Times are a-changing — at least, as far as New York Fashion Week is concerned. According to The Fashion Spot’s bi-annual diversity report, the spring 2018 season (which counts 94 major shows) was more representative across different races, sizes, ages, and genders than ever before.
“Certainly in the last 10 years, when the question of diversity not only entered the spotlight but became a sustained topic of conversation, there’s been undeniable progress,” The Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan told The Fashion Spot. “The statistics show it, but you can see it anecdotally, which in some ways is even more important. It’s one thing to quote statistics that include a look at minor shows, mass-market brands, and barely known design houses. It’s something else when you can recall the diverse cast at major, influential shows, such as Calvin Klein or Marc Jacobs.”
According to the report, until now, fall 2016 held the torch as the most racially diverse showing in New York Fashion Week history. This season, however, nonwhite models accounted for the largest percent of models at 36.9%. In fact, for the first, every single runway featured at least two models of color.
It was also the first time that 90 plus-size models were cast, though a majority of that figure includes shows for plus-specific lines Torrid and Addition Elle. If we were to exclude them, the number would be just 34, with brands like Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung, and Anna Sui using a variety of sizes to showcase their line.
Transgender visibility increased significantly, too. Last February, 12 transgender models were cast by brands; this season saw 31 transgender and non-binary models on the runway. In fact, Teddy Quinlivan, who recently came out as transgender, was this season's sixth most-booked model.
The Fashion Spot also found that women above age of 50 made 10 separate appearances at Fashion Week, with Tome, Helmut Lang, and Eckhaus Latta (which also cast a pregnant model), leading the charge.
Though the report notes certain brands still have a long way to go, it's encouraging to see major designers, from Marc Jacobs to Christian Siriano, prove that progress may be slow, but it's still entirely possible.