Photo: MCV Photo.
Following each fashion month is the ceremonious number-crunching that leads to reports on (the lack of) runway-model diversity, and a mental-noting of the designers or casting directors responsible for the most white-washed catwalks. This time, The Fashion Spot decided to study race during the spring and fall 2014 shows and modeling agencies — which are, after all, from whence the models came.
Using the two seasons’ show packages, TFS calculated the percentage of models of color (defined as “any non-white model — black, Asian, non-white Hispanic, Native American, mixed-race, etc.”) promoted by 21 New York City agencies. It found Fusion Model Management, a small group that represents about a dozen faces, “had the strongest numbers overall, with an average of 46% non-white models per show package.” Household name Wilhelmina placed second with 33%. “This past season was the first season that more than just one designer or casting director actually [requested] ethnic models to account for greater diversity,” remarked Roman Young, head of the Women’s board at the agency. That could be chalked up to the September 2013 introduction of Bethann Hardison's Balance Diversity campaign (also the reason TFS inspected spring and fall 2014, in particular). Next (12.5%), DNA (11.8%), and Supreme (8.5%) ranked near the bottom of the list.
However, “combining numbers from all 19 agencies with available show packages for both seasons…representation of non-white models improved by only 1 percentage point over the previous season,” TFS writes, hardly a noticeable shift. Models’ availability might have played a part, as Fusion's Jody Gordon suggested; though, we hope agencies aren’t building show books based on the homogenous industry’s supply and demand. (The Fashion Spot)