Diversity in fashion unfortunately seems like an unreachable utopia. The Fashion Spot recently released a fashion diversity study analyzing models featured in Spring ads in 2016. The report breaks down gender, race, age, body type of people picked by brands to best represent their latest collection. The report, based on surveying 236 fashion print campaigns,  shows some alarming figures along with more positive trends.


Diversity in Fashion - Industry still very white

Focusing on “race” and inclusion of different ethnic groups in campaigns, the report clearly shows an over-representation of white models: 78.6% of models featured in Spring print ads were white. An incredible figure especially when comparing it to current  U.S. demographics. According to  the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates based on the Census Bureau’s March 2015 Current Population Survey, Non-Hispanic whites represent 62% of the U.S population.

This incredible discrepancy is unfortunately not the most shocking. When going deeper into the representation of races and ethnicities in the 2016 Spring print ads and comparing them to what the U.S. population actually looks like today, the results are ludicrous, to say the least. First, Latinas represent 3.79% of the models featured in campaigns 😳. 3.79%. This figure is simply disgraceful. Let alone the undisputed influence 0f Hispanic culture in America, we must remember that Hispanics represent 18% of the U.S. population, and that they are projected to become the number one ethnic group by 2050. All other ethnic groups are without exception underrepresented when compared to the actual composition of the U.S. population. One additional incredible statistic embodies how long of a road the fashion industry is still facing: “of the most-booked models for the Spring 2016 print campaigns, 12 out of 14 were white.”

Diversity in Fashion - Comparison between 2016 Spring Ads and US population


While there’s a clear problem of representation of races in the fashion industry, it is important to highlight the positive trends. As we just saw this spring, 21.8% of models featured in campaigns were women of color which also represent a 6.5% increase compared to last fall. What is also very encouraging is that it seems that U.S.-based designers are at the forefront of the inclusiveness movement as explained by Jennifer Davidson, Managing Editor of theFashionSpot, in a recent article of The Huffington Post:

“Interestingly, it seems that American designers are leading the charge towards inclusiveness. The most diverse campaigns were from designers Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein, whereas European designers Versace, Saint Laurent and Miu Miu were amongst the least diverse. A similar finding from our runway report showed that New York Fashion Week was significantly more diverse than London, Paris and Milan.”

Diversity in Fashion - Percentage of Women of Color


While we mainly focus on culture and ethnicity on DLG Media as our mission is to elevate Multicultural America, there’s more to diversity than just “race;” the  report shows discrimination in many areas that deserve immediate attention and fixing:

  • Plus-size women have been greatly ignored in Spring 2016 print ads. The Fashion Spot wrote: “Out of the 422 model appearances we examined, plus-size women were only cast six times” representing only 1.4% of all models featured. Not one plus-size model of color has been casted this spring.
  • Baby boomers have also been victims of society’s youth glorification. Only five 50+ models have been featured this spring compared to 11 in the fall of 2015
  • Transgenders have sadly been forgotten in Spring 2016 with zero representation. A huge disappointment and a significant step backward compared to last fall when 8 transgenders models were cast.

We highly encourage our audience to read the full report here.