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diversity

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The fashion industry has a poor reputation for its lack of diversity, but 2016 saw the most representation for minorities than any other year.

The Fashion Spot looked at 48 international fashion publications, tallying up the cover models for every issue put out and examining the diversity of the models presented.

While the majority were still young, white, cis-gendered and slim, there was an increase of diversity in all categories.

 

A photo posted by [ P O K O ] ® (@poko.studio) on

When it came to race, magazine covers were significantly more diverse than in previous years.

In 2016, 29 percent of cover models were women of colour – a pretty respectable increase of 6.2 percent from 2015.

However, many magazines only featured white models during 2016, including LOVE, Vogue Germany, and Harpers Bazaar US

 

A photo posted by belledamefolle (@belle_dame_folle) on

With the stellar ascension of plus-sized model Ashley Graham, diversity in body shape saw a slight increase this year.

The increase wasn't dramatic, with only about 1 percent of fashion covers featuring models over a size 12.

However, there has been some discussion about the fact that when plus-sized models are featured on magazine covers, often their face is the only thing in the shot, not their bodies.

Actress Rebel Wilson graced the cover of Marie Claire UK’s July issue, covered up by a bouffant of hair and conservative clothing.

"She’s barely visible beneath long sleeves and a swoop of voluminous hair," said writer and body positivity activist Marisa Kabas

 

A photo posted by Caitlyn Jenner (@caitlynjenner) on

Caitlyn Jenner's cover for Vanity Fair was the publication's best selling cover of 2015, and transgender visibility in the fashion industry increased slightly in 2016. 

Transgender models were still the most underrepresented minority category, with only five covers out of all tallied. 

 

A photo posted by Hari Nef (@harinef) on

Four of those five covers were shot with model and transgender it-girl Hari Nef, and three of those four saw the model star alongside other models, rather than being standalone covers.

Age was one category that saw quite a strong representation, as exemplified by 34 covers during 2016.

Stars like Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda and Viola Davis were popular choices.

 

A photo posted by Tessa  (@tessademoor) on

The most sought-after model of 2016 was Gigi Hadid, followed by pal Kendall Jenner and little sister Bella.

While 2016 may have been the most diverse year fashion has ever seen, the top three models all fit the mould of a typical model, so there is definitely room for more representation.

Fingers crossed 2017 makes even more strides for diversity within the fashion industry. 

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It would be fairly safe to say that when we first met the dance group Diversity back in 2009 we all fancied Ashley Banjo.

 

A photo posted by Ashley Banjo (@ashleybanjogram) on

It would also be fair to admit that everyone thought that little Perri Kiely, who was just 13 at the time, was adorable.

 

Welcome to the 20 club my brudda happy birthday @mitchcraske have a good one #nolongerateen

A photo posted by Realperrikiely (@realperrikiely) on

Well, I am here to tell you that the once adorable 13-year-old is now a hot 20-year-old MAN, and it's overwhelming.

 

Strike a pose!!…For all the ladies out there, My buns better than yours! #holidayvibes #mykonos

A photo posted by Realperrikiely (@realperrikiely) on

Perri rose to fame as a member of Diversity, the dance group that won Britain's Got Talent in 2009. 

 

Another shot from yesterday's #WellChildAwards with the bro's @jordbanjo & @ashleybanjogram

A photo posted by Realperrikiely (@realperrikiely) on

He has done some serious growing up over the years, and has CLEARLY been hitting the gym… 

 

Happy to be here at the #standupwithyt event with @jordbanjo for @su2c it's been good fun and all for a great cause

A photo posted by Realperrikiely (@realperrikiely) on

Perri is still a member of Diversity, and has been dancing away, winning the second series of Splash! in 2014.  

 

One arm handstands coming along nicely on holiday

A photo posted by Realperrikiely (@realperrikiely) on

You go Perri, you fine thing! 

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As one of the world’s leading fitness brands Nike’s use of ripped fitness models has been well documented, so naturally the gym-wear giant’s recent curve social media posts have received a lot of attention.

Last week Nike shared a picture of celebrated curve model Paloma Elsesser on its Nike Women Instagram account in what appears to be a bid to diversity the brand's online image.

Paloma is photographed stretching in a branded sports bra and gym leggings in a post that makes no reference to her size and instead focuses on sharing a sports bra related fact.

 

On Saturday, a similar post appeared on the same account showing yoga and wellness expert Claire Fountain posing in a black sports bra and burgundy coloured leggings.  Again the image was accompanied by a bra focused fact.

While the majority of the brand’s followers have celebrated the move with comments like “more of this!  Curvy women workout hard too” and “so excited to start [seeing] fit women who look like me in the media”, others have been less enthusiastic.

A number of Instagram users have been quick to point out that while they are happy to see the brand’s image becoming more diverse, they still struggle to find their own sizes in Nike’s range.

 

One user wrote: “And it only took you about 20+ years to figure out!!!!! Now, how about some Dri Fit workout tops in sizes that actually fit us too?”

While another stressed that including curve models should not lead to the exclusion of traditionally accepted frames: “Ok I'm all for it but stop saying real woman…So annoying just because my Frame is smaller doesn't mean I'm not real!”

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Hollywood has long been criticised for its portrayal of the ‘ideal’ woman and it seems even those inside the movie industry are fed up with this image.

