How diverse was London Fashion Week AW17? We break down the stats

<i>Marc Jacobs’ AW17 show was one of the most diverse in New York. But how did London fare? [Photo: Instagram/voguemagazine]</i>
Marc Jacobs’ AW17 show was one of the most diverse in New York. But how did London fare? [Photo: Instagram/voguemagazine]

The Fashion Spot‘s biannual diversity report has just been released, revealing what really happened on the AW17 New York runways.

For the first time in the event’s history, every single show included at least one model of colour. Overall, 31.5% of model castings featured non-white models which is an increase (albeit a small one) compared to last season.

So what happened in London? The capital’s designers are known for promoting a wider range of races than their European and State-side counterparts. Perhaps it’s because a large majority of London Fashion Week’s designers do not come from Britain.

We took a look at over 60 shows and presentations to figure out the exact diversity percentage that occurred at LFW this season.

<i>Ashish and Topshop Unique had the most diverse runway casts [Photo: Ashish/Topshop Unique]</i>
Ashish and Topshop Unique had the most diverse runway casts [Photo: Ashish/Topshop Unique]

Surprisingly, London is not doing as well as New York with only 25.7% of models appearing in shows and presentations being non-white.

The designers that can be applauded are somewhat surprising. Ashish and Topshop Unique, who featured 60% and 46% models of colour respectively, are a given for Ashish constantly promotes global equality while Topshop is a worldwide brand that aims to appeal to all consumer markets.

However, a number of smaller (read: less well-known labels to the outside world) were incredibly diverse. 44% of Antonio Berardi’s models were non-white while exactly half of J.W. Anderson’s cast were of colour.

Fashion East’s percentage was also high at 59%. However, with the organisation’s younger designers using the globally-influenced streets as inspiration, this comes as less of a shock.

<i>Global brand Burberry was less impressive [Photo: PA]</i>
Global brand Burberry was less impressive [Photo: PA]

Big-name brands such as Burberry were less impressive. Out of the 78 models that walked the show, only 20 were non-white. Same goes for Christopher Kane who only felt it necessary to use three models of colour in a 44 person show.

While New York had a real plus-size moment with 26 bigger appearances occurring, London Fashion Week focused more on age diversity. Both Simone Rocha and Osman featured women of all generations on their catwalks in a bid to appeal to their actual customers. After all, the average age of a luxury consumer is around 53, not 18.

Each season, fashion weeks appear to be improving. Although every single designer doesn’t seem to be ignoring people of colour, the statistic remains that just over a quarter of all the models featured are non-white.

That statistic does not reflect the streets we see around us. And that should be the fashion industry’s ultimate goal.

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