Burberry would have to increase its number of Asian models by 37% to be accurately representative.

Burberry, Prada and Dior are not hiring enough Asian models to represent their customer base.

According to a study by Nikkei, Burberry, Prada and Dior earned at least 40% of their revenue in 2016 from Asia but are not accurately representing these customers in their advertising.

“As more high quality brands are being made in Asia,” said Iva Mirbach, researcher and fashion analyst at FMD and research company International Fashion Digital Automated Quantification, “Western brands need to rethink and aggressively address the Asian market, otherwise they will lose some of their clientele.”

The report suggests that the number of Asian models at Burberry fashion shows are 37% lower than the proportionally accurate representation of its customer base. However, the London-based fashion brand hires 13% more black models than its proportion in customer base.

Prada likewise would have to hire 42% more Asian models to represent its clientele accurately, whilst Dior would have to hire 36% more Asians and 35% fewer Caucasians.

Even in Asia, these leading fashion brands are failing to reflect their local population. FMD data shows that almost half of Vogue China’s covers have featured Caucasian models since 2005.

“There are lots of white and some black models on the [Vogue China] cover,” said chief science officer at Fashion One Group, Reimund Homann, “but way less Asian models, than there should be.”

Homann revealed that only 7% of Vogue Japan covers since 1999 featured Asian models. Nonetheless, Homann claims that the industry is not looking to change their ways any time soon.

“It seems to me that these brands do increase their share of Asian models, but still, too reluctantly,” he said. “They do not seem to be overly eager.”

However, Marcia Rothschild, director of Japanese modelling agency Bravo Models Tokyo, argues that the industry is changing. “It’s really not that way anymore,” Rothschild argues. “The market has diversified and lots of Asian models are working in Japan. There are agencies that are solely [made up of] Japanese models.”

“We are an agency that has been typically ‘Western looks’ in the past, but now we are bringing and developing more Asian models as the market is demanding it.”

 

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