Last season’s runway diversity report revealed that a whopping 77.6 percent of the models who walked runways in New York, London, Paris and Milan were white. The push for inclusion continues this season at New York Fashion Week. Though the numbers from our official NYFW diversity report won’t be in until next week, this season seems to be a mixed bag, with several designers featuring few (or no) models of color and others including many.
Zac Posen opted to embrace diversity in a big way, sending mostly black models down the runway for Fall 2016. His collection of gowns and tailored pantsuits was inspired by the first East African woman to be admitted to the English bar, Princess Elizabeth of Toro. Perhaps to honor her legacy and push for change, Posen made sure a variety of skin tones and hair textures were represented on the runway. Grace Bol, Aya Jones, Cindy Bruna and Riley Montana stormed the catwalk alongside Africa’s Next Top Model winner, Aamito Lagum.
Zac Posen’s multicultural casting may inspire lasting change. The top casting agency he used, Maida & Rami, has been criticized for a lack of diversity in the past. Its casting for Posen’s show is a major step in the right direction. Not to mention, Zac Posen is a red carpet favorite. He’s influential enough to spark change among other designers and casting agencies.
Zac Posen, seen above wearing a bag designed by black model Ashley Chew as he mentions in the caption, wasn’t alone in embracing models of color this season. David Hart hired an all-black model cast, and Kanye West enlisted all models of color for Yeezy Season 3. Stay tuned for the full New York Fashion Week diversity report next week.
Check out Zac Posen’s full Fall 2016 collection in the slideshow below: