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Fab Flash: Minimum Model Diversity at NY Fashion Week

In the recent past, much focus has been placed on model-related weight issues, but last week at New York Fashion Week, another issue came to light that needs to be addressed: the lack of diversity on the runway.

The dominance of white models on the catwalk is nothing new, and yet it's an issue that has been pushed to the side. As fashion photographer and "America's Next Top Model" judge Nigel Barker told WWD, "Everyone is always talking about the weight issue, I think they should be talking about race."

Another fashion week spectator said, "I see an Asian girl here and there, but it seems like it has always been that way. It seems like they can't have more than one or two, and it's the same with African-American models."

When I was attending shows, I noticed the same thing, with the exception of a few designers, Tracy Reese being one of them. Have you noticed this as well? How do you feel about it?


Join The Conversation
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
It's been this years for years and years and I am sick of it. I want to see more black, latino, asians in magazines and runway.
Chalii911 Chalii911 9 years
Arise Asians! But I DO NOT have any problems with any other races. I just would like to see more Asians step up and represent us! :)
chris2626 chris2626 9 years
I cannot believe the remark that someone gave that diversity is not an issue. We live in America which has a plethora of cultures and races. Beauty comes in all different colors and should be reflected on the runway. People should address this problem with a stronger froce and not remain quiet.
KadBunny KadBunny 9 years
To be fair most Asian girls are short anyway (the family considers me tall and I'm like 5'4") but not all of us are, so yes. Get with the program.
yellowbanana yellowbanana 9 years
It's always been this way, and it's about time for the fashion industry to catch up with the rest of the world.
inertia inertia 9 years
I've noticed, and it's one of the reasons I stopped caring about Western fashion shows. I'm half Japanese and typically petite. Weight isn't the issue for me, it's height. There's no point looking at the clothes on the runway being shown by models a whole foot taller than me. The runway makeup looks aren't relevant either. Japan has a HUGE domestic fashion industry designing clothes for petite women and showing them on models who actually resemble the customers, and that's where I've taken my business. I don't think these Western design houses understand the effect that globalization and the internet is having on the market. Every year it becomes easier for people to find out about and buy clothes from other countries, things targeted for their race and body type. If the designers want to stay relevant, they're going to need to rethink their focus.
LeninaCrowne LeninaCrowne 9 years
a "quota"? youve got to be kidding me. what year are we living in 1950? i think it's disgusting that we have a mono-racial fashion industry that seems intent on perpetuating ridiculous ideals of Western "beauty"
lms lms 9 years
The American modeling industry has a quota that they are supposed to fill with minorities. They are supposed to use about 20-25 percent minorities in an ad, etc. If they can get away with not doing it they will. Some European clients do not have to fulfill a quota. It is really sad that in this day this is still necessary. My daughter is a model/actress. I have seen the casting directors filling spots for subsequent shoots by picking kids based on ethnicity for certain spots. They also have a specified order of who is to stand where. My daughter has also done a movie and one of the main characters(who was from the Philippine's)was saying how she allowed them to fulfill their quota. Some people above mentioned that they don't see a problem with it. I wonder why they would think that... I have seen a mother of 4 average looking blond children who outgrew their "cuteness" complaining that the minority children are taking all of their spots. Whatever. BTW..there are plenty of tall skinny minority women who aren't that way on account that they can't afford food.
socialitebabe socialitebabe 9 years
Its been like that for a long time which is ashame. Its the same in Hollywood too. Even with black models I noticed they rarely want an American Black woman to model. They opt for the from Africa. I'm mixed and I would love to see a multiracial model on the catwalk
Allytta Allytta 9 years
i didn't notice that, there was enought of diversity. besides not all white people are the same, there huge different in their nationalities too, that's enough for me.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
yea it me too. This season is seemed like they were using the same Black model in almost every show, Chanel Iman, (not to mention she is SUPER skinny). I think its time we see different faces. Of course the flawless Liya is still walking the runways but its nice too see different faces and races wearing these clothes...unless their only targeting a certain race.
