Despite the many articles written about the lack of diversity on the runway and even protests calling for a change, New York Fashion Week is still overwhelmingly white. Jezebel reports:
This season, 151 New York designers’ shows were covered by Style.com. Those shows presented 4479 individual women’s wear “looks” to buyers and press, representing 4479 opportunities for a model to walk the runway or pose in a presentation. 3706 of those looks, or 82.7%, were this season shown on white models. Asian models nabbed 409, or 9.1% of all the runway looks. Black models were hired for 270, or 6%. Non-white Latina models had 90 looks, or 2%. Models of other races wore 7, or 0.2% of all looks. [...]
Additionally,9% of all NYFW shows had all-white casts up from 6% last season. The article continues:
Designers that had more racial diversity included 3.1 Phillip Lim, Anna Sui, Badgley Mischka, Costello Tagliapietra, Diane von Furstenberg, J. Crew, Jason Wu, Jeremy Scott, Jonathan Simkhai, Mara Hoffman, Naeem Khan, Nicole Miller, Rebecca Taylor, Suno, Tracy Reese, Yeohlee, and Zac Posen.
As a fashion editor for publications that target an African-American demographic, I’m tasked with taking photographs of black models as they hit the catwalk. It’s disheartening to sit at fashion show after fashion show without having to lift my camera a single time as no models of color walk down the runway. Likewise, when a designer employs even two black models, I’m overwhelmingly pleased and grateful almost as if they did us a favor since it’s such a rarity.
The lack of diversity is indeed alarming and it’s a wonder that it persists despite the backlash and negative attention it incites. My theory on why it’s so easy for designers to cast an all-white show is simply because they can. Diversity is optional to them, primarily because they can still sell garments and gain revenue (which is the bottom line) without representing varied ethnicities in their show.