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.