In 2019, the New York Fashion Week runways made waves after featuring the most diverse set of models yet– with about forty-eight percent being from minority groups.
Unfortunately, though, this stat doesn’t accurately reflect the representation shortfalls that occur in between annual high-publicity events like New York Fashion Week.
According to Zippia, nearly sixty-five percent of all fashion models are White. Only about fifteen percent are Hispanic or Latino; meanwhile, just ten percent are Black, and a mere five percent are Asian.
But, one non-traditional model management agency known as We Speak is working to change that.
After being founded in 2013, We Speak was the first driver pushing toward a more equitable fashion industry.
Their non-traditional approach to model management includes supporting those who are underrepresented, listening to models and the greater public on how they can be better, and working to undo tokenism.
“Tokenism is the bi-product of bias: a performative effort towards representation without including those you seek to represent in the greater conversation,” the agency said.
“Real inclusion and equality in fashion is a commitment to do better. It is a commitment not to just show Black, LGBTQ+, disabled bodies, and all age groups in advertising, but to include these and other marginalized people in the workforce and conversation.”
This can include everything from building diverse internal and managerial teams to hiring stylists who can dress and fit bodies of all shapes and sizes to engaging in meaningful conversation about shoot day experiences and making the necessary changes.