While America’s biggest fashion magazines, save for, surprisingly, Vogue, are lacking inclusive and diverse representation (in terms of size, age, gender, and race), it turns out international publications are getting things right. On Thursday, The Fashion Spot released its latest diversity report, focusing on international fashion magazine covers for 2017. The website found that 32.5% of international publications featured people of color, a 3.5% increase from 2016, in what it's calling "fashion's most inclusive year yet."
Though the increase isn’t as big as previous years (from 2015 to 2016, it rose 6.2%; from 2014 to 2015, it went up 5.4%), this year's number is significant because, as The Fashion Spot points out, “2017 was the first year in which the runways, ad campaigns and leading international fashion magazine covers all passed the 30 percent racial diversity marker.” You don't need to be an industry expert to know that that's a pretty big deal, especially for fashion, a sector that's long struggled with inclusivity.
But back to the international magazines making a big difference. Vogue Arabia's 12 covers all featured non-white stars, while Vogue Taiwan featured 12 out of 13 women of color on its covers. Vogue India was also above the 90% mark, with 19 of 21 people of color. Other leaders included i-D, Paper, Allure, and Dazed. On the opposite side of the spectrum, L'Officiel and Marie Claire U.K. cast zero non-white cover stars.
In terms of size diversity, Ashley Graham earned five of the eight magazine covers that featured a model over a size 12. Internationally, Graham covered Harper’s Bazaar U.K., and Elle U.K. Likewise, transgender and non-binary inclusion, internationally, was limited to just two covers. Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio was on both Vogue Paris and Vogue Brazil. And for what it's worth, the Vogue Paris cover was the first time a trans model was on any edition of the Conde Nast fashion publication.
Progress is definitely still a slow progress as far as magazines are concerned, but we’re still hopeful the publishing industry takes this data and runs with it. Because all we have to say is: It’s 2017; we shouldn’t have to fight so hard for fashion to open up to everyone.