The New York Fashion Week Spring 2018 Runways Were More Diverse Than Ever

Not only did racial diversity on the runways reach an all-time high, but there was also an improvement in plus-size, transgender, non-binary and over-50 representation.
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Not only did racial diversity on the runways reach an all-time high, but there was also an improvement in plus-size, transgender, non-binary and over-50 representation.
Models on the Christian Siriano Spring 2018 runway. Photo: Imaxtree

Models on the Christian Siriano Spring 2018 runway. Photo: Imaxtree

The Fashion Spot released its diversity report for New York Fashion Week's Spring 2018 season on Thursday, and the findings are quite heartening. After surveying 94 shows and 2,601 model appearances, the report revealed the most diverse season yet: Not only did racial diversity on the runways reach an all-time high, but there was also an improvement in plus-size, transgender, non-binary and over-50 representation.

For the Spring 2018 season, The Fashion Spot reports that 36.9 percent of those on the runway were models of color, an increase from 31.5 percent during the Fall 2017 season (for comparison, for Spring 2015, that number was only 20.9 percent). What's more, the spring shows marked the first time that every runway show included at least two models of color (up from last season's record-breaking one model of color on every runway). 

The Fashion Spot also reports that for the first time, there were 31 transgender or non-binary models that appeared on the runway. Perhaps it's telling that model Teddy Quinlivan, a staple at the New York shows, chose this season to reveal her transgender identity publicly.

With labels like Christian Siriano and Chromat prioritizing body diversity in their shows, that category experienced a major improvement as well. A record 90 plus-size models appeared across 12 runways (the Fall 2017 runways featured only 26 plus-size models). 

The category in the report that experienced the least drastic change was "aged" (or over-50) models, of whom there were 10 for the Spring 2018 season, as compared with six for Fall 2017.

So what does all of this say about the industry's progress when it comes to diversity? "This is our seventh season tracking runway diversity at New York Fashion Week and we continue to see progress year over year," said Jennifer Davidson, editor-in-chief of The Fashion Spot, in a release. "Just three years ago, women of color represented only 20.9 percent of castings. When you compare that to this season's 36.9 percent and the fact that every show we examined had at least two women of color, we're beginning to see real change."

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