How Diverse Were The Spring 2017 Ad Campaigns?

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

Despite pressure from the media (and, often, from models themselves) designers and their ad campaigns continue to underwhelm as far as diversity is concerned. The Fashion Spot has released their seasonal Diversity Report for the spring 2017 ad campaigns, and the results are pretty disappointing. The report examined racial, size, and gender diversity across 444 models in 207 campaigns. Spoiler alert: There's still a ton of work to be done.

For starters, this season's report found that 75.5% of models cast in print campaigns were white and 24.5% nonwhite. In comparison to last season's lineup, that's only a 1.2% improvement in terms of non-white castings, we up from 23.3%. On the runway, the most recent season of shows were more diverse than any previous seasons, but not significantly so, with just a 2.5% increase from spring 2017 to fall 2017: 27.9% of fall 2017 show castings were models of color. While the available slots for models for campaigns versus catwalks varies greatly, with far less castings comprising the latter, it's still very gradual improvement.

And where size and gender are concerned, the numbers are even more disheartening. Models over the age of 50 decreased in campaign appearances — there were only two for spring 2017 — and model Lauren Hutton accounted for both appearances. And transgender models had their most visible season yet, with five transgender models cast in four campaigns. Those numbers, of course, could be a lot better, since there are several agencies and boards of major agencies devoted solely to these under-casted categories, such as Trans Models, Muse Model Management, Ford, Wilhelmina, We Speak (an agency that health-screens their models), street-casting agency Lorde, and more.

The report broke it down by campaigns as well. Among the seven models that booked the most campaigns this season, only one, Mica Arganaraz, was nonwhite. Designers and retailers with the most diverse campaigns were Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Gap, Express, and Net-a-Porter. By contrast, the designers with the the least diverse ads were Alberta Ferretti, Giorgio Armani, and Céline, none of which cast women of color. Plus-size models were only cast 10 times (out of 444 castings total), comprising a dismal 2.3%.

Kudos to the handful of designers who're pushing the needle forward in terms of diversity, but it's still concerning that a number of designers and casting directors still are still okay with such whitewashed campaigns (and catwalks). Here's to hoping that next season sees inclusivity than ever before.