New York Fashion Week wrapped last Thurdsay, and while the event won it’s fair share of sartorial praise, for many it was yet another reminder of how painfully un-diverse the fashion world and particularly, the runway, is.
The site Loop21 has analyzed diversity on the New York runways for a few seasons now, and the spring 2012 report is in. The site found an uptick in the number of models of color on the runways this season, highlighting the efforts of Tracy Reese, J.Crew, St. John and Imitation of Christ for putting on the most diverse shows. Kudos also to Costello Tagliapietra, Ohne Titel and Rad Hourani, each of whom cast over half their shows with non-white models.
But while numbers may have been up since last year (where 25 out of 144 shows featured no black models at all), they’re still pretty dismal. According to the report, out of more than 200 designers showing at New York Fashion Week, 20 of them featured no black models. And for the most part, the runways are mainly white, with percentages of models of color hovering somewhere in the 20% region.
Writing for the Huffington Post, Loop21 contributing editor Kelly Goff notes that there are still some designers who could do better. Among the designers who scored the lowest were Calvin Klein (9%), United Bamboo (5%) and Preen, who didn’t feature a single model of black, Hispanic or Asian descent. This is rather disappointing considering that it’s a gross misrepresentation of America’s diverse consumer market. For instance, Goff points out that, “black women spend approximately 20 billion dollars a year on clothes” and it would be nice (and just) if these customers were represented by the designers they are clearly buying.