Diversity From A Modeling Agents Perspective: How Do We Represent All Women In A World Built On One Image?
Diversity: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : variety; especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.
Diversity in the fashion industry is a hot topic right now. But why just now? What brought us to this crossroad where being diverse is trendy? It seems that by this point in time, diversity should not be an anomaly, but rather an undisputed, celebrated fact. That’s what we at Scout believed when the agency opened in 2010. Our Agency Director and resident boss lady, Jada Ogden, knew from the start that she didn’t want a board of all similar-looking white girls. Frankly, after spending eight years as a model agent she was exhausted of the same stereotype. She set out to make that change and soon developed the diverse range of models we represent today.
During show season, I used to be one of those Style.com (now Vogue Runway) junkies that sat on the website all day waiting for show updates to flood in. It didn’t take long to notice that almost every single girl in these shows looked the same. Of course, designers had to sprinkle in a couple African American girls to avoid the media’s scrutiny, but without anyone holding them accountable it seemed unclear whether designers would even have booked diverse girls in the first place. I remember being frustrated and posting NYFW statistics on my instagram in 2015 and thinking, really? 77.4% of all the models were white?! And a staggering 8.7% African American, 8.5% Asian, and 3.5% were Latina? There is something fundamentally wrong with that picture. Fast forward to 2017 and The Fashion Spot records that New York Fashion Week’s Fall season had 31.5% models of color. I thought, Okay… that’s a start. It appeared that a multitude of brands were finally wising up. Brands have since begun to realize the wide scope of their customer base and how to market to all of them, including the complex, diverse factions. It’s necessary for powerful companies to be reminded of marginalized or underrepresented demographics, and if the press and social media presences will do it, then so be it. I’m all for it. Let’s push the movement even further forward.
As the years progress, we at Scout continue to make diversity the center of our business. We pride ourselves in representing all shapes, sizes and ethnicities. When looking for models we look for a strong face and a personality that any client would fall in love with. I personally love curvy girls and am aiming to grow the diversity in size and shape of our model divisions so that they are more inclusive, and possess more breadth of women. Honestly speaking, however, it has been difficult. Unfortunately, San Francisco does not have a lot of clients actively seeking out that look. That being said, it’s my job to educate clients on the diverse range of girls we represent and why they should book them.
I recently put together a photo shoot to celebrate diversity. The team was made up of Scout Models as well as our talented Scout Creatives. We were lucky enough to partner with a few local brands (Azalea SF, Freda Salvador and Soko) who share the same vision to make this photoshoot come to life.
// Follow the team; models: @sophiamjackson @meliissart @natalyyyu @kkaterb @hawa.zabel, Stylist: @beccadidthat, HMUA: @muajanet @aprilfosterartistry @igotyourpretty @beautybylia, Photographer: @joecharlesphoto—@scoutmodelagency @scoutcreatives.