During New York Fashion Week last September, it looked like the industry was finally ready to embrace true diversity. The spring 2019 season (which counts 76 major shows and 2,203 model appearances) was the most representative across different races, sizes, ages, and genders than ever before at NYFW. Just a few months later, however, the numbers have already started to dwindle.
On Tuesday, The Fashion Spot released its bi-annual diversity reports, which often show how far the industry has come — or, in this case, how far it has to go. For the NYFW fall 2019 runway shows (which concluded earlier this month), racial diversity was reported to move one percent forward. This season, 45.8 percent of the models cast in New York were women of color, while last season it was 44.8 percent. Yes, that's nearly half, but as the site points out, as racial diversity becomes more of a standard, it's unlikely there will be any big growth in that area.
Nine of New York's 10 most-booked models were women of color, including Nigerian-born Mayowa Nicholas, Korean model Hyun Ji Shin, Chinese-Nigerian model Adesuwa Aighewi, Chinese model Sijia Kang and East London native Hannah Shakespeare, who all booked at least 12 shows. Racial diversity was the only area the runways maintained improvement, however.
There were declines in both plus-size and transgender model appearances: down from 49 to 37 and 53 to 29, respectively. Models over the age of 50 were the least represented of all the groups. The Fashion Spot noted that true, all all-around diversity was visible at Chromat, Christian Siriano, Eckhaus Latta and Burnett.