As minorities continue to break barriers in many of today’s high ranking fields, the modeling world is a little behind.
According to The Business of Fashion, of the 3,975 models booked for fashion weeks in London, New York, Milan and Paris, only 797 were not white, which is defined as black, Asian, non-white Hispanic, and other. After crunching the numbers, the reality is that 80% of the models during fashion month were white. Breaking it down even more shows that black models made up 10.2%, asians make up 6.5%, and models of hispanic descent accounted for only 1.6% of bookings. The “other” category houses Indian and Middle Eastern models, which accounted for 2.3% of bookings.
Robin Givhan, a fashion critic for the Washington Post, explains,“It’s not a particularly diverse industry. We are drawn to people who look like us. Unless they’re making a conscious decision to deviate from the standard, then the standard is what they go for. And [their] standard is blonde and blue eyed.”
Business of Fashion also spoke to a well known industry figure in Bethann Hardison of the Diversity Coalition, who sheds a different shade of light on the situation, claiming that the clients want a more diverse crowd, but the agencies just aren’t delivering.
Bethann says, “I’ve got so many calls from designers, this season, saying that the agencies were not sending them black girls. Brands that really want to diversify, that don’t want to have an all-white cast — they can’t get the girls. Agencies hold these girls for well-known brands with important casting directors and stylists, leaving other brands with less choice of models of colour. I also received complaints from certain magazines and beauty advertisers.”
Though a discouraging fact about the state of modeling, adding attention can only help fuel change.