Research Shows That Fall 2017 Has Been The Most Diverse Fashion Season Yet... Will Spring 2018 Prevail?
Inclusivity is something that the fashion industry seem to really have trouble grasping the concept of. It's nothing more than people calling out designers and brands for their whitewashed runways and ad campaigns that has brought progress and a touch more diversity to the fashion world.
Since its launch, The Fashion Spot releases a report analysing each season with regards to their diversity and ranking brands accordingly. This season (Autumn/Winter 2017), according to their report, has shown to be the most diverse season of advertising campaigns ever seen.
The site evaluated 187 different advertising campaigns (which all together accounts for 457 individual model castings), and showed not only were the campaigns more racially diverse than ever before, but also way more racially diverse than that of the corresponding runway shows. Of the 457 castings for ad campaigns during the A/W17 season, 30.4% were non-white models, whilst the A/W17 shows featured only 27.9% non-white models. Whilst neither of these numbers are ideal, and the fashion industry definitely needs to open up to more racial diversity, it's a stark improvement since Spring 2015 (when The Fashion Spot began crunching numbers), where only 15.3% of the season's ad campaigns castings were non-white. Leading the diversity charge this season in the world of campaigns are Coach and Saint Laurent, with 67% of Coach's cast models non-white.
The report also honed in on other facets of inclusivity where fashion struggles to make good. Age diversity is still poor, but has made improvements since last season, with seven times more mature models featuring in ad campaigns (there were only 2 in Spring/Summer 2017, and 14 this season). Castings for runway shows didn't reflect the change, though, with only 0.29% of all show castings being models aged 50 or over.
Moving to size diversity, there's been a record season. Whilst only 2.3% of models used in advertising campaigns were plus-size, the runways saw 26 plus-size models during A/W17. Leading brands for the season were Dolce & Gabbana - whose shows also have some of the best representation across race, size, and age - and Vivienne Westwood, who have plus-size models featuring as their main faces for the season.
Gender identity is a diversity aspect where the industry still has a lot of work to do. Only 1.3% of cast models in A/W17 were trans (that's six models), with half of those featuring in Helmut Lang's campaign. On the runway, 12 transgender models were cast in Marc Jacobs' show this season, which is the most transgender castings ever made in one show.
It's both sad and shocking that these figures are both so low but also at the highest that they've ever been, proving that there's still a long way to go both in advertising campaigns and on the runway. It is, however, encouraging to see that numbers have gone up so rapidly in the past couple of years, and leaves us with some optimism that it'll keep getting better.
With only a few weeks left until the Spring/Summer 2018 shows kick off, we're hoping that the stats continue to soar and brands do, well, better. Hey Fashion Week, we're watching you.