Fashion Is Finally Figuring Out Diversity — In Ways That Actually Matter

Now, the industry looks significantly different from the days of clone-like waifs, golden-haired muses and magazine mastheads that read like the Social Register. There is greater recognition that fashion needs to change.

Last year, after designer Marc Jacobs featured models — many of them white — wearing fanciful dreadlocks in his spring 2017 runway show, social media lit up in anger because of his failure to acknowledge the hairstyle's history within black communities. Six months later, his fall 2017 show was an ode to hip-hop; he cast mostly models of color and included show notes lauding the influence of black youth.

Fashion also has had several landmark moments: A black man has been appointed editor-in-chief of British Vogue and a black woman is at the helm of Teen Vogue. Joan Smalls, who was born in Puerto Rico, became Estee Lauder's first Latina spokesmodel. French Vogue featured a transgender model on its cover.

There are more models of color on major runways. A range of designers have included plus size models and older women in shows and advertising. A more diverse group of designers, including four black men, make up the 10 finalists vying for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award. Women also are well-represented.

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Fashion is finally figuring out diversity — in ways that actually matter
Fashion is finally figuring out diversity, in ways that actually matter