through the 241 major shows (which included 7,035 female model castings), and found that the Fall 2017 runway shows were made up of 27.9 percent models of color. That's a noticeable increase form the previous two seasons which saw 24.7 and 22.4 percent models of color respectively.
New York, as it traditionally does, led the way in ethnic diversity, with 31.5 percent of models being non-white. London had a rate of 28.4 percent, followed by Paris's 25.9 percent and Milan's 23.8. (For what it's worth, the rankings matchup with the respective rankings of each country's overall demographics with America being the most diverse and Italy the least. So it should fall on New York to lead the way).
New York also was home to the five single shows with the most diversity (that includes Gypsy Sport, Chromat, Kimora Lee Simmons, Kanye West's Yeezy, and Marc Jacobs).
All cities had greater ethnic diversity on the runway than the previous season.
Ultimately, just three major shows -- Undercover, Trussardi and Junya Watanabe -- lacked any models of color. Interestingly, two of those houses are led by Japanese designer, while the other, Trussardi, does its biggest business outside of its home country of Italy in Japan. Yet, none even featured Asian models.
The numbers come after a fashion week that saw many milestones. Hijab-wearing model Halima Aden walked a handful of runways, including, West's Yeezy. There were a record number of women over 50 popping up on the runway. Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs shows gave us hope that transgender models may be increasingly welcomed into the fashion fold with out novelty attached.
It was also a season that did see one major casting controversy. Casting Director James Scully, who had previously promised to act as a high profile whistleblower whenever he heard of model mistreatment, put Balenciaga's casting directors on blast when he heard they had made models wait for hours in a staircase, at points without lighting. Balenciaga ultimately parted ways with the casting directors and sent apologies to all models involved. Scully also claimed to hear mumblings that Lanvin didn't even want to consider models of color, though, ultimately, six models of color did take the runway at Lanvin's show.
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