Nine Of the Ten Most Booked Models at New York Fashion Week Were Women of Color

If we expect American fashion to lead on any level, it should be on diversity. After all, New York is far more multi-cultural than Paris, London, and Milan, and that fact is reflected in the data The Fashion Spot has kept in recent years on model diversity and inclusion on the runway. New York Fashion Week has always lead it's European counterparts on the diversity front, and, though Paris Fashion Week has just begun, not only does it seem poised to do so once again, but it has broken it's own records.

This season, 45.8 percent of the models booked this past NYFW across 77 prominent shows were models of color. That's up from 44.8 percent last season, and, more notably, up from just 20.9 percent in Spring 2015. Once again, every single show counted had at least one model of color, which wasn't always the case, especially amongst some major shows, in the very recent past. The uptick came even has some champions of runway diversity, including Rihanna's various Fenty-branded endeavors and Pyer Moss, sat the week out this time around.

The growing sense of inclusion is also now leading to a growing wave of more diverse booked and busy models. Indeed, nine out of the ten most booked models at NYFW were of color. That includes Nigerian-born model Mayowa Nicholas who booked 13 shows (including Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren and Anna Suit), and tied for the most bookings with French-born. Here, the top ten models of the season according The Fashion Spot's numbers.

1 (tie). Mayowa Nicholas

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@zimmermann ⚡️

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1 (tie). Cyrielle Lalande

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2 (tie). Hyun Ji Shin

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2 (tie). Adesuwa Aighewi

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2 (tie). Sijia Kang

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2 (tie). Hannah Shakespeare

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3 (tie). Anyelina Rosa

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ANNA SUI Thank you @annasui for have me ??

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3 (tie). Blésnya Minher

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3 (tie). Fatou Jobe

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Cushnie Fall Winter 2019 @cushnie such a dreamy show ??✨?

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3 (tie). He Cong

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Though, race isn't the only measure of diversity, and on other fronts, New York Fashion Week, as a whole, slipped some. Only 12 shows booked plus-size models this year, the same as last season, but amongst those 12 shows, only 37 spots were taken by plus-size models, down from 49 last year. Indeed, 10 of those plus-sized models were all booked for a single show: size-inclusion-focused designer Christian Siriano. Another nine of those spots were at similarly inclusive-minded swimsuit brand Chromat's show. Many other brands cast just one or two plus-sized models, while the vast majority cast none at all.

The number of runway spots booked by openly transgender and non-binary models was also down this season to 29 following an all time high of 53 last year. That may be in part because Teddy Quinlivan, amongst the most in demand runway models of any identity, decided to sit out New York Fashion Week this year, but that's not the full picture. Still, Gypsy Sport and (once again) Chromat lead the way in casting trans or non-binary models with eight and four casting a piece.

All-in-all, the numbers paint a picture of an American fashion industry that finally continue to accept racially diversity on the runway as a the default and not just an exception or a trend, but still has work to do in other area.

Related: Welcome to Adesuwa Aighewi’s Brave New World

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