TheFashionSpot has released its annual Magazine Cover Diversity Report, covering major fashion magazine covers from InStyle and Paper to Harper’s Bazaar and the international editions of Vogue. The online community of designers, stylists, and industry influencers tallied 678 covers from 48 top international fashion publications to determine which outlets are featuring more cover stars of color than ever before, who is lagging as the industry progresses and just how much further fashion must go in representing people of color, plus size, aged (50+) and transgender models.
Here are some of the key findings from this year's report …
1. Of the total 678 cover appearances this year, 482 included white cover stars and 196 included people of color.
Several magazines managed to book exclusively white cover stars, among them industry darling LOVE. To make matters worse, the quarterly hasn’t featured a cover model of color in at least three years. Vogue Germany, Vogue Netherlands, Vogue Russia, Harper’s Bazaar U.S. and Porter also limited their covers to white, cisgender, straight-sized models. (Vogue Russia for the third year in a row; Harper’s Bazaar U.S., Porter and Vogue Netherlands all for the second time since 2014.)
2. This year, 5.3% of cover models were aged (50+), 0.9% of cover models were plus-size and 0.7% were transgender.
Age: Women age 50 and above graced the covers of popular fashion publications 34 times in 2016, accounting for 5 percent of all bookings. This formidable showing was helped along by Vanity Fair’s comprehensive Hollywood Issue, for which Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren, Viola Davis, Charlotte Rampling and Jane Fonda all posed.
Plus-Size: How did the year’s magazines fare when it came to body type? In a word, miserably. Of the year’s 679 cover model appearances, a whopping six (or 0.9 percent) belonged to women size 12 and above. Ben Watts shot Ashley Graham for Cosmopolitan’s groundbreaking August cover. “Queen of Hearts” Adele blessed Vanity Fair’s December issue and American Vogue’s March edition. To coincide with their Ghostbusters release, Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy covered ELLE’s July issue. That same month, How to Be Single star Rebel Wilson fronted Marie Claire U.K.
Trans: Transgender models were the least represented group, accounting for 0.7 percent of all cover bookings. Four of the five total appearances belonged to It model and Transparent star Hari Nef. It’s worth noting that on three of Nef’s four covers, she shared the spotlight with other (predominately cisgender) celebs.
3. The top models of the year were Gigi Hadid, who graced 14 covers, Kendall Jenner, who was on 10 and Bella Hadid, who snagged 8.
The only model of color in the top 10 was actress Lupita Nyong'o, who had 5 magazine covers this year.
4. The least diverse magazines – which had no models of color at all – were Harper’s Bazaar US, Jalouse, LOVE, Marie Claire UK, Porter, Vogue Germany, Vogue Netherlands, Vogue Paris and Vogue Russia.
This is the third year in a row for Vogue Russia; Harper’s Bazaar U.S. and Vogue Netherlands for the second time since 2014.
5. Vogue UK still suffers from a diversity problem, with only one model of color this year (Rihanna). Last year, Jourdan Dunn was the first model of color since 2013 to get a solo cover.
Vogue’s British edition didn’t do much to address its inclusivity problem this year. While its well-meaning editor-in-chief, Alexandra Shulman, dedicates herself to the topics of body positivity and “realness,” the mag continues to gloss over the matter of racial inclusion.
6. i-D, InStyle, Paper, Teen Vogue, Vogue India, Vogue Korea and Vogue Taiwan were the most diverse. Both Paper and Vogue India were also on the list of most diverse last year.
On a more positive note, a handful of well-respected glossies championed the diversity charge this year. Vogue Taiwan and Vogue India were front-runners in the fight for change. The Taiwanese monthly shot solely nonwhite cover stars while, for the second year in a row, the vast majority (16) of Vogue India’s 19 leading ladies were women of color.