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78.2 Percent Of Models In Spring 2016 Fashion Campaigns Are White

CREDIT: BEYONCE.COM
CREDIT: BEYONCE.COM

Is high fashion getting more inclusive?

A couple of noteworthy outliers may give the impression that the Spring 2016 fashion ads are operating on a more expansive definition of beauty than ever before. Caitlin Jenner, perhaps the most high-profile transgender woman in America, is the face of H&M;’s new sports line. Two months ago, Beyonce cast Jillian Mercado, a model with muscular dystrophy, in her ad campaign for Formation Tour concert merchandise; alongside Mercado are Sharon Gallardo and Alayah Lee, two models of color.

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But a diversity report by the Fashion Spot, which surveyed 236 fashion print campaigns, found that while “tentative progress has been made toward inclusion,” the numbers still reveal a mostly cis, white, young, thin, and able-bodied population of models are landing these campaigns.

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A stunning 78.2 percent of the models in the Spring 2016 ads are white. That’s a slight dip from last season, when white models constituted 84.7 of the total. The next-largest piece of the pie is very, very small: Black models make up 8.3 percent, followed by Asian models at 4 percent and Latina models at 3.8 percent. As the Fashion Spot notes, “the numbers are ever fluctuating” from season to season; black and Latina models, for instance, were cast at about double the rate this season as in Fall 2015, but Asian models saw their numbers decrease by 2.2 percent. From TFS, emphasis added:

As for the offenders, the Spring 2016 list of whitewashed print ads includes Versace, Saint Laurent, Forever 21 (fairly shocking, given the brand’s all-inclusive demographic), Miu Miu and BCBGMaxAzria, all of which cast three or more women in their campaigns with zero women of color in sight.

The most-booked model for Spring 2016 was a white woman, Lexi Boling — she is in eight campaigns, including Diesel and Alexander Wang — just ahead of Karlie Kloss and Mica Arganaraz, who each booked seven. But out of the 14 most-booked models this spring, Arganaraz is one of only two women of color.

Other findings:

● In recent years, a handful of women over 50 were featured in spring campaigns: Then 56-year-old Madonna modeled for Versace. Joan Didion, then 80, was the star of Céline’s Spring 2015 campaign; Joni Mitchell, at 71, appeared in a Saint Laurent ad. Iris Apfel, 93-year-old fashion icon, lent her face to Kate Spade. Half of the faces of Dolce & Gabbana’s spring campaign were older women, and non-celebrities at that. But alas, it didn’t last: This spring, only five women over 50 appeared in the print campaigns.

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● Plus-size women were only cast six times — and that’s out of 422 model appearances counted by the study. That’s 1.4 percent. And exactly zero plus-size models of color appeared in magazines or on billboards in the Spring 2016 season.

● No transgender models were featured in a Spring 2016 ad campaign, a repeat of last spring, even after Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover gave the magazine its best newsstand sales in nearly five years.

Why The Star Of Louis Vuitton’s Womenswear Campaign Is A 17-Year-Old BoyJaden Smith, believer in the melancholiness of the ocean but doubter of his own reflection – ” How Can Mirrors Be Real…thinkprogress.orgSome campaigns, however, do feature cisgender models wearing clothing designed for men and women like the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer campaign, starring grand aquatic dreamer Jaden Smith. According to Louis Vuitton creative director Nicholas Ghesquiere, Smith was chosen because “he represents a generation that has assimilated the codes of true freedom, one that is free of manifestos and questions about gender. Wearing a skirt comes as naturally to him as it would to a woman who, long ago, granted herself permission to wear a man’s trench or a tuxedo.”

But for the most part, the look of the Spring 2016 campaigns is all-white-everything, an especially disappointing fact considering the (small, but still) gains made on the runways last fall.