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Another Report Proves Diversity in Model Casting Is Slowly (Barely) Improving

Find out which brands had the most whitewashed ads of spring 2016.
Versace spring 2016 ad campaign. Photo: Steven Klein for Versace

Versace spring 2016 ad campaign. Photo: Steven Klein for Versace

Another campaign season, another sign that diversity in the fashion world still has a very long way to go. The Fashion Spot released its latest seasonal diversity report, this one covering spring 2016, of ad campaigns. Encompassing 236 different campaigns starring a total of 422 different models, the numbers show that models of color take up less than a quarter at 21.8 percent. However, that's a slight 6.5 percent increase compared to fall 2015's ad campaigns.

The report also calls out brands with the most whitewashed ads this season. According to The Fashion Spot, these labels featured a minimum of three female models, none of whom were of color: Versace, Saint Laurent, Miu Miu, BCBG Max Azria and Forever 21; the latter was particularly surprising given it's such a mass market retailer.

"Progress is being made when it comes to racial diversity," noted Jennifer Davidson, managing editor for The Fashion Spot, in a statement. "However, we were disappointed to find that plus-size models, women over age 50 and transgender models had far fewer appearances than Fall 2015. A confusing setback given the amount of media attention these demographics received this year." 

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And Davidson is right. Out of the 422 models featured in this season's ad campaigns, only six plus-size women (1.4 percent) were cast, including Aerie's "Aerie Real" campaign, which stars Iskra Lawrence and promotes body positivity. While we noticed that we were possibly in the midst of a teen model backlash earlier this year, The Fashion Spot crunched the numbers and determined it was short-lived. As for transgender models, although eight walked the fall 2016 runways and Caitlyn Jenner graced an award-winning magazine cover in 2015, not one landed a fashion campaign this season.

It seems that when it comes to casting diversity, the industry tends to take two small steps forward, and one big step back.

Read the entire "Diversity Report: Spring 2016 Fashion Ad Campaigns" on The Fashion Spot.

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