White Models Still Ruled NY Fashion Week, But More Models Of Color Hit The Catwalk This Year

September 21, 2013  |  
Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2014 – Zac Posen – Runway (SIPA/WENN.com)

The fashion world is becoming more inclusive — kind of. There was a slight boost in models of color at this year’s New York Fashion Week, but more needs to be done to bring real diversity to the catwalk.

It seems all the media coverage about the fashion world and racism, as well as the push from the  Diversity Coalition’s highly-publicized campaign for more black models might have helped bring more black models to the runway this year at New York Fashion Week. Things had been looking bleak for black models in major fashion shows.

Jezebel has conducted a racial diversity report of the New York Fashion Week runways since 2008 and found that the number of white, black, Latino and Asian models cast in each show has been steadily declining. But things were better — slightly — for this year.

“Based on the 142 Spring/Summer 2014 runway shows (excluding presentations and lookbook) a total of 4637 looks were presented and, of those looks, approximately 80 percent were shown on white models,” reports The Huffington Post. The number is a slightly down from last season’s roughly 83 percent. The number of black models increased from six percent last season to  8.08 percent. Latina models walked 3.19 percent compared to last season’s two percent, but Asian models had a one percent drop from 9.1 percent to 8.1 percent.

Though a small boost, it is a start, say fashion insiders.

“I see this as a positive step,” fashion activist and leader of the Diversity Coalition, Bethann Hardison told The Huffington Post. “Whether the number moves a decimal or not, the fact that everyone is responding in such a positive way says a whole lot about the synergy of things and how things begin — and will continue to change.”

Among the designers who used models of color were Zac Posen, Rachel Comey and Diane von Furstenberg. Their shows boasted 30 percent or more models of colors. “Meanwhile Jill Stuart, Lacoste, Band of Outsiders and Victoria Beckham are just a few of the designers who showed between zero and three looks on non-white models,” reports the HuffPo.

Although there has been an improvement, the coalition isn’t backing down.

“But we’re not going to rest on our laurels. I know we’re going to have to keep our foot on the gas. As I’ve always said — activism requires you to be active,” said Hardison.

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