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Drastic changes in the diversity report of who walks down the runway each season has been requested for years. There have been excellent changes made, and most people would agree that good, lasting change takes time, but how long are we willing to wait? The fall 2018 Fashion Weeks across the world saw a very noticeable improvement in the model diversity, even from the most stubborn of high fashion houses.
Those who were more than certain that they did not need to change with the times made the most marginal of improvements with casting, begrudgingly being dragged along into the more diversified future.
The Top Models for Fall 2018 Fashion Season
According to The Fashion Spot, the 19 models with the most bookings for the fall 2018 season featured 8 models of color. These models were (in order):
• Shanelle Nyasiase, who walked in 13 shows;
• Nandy Nicodeme, who walked in 11 shows;
• Hyun Ji Shin, who walked in 10 shows;
• Jing Wen, who walked in 10 shows;
• Manuela Sanchez, who walked in 10 shows;
• Mona Matsuoka, who walked in 10 shows;
• Naomi Chin Wing and who walked in 10 shows;
• Yue Han, who walked in 10 shows.
Cara Taylor was the most in-demand model, who walked in 14. There was no trans, mature or plus-sized model to break more than 10 bookings for the season. The closest of these three model groups was Teddy Quinlivan, who managed to secure 9 total castings for the season.
Plus-Size Model Castings
These new numbers are more disheartening considering that the numbers of plus-size model castings were essentially “adjusted” for fall 2018 due to the showing of two exclusively plus-sized fashion lines.
Due to this adjustment, the additional numbers from Torrid and Addition Elle must be considered outliers, taking 56 plus-sized castings out of the original 90, and leaving us with only 34. With that number, versus the 26 plus-size models who walked in the 8 runway presentations, the numbers have lessened, and the model diversity has decreased.
Chrisitan Siriano, and Chromat did not step back from more diverse model castings but continued to lead the charge. Christian Siriano’s runway featured 10 plus-size models and was opened by Ashley Graham.
Chromat cast 9 of the season’s 26 plus-size models. Chromat also cast not only plus-size women of color, but also plus-size model Emme, who is 54 years old. The revolution we thought we were seeing with record numbers of plus-size models bringing fashion into more accessible sizing for the people seems to have hit a wall.
Non-Binary and Trans Models
After designers realized how much they loved Teddy Quinlivan last year, the number of non-binary and transgender model castings has jumped tremendously. The fall 2018 runway shows saw 5 non-binary castings and 28 transgender castings beat out the spring 2018 numbers minimally.
Of the total 33 combined non-binary and trans models, 10 of them are people of color. Quinlivan herself was booked for 9 shows, including Oscar de la Renta, Alexander Wang, Tory Burch, and Carolina Herrera.
Marc Jacobs cast a beautifully diverse runway show again, casting four transgender models, Hunter Schafer, Massima Lei, Dara Allen, and Ariel Murtagh to walk for the brand. Ariel Murtagh made her debut on Calvin Klein’s runway show last season. Other notable castings include the androgynous Dylan Stephens, and non-binary model Avie Acosta, whose appearance on Christian Siriano’s runway was of equal note.
Mature Model Castings
Even with all the fighting for inclusion, older models are the least represented runway models on every runway. The age-inclusive casting numbers were very low, with models over their 50s counting for 10 of the castings walking during the New York Fashion Week fall 2018.
The lack of runway shows by brands that often featured more age-inclusive castings like Tome, Tracy Reese, and J. Crew (all of whom are known for more diverse castings) for the fall 2018 runway meant the castings for the women over 50 were expectedly minimal.
Creatures of Comfort cast one woman over 50, though they had a wide range of ages represented in their “Celebration of Womanhood” show. Susan Cianciolo regularly models for Eckhaus Latta and did so again for fall 2018 along with one other model over 50.
The Blonds had Daphne Guinness, the over-50 heiress to the Guinness brand and an icon with considerable style, walk their runway. None of the mature models cast was tans, non-binary or non-white.
Overall Model Diversity for Fall 2018 Runway Shows
Unfortunately, the fall 2018 model diversity report has seen the bare minimum in adjustments yet again, making the most miniscule efforts to move forward a reminder of the difficulties faced in the beginning. The truth is that those who most love fashion are as varied and interesting as the fashions themselves.
Of course, we would want to see a varied and reflective runway show, making it easier for people to see themselves in the fashion world. The greatest reason for the incredibly low numbers is the lack of showings from certain brands that were much more inclusive in their castings.
The barest of changes saw the most diverse casting NYFW has ever had, but is it enough? The difference in the casting of non-white models was only increased by 0.4 points. This is too low to even be called a trudge in the right direction creating a 37.3% showing on models of color for fall 2018, where spring 2018 was 36.9%.
It is time, again, to recognize those brands that refuse to update more than their fashions and prefer the same “look” as a standard rule. The least diverse of all of the fall 2018 New York Fashion Week shows were still more diverse than they have been.
Least Diverse Fall 2018 Runway Shows
Having been met by the most stubborn of intents to only cast who they wanted, the millimeters designers like Vivienne Hu, Zang Toi, Jill Stuart and Katie Gallagher stepped forward were appreciated in the barest of ways, equal to the efforts they made. They cast models that were white in huge percentages, each managing to only cast 2 models in their show that were non-white, except for Jill Stuart, who managed to cast 4.
Most Diverse Fall 2018 Runway Shows
The thankfully and refreshingly most diverse fall 2018 model castings included many of the cornerstone brands that typically showcase a more diverse set of models. These brands are Christian Siriano (showed 44% non-white models and 2 non-binary models as well as 10 of the total 26 plus-size castings of the season), Yeezy, J.Crew, Kimora Lee Simmons, Tome, Tracy Reese, Helmut Lang under Isabella Burly and Opening Ceremony.
For the fall 2018 season, however, Gypsy Sport (despite its name) presented a runway show that was 80% models of color. Those who followed up are listed below, along with the percentage of their runway show that consisted of models of color.
• Chromat 72.7%
• Matthew Adams Dolan 70.6%
• Jeremy Scott 70%
• Brandon Maxwell 70%
• Alexander Wang 65.1%
• Vivienne Tam 62.5%
Eckhaus Latta’s models of color made up 40% of the show and also included several trans, plus-size and mature models as well. Marc Jacobs’ runway show cast 37% non-white models and four transgender models.
Gypsy Sport featured Desmond is Amazing, the 10-year-old “Drag kid” in his runway debut. Chromat showed a brilliant runway full of beautiful difference, trans activists, breast cancer survivors, age inclusivity, size inclusivity and even people who wore prosthetics.
The losses of significant diversity in age inclusivity and size inclusivity hurt, but the minor adjustments to the positive in trans, non-binary and plus-sized model castings make a difference that we can hold onto, though is only right that we continue to expect and demand even more.
Fashion is necessity and art; we cannot allow it to regress. Of the 82 surveyed shows and the 2,289 model appearances, we have seen that we still have a long way to go.
Photos via Vogue, Livingly