Not Your Imagination: Fashion Ads Are Overwhelmingly White

Photo: Courtesy of Burberry.
For all of the progress that the fashion industry has made these past few seasons — such as rejecting gender binaries on the runway and acceptance of transgender models like Andrej Pejic — it's clear that there's still plenty of work to be done on the diversity front. Just like last year, The Fashion Spot has crunched the numbers on the spring 2015 campaigns to track the overall diversity in age, ethnicity, and models' size. And unfortunately, the results are pretty dismal.

TFS examined 577 ad campaigns released throughout the spring 2015 season, and within the 811 models cast, 84.7% were white. This marks a relatively indiscernible improvement over their last survey (in which 86% of models were white). This year, Asian models received 5.7% of the campaigns, black models accounted for 5.1%, and Latina models had 2.3%. What's more, a handful of brands, such as Chloe, and Saint Laurent, have exclusively featured white models for many years now. Yikes

But, on the brighter side, more and more designers are slowly beginning to use models of color in their campaigns. Most notably, Burberry tapped Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn for its spring 2015 campaign; Puerto Rican supermodel Joan Smalls booked a solo Prabal Gurung campaign for the second time; Asian stunner Ming Xi nabbed La Perla, and relative newcomer Binx Walton recently scored a whopping nine campaigns, the most of any model throughout the season. Also interesting: luxury brands are more likely to be whitewashed (Lanvin, Max Mara, Versace, Prada, and more booked only white models) whereas mass market brands, like H&M and and Topshop were more likely to cast models of color. 

In an industry where designers, CEOs, editors, and other top players come from a variety of backgrounds, it's unfortunate to see the campaigns remain skewed, and representing one part of the population. Head to The Fashion Spot to see the complete breakdown — including additional stats on age and model sizing — and weigh in on this issue in the comments. (The Fashion Spot)
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