The Fashion Spot released its seasonal Diversity Report for the Fall 2018 runways on Thursday — and, as we've seen repeatedly in recent seasons, the results were simultaneously encouraging and emblematic of how much work still needs to be done. The report, which tracked diversity across the New York, London, Milan and Paris shows, revealed that overall, this was the most racially diverse and transgender-inclusive fashion month ever. But it also highlighted the need for improvements in age and size diversity.
According to The Fashion Spot's findings, New York had the most racially diverse runways of any city — as historically, has often been the case — with 37.3 percent nonwhite models. But this number was only a very slight increase (0.4 percent, to be specific) from the previous season. Meanwhile, the London runways featured 34.6 percent models of color, a 3.6 point increase for the city; Milan, which consistently lags in terms of racial diversity, featured only 27.1 percent models of color, up 2.4 percent from the previous season; finally, Parisian runways were comprised of 27 percent nonwhite models, a 5.2 percent increase.
Improvements across the board are inspiring, but let's not forget that this was also the season when Anok Yai became the first Black model in two decades to open the Prada show during Milan Fashion Week.
The Fashion Spot also looked at size diversity, and the results are disheartening. After an encouraging Spring 2018 season that featured 38 curve models across 12 runways, the Fall 2018 shows marked the first regression in plus-size castings in two years. Only 30 curve models appeared on the runways across all four cities, with Christian Siriano and Chromat again leading the pack, together accounting for 19 of those castings. What's more, those numbers are so small that, writes The Fashion Spot's Cordelia Tai, "if we look at the data in terms of percentage, the past three seasons are in a dead heat: Fall 2018's 30 plus-size castings, Spring 2018's 38 and Fall 2017's 30 each made up close to 0.4 percent of the total castings in those respective seasons — proof that the category has seen little progress in years."
Now for a bit of encouraging news: The Fall 2018 runways did see a significant boost in terms of non-binary and transgender visibility, with a record 64 models falling into either of those categories. Additionally, the number of models who openly identify as trans or non-binary increased in every city except Milan. "It appears the industry is (slowly) moving beyond tokenism," points out The Fashion Spot.
The final category included in the report is age, and for the Fall 2018 season, the results on that front were, unfortunately, less than impressive. Models over the age of 50 were the least-represented of all the categories, which has been the case in the past. But for this season, the representation of these models saw the steepest decline, with only 13 runway appearances (consistent with 13 over-50 model castings in Spring 2017 and 14 fewer than the number recorded on the Spring 2018 runways).
For an in-depth look at the report, as well as an explanation of how this data defines models of color, head to The Fashion Spot.