Among those calling for the ‘average’ woman to be represented in film is actress Melissa McCarthy.

The Bridesmaids star recently told the Daily Mail that “for so long, we weren't showing real women” on screen and instead were limiting the female ideal to the picture perfect model.

She said: “We were showing perfect women – they wore the perfect thing, they never got upset.  I don't know any of those women.”

“I know women and men that are every colour and mood and emotion.  Don't be surprised when you see interesting, multi-dimensional women.”

“That's the goal.  We're not supposed to be perfect; we are supposed to be real."

The American comedian explained that she finds “flawed” women to be powerful on-screen because they better mirror the woman we encounter in everyday life.

 

McCarthy vs Feig #ghostbusters

A video posted by Melissa McCarthy (@melissamccarthy) on

She said: “I think it's always incredibly powerful when we see, in films and in art, the women that we are surrounded by.  I am surrounded by strong, flawed, funny, heroic, crazy, loving women.”

Melissa’s comments were supported by her Ghostbusters director Paul Feig who told Today online: “I think ladies make really good ghostbusters.  They are able to think on their feet, very nimble out there, able to do the action, able to fight, but also to be smart and use psychology to get around them.”

 

Who you gonna call? #ghostbusters

A photo posted by Melissa McCarthy (@melissamccarthy) on

It's all about girl power these days and we are loving it.

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Got To Dance judge and Diversity frontman Ashley Banjo married his girlfriend of 6 years Francesca  in Essex this weekend.

The pair got engaged last October after Ashley apparently popped the question on Twitter. The 26-year old choreographer and his new bride shared a photo on the dance group Diversity’s Facebook page with fans.

The celebrity dancer looked very proud in the photo he shared as they newlyweds stood side-by-side. Ashley wore a three-piece grey suit with a dusty pink tie.

Francesca, who is also a dancer, chose a beautiful white lace gown for their sun-soaked wedding day.

Ashley wrote after the big day:  "The first step into the rest of our lives. The first step into forever… Yesterday I married my soulmate."

"The first step into the rest of our livesThe first step into forever…Yesterday I married my soulmate"…. Ashley Banjo!

Posted by Diversity on Sunday, 5 July 2015

The official Diversity Instagram also shared some fabulous photos of the occasion. Posting a photo with the caption "Amazing! #WeddingFlow #WeddingDinner #MrAndMrsBanjo.”

Fans were given a sneak peek at the reception complete with stunning stained glass windows.

 

Amazing! #WeddingFlow #WeddingDinner #MrAndMrsBanjo

A photo posted by Diversity (@diversity_official) on

In lead up to his big day Ashley has been gushing about how excited he was to get married on Twitter.

Others were speculating what was going to happen when the newlyweds took to the dance floor for the first time as a married couple.

Damien O’Brien, TV magician and hypnotist was among the guests who was waiting patiently for the big moment, he excitedly tweeted: "Can't imagine how insane the first dance is going to be!"

Ashley’s Diversity crew were also in attendance and Sam Craske tweeted his congratulations to the pair by saying: "Have to say that's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Congratulations. Love yas both."

 

A photo posted by Ike Ezekwugo (@ikethekidd) on

Congratulations to the happy couple! We also wouldn’t mind getting a peek at that first dance either if we’re being honest. 

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It’s common knowledge that the world of fashion isn’t exactly open-minded when it comes to the definition of “beauty.”

With such a severe gap in the number of plus-size models (or anyone over a size zero) on the catwalks and on magazine covers, it’s no surprise that the fashion industry falls down in other ways, too.

A recent investigation by style site The Fashion Spot focusing on the number of people of colour featured on the covers of style magazines has highlighted just how difficult it can be for models to gain recognition if they do not fit the “perfect” ideals. In a survey of 44 major print publications from 2014, it was found that models of colour featured on just a fifth of covers during the year.

To make matters worse, certain magazines used only white models on their covers. Vogue UK did feature more than one group cover including models of different ethnicities, but writer Gillian Forbes noted that the magazine “hasn't featured a woman of colour on a solo cover in 12 years (Naomi Campbell got that honour).”

The piece was later updated to note that celebrity models including Beyoncé, Salma Hayek and Rihanna had featured on Vogue UK covers in the last 12 years, but that no other fashion models of colour had featured except for Naomi Campbell.

Of course, Vogue UK’s editors could argue that they are simply featuring the models of the moment, regardless of skin colour, weight or any other factor. However Gillian also notes that “one of Britain's most prominent and in-demand models, Jourdan Dunn, wasn't afforded a cover, despite her impressive body of work and overall popularity. Yet Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss were given two covers each… If a high-profile black model isn’t afforded a major cover in her own country, there’s a problem.”

Vogue UK is not the only magazine to be slated in the research – Vogue Russia, Paris, Ukraine and Teen Vogue also featured only white models on solo covers, as did Harper’s Bazaar US and UK. Coincidence… or selling tactic?

Fashion media has come a long way in recent years, but it’s disappointing to see these magazines fall down in such a big way.

It’s true that designers and publications are extremely strict about their choice of model – you just need to look at the body shape that dominates the catwalks to see that – but it’s distressing that the same strict decision-making might apply to something as basic as skin colour. Surely we have moved beyond that kind of small-minded thinking by now?

In this day and age, diversity should be a given, not something that is so glaringly lacking in so many industries.

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