YAS! 2016 had more diversity in fashion than ANY other year


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.


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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


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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


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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. 


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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.


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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.