Spring 2017 Runway Model Diversity Report

How diverse actually were the spring 2017 runway shows? As reported by The Fashion Spot’s latest and particularly interesting Diversity Report, these spring 2017 fashion weeks might have been memorable and noticeable in terms of fashion trends and eclecticism, but definitely not in terms of model diversity.

Spring 2017 Runway Model Diversity Report

Although inclusivity was not at the core of this season’s philosophy, the runway shows featured a slight increase of diversity in terms of model casting, especially when it comes to specific labels and fashion houses. As we are about to see, in fact, while certain shows featured a high percentage of model diversity, others should definitely reconsider their casting choices.

To incorporate and gather all of the needed data, The Fashion Sport’s Diversity Report analyzed a grand total of 299 shows and nearly 9,000 model appearances across all the four Fashion Weeks, crunching then the numbers in specific categories, such as inclusion of transgender people, age, plus- versus straight-size and race.

As a whole, the most diverse in terms of age, race, size and transgender models, was, of course, the New York Fashion Week, which has historically always been the most inclusive. This might also be due to a recent call to action urged by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), which, among other things, told its members to “encourage the industry to be inclusive of racial diversity when preparing casting of models for their company needs”.

Just by looking at the inclusion of transgender models, for instance, we get an overall idea of how things went. Of the sole 10 transgeder people casted overall (a disappointing 0,11%), 8 walked the NYFW runway shows. A similar path was literally followed by the plus-size models: while in New York 16 out of 2,973 castings were curvy, in Europe not even a single plus-size model managed to make it to the shows.

Compared to the 6 plus-size models, who walked the runways during the fall 2016 Fashion Weeks, that is an improvement anyways. It is worth mentioning that 5 of these 16 models, namely Marquita Pring, Alessandra Garcia Lorido, Precious Lee, Sabina Karlsson and Georgia Pratt, were casted by Christian Siriano, and they are extremely prominent names in the body-positive movement. We really hope they will make their voices heard even more from now on.

The results are, thus, neither encouraging, nor completely disheartening.

As for the race category, of all those model appearances, only 25.4% of them included non-white women, with a 10.33% being black, 3.36% Latina, 4% Middle Eastern, 7% Asian and 4.27% defined as “other”. Compared to the previous Diversity Reports, such percentages were indeed higher, but were also not homogeneously shared.

Among the many runway shows, Kanye West’s was the most inclusive racially speaking, with an astounding 97% of models of color. Kimora Lee Simmons also proved to be inclusive with an 82% of models of color walking for the show.

The least diverse castings, with zero models of color rocking the catwalks, were Mila Schön, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s The Row, Daniela Gregis, and Junya Watanabe’s. Once again, then, Milan sadly proved to be the most whitewashed Fashion Week of all, with only 20.9% of non-Caucasian models.

As for the age category, 13 models out of 9,000 were over the age of 50, which makes two more castings in comparison with those of the fall 2016 runway shows.

With only roughly 4 months separating their public from their new fall 2017 proposals, we truly hope the designers will finally begin to fully understand the importance of inclusivity and visibility, and that we will finally stop counting the days up until diversity finally becomes the norm.

Photo courtesy of Vogue

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