michelle-c42934 michelle-c42934 9 years
i myself am half chinese and in my experience although chinese women are stereotypically thin there are very few who reach the height requirements for modelling, so i understand why there may be fewer asian women on the catwalks. but i've also spent time in africa and i would say that a lot of women are tall and thin (maybe because they can't afford to eat rather than choosing not too). and i have quite a few friends whose families originate from india, pakistan and sri lanka and most of them are blessed with gorgeous large eyes framed by perfectly arched, dense eyebrows, many of them are thin, but again, few are tall. i think the fashion industry believes that it is appealing to its majority consumer, but i thought asia had over a billion women? and the fastest growing economy?? when i stayed in hong kong emphasis seemed to be placed on designers and vintage or just plain weird, whereas in london i think people look to the high street stores.
smarter-fashion smarter-fashion 9 years
Yup,it's really noticeable and troubling. So much so that when I saw Diane von Furstenberg's runway snaps I was delightfully surprised because there were actually about 10 ethnic models. Amazing.
menthadict menthadict 9 years
It bothers me so much. The reason I admire any asian person that's been successful so much is because they had to work so hard to get acknowledged in our society. I'm tired of all these white models on the runway.
SoftRockStar SoftRockStar 9 years
And I'm commenting again, but for the past seven or eight years the models have been recruited from Eastern European, South American and African countries, so it seems like it's AMERICAN standards of beauty and assumptions of what beauty is that is keeping the runways lily white. No wonder other countries have such a low opinion of us: we think we're the defenders of the Western world but have just as much hate and centuries old turmoil in our own land.
SoftRockStar SoftRockStar 9 years
And um on the size issue. Do you watch ANTM? There are a ton of tall, slim black women trying out for the show, and as a matter of fact, I see tall, slim, model-looking minority women in my city all of the time. Believing that only whites are tall and slim is a contributing factor to this willful ignorance of the issue.
SoftRockStar SoftRockStar 9 years
I just couldn't believe it when Carmen Marc Valvo equated diversity with the number of brunettes walking the catwalk, and was even more steamed when someone said that Ralph Lauren shouldn't be required to have black (or minority) models since only white people wear Ralph Lauren. :MOB: : M O B :
bealotus bealotus 9 years
Yes,I've noticed that too and it does bother me.
anniechacha anniechacha 9 years
It is so sad that an industry that is supposedly based on creativity has such a narrow vision of what beauty is.
j-adore2 j-adore2 9 years
Beauty standards in this world are often based on western and caucasian standards of beauty...which is why we see this predominance of white models on the runway. which is a shame, because the caucasian standard of beauty is not the only definition of what is beautiful. People of other races may look different because they have different physical features, but they are all equally beautiful.
PrSiren PrSiren 9 years
Designers are always talking about how they design things for "real women." Are only caucasian women real? Also they say the slim size of the models make the clothes look good. Shouldnt they make clothes that look good on practically everyone? Or at least not just size 0-2. They should show their range by showing different sizes and races.
Chaoticfury Chaoticfury 9 years
Both issues are important. Promoting diversity is just as important as promoting health. I know the designers' target money market comprises of thin white women, but the audience is made up different races and different body types.
bhilb bhilb 9 years
I think the issue of race and body type are related. If designers want tall, skinny models, my guess is that there are a lot more white models with that body type than asian or black. I think diversity in size would lead to diversity in race.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 9 years
I don't know, I don't find anything wrong with it really. I think they weight issue needs to be addressed more than race at this point.
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
i agree completely, and it's completely ridiculous. only the shows that aren't particularly taken very seriously a la baby phat and heatherette feature more than a couple models of color, otherwise it's a complete whitewash. it just goes to show exactly who is the high-fashion world's target audience: rich, thin, white women. the rest of us will just have to make do with muumuus from wal-mart.
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