For several seasons the fashion industry has been criticized for its lack of diversity on the runways. A few years ago Bethann Hardison spearheaded a campaign called the Diversity Coalition, where Naomi Campbell and Iman joined her to speak publicly against the industry’s lack of using models of colour. Iman said it’s worse now than it was when she was modelling over 20 years ago. Every season it seems it’s the same thing if not getting worse. Very few designers use non-white models on their runways. If they do it may be only one in an entire show.
Last week, at New York Fashion Week, Zac Posen proved otherwise. His fall 2016 runway show on Monday was certainly the front-runner when it came to using a diverse group of models. He had about 25 models of colour on his runway. Other designers throughout New York Fashion week who used more than the usual number of non-white models included Sophie Theallet, Tory Burch and Xuly Bet.
Although some designers want to go outside the norm in the industry and choose non-white models, it’s often not an easy task. Kelly Cutrone, founder of PR firm People’s Revolution, said it’s not easy because there aren’t a lot of black models at the agencies. So many black models face rejection from agencies because they are told, ‘they already have one or two black models’. This story is heard time and time again. This is so true not only for black models but all models of colour. Seeing women of other races is still not common and needs to improve.
For now, it was an, improvement at New York Fashion Week, although there is still much work to be done. Let’s see now things look at the upcoming fashion weeks in Paris, London and Milan.