DESIGNERS NOW HAVE SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE THEIR RUNWAYS MORE DIVERSE

Categories:Fashion

Zac Posen fall 2016. Photo: ImaxtreeZac Posen fall 2016. Photo: Imaxtree

Season after season, despite criticism and calls to action by prominent people in the industry, fashion's racial diversity problem continues. This problem is everywhere — ad campaigns, magazine covers, magazine mastheads — but is perhaps most visible during fashion month, when we spend our days watching hundreds of runway shows in which the models of color are way too few and far between. Last season, racial diversity on runways improved only marginally — models of color accounted for less than a quarter of castings — leading us to ask, yet again, "Why don't these designers know better? Why aren't they doing more?"

Well, thanks to the CFDA and the Diversity Coalition, which is led by former model Bethann Hardison, New York designers at least know what they need to do. Ahead of New York Fashion Week every season, the CFDA sends its members a health initiative letter as a reminder to watch out for models' well-being. And now for the first time that we're aware, the U.S. fashion industry's governing body also included diversity guidelines encouraging them to go out of their way to cast models of color in their shows, including a list of unambiguous instructions on how to do so, which you can read in full below. According to WWD, Hardison wrote these guidelines "four or five" years ago, which shows how little progress has been made.

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