Good News: 2017’s Fashion Ad Campaigns Are More Diverse Than Ever

Here’s some good news for the fashion industry: change is happening.

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Each year, The Fashion Spot has a rundown of runway diversity in fashion ad campaigns. This season, they reviewed 187 Fall 2017 fashion print ads comprising of 457 model castings and said, “in a refreshing change of pace — the most recent ad season was more racially diverse than its runway counterpart.” The results for the autumn/winter campaigns were promising, although it also showed that there is still a long way to go before people of all types can feel truly represented. Here is the good news so far: compared to the previous seasons, the Fall ad campaigns were markedly more diverse than ever. In addition to this, the number of non-white models cast exceeded an impressive 30 percent.

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Saint Laurent, Coach 1941, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gap, Helmut Lang and Nordstrom were brands who had the most racially diverse campaigns. And on the other hand, Balmain, Sies Marjan, Simone Rocha and Vivienne Westwood cast just one model of color in campaigns that featured six or more women.

Moving on to the topic of models, Adwoa Aboah was the only nonwhite model of the seven models who booked the most campaigns. Models over 50 also snagged some of the spotlights this season, with 14 women appearing in Fall campaigns this year.
When it comes to plus-size models, however, things didn’t seem as progressive. A record of 26 plus-size models walked the runways of New York, but 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.  

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Transgender models also still face problems, as they were considered the least represented group this season. They also accounted for 6 of the 457 castings, or a mere 1.3 percent. Spring 2017 saw five castings, so this year, the fashion industry has managed to beat the record by just one person.

As Fashion Spot concludes: “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.”

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