NYFW SS16 Was Only Slightly Less White Than Usual
The New York Fashion Week SS16 diversity reports are in! And the results are… pretty much exactly what you’d expect. According to a study done by The Fashion Spot UK, runways were overwhelmingly Caucasian this season, with 76.2 percent of models identifying as white and 28.6 percent as minorities (10.7 percent were black, 8.7 Asian, and 4.2 Hispanic.). We are totally and completely surprised.
But all shadiness aside, these numbers do show an improvement. This season featured some of the most diverse runways in recent years, thanks to MADE designers and alums like Hood by Air and Gypsy Sport, whose shows heavily featured PoC. They helped contribute to the four percent increase in diversity from AW15, which was in turn four percent better than SS15. There was also a marked improvement on the forefronts of body and gender diversity, with designers like Chromat and Moses Gauntlett Cheng pulling from outside the narrow skinny-n-cis spectrum. Progress is being made, even if it’s literally going at a snail’s pace (supposing that snails move four percent faster every four months.)
Still, these numbers are extremely unimpressive when we remember that New York is itself only 30 percent white. So we don’t really know where all these white people are coming from, or why designers like Erin Fetherston or Monique Lhuillier were so committed to a white runway this season, but they can color us unimpressed. The increase in diversity wasn’t the result of widespread effort, but rather a handful of designers choosing to step it up.
Eventually more of them will realize that having an entire sea of white, cis-gendered stick people walking the runway is actually incredibly boring. They’re getting there, much like your grandmother creeping up a flight of stairs. We would like to see them go just a liiiiitle bit faster, especially when so many younger underground designers are just killing it in that area. But it’s happening. We guess.
Read the full report here.
Photos via Erica Hanks, Giphy, Globe Trotting Wino, and Cosmo UK.