The Numbers Are In—Fashion Definitely Still Has a Race Problem

Jessica Schiffer

Fashion's lack of diversity is not news to anyone these daysthe issue has been addressed countless times, but to little effect. The runways are severely lacking in models who aren't white, and the ads and fashion spreads that we see tend to follow suit. The habit in the industry is to brush it off and continue on, but a recent article in The New York Times has put the sad reality on blast with actual statistics.

Writer Vanessa Friedman points out that of the 260 designers who will show at New York Fashion Week, there are only three "with any global reach" who are African-American: Tracy Reese, Public School and Hood by Air. That number is simply unacceptable, yet it "mirrors the percentage of African-American designers who are members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America: approximately 12 out of 470."

Fashion is supposed to be an open-minded community, one that keeps ahead of the mainstream curve, but these numbers tell a much different story. As Bethann Hardison, founder of the CFDA's Diversity Coalition, notes, "There were more high-profile black designers in the 1970s than there are today." Does it get more disappointing than that?

How do you think the fashion world should remedy this glaring problem? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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