New York Fashion Week’s Biggest Trend Was Diversity

We’ve seen the industry become more diverse within the past few years; models of different racial backgrounds, genders, and body types were represented in magazines and by brands. Despite this inspiring trend, designers have been known to take a little longer to include more diverse models in their Fashion Week shows. Fall ’17 was definitely a season where some labels used their runways as platforms for social and political commentary, and some highlighted our multicultural society with a diverse runway cast.

According to The Fashion Spot’s semi-annual runway diversity report, 31.5 percent of models were non-white in the 116 fashion shows analyzed. With the Fall 2016 season slightly higher at 31.9 percent, this was the first season where each runway considered for the report included at least one model of color.

Among the highest percentages of shows with the most diverse models were Gypsy Sport, Chromat, Marc Jacobs, Yeezy and Tracey Reese. The lowest included The Row, Jil Stuart, and Marchesa to name a few, with diversity percentages 15 and below.

Race was not only a factor when determining diversity this Fashion Week season. The representation of plus size models was visible, and increased by 10 from last season’s 16 percent. Christian Sirano took the crown for the most body positive show this season by casting 10 of the 26 plus size models that made runway appearances.

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Transgender models continued to dominate runways as well, with 8 percent of inclusiveness this season. Becca McCharen-Tran of Chromat, the second most diverse show of the season, cast five transgender models and five plus sized models.

Although it may not be a huge difference, the overall inclusiveness of Fashion Week leaves room for hope. There is still improvement to be made; our current social climate is not accepting of a show that is not racially diverse. As Model Alliance’s Sarah Ziff told The Fashion Spot, ”In this day and age — between the media coverage calling out the industry’s blind spots and the calls for health and diversity from industry groups, especially at this moment in our country politically — we’d hoped to see more widespread, dramatic change.”

While we’re hoping for more progress in 2017, here are a few of the most diverse fashion shows this season!


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Christian Siriano

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Brandon Maxwell


J. Crew

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Gypsy Sport 

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