The lights fade with attention directed towards the empty catwalk. The beat of the music jumps through your skin. The show is ready to begin...The rush of seeing models take center stage is one thing, but seeing models that represent YOU is a whole other feeling.
Seeing runways cascaded with diverse hues of skin tones is a beautiful thing and we believe that there is immense strength in a diverse runway but is there enough representation?
In the fashion world, seeing models of color walking the runway is few and far between. Even though the industry is making attempts to ensure that runway diversity mirrors our society, there is still work to be done.
The fact remains that models of color such as Africans, Latinos, Asians, etc are not typically seen walking big runway shows. Runway diversity is an uphill battle when it comes to models of various ethnicities (other than white) landing spots in big-name fashion shows.
According to a recent Business of Fashion study article, only 797 of the 3,875 model bookings this season were models of color.
Shows like Yeezy Season 4, Kimora Lee Simmons, Brandon Maxwell, Telfar and Ashish have been praised for having diversity in their runway shows with more than 60% of their models being of color.
As stated in Vogue, Spring 2016 did provide some of the first hints of headway on runway diversity. But appearing in the shows is only half the fight. What also matters is where you are positioned in the lineup. Designers often save the opening spot in their shows for the women they feel embody the collection as a whole, and this spring several fashion houses chose minority models for their prestige top position.
While moments of inclusion have provided a hopeful outlook, there is still plenty of work to be done when it comes to seeing a true representation on the runway.