Diversity In Ad Campaigns Surpasses Runways For First Time Ever

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Photo: Ethan James Green for Helmut Lang

Diversity in fashion has long been a major problem for the industry, with ad campaigns consistently trailing behind runways in terms of inclusive casting. This season, for the first time ever, ads were actually more diverse than runways—30.4% of models were women of color, and more trans women booked campaigns than have been since these stats started being recorded in 2015 by The Fashion Spot.

Plus-size models were still woefully underrepresented, moreso than previous seasons—10 models in Fall 17 campaigns fall under the category, a step back from 14 models in Fall 16. Of the seven top-booking supermodels in the business, only one was of color: Adwoa Aboah, who booked just as many campaigns as the Hadid sisters.

Racially, Saint Laurent, Coach, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gap, Helmut Lang, and Nordstrom were the most inclusive, and in terms of number of trans models, Helmut Lang, Sisley and Philipp Plein did the best.

So it’s still far from great. There’s a lot of work yet to be done. But ad campaigns see a far wider reach of viewers than runway shows, so the fact that steps forward have been taken here are something worth noting.