Diversity continues to be a hot-button issue within the fashion industry. Currently, only a minority of models and forward thinking brands such as Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein are paving the way for others to follow. This minority following is reflected in the most recent fashion diversity report.
The Fashion Spot released its Spring 2016 fashion diversity report, which included 236 advertising campaigns and 422 different models. The results of this report exposed a disappointing increase in diversity. Since 2015 there has been an increase of just 6.5% in diversity, with only 21.8% of models represented by those of Black, Asian or Hispanic origin. For those of us who would like to see a ground-shattering increase in diversity, this marginal change can only be described as disappointing.
Alongside the small but significant increase in racial diversity there was a surprising decrease in the number of plus-size models, transgender models and models over the age of 50 represented in advertising, compared to the 2015 report. This is a somewhat confusing statistic given the significant amount of media attention these demographics have received over the recent year.
Most shockingly, only six out of the 422 models were plus size models (1.4%) and all of these six models were White. It is clear, that there is still a long way to go, before we begin to see a noteworthy increase in diversity across all demographics.
Marginal progress in fashion diversity
We know that consumers want to see more diversity in fashion advertising, but the report clearly shows that brands are not making a big enough step forward. This is a major setback in our journey to create a more positive and diverse body image among society. Despite the efforts of some key brands, the body image the majority of us aspire to be like, is still very restricted and stereotyped within the fashion industry.
However, let’s not get bogged down in the discouraging scale of change, but recognise that change is happening! While some areas of diversity may have taken a step backwards it is important to remember that success never comes without setbacks. Lessons need to be learned from the latest diversity report. Key brands need to make a significant commitment to move forward from this and employ a campaign, which celebrates diversity among the models they use.
How do you think diversity within the fashion industry can be improved?