Why we need more diversity in our models
Throughout 2018, we have seen increasingly more diverse models. Through the SS118 summer collections, for example, there was a record 93 plus-size/curve model appearances, as well as 45 transgender models. The catwalks also saw 27 over-50s models too, showing how inclusive the world of fashion can be.
Of course, there’s still work to be done. Fashion has a responsibility to its wide-ranging audience to represent everyone it claims to cater to.
How change is coming about
The fashion industry has felt pressure over the years. It comes from customers and companies alike to bring more realistic variety to their modelling campaigns. Some names are more open to changes than others. So, who’s leading the way when it comes to diversity in fashion? ELLE pointed out that designers such as Marc Jacobs, Ashish, Zac Posen, Demna Gvasalia and Prabal Gurung have consistently invited women of colour to walk in their shows.
But, supermodel Naomi Campbell warns that she doesn’t want women of colour and the appropriation of their cultures in fashion to be a fad. And that designers are using to gain attention: “We don’t want to be a trend. It’s the skin we’re born with and will spend the rest of our lives with until we leave [the Earth]. You’ve got to really think ahead now. Think differently and think what readers want. That’s the only way to keep their interest. People want to see multi-cultural women of all colours, shapes and sizes.”
Skin types- Diversity
Diversity in fashion often tends to lean towards a consideration of different skin types and different skin colours. We mustn’t focus solely on skin type. Though transgender and non-binary people are making themselves seen and heard in the fashion industry, too.
During SS18’s 266 major fashion shows, 45 transgender models and four non-binary models walked major and semi-major catwalks. AW17 saw only ten transgender models taking to the runway, and in SS17 only eight. So, it’s clear that we are seeing change and transgender models, such as Teddy Quinlivan, are leading the way.
Another aspect is diversity in model size that is often highlighted. With the widespread introduction of plus-size influencers and models that are in the spotlight for marketing campaigns for non-luxury brands, you would think that designers of the catwalk would make changes, too.
Although we’ve come a long way from curvy women being banned from walking in catwalk shows. It is still a reality that a lot of high-fashion designers produce samples at a size six or below. And some don’t sell garments that are larger than a size ten.
In SS18, there were 93 plus-sized models, compared to just 30 in AW17. Out of these 93, 90 plus-size appearances were made in New York and one report revealed that Milan was the only city to not feature a single plus-size model.
There’s also the matter of a model’ age — despite people of all ages buying clothes, models are frequently under-50s. We did see a few brands such as Eckhaus Latta, Creatures of Comfort and The Row cast older models for their shows but in reality, only 0.2% of those on the runway for Fall 2018 shows were 50 or above. It’s clear to see that there is a long way to go when it comes to progression in this area.
Why do high-fashion brands need to change?
Inclusivity is a huge theme throughout all sectors. Especially when it comes to something that everyone can be a part of, such as fashion. With the rise of social media and ease-of-engagement for customers with fashion brands. Brands must remember that people can easily get their voice heard if they don’t think that they’re being fairly represented.
We’re certainly witnessing change when it comes to size and cultural diversity in fashion, but there are still other aspects of inclusivity that the industry can work on.
Research for this article was carried out by Trilogy Stores, premium stockists of straight legged jeans.
https://www.elle.com/uk/fashion/news/a38585/naomi-campbell-fashion-diversity-models-casting/ https://www.refinery29.uk/2017/10/176615/fashion-week-model-diversity-spring-2018 https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/plus-size-modelling-high-street-ahead-body-positive-asos-river-island-mango-a7945191.html