How Diverse are the Runways?


Diane Von Furenstenburg loves to embrace the diversity on the runway, as seen at the finale of her Spring 2014 collection, shown in New York about a month ago.

Diversity, it’s a part of our culture. In many places, you see people who are of: Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Islamic, Carribean, African, and of course European heritage. Unfortunately, the runways may not be that way.

Ever since I saw a documentary on Naomi Campbell and Iman‘s demand for diversity on the runway about a month ago. The issue really stuck with me, as it was just the very beginning of a new Fashion Season. But looking at some of the recent campaigns and shows, I beg to differ.

Liu Wen definitely left a mark on the Fashion World, as the first Asian model to be the face of Estée Lauder and walk the Victoria’s Secret show. She is currently ranked Number 5 on Forbes Top 10 Highest Paid Models of 2013. And ever since Liu Wen made herself one of the biggest names in the Industry, thousands of Asian beauties have been taking the runway by storm. Soo Joo Park, Tao Okamoto, Ming Xi, and Shu Pei are amongst the few Asian stars. But before Wen made her mark, Asian models were pretty much as common as an Indian model is today. Meanwhile Indian models  may not be making headlines on the catwalk, they sure have at the Annual Miss. America Beauty Pagent. With Miss. New York, Nina Davuluri taking the crown as Miss. America, 2014. The first Miss. America Pagent winner of Indian descent. And Davuluri, herself, a rolemodel in creating a more diverse future, is speaking out about the issue, and is proud of her Indian heritage and is ready to embrace it.

During Melbourne Fashion Week in Australia, back in the early Springtime only 16 percent of the models dominating the runway were black. Compared to the amount of black people living in Australia, that’s just sad. You may just think that this issue is only taking in place in Australia, but the case is not so. As during Fall 2013 and Fall 2013 Haute Couture Fashion Weeks, there seem to be  a very little amount of black models still on the runways. And as this issue grows, Naomi Campbell and Iman are demanding diversity on the runways, and even naming Designer Brands who didn’t feature at least on black model in their show. Louis Vuitton, BCBG Max Azria, and Prabal Gurung are sadly just a few of the shows that featured no black models At their Fall 2013 show. But Naomi Campbell and Iman are demanding the diversity on the runway, the issue may just be seeming to improve. With designers like Diane Von Furenstenburg and Tom Ford embracing a more diverse cast in their shows, designer Rick Owens show didn’t even seem to feature one model. Instead, the show featured an array of Regular college women, who are dancers. Also embracing the diversity.

With Naomi Campbell and Iman fighting for diversity on the runways, Liu Wen becoming the first Asian Model to set stage at Estée Lauder, Victoria’s Secret, and become one of Forbes Top 10 Highest Paid Models, and Nina Davuluri becoming the first Miss. America contestant of Indian descent to compete, and Take the Crown. We are definitely closer to a more diverse runway. Being a blond with blue eyes, from the Washington DC Area myself, I have been lucky enough to be exposed to so much diversity. But with the competitive modeling and Fashion Industry that we have today, sometimes it’s sadly hard for people of different ethic groups to be embraced. But even over the past 10 years, a there has definitely been a change in the diversity on the runways. And I can’t wait to see how much diversity our runways have 10 years from now.

One thought on “How Diverse are the Runways?

  1. Pingback: 5 Designers Who Are Committed To Runway Diversity | The Style of the Case

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