But there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
The Fashion Spot’s seasonal rundown of runway diversity in fashion ad campaigns for autumn/winter came with some hopeful news — but also showed us there’s still a long way to go before everyone can feel truly represented.
Let’s start with the good news. Fall ad campaigns were markedly more diverse than previous seasons and, for the first time ever, the number of nonwhite models cast exceeded 30 percent.
Saint Laurent, Coach 1941, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gap, Helmut Lang and Nordstrom were among the most racially diverse campaigns.
Those who did less well? The likes of Balmain, Sies Marjan, Simone Rocha and Vivienne Westwood cast just one model of color in campaigns featuring six or more women.
And of the seven models who booked the most campaigns, only one was nonwhite: Adwoa Aboah.
To arrive at these figures, the Fashion Spot reviewed 187 Fall 2017 fashion print ads comprising of 457 model castings. As they write, “in a refreshing change of pace — the most recent ad season was more racially diverse than its runway counterpart.”
“The takeaway? In terms of racial representation, change is happening.”
Models over age 50 saw increased visibility this season: 14 women appeared in Fall campaigns this year. This is a sevenfold increase over Spring 2017.
In the world of plus-size, however, the industry didn’t fair so well. While a record 26 plus-size models walked the runways of New York — something of a watershed moment — in print, plus-size women accounted for just 10 of the 457 castings. That’s just 2.2 percent and actually a 0.1 point dip from the Spring 2017 campaign season.
And transgender models still face problems. They were the least represented group this season, accounting for only 6 of the 457 castings, or a mere 1.3 percent.
Spring 2017 saw five castings, so this year we’ve managed to beat the record by just one person.
Surprisingly, model, actress and activist Hari Nef — one of the fashion world’s most prominent transgender voices — landed the lowest-profile gig of the group, appearing in Swedish shoe and accessories brand Vagabond’s Fall 2017 ads.
That said, the model did recently land her second major beauty campaign, co-starring in the campaign for Gucci Bloom.
As Fashion Spot writes: “While these steps may seem plodding — to an almost defeating degree, especially given the current administration’s recent incursions on transgender rights — they can’t be underestimated. If three’s a trend, four seasons of incremental, but nonetheless visible, improvement could be considered a shift.”