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New York Fashion Week spring 2019 showcased an unprecedentedly diverse group of runway models. With the exception of one group (which was adjusted to consider the outliers), there has not been such a full showing of representation on the runway, and thankfully, there is no showing that this will stop. The new records are the starting point for the upcoming year, and hopefully the trend of hitting new heights will continue.


Spring 2019 Runway Model Diversity Report from NYFW


Model Diversity by Race

According to The Fashion Spot, racially, of the 76 major shows, 44.8% of the model castings were of non-white models. The fall 2018 New York Fashion Week only saw 37.3% of multicultural models cast. The difference in the two is 7.5% – an astonishing number and a comfort to those who are constantly seeking a more unified view of the world on the runway.

Of the top booked models for the NYFW’s spring 2019 shows, 7 out of 11 were models of color. From 76 total shows, South Korean model Yoon Young Bae tied for most-cast model with 12 shows. Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech, who booked 11 shows came in at second place.


The other models of color who made the list of the top 11 booked models for the season each booked 10 shows. These models include Chinese-Nigerian model Adesuwa Aighewi, African-American model Selena Forrest, Chinese model Chen Siqi Dominican model Anyelina Rosa, and South Korean model Sora Choi.

Though they were from different races and cultures, none of the models was transgender, over the age of 50 or plus size.

Plus-Size and Transgender Model Castings

Regarding the number of transgender and plus-size models represented on the runway, there was a considerable increase in the latter. Of the total 49 plus-sized models who were cast, 35 of them were non-white. Nearly 50 plus-size models walked in the spring 2019 New York Fashion Week shows, and two of them were over 50 years old.

Chromat, as has become their way, cast 13 plus-size models, but Rihanna ran a close second with 12 plus-size models. Christian Siriano, another talented crowd favorite, cast 8. Outside of these three presentations, only 16 plus-sized castings took place on the remaining 73 runway presentations.


In terms of non-binary and transgender representation, there were 53 total non-binary and transgender models cast. 4 non-binary models and 49 openly transgender models walked on 20 spring 2019 New York Fashion Week runways.

Spring 2019 Runway Model Diversity Report from New York Fashion Week

Model Age Diversity

Regarding women over the age of 50, 12 were cast as a new all-time record. Other brands, very big name brands, which include Michael Kors, Helmut Lang, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler and a few more have worked to be more inclusive in their model castings. We can see more variation on their runways and though it is a stilted, stumbling entrance into a more inclusive world, they are showing up.


These numbers end up reflecting in the sales – as more people can see themselves in the clothes, they have an easier time buying. Not to mention, brands and fashion houses that cast more diversely are gaining more long-term, brand loyal clientele.

There were amazing, breathtaking shows that led the charge with diverse runways, and then there were shows that shocked and awed us all. Opening Ceremony showed 21 different drag performers including famous names from RuPaul’s Drag Race, putting on a runway presentation that also served as a fundraiser for the Transgender Law Center.

All in all, it was a fabulous season in more ways than one.

Photos via Vogue