These Fashion Month shows paved the way to the future of runway model casting

While modeling within the fashion world seems to be moving towards more inclusive and diverse casting, runway modeling still has a long ways to go.

Honestly, a majority of shows during this past fashion month are a testament to that – runway model casting is far behind, and it’s not cute. Most high-end designers either aren’t catching on that consumers want more diverse casting, or they simply don’t care.

Neither is an excuse.

Not only was there a lack of representation of different body types, there was also a lack of models of color, models with disabilities, models wit natural hair, LGBTQ models, and so much more. It was as if the past several years of fighting for inclusivity was thrown out the window.

Take the “new” Celine, headed by Hedi Slimane, for example – the show during Paris Fashion Week was a huge flop with fans, and not just because the collection was extremely similar to Hedi’s previous designs at YSL. Many called the show a slap in the face to women because of it’s, frankly, basic ass casting. Every model was thin, most were white, and the show felt like a step back for the brand.

Celine isn’t alone in this, though. Many designers refuse to diversify their casting, without realizing that it’s hurting them – not helping.

There’s still clearly a resistance from big fashion to the idea of inclusivity, so when certain designers go against the grain, it’s not just y’know, the right thing to do, it also makes the show all the more electrifying.

Some designers understand that all bodies are beautiful and should be celebrated – yes, even on the runway *gasp*.

The designers that killed it during NYFW (most of which I had the pleasure of seeing IRL) were Chromat, Savage x Fenty, Discount Universe, and The Blonds. These four designers threw up a big middle finger to societal norms and casted whoever they wanted.

When I talk about inclusivity in modeling, asshole’s usually respond with, “Well then everyone could be a model.” Well, no. Not everyone has the talent to be a model – it’s hard work and takes dedication. I’m not saying everyone can model, but everyone who has what it takes to make it in the industry can be a model.

Make sense?

ALL BODIES ARE MODEL BODIES! All bodies are gorgeous and powerful and should be celebrated (especially women – we are legit).

Why is inclusive runway casting important? Well, because it’s representation. Even though runway fashion may seem so removed from your every day life, it’s not. High-end designers are who inspire the rest of the trends to come, right down to your local Forever 21. So, yes, even though runway seems like it doesn’t affect you, it does. And representation matters.

READ ALSO: Which Fashion Week collection are you based on your astrological sign?

The one note that I have for designers trying to diversify – include more LGBTQ models, more models with disabilities, and a larger range of models of color (not just strictly Asian and black). While we are headed in the right direction, we can always do better.

Yes, these four NYFW shows were amazing – they all brought something new to the table with their designs, and the clothing really outstanding. But, their inclusive casting choice created a whole new atmosphere I have never seen at a fashion show. There was an energy about the audience that you almost can’t put into words. It made a difference.

Great designs + representation = a pretty damn good recipe.

Attendees were literally screaming at points, which may seem inappropriate for a fashion show, but we don’t care!!! That girl looks like me!!! That guy looks like you!!! And they’re models!!!!!!!!

That’s what we love to see.

These four shows were true celebrations of life, and all the differences within each person that make life so beautiful. These shows had me leaving NYFW with a very strong sense of pride in my own imperfections – the reality is that all bodies should be praised.

Read below to see what we thought of each show and to see some photos of the badass models that walked for them.


Bodywear designer, Chromat (using hats from designer, Eugenia Kim), had one of the most hyped-up shows because of it’s diverse casting. So hyped-up, that the show was difficult getting into!

At Chromat, we saw natural hair, older women, women of color, darkskinned black models, stretch marks, a hijab (yassss!!!!), models with disabilities, and LGBTQ models. We are living!!!!!

What makes Chromat stand out from the others is the designer’s decision to not strictly include able-bodied models, and that’s really important. Models like the woman in Chromat’s show and Aaron Philip are paving the way for models with disabilities, and they are making the fashion industry listen.

Again, representation matters for a reason – if you are into fashion and can see someone that looks like you on a high-fashion runway, it’s life-changing.

Chromat honestly killed it with their casting, and I honestly think they were the most diverse show in all of NYFW and fashion month in general.

READ ALSO: Victoria Loke talks “Crazy Rich Asians,” and life after the box office hit

Savage x Fenty

The Savage x Fenty show had a great mix in their casting – they had the big name models like Gigi, Bella, Joan Smalls, and Duckie Thot, but also brought in a bunch of new talent. The casting ended up being an extremely diverse group, including more than one pregnant mama (#womenaremagical) and plenty of beautiful stretch marks.

While I didn’t get to see the show in person, I still got to peep the after shots. It’s not hard to tell when you look at the show’s casting that Rihanna is pushing for full inclusivity within Savage x Fenty (actually, all of her brands, really).

The one thing Rihanna could do better for next time is exactly what I said even the most diverse shows need working on – LGBTQ models and models with disabilities. I have a strong feeling that Rih will hear our notes and make for an even more inclusive show next season.


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Congrats to our boo @slickwoods! She slayed the runway & made it look too easy! 🙌🤰👶 #repost: @duckieofficial

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Sliding into the DMs after hitting up the #SavageXPopUp …🐍👅

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Still SHOOK! 🙌 | What was your fave look ?? #SavageXFW18 ✨cc: @gettyimages

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The Blonds x Disney Villains

The Blonds x Disney Villains show was one for the books.

It combined two of my favorite things, fashion and Disney – which usually can result in a themepark sweatshirt with Mickey on it, and like, no thank you?

This was high fashion and Disney. And even better? The whole collection was inspired by your favorite Disney villains (we all have our fave bad guys and you know it). Not only were the designs stunning, unique, and glittery af (we expect nothing less from The Blonds), the models were fierce as hell.

The casting was diverse and every single model was extremely talented. I’ve never seen a show where every single model did their job so well. This show put a new meaning to the word “strut.” Also, we love that The Blonds included eveyone’s fave drag kiddo, Desmond. Yesssss, defying age norms! Who says kids can’t #walk?!

The casting also included too many LGBTQ icons for us to even count, with a few death drops to top it all off. The crowd was literally screaming at The Blonds show, and honestly, was the most fun show I saw all of NYFW. The energy in there was just different. We saw ourselves in these models, and they weren’t hiding behind their clothes. Every single model owned the designs and gave us their personal flair that made it feel more that a high-fashion dance party than a quiet, ole runway show.

READ ALSO: A NYFW Photo Diary from Gabriel Held’s eyes is all you really need to soften that fomo

Discount Universe

Discount Universe was fun af, and was one of the first shows at NYFW that made me semi-emotional. I have been a long time fan of the brand, and seeing it all come to life for the first time was magic (it definitely helps when you can see yourself wearing allllll of the clothes).

The models at Discount Universe rocked natural hair, love handles, bellies, scars, their age (older women who model are serious goals), and more.

The collection was colorful, loud, and stacked with sequins and the word “whore” plastered across pieces. They had a “whore” choker that I’m dying to get my hands on – it felt like a reclaiming of a word that’s too frequently used negatively against women.

The casting totally reflected the brand’s mission since its’ conception – a celebration of expressing yourself and owning your eccentricities, imperfections, and the words that those who judge you use against you. The DU models don’t give af about your norms – they are beautiful, confident, and empowering.

I did shed a tear at this show, not gunna lie. Thank you, DU!


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Chromat photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/Chromat

The Blonds photos courtesy of The Blonds

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