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Biggest Headline of 2008: Model Diversity Issue

Biggest Headline of 2008: Model Diversity Takes Center Stage

The issue of model diversity, or lack thereof, thrived in 2008. Good! The first concern was raised in February when a survey concluded that out of 1,584 modeling slots at New York Fashion Week, only six percent went to black models, six percent went to Asians, and one percent went to Latinas. Note that this was after Diane von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers, had urged designers to diversify their model selections the month before. At the end of the month, it was refreshing to see Hermes feature South Asian beauty Lakshmi Menon in its 2008 Spring ad.

To read more about the fight for diversity in the modeling industry,


In April, more progress was made when Vogue Italia announced its quarterly July issue would feature almost all black models — this was groundbreaking. In late June, the Vogue Italia Black Issue was released and featured models Naomi, Jourdan Dunn, Liya Kebede, and Sessilee Lopez; each of whom had her own cover. If you haven't checked it out, believe me when I say it was all black, all fabulous.

Fast forward to September during the Spring showings at New York Fashion Week. Although there were more multicultural shows, the issue remained. This time, Bethann Hardison spoke on the epidemic and held a discussion, "Race on the Runway," which was attended by models and industry leaders. The battle is far from being over, and change is slow, but sure. Let's hope next year will bring us more Fab face diversity in the modeling industry.

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aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I agree Karen.
sidra5397 sidra5397 8 years
sidra5397 sidra5397 8 years
I'd like to see diversity featured in ads and runways in a manner that doesn't focus on themes like "exotic" all the time. How about something more (North American) contemporary? I like cultural takes on ads but it shouldn't be the only way to represent other ethnicity. As a woman who isn't white I'd like to see representations of non-white models that aren't stereotypical or raise the thought that the model is just the "token" Black/Asian/South Asian/Latin/Native/Arab/... girl.
Karen0193 Karen0193 8 years
well, I'm glad to see this, but they are really few latinamericans on the runway
Tabloid Tabloid 8 years
It's being a while I've noticed this issue. I would love to see more asians on the runway. VS doesn't have any asian girls on their runway.
marshawjs marshawjs 8 years
diversity is always a good thing. it doesn't have to be all or nothing - a variety in models is great because then it speaks to a wider audience without alienating anyone.
cake16 cake16 8 years
i think it's important that as consumers we speak up about this too...companies and designers will at some point have to listen to their customers if we are demanding more diversity....i don't know why there is some belief that the white or european models sell more or that's what people's such an outdated and wrong thought...just my opinion, but i think it's great that it's becoming a more pressing issue within the fashion industry
reactionary reactionary 8 years
also, i really hope they start using more diverse models in runway shows. i think all women are beautiful, and it's time we saw some more representations of that! i definitely think these ladies have something to offer to the industry and should be given the chance.
reactionary reactionary 8 years
while vogue italia's black issue WAS groundbreaking, the fact that they did that still bothered me. it's like it has to be either all one race of people, or all white people. when there are equal percentages of all races in a vogue magazine, THEN, and only then, will i be impressed. i can't really say because i don't read vogue italia, but the only way i can see that the black issue would have changed anything is if they featured more women of color in the magazine after that. does anyone know if they have?
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