More Models Of Color Walked Fashion Month, But They Still Only Made Up 25 Percent
Diversity has never really been fashion's strong point. Yes, most designers attempt to include models of color in their shows or in their campaigns, but at the end of the day, the industry is consistently biased towards thin, white, young models. This fashion month, only 25 percent of models on the runway were models of color, which, as it turns out, is an increase from previous seasons.
Following New York, London, Milan, and Paris fashion weeks this February, The Fashion Spot decided to analyze the model casts for 312 runway shows to see how inclusive they truly were. There were some standouts, like Zac Posen, who's model lineup was 87 percent models of color, and Kanye's Yeezy show also brought up the group average, having 100 percent models of color, but then there were some designers who only included one model of color or had entirely white casts.
Broken down by city, New York had the highest average, with 31.9 percent diverse models. Paris and Milan both increased from previous seasons, with 21.9 percent and 19.7 percent, respectively. London's average actually decreased this past season, with only 19.9 percent models of color in its designers' line-ups.
So, when you average all 312 fashion shows across all four cities, the result is that 75.25 percent of models on the runway were white. Not great for inclusivity. The Fashion Spot study also looked at plus size, age, and gender identity, and those numbers were even more dismal. I would venture to say that H&M's show in Paris probably had the most diverse line-up (generally speaking — they still had plenty of white models) since its cast included plus-size model Ashley Graham, transgender model Andreja Pejic, and 65-year-old model Pat Cleveland.
While there is a lot more work to be done to increase model diversity, there were a few models that made a mark on fashion month, landing runway spots with top designers, showing that diversity is a beautiful thing.
Lineisy Montero walked in 42 top shows this year (meaning the designers whose names would be recognized by even your mother), according to Models.com, including Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Chanel, Givenchy, Dior, Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana and Marc Jacobs, to name a few. Originally discovered while at an amusement park near her home in the Dominican Republic, Montero is one of the hottest models of the moment and has the runway resume to prove it.
Korean stunner Sora Choi walked for 34 top designers this past February, including Kenzo, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Lanvin. She earned her top model status once Nicolas Ghesquiere, the creative director of Louis Vuitton, cast her as an exclusive for his Spring/Summer 2015 show.
Sometimes it's less about the number of shows you walk in, and more about the quality. Bhumika Arora definitely focused on quality this season, walking exclusively for powerhouses, like Chanel, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Fenty x Puma. Arora was an MBA student from India before starting her modeling career and is actually 27 years old, which seems young, but for a model, that's impressive considering most models are still in their teens.
Nothing like a Proenza Schouler exclusive to jump start your career! California-native Selena Forrest made her runway debut as an exclusive for Proenza Schouler for Spring/Summer 2015 before starring in the campaign. She instantly became a popular figure in the fashion industry and walked in 20 top shows this season, including Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Kenzo.
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