Diversity in Fashion, Are We There Yet?

We are all different and different races, sizes, ages and personalities, are all very important characteristics of what makes us who we are. Although our population is very diverse, the fashion industry has always been far behind on matching that diversity on the catwalk. But has the recent season of Fashion Week changed this?

The fashion world has always conventionally screamed ‘white, size 6, young model’. The most recent Fashion Week season may have changed the game. The Fashion Spot released its biannual in-depth diversity report. The report analysed 7,035 models that featured in the 241 SS17 fashion shows, breaking the model’s appearances into categories such as race, age and size to determine how diverse this year’s catwalks actually were.
The results… (Drumroll please) show that this recent season was the most diverse season ever in history! This included the most women over 50 on the season’s catwalk ever to be seen and for the first time in history, more than 25% of models were non-white. Not to mention Men’s Fashion week, which included the first-ever felon model, that’s right. Jeremy Meeks’ mug shot caught the modelling agency’s eye and he took over the catwalk with pride. Are we finally escaping the mean girls quote “You can’t sit with us?” Let’s hope so.

In comparison to our diverse population, however, the catwalks have far to come, but it’s a start, right? Some people argue that it’s not fast enough, Naomi Campbell, for instance, expressed that magazines, filmmakers and designers should feature diverse women because they “should want to” not because they “have to” cast a “girl of colour.”

If you’re like me, and a petite 5ft 1, then you may feel that there is one thing still missing from Fashion Week, there are certainly no short models on the catwalk, but I believe our time will come. Fashion Week appears to finally be focusing on the creativity within the clothes and less about judging the models who wear them.

So, let’s celebrate some of the diversity wins within the various Fashion Week shows, with these incredible milestones:

Starting with Madeline Stuart, an inspirational young woman who has made an attempt to normalise Down Syndrome by being the first Down Syndrome model to walk the catwalk.

Another is Ashley Graham a plus sized model, who embraces her curves. Her recent campaign called ‘fit to be’ encourages young women to love their body no matter what size. Her increasing known status, including being featured on the front cover of many women’s fashion magazines, could be the start of getting away from our stereotypical catwalks. (Except unrealistic old Victoria Secret.)

And last but not least, Jillian Mercado, a woman who has Muscular Dystrophy. She was chosen to model for Beyoncé’s apparel clothing line. So let’s turn to the inspirational improvements the fashion industry have achieved, and look forward to more.

Written by Emily Bone

Twitter: @emilybonewrite

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