The fashions that appear on the catwalks of New York, London, Milan, and Paris during the spring/summer fashion weeks come in an array of colors. The same can't exactly be said of the models that wear them. Data from 117 shows during this year's spring/summer fashion season finds that just 797 non-white models were booked for 3,875 model jobs, according to a Business of Fashion study. That means 79% of models were white, while just over 10% were black; 6.5% were Asian; 2% were "other," including those of Indian or Middle Eastern descent; and 1.5% were Hispanic. The figures were on par with last year's autumn/winter shows when just 20% of models were non-white, according to the report. "It is so damaging to society that the industry still allows for white dominance on the runway," a rep for Models of Diversity tells Huffington Post UK.
"People being fed this in media will, without even realizing it, in their mind place people of color on a lower platform than white people, because that is what is being filtered to them as 'the norm' with this disgraceful tokenistic injustice." The diversity problem extends to fashion campaigns, advertising, and media. A 2014 study of major fashion magazine covers, for instance, found that 82% of cover models were white. A London College of Fashion professor suggests it lies in the way luxury brands rely on their European heritage. Basically, Western brands tend to adopt Western ideals of beauty, she says, and "there's a pre-history in art, literature and drama, of presenting a certain type of European as the cultural ideal." (A model with Down Syndrome recently made her Fashion Week debut.)