Fashion's Diversity Problem

Fashion's Diversity Problem

What is your shade of nude? If fashion wants to remain relevant it needs to diversify.

For example, Christian Louboutin has increased its ‘Nudes’ collection offering two more colour shades of nude. As much as that doesn’t seem like much of an achievement, Louboutin is one of the few companies who even offers a range of nude.

David Jone’s has recently been in the media for apologizing to a customer for featuring a black model on the cover of their summer beauty catalog. Besides the fact that Adut Akech is one of the most in demand models, and she has flawless skin, the complainant criticised DJ’s catalog for being ‘unrelatable’.


I am not going to pretend I understand the struggle, but I don’t need to know how it feels to recognize that there is a problem.

The lack of diversity is not restricted to people of color in the industry, it refers to body size, age, and race. There has been pressure on the fashion industry to diversify and it is slowly working. Fashion shows have begun to diversify in age, body type, and ethnicity. The New York Times reported plus size models represented less than 1% of castings, and 27.9% of nonwhite models walked in NYFW earlier this year. Some shows had only white models, and casting agents will specifically ask “Don’t send models of color”.

Before NYFW kicks off The New York Times just published an article publicizing the realities of what it is like to be a model. If you want a better idea of how diversity is in the industry from the models, have a read through.

The lack of diversity in fashion is not only disappointing, it’s boring. Not everything will fit for everyone and it would be inspirational to see the industry step out from the white box it has painted itself in, and appeal to the individual different body shapes, ages and ethnicity. If a brand can have a wider appeal it has a wider range of customers.

“It’s about not having a static beauty ideal. It’s not about representing this idea of one. I want to celebrate the individual as opposed to ‘a type.'” Rosie Assoulin

The lack of diversity more visible on the runway but it exists in the entire fashion world itself, look at the people who are sitting at the fashion shows. The former editor in chief of Lucky, Eva Chen, was the first Asian American woman to hold that title in Condé Nast.


Adut doesn’t need to represent all Australians, she is Australian, and should be on the cover. The change for more diversity needs to come from its consumers, so no David Jone’s, don’t apologize.

Written by Elsa Johnson

Born in the U.S.A. and raised in Germany, England, Australia and America. While studying in Australia Elsa accidentally stumbled on a sustainable fashion class, which completely changed the way she viewed the fashion industry and what career she wanted to go into. Since then Elsa has decided that she could not support this industry unless she was part of the change. Elsa writes on her ethical fashion blog The Sustainable Sartorial.


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