Racial Diversity in the Modeling Industry 

Racial Diversity in the Modeling Industry 

How far have we come with racial diversity in the modeling industry? 

I recall when doing research for my TedTalks in November 2018; studies showed that only 27.9 % of the models who walked the spring 2017 runways were nonwhite.

For Fall 2017 ad campaigns: 30.4 % of the models were nonwhite, and of the 7 models who booked the most campaigns, just 1 was of a minority background.

Source: The Fashion Spot

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, I also hear Black Faces Matter. 

How far have we come in the two years, since these statistics?

According to The Fashion Spot, racial diversity took a slight step backward, and size and gender inclusivity plummet for the fashion month of Fall 2020. 

While the Spring 2020 season was the most racially diverse one ever, Fall 2020 saw a slight drop. From a high of 41.5 percent models of color (out of 7,390 model castings at 215 major shows) to 40.6 percent (out of 6,879 castings across 194 shows). That’s a little under 1 percent difference. While we’re never happy with a decrease no matter how slight, this is not as devastating as it sounds. To give you some perspective, Fall 2020 still ranks as the second most racially diverse season since we started keeping track with the Spring 2015 season.
Source: The Fashion Spot
Please note the statistics provided by The Fashion Spot, when stated ‘models of color’ includes all ethnic groups that are non-white. 
1st Black Models to be on the cover of Vogue
From Donyale Luna gracing the cover of British Vogue in 1966, to Beverly Johnson on the cover of American Vogue in 1974, to Naomi Campbell on the cover of French Vogue in 1988, all models being the first Black women to do it, I am happy to see that year after year, we make strides to a more inclusive industry.


One of Adut’s many Vogue cover 2019/2020.

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