Ad Campaigns This Season Were More Diverse Than Runways For the First Time Ever

Fall 2017 marks a new level of inclusivity.
Publish date:
Social count:
Fall 2017 marks a new level of inclusivity.
Photo: @helmutlang/Instagram

Photo: @helmutlang/Instagram

It was just this past May that we were lamenting the way that ad campaigns so often lag behind runways when it comes to diverse representation. But this season, campaigns finally stepped up to the plate. For the first time ever, they not only matched the diversity seen on the runway, they actually surpassed it.

Fall 2017's ad campaigns featured 30.4 percent women of color, itself an improvement over Spring 2017's 24.5 percent, according to the latest report from The Fashion Spot. This is the first time that nonwhite models have accounted for this large of a percentage. Of the top seven models who appeared in the most campaigns, only Adwoa Aboah was nonwhite, but it's worth noting that she booked as many campaigns as megastars like Bella and Gigi Hadid.

More transgender women were featured in campaigns this season than have been since the Fashion Spot first started tallying the numbers in 2015. Women over the age of 50 also saw more representation this season than last, although this season's 14 models in the age group still lags behind Fall 2015's 22.

Plus-size models were perhaps the only group that didn't benefit from a stronger representational season, as Fall 2017's campaigns featured 10 models in the category, matching last season's number and falling behind figures from Fall 2016 (which saw 14 models in the category cast) and Fall 2015 (which saw 11). However, one silver lining came from the fact that plus-sized brands weren't responsible for the majority of plus-size castings this season, which is a first — brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Vivienne Westwood featured plus models alongside straight-size models in their campaigns. 

As far as brands go, the most inclusive campaigns from a racial standpoint came from Saint Laurent, Coach, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gap, Helmut Lang and Nordstrom. Simone Rocha had the most women over age 50 in its campaign, largely thanks to models that were also featured on its runway this season. Helmut Lang, Sisley and Philipp Plein included the most trans women in their campaigns. 

Is diversity in advertising where it should be yet? No, especially when it comes to plus-size representation. But this season's crop of campaigns gives plenty of reason to have hope about the direction of the industry.

Read the full Fall 2017 ad campaign diversity report on The Fashion Spot.

Want more Fashionista? Sign up for our daily newsletter and get us directly in your inbox.