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New York Fashion Week Just Had Its Most Diverse Season Ever

Photography: Kohl Murdock

People of color made up 36.9 percent of all runway models, up from 20.9 percent a year ago. 

As we trekked through the city earlier this month for the chaos of New York Fashion Week, we couldn't help but notice that the face of the runway seemed to finally be changing. Now, it's been confirmed. The Fashion Spot'sdiversity report for the Spring '18 season has been released and its findings are worth celebrating.

Related | Diversity in Ad Campaigns Surpasses Runways For First Time Ever

After surveying 94 shows and 2,601 model appearances, they found that 36.9 percent of runway models were people of color, which is a great increase from the 31.5 percent during the Fall '17 season and an astronomical change from a year ago, when only 20.9 percent of models were people of color during the Spring '15 season. This season also marks the very first time that every single runway show had at least two models of color. While this is certainly nowhere near enough, it's a step in the right direction.

Beyond racial diversity, the season also had a record 31 transgender or non-binary models walk the runway, including Teddy Quinlivan, who came out as transgender at the end of Fashion Week. There were also a record 90 plus-size models, compared to the 26 who walked for Fall '17 earlier this year.

Related | Runway Star Teddy Quinlivan Comes Out as Transgender

This push towards a more diverse, inclusive runway is a breath of fresh air and, as usual, it's smaller, queer designers like Eckhaus Latta and Luar who seem to be leading the charge. But for all of the diversity we've seen here, inclusivity on the runway doesn't seem to be a big import across the pond this season when it comes to some of our favorite designers like Palomo Spain and Gucci, whose runways featured only a handful of dark-skinned, non-white models each.

While any step forward is reason to celebrate, the fashion industry's path toward diversity still has a long way to go until it's as diverse as the world we live in.

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Chris Thomas