Does The Fashion Industry Have A Gender Equality Issue?

by MR Magazine Staff

On Monday, the annual CFDA Awards took place; the highest honor for an American fashion designer, considered the Oscars of the industry. This year, both top womenswear and menswear categories have only men nominated, aside from Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row. While this might seem like an anomaly, it speaks to a broader issue in the way men (most often, non-heterosexual identifying men) are often awarded praise and awards over women in the industry — despite fashion still being considered a feminized occupation. This is not to denigrate these designers’ respective work, the CFDA for uplifting fashion design, or gay men in general — but let’s consider the facts. According to statistics compiled in a quantitative study published in 2015 by Allyson Stokes, a sociologist at the University of Waterloo, between 1981–2013, 98 men have received an award from the CFDA, compared to only 29 women. Of these 98 men, 51 have publicly identified as not heterosexual. Stokes began her research after reading a 2005 New York Times article by Eric Wilson asking “In Fashion, Who Really Gets Ahead?” “That article basically raised the question: Why do we have so many more male designers receiving CFDA awards and, in a way, special treatment, from magazine editors who take them under their wing?” she told Fashionista over the phone. “His article was a bit more of an anecdotal observation — no one had actually done any empirical research to figure out, is this really true? If it is true, why is it happening?” Read more at Fashionista.