With more eyes on fashion week over the past five years than at any other point in history, brands are increasingly being held accountable for the ways in which they represent women on their runways - from casting agents being called out on social media for racism, to seasonal analysis of ethnic, age, gender, and size inclusion by organisations like The Model Alliance, "diversity" is the buzzword on everyone's lips.
Despite making leaps and bounds in the representation of models of colour in particular (we still aren't there yet, but the representation of models of colour has risen from 18% in 2013 to 28% last season), barriers still continue to hold back models who are above a size 0, also known as "sample size." The typical fashion model body has been criticised by cultural theorists for presenting wildly unrealistic female body standards, idealising the desire to make women 'smaller' and more 'masculine.'
This season however, designers like Chromat and Eckhaus Latta expanded their casting to models of varied sizes, including a pregnant model in the latter's show. As a result, Glamour Fashion Features Editor Lauren Chan - who also walked for Chromat - revealed that there was a 674% increase in body diversity on the runway from any previous season, amounting to models above a sample size appearing 209 times in total.
It's a big step for inclusion and, frankly, a realistic portrayal of humankind in modelling and the fashion industry. Here's hoping that this progress will continue and will also spill over into other domains, such as the representation of more non-binary/trans models, models above the age of 30, and differently-abled models as well.