Following an increasingly diverse representation of races, ages, sizes and genders on the spring runways and in the season’s fashion campaigns, the fall fashion campaigns are somewhat disappointing. They reveal a significant increase in race and gender diversity, but advancements in age and size inclusion are slim, according to a report by The Fashion Spot.
The report analyzed 457 models in print advertisements in 187 total campaigns, most of which are featured in the September issues of the major fashion and beauty publications. Across each of the categories the publication examined, the most significant improvement was the inclusion of racially diverse models: 30.4 percent of models featured in the campaigns are non-white, a 5.9 percent uptick from the spring report.
However, among the seven models that booked the most campaigns — including Bella and Gigi Hadid, and Taylor Hill — only Adwoa Aboah is non-white. Still, the uptick in racial diversity in fashion campaigns points to impressive growth, said Jennifer Davidson, editor-in-chief of The Fashion Spot. Fall 2017 is the first time the percentage of non-white models has surpassed 30 percent since TFS began conducting the report in 2015. In the first report, non-white models comprised just 15.3 percent of castings.
Courtesy of The Fashion Spot
Transgender models also experienced the highest representation to date, with six models featured across four campaigns. However, though gains were made in subverting ageism in the fall fashion marketing — with a total of 14 models over the age of 50 appearing in advertisements, up sevenfold from spring — older models made up just 3.1 percent of castings this season. Further, plus-size representation decreased this season. The Fashion Spot found that plus-size women were cast only 10 times, representing just 2.2 percent of models in fall campaigns, a decrease of 0.1 percent from spring.
“Ever since we began examining diversity in the fashion industry, racial diversity has always outpaced the other [underrepresented] categories,” said Davidson. “While it is heartening to see models of color reach over 30 percent representation, it is disappointing to see such slow progress for plus-size and older women.”
Courtesy of The Fashion Spot
From a brand perspective, Davidson said there is hope in the handful of companies this season that are pushing the boundaries on the industry’s cultural standards. Particularly in the category of racial diversity, the report found that luxury brands Saint Laurent and Christian Dior were among the most diverse this season, as were Nordstrom and Gap.
“It’s hard to understand why brands are slow to fully represent their customer base,” Davidson said. “As more brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Helmut Lang, Gap and Nordstrom continue to demonstrate what truly inclusive campaigns look like, hopefully more brands will follow.”