It’s no secret that brands are increasingly aware of criticism surrounding narrow representation in casting, and a subculture of casting directors are making strides in championing diversity. Fall 2017’s women’s ready-to-wear shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, for example, made up the most racially diverse season in recent years, with women of color representing nearly 28 percent of the models walking in the 241 on-schedule shows. It’s a meager 3.2 percent increase from Fall 2016, but it’s progress nonetheless.
In New York, body diversity had an unsurpassed season, too, with 26 plus-size model castings. Likewise, middle-aged women and transgender models made more appearances on the runways than ever before. While we are witnessing a period of change — an indisputably positive development — creatives know well that the media is inclined to cover campaigns that feature unconventional models. Whether their commitment runs any deeper, however, is surely open to conjecture — and when they merely tick boxes, inclusivity becomes tokenism.