The runway models at Chromat’s Spring 2017 New York Fashion Week runway show looked decidedly normal. Normal, as in “like most women,” not as in “normal six-foot-tall, size 2 Amazon goddess.”
The show included tall people, short people, thin people, curvy people, a woman wearing a prosthesis, and even trans model Carmen Carrera, who opened the show in a stunning red one-piece swimsuit. Models also sported a wide range of skin tones and hair types.
Curvy model Iskra Lawrence made her first walk for Chromat at New York Fashion Week. “I can’t believe it’s happening. I had a little teary-eyed moment at the fitting because for so many years I got told I’d never make it because of my size,” she told Self as she prepared to strut her stuff on the runway. “For them to take a risk and have me walk on their runway, it’s just very overwhelming. It means a lot to be accepted for just being me.”
New York Fashion Week leads the diversity charge with the five most racially inclusive shows, including Chromat and Yeezy Season 5. There were a record 26 curvy models walking for shows like Christian Siriano, Dolce & Gabbana, and H&M Studio.
While by some reports, the Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week was the most diverse ever, things aren’t quite as good on the other side of the pond.
A couple of weeks ago, we reported on Indi Irvin’s “Black Models Matter” protest at Paris Fashion Week’s Balenciaga show. And it seems that according to The Fashion Report, no transgender models walked at fashion week in London, Paris, and Milan this season. And only four curvy models walked in Europe.
“We’re still seeing tokenism, and we’re not yet seeing widespread acceptance of models across categories—models of various sizes, ages, races, and gender identities,” said the Model Alliance’s Sara Ziff.
Although even New York Fashion Week doesn’t proportionately represent American women, at least the designers seem to be recognizing that fact and taking steps to remedy the situation. In Europe … well, not so much.