As we trekked through the city earlier this month for the chaos of New York Fashion Week, we couldn’t help but notice that the face of the runway seemed to finally be changing. Now, it’s been confirmed. The Fashion Spot’s diversity report for the Spring 2018 season has been released and its findings are worth celebrating.
After surveying 94 shows and 2,601 model appearances, they found that 36.9 percent of runway models were people of color, which is a great increase from the 31.5 percent during the Fall 2017 season and an astronomical change from a year ago, when only 20.9 percent of models were people of color during the Spring 2015 season. This season also marks the very first time that every single runway show had at least two models of color. While this is certainly nowhere near enough, it’s a noble step in the right direction.
Besides racial diversity, the season also had a record 31 transgender or non-binary models walk the runway, including Teddy Quinlivan, who came out as transgender at the end of Fashion Week. There were also a record 90 plus-size models, compared to the 26 who walked for Fall 2017 earlier this year.
This push towards a more diverse and inclusive runway is a breath of fresh air and, as usual, it’s smaller, queer designers like Eckhaus Latta and Luar who seem to be leading the charge. But for all of the diversity we’ve seen here, inclusivity on the runway doesn’t seem to be a big import across the pond this season when it comes to some of our favorite designers like Palomo Spain and Gucci, whose runways featured only a handful of dark-skinned, non-white models each.
While any step forward is reason to celebrate, the fashion industry’s path toward diversity still has a long way to go until it’s as diverse as the world we live in.