While the fashion industry seems to be making some progress towards correcting its huge issues– child labor laws now apply to most underage models in the US, for instance– we still have an extremely long way to go. Big name fashion houses and magazines have been claiming more and more that they’re trying harder to add racial diversity to their runways and pages, but, um, don’t hold your breath. Jezebel has been analyzing the racial makeup of this year’s New York Fashion Week, and they’ve concluded that (blegh) all the top shows are still blindingly white.
According to Jez,
After crunching the numbers on 148 shows, we can report that of 4,621 looks, only 985 were worn by models of color. That means that of all the models who walked this past week, 78.69% of them were white. While that number is slightly smaller than last season, it still hovers around 80 percent, which has been roughly the percentage of looks worn by white models for the past six seasons.
On the one hand, we have made some progress, since models of color like Jourdan Dunn (pictured above) have been getting lots of well-deserved attention this year. On the other hand, it’s total bullshit that our expectations are so low that we’re surprised to see success in the industry from anyone who’s not white. Thankfully, Jezebel goes on to point out that we’re not entirely damned to hell:
One thing that does seem to have changed for the better is that it has become less common to see designers using entirely white casts. Only a few did so this year, like Tocca. Calvin Klein, which had five models of color last season, regressed a bit, featuring just two Black models this season. The best way to prove to these designers that they’re making the wrong call with their casting is to point them in the direction of peers who consistently hire diverse casts. Designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Desigual, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ohne Titel, Pamella Roland, Naeem Khan, Zac Posen and Tracy Reese. Or Anna Sui and Creatures of the Wind — models of color opened and closed both of those shows. Those fashion houses set a good example; others ought to follow.
It’s majorly depressing that we’re still having this conversation in 2014, but it looks like we get closer to our goal of fair representation with every angry article we write, every tweet we send, and every unpopular opinion we voice. Let’s continue to pay attention to those who are trying to correct the imbalances, and let’s continue to call out everyone who’s failing.
Via Jezebel / Photo: Getty