Runway Diversity - Will it ever be achieved?

Had an interesting twitter conversation this afternoon with Wonderland Magazine and another twitter user about whether runway diversity actually matters and how it can be effectively implemented. This was in response to Jezebel’s recent article that points out that during the recent F/W 13 shows 90% of the models cast were white. 90%. Let that sink in for a moment. 90% were white. The remaining 10% were models of color which includes Black, Asian, Bi-racial, Latina & Middle Eastern.

So how can diversity be achieved? How can it be implemented? These type of runway reports obviously show that the discussion of race in the fashion industry is still very much alive but how do we ensure that runways become more diverse in the future and we’re not reading the same headlines in 2, 3, 5 or 10 years time.

Personally..I really don’t know. It would be ridiculous to enforce quotas or ban designers from having all-white runways. I don’t think having all-black or Asian runways work either in the long run. It’s a vicious cycle. Not enough models of color are represented by agencies. For every 10 white models on an agency website, I’ll spot 2-3 models of color. Then there’s the lack of editorials they get in leading industry magazines compared to their white counterparts. Then there’s ad campaigns. NYMag’s The Cut usually puts together a slideshow of Fashion Ad Campaigns per season. Going through the recent Spring 2013 slideshow of the 147 different ads, less than 25 featured models of color. That’s only about 17%. 

Diversity is certainly not impossible. Vivienne Westwood casts diverse models season after season. As does quite a few other well known designers like Etro, JCrew, Giorgio Armani. The MAN show as part of London Collections:Men is also very diverse model wise. You could argue that maybe these designers and their casting directors are making a conscious decision to promote diversity, so why don’t other designers do so as well.

What are your thoughts? How can diversity on the runway and in the fashion industry in general be better promoted and implemented?

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