Diversity On Magazine Covers Increased In 2015, But It Can Be A Lot Better

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In 2015, the fashion world was delivered the very disappointing news that magazine covers around the world (in particular, Canada) lacked diversity and representation.

Fast forward to 2016, a rough year for many of us, and we're happy to report things have progressed!

But hold the cheers: because when it comes to featuring people of colour, diverse body types and transgender individuals on the front page, things are still not good enough.

The Fashion Spot just released its annual magazine cover diversity report, and the site reports out of the 679 cover appearances they tracked from 48 top international fashion publications, 196 included people of colour.

This is a 29 per cent increase from 2015, a year which saw only 6.2 per cent cover stars who represented a diverse group of people.


The big winner of 2016? Teen Vogue. The report praised the glossy's "diversity charge."

teen vogue

In their own report on diverse covers, Fashionista championed Teen Vogue for not only casting "actresses-slash-activists," but for including women of colour, including "The Hunger Games" star Amandla Stenberg and Willow Smith, on seven of its 11 issues. InStyle followed suit, having diverse cover stars on seven of their 12 covers.

lupita nyongo instyle

So, who is lagging? Harper's Bazaar. According to The Fashion Spot, the American mag only featured “white, cisgender, straight-sized models” this year.

Others who didn't fare well included Britain's Love Magazine, which hasn't featured a model of colour on its cover in at least three years.

British Vogue only featured one person of colour, Rihanna. In 2015, Jourdan Dunn was the first model of colour to appear on its front page since 2013.

british vogue

If there's one area each and every single magazine needs to focus on more in 2017, it's body diversity. The report calls the representation of body types on covers "miserable," with only 0.9 per cent of celebrities and models being size 12 or over. This includes Adele on Vanity Fair and Vogue, Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy on Elle and Ashley Graham on Cosmopolitan.

ashley graham

The report also tracked appearances by models over 50 years old, noting five per cent of covers featured older women, including Michelle Obama on the covers of T magazine and Vogue.

And the least represented group was transgender models, with only 0.7 per cent booking covers. And four out of those five covers went to It model Hari Nef.

hari nef

So, what does this all mean? Fashion magazines in 2017 need to be a lot better at putting people that represent all kinds of diverse groups on their covers.

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