CFDA Encourages Diversity on Runways


Despite criticism and calls to action by prominent figures in the industry, fashion’s racial diversity problems persist. This disparity is evident in ad campaigns, mastheads, and magazine covers, but is arguably most prominent during fashion month when hundreds of runway shows will be staged around the world yet models of color are few and far between.

Finally, the CFDA – American fashion’s governing body – has taken a stance on the issue and offered its members guidelines that encourage inclusivity.

This season’s CFDA health initiative letter from Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb includes racial diversity guidelines provided by the Diversity Coalition. The Diversity Coalition’s founder Bethann Hardison helped champion the needs for more diversity on the runways by holding a public discussion among designers and industry insiders in 2007.

Here are a few of the guidelines:

  • Encourage the industry to be inclusive of racial diversity when preparing casting of models for their company needs.

  • Ask model agencies to include and send models of color when casting. Do not assume agents will automatically do so. It’s good for them to hear the interest and important to see what models of color are available.

  • Request models of color every season and not be limited to Spring/Summer collections and hesitate when it comes to Fall/Winter collections.

  • When speaking to model agencies suggest to them to scout for more models of color encouraging better selection.

  • Be open-minded to models of color. Make an effort to add diversity to your lineup. It affects how we see things globally and how we are seen as an industry..

  • Our objective is to make a shift on how the model of color is views so it becomes natural to see them participating each season in a greater number than seasons past.

Cheers to the CFDA and the most diverse New York Fashion Week yet.