Unfortunately it’s become fact that the fashion industry lacks diversity when it comes to models but is this an issue of the past or something that is beginning to change?
Let’s look at the statistics from the Autumn/Winter 2016 Fashion weeks. According to a diversity report conducted at the time, less than one quarter of the models were models of colour. What’s more, only eight transgender models and six plus sized models walked the runways in London, Milan, New York and Paris.
Models of Diversity is a campaign that has been set up to introduce more variety in the models we see every day. The campaign believes that anyone of modelling talent and success, who is professional, confident and has the ability to take direction, should not be excluded from the industry. Former model Angel Sinclair founded the campaign following her appearance on Gok Wan’s Miss Naked Beauty in 2008. She noticed the diversity and variety of the women on the show, and how this wasn’t being reflected in mainstream fashion. From this she started promoting different body sizes, races, age and abilities.
This campaign is not alone in the fight for diversity, other brands and institutions have also attempted to make progress in this area. For example, photographer Bruce Weber represented transgender models and their families in a campaign for Barneys New York called Brothers, Sisters, Sons and Daughters. The store partnered with the National Center for Transgender Equality and the LGBT community on the project which projected the stories of all 17 models. Representation of transgender people in fashion is rare, making the Barneys campaign all the more significant. The key point to note here is the sense of unity, as it shows families standing with their loved ones out of support and love.
The Fashion Spot’s Diversity Report 2016 has analysed 312 Fashion Week shows in Paris, Milan, New York and London. It comments upon models of colour and highlights models from mixed or non-white origins. From this they found that despite attempts to balance the diversity of models used on the runway such as in Kanye’s Yeezy show that featured only models of colour, it still remains that 75% of the models were white at the shows this season. Whilst still not being a desirable statistic, it does highlight the progress within the industry, as last season 79.4% of the models were white.
Overall it’s clear that the fashion industry does need greater diversity but this seems to be a gradual change. Yet hopefully with this increase in campaigning, in the near future diversity will become the norm of the runway and the fashion world.
Cover Image: Eonline.com