How Diverse Were This Year's Fashion Magazine Covers?

Photo: Courtesy of Steven Klein/W.
Diversity on the runway has been gradually increasing over the past few seasons. But how is the newsstand stacking up these days? Pretty impressively, actually — although there's still a long way to go. In the Fashion Spot's annual magazine-cover diversity report, the publication found the state of fashion glossies' covers to be promisingly less white-washed and sample-sized than in the past.

The report examined 679 cover appearances on 48 different international fashion publications (including issues with multiple cover stars) to take stock of diversity in terms of race, size, and age, and to take into account the number of transgender models. In 2016, 29% of fashion glossy covers featured nonwhite models (197 covers in total). By comparison, 2015's titles featured 22.8% models of color. The stats for catwalk castings reveal things are still more homogenous in shows versus magazines: Across all four major fashion weeks during the spring 2017 season, 25.4% of models were nonwhite, compared to the fall 2016 shows' 24.75% minority castings. And among the top 10 models who scored the most covers in the past year, only one was Black: Lupita Nyong'o, who garnered five covers.
However, although decent progress was made in terms of racial diversity on the newsstand, there's still a dearth of transgender cameos, amounting to just .7% of cover castings.

"In a year that’s seen more transgender individuals grace the small screen — and the catwalks — than any in recent history, it’s disappointing to find that transgender models were the least represented group on magazine covers," Jennifer Davidson, the publication's managing editor, said in a statement. In terms of body diversity, plus-sized models comprised just .9% of cover castings, and age-wise, 5% of fashion cover models were age 50 or older.
A few magazines were called out for a complete lack of non-white cover stars in the past 12 months: Harper’s Bazaar, Jalouse, LOVE, Marie Claire UK, Porter, Vogue Germany, Vogue Netherlands, Vogue Paris and Vogue Russia, while Vogue UK had just one cover model of color. Titles that did a particularly good job of showcasing plurality in cover castings throughout 2016 included Paper, InStyle, Teen Vogue, i-D, Vogue Korea, Vogue India, and Vogue Taiwan.

Here's to hoping for an even wider range of skin tones, body sizes, ages, and gender identities among the glossy glut in 2017.

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