The most racially diverse fashion month ever didn't really help plus-size or trans models
Immediately following New York Fashion Week, a scandal began brewing in Europe. Models of color had reportedly been barred from Lanvin's Paris Fashion Week show. This news, broken by famed casting director James Scully, sent shockwaves across the fashion world, a world that is trying to pride itself on being inclusive and representative of women across the world right now.
When the Lanvin show was all said and done, models of color did indeed walk; but the controversy managed to call into question fashion's true motives for this so-called push in diversity.
According to the Fashion Spot's latest report on fashion month — meaning New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week all together — fashion did indeed seem to make a concerted effort to increase racial diversity, but that's pretty much it.
Let's break down the good news first. This was the most racially diverse fashion month on record. Among all four cities — New York City, London, Milan, Paris — 72.1% of the models cast were white while 27.9% were models of color. That's about a 2.5 percentage point jump from September's 25.35% nonwhite models cast.
Every fashion week other than New York had its most racially diverse season on record too, with New York just 0.4% below its record Fall 2016 showing. Still though, New York was the most diverse, with 31.5% models cast being models of color.
The most diverse shows this season were also all in New York City: from Gypsy Sport, where 87% of models cast were nonwhite; to Chromat, where 77% of models cast were nonwhite; to Kanye West's Yeezy, where 74% of models cast were nonwhite.
On the other hand, there were a slew of shows that cast no models of color at all. The Undercover show in Paris, the Trussardi show in Milan and the Junya Watanabe show in Paris all showed completely whitewashed runways, with no models of color at all.
And while six of the 10 most-cast models during New York Fashion Week were models of color, just three of the 12 most-cast models during fashion month were models of color.
Now, moving onto body diversity, New York leads the pack by a long shot here, too. In the New York Fall 2017 season, there were 26 plus-size model castings, which was a record high, with shows like Christian Siriano and Chromat featuring 10 and 5 plus-size model appearances each.
But in Europe, it's a completely different story. Two plus-size models walked in Paris at the H&M show. In Milan, two plus-size models walked in the Dolce & Gabbana show.
Then in terms of transgender visibility on the runway, New York again set the bar, with 12 trans model castings. In Europe, meanwhile, there were none, according to the Fashion Spot's count.
As may be obvious by now, New York was home to most of the most overall inclusive shows this season, like Chromat, which cast models of color, trans models and plus-size models, as well as Marc Jacobs, which cast models of color and transgender models.
New York City usually leads the pack in terms of racial inclusivity, but what this year showed is that it's the one fashion week taking different kinds of diversity seriously, from plus-size models to trans models.
The question now may be: When will the others catch on?