March 19, 2018

Diversity on the Global Runway

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From Paris to New York, fashion enthusiasts worldwide have been keeping their eye on the runways this past month, quietly planning their outfits for the coming season. With the wrap up of the final fashion shows in fashion capitals across the world, now is the best time to reflect on what these shows tell us about the fashion industry, and we’re not just talking about seasonal trends.

According to flare.com, New York Fashion Week was the most racial diversity with 37.3% models of colour walking the runways. When it came to individual shows at NYFW, the most inclusive brand to grace the runway was Maki Oh who had the highest percentage of models of colour at Fashion week – a whopping 100% of ethnically diverse models. Gypsy Sport paraded an admirable 76.3% of people of colour while Chromat featured 70.6% and Jason Wu 66.7%.

London Fashion Week closely followed with 34.6% models on the runway being people of colour. Unfortunately, Paris did not quite meet the quota with only 26.5% of non-white models featured on the runway.  Milan Fashion Week also featured predominately white models with only 24.1% of non-white models.

While New York and London are leading the way towards a brighter and more inclusive future for the fashion industry, there’s still a long way to go. While these numbers are growing, there’s still a strong disconnect between ethnic representation on the runway and what most of the world’s population can actually relate to.

With brand awareness more important than ever and consumers becoming far more aware of the products they buy – how it represents them as a person and brand’s alignment with their values – it’s only going to become more important for fashion brands to represent their consumers. These fashion week statistics are baby steps, but we’re counting down the days until next season’s fashion weeks when we can see even more diverse models hit the runways.

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