New York Fashion Week’s runways looked more diverse than in seasons past, but were they? According to statistics compiled by Jezebel, yes. They were. Of the 3,697 spots in shows or presentations by 116 labels, 668 were filled by models of color, or about 18 percent. That’s 6 percent better than a year ago and considerably better than the fall 2007 season, in which one-third of our designers used zero models of color. Some more statistics:
• Of the 668 models of color cast, 41 percent were black, 36 percent were Asian, 22 percent were Latina, and one percent were other ethnicities.
• Jezebel estimates that there were about 160 opening and closing slots in shows. Latina models opened and closed five times, Asian models three times, and black models ten times.
• Seven shows cast zero models of color. They were Altuzarra, Davidelfin, Jenni Kayne, Julian Louie, Koi Suwannagate, Temperley London, and Vera Wang Lavender Label.
• Nineteen shows cast zero black models, including Alexandre Herchcovitch, Behnaz Sarafpour, Erin Fetherston, Marchesa, Max Azria, Milly, Miss Sixty, Monique Lhuillier, and Nicole Miller.
• Twenty-two percent of shows cast one to 9 percent models of color; 33 percent of shows included 10 to 19 percent models of color; 9 percent of shows cast 30 to 39 percent models of color; 2 percent of shows cast 60 percent or more models of color.
According to the 2006 U.S. census report, the U.S. population is just under 74 percent white. So our fall 2009 runways, at 18 percent non-white, have a ways to go before they’re representative. Could this season’s change have had anything to do with the country’s first black First Family in the White House? It was certainly hard not to think of Michelle Obama when Jourdan Dunn opened the Jason Wu show. And whatever brought about this change on the runways, we hope it continues next season. With notoriously white Milan Fashion Week starting today, we hope they embrace a little change, too.