Why there is a Need for More Diversity in the fashion Industry

There is a diversity problem among top fashion houses.  This is not an opinion – it is a fact.  In the past 10 fashion seasons, white models never make up less than 79% on runways or in campaigns.  This is discouraging to aspiring models of ethnic decent but also to today’s youth.  These fashion campaigns not only represent an unrealistic standard of beauty with its controversy airbrushing but it is also damaging to seemingly hold one standard of beauty in one race.  There needs to be more of an effort by today’s fashion artists and houses to bring more diverse models into their campaigns.  Many will openly agree with fashions today diversity problems but many of them have not taken the step to help remedy this continuing issue.

During the 2013 fashion season, fashion activist and former model Bethany Hardison and the Diversity Coalition sent out letters to fashions most important movers and shakers in New York, Milan, Paris and London, calling out the designers and their fashions houses for failing to hire more than one and even none models of color on their runways.  Since these letters have made its round there has been a positive shift for more designers to consciously use more ethnically diverse models.  But it is apparent that there is still more change that needs to be done.


One of fashion houses who took the challenge and made the best representation of diversity out there is Balmain for their Fall 2014 campaign. Balmain’s Oliver Rousteing wanted to reflect the beauty of today’s racial melting pots that are a constant staple in today’s modern cities and societies.  Their campaign features a striking shot of gorgeous models from all different backgrounds sitting together in Rousteing’s beautiful designs.  Why has this fashion house taken such a big stand compared to others?  It may be because Rousteing can relate to being a minority.  At only 28, being a black designer in a highly coveted position in a French fashion house has played a major factor in his own views of diversity.

Fashion is an international business, so it is surprising that designers have not moved forward to more inclusion of diverse models.

There is a whole big wide world out there with more varied and different girls out there than the ones that are constantly shown on their runway. It may be in their best interest financially to not alienate these markets.  Fashion is no longer only for the big city, affluent market.  It is a fact that while couture may be inspiring, it does not keep these fashion houses in business.  Today’s fashion houses should take note of this diversity movement.




Leave a Reply