new york fashion week was the most racially diverse yet

A new report found that fall 2019 was the most diverse season of shows ever, but the industry still has work to do.

by Erica Euse
26 March 2019, 5:56pm

Now that major fashion weeks around the world have ended, The Fashion Spot has delivered it’s annual diversity report. In recent years, we’ve finally seen the fashion industry chip away at its age-old diversity problem, by casting models of different races, body types, ages, and gender representations. For the most part, this move toward inclusion has continued year after year, at least in New York, where designers presented the most racially diverse season yet. Nearly half of the women cast for the fall 2019 season were women of color, and nine out of the 10 most in-demand models, which included those like Adesuwa Aighewi and Mayowa Nicholas, were also women of color.

In Milan and Paris, diversity on the runways has been on an upward trend since fall 2016, but London actually regressed this season. The good news is that since The Fashion Spot started its runway diversity report in 2015, the number of models of color on the catwalk has doubled, with nearly a 3 percent increase overall from spring 2019. Still, the industry has work to do. As model Olivia Anakwe pointed out during Paris Fashion Week, while the runway may have featured a record number of models of color, many still run into issues backstage, one being that many hairstylists are still not trained to style diverse hair types — a standard that should be universal by now.

Paris, New York, London, and Milan also fell short this season when it came to representing plus-size, transgender, and non-binary models. Despite the disappointing decrease in these areas, New York continues to lead the way thanks to a handful of designers like Chromat and Gypsy Sport that prioritize size and gender inclusivity.

Eckhaus Latta, in particular, also continues to be a pioneer in showing what a truly diverse runway can look like, with a range of races, ages, sizes and genders on their runway each season, hopefully other designers will take note.

Eckhaus Latta
New York Fashion Week