We have all seen it: the salesperson at the big-box store asking for a photo with a woman who looks like her photo.
Or the woman asking for an autograph.
Or maybe the man in the store who wants to buy the same thing.
We’ve all seen them.
But, when it comes to the latest fashion craze, the salespeople at some of the biggest-name retailers are actually looking for something else.
In some cases, they’re looking for a picture with a man who looks just like her.
And if they find someone, it’s usually someone who looks nothing like her: The beauty industry has long been the playground of the wealthy.
So what do they do with all that cash?
In some instances, the most common way to make a sale is to buy and sell women’s clothes, shoes, accessories and makeup.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The fashion world is still in its infancy.
And it’s hard to imagine the industry today would be anything other than overwhelmingly white, male and wealthy.
And yet, the trends and trends that are being pushed are all in line with the needs of the super-rich, as exemplified by the latest craze.
According to the research firm Gartner, in the past 10 years, the median net worth of people in the U.S. has more than doubled.
But the average net worth for people of color has actually declined.
And according to Gartners, the number of people of Color has declined from 9% of the U-20 population in 2005 to 3% in 2016.
“In terms of demographics, women and people of Colour are still in the majority, but the trend has changed and is moving in the opposite direction,” says Kristin E. Martin, senior analyst for global retail at Gartener.
“We have more women, people of colour and people with a college degree and higher income who have more wealth, but not the same number of wealth and income.”
In 2016, for example, a new survey by the Pew Research Center showed that, on average, women make up more than one-quarter of the Fortune 500.
The number of women in the Fortune 400 rose by 30% from 2000 to 2016.
According the Pew research, in 2016, the U and Asian-Pacific Pacific markets were the only two regions where women’s wealth and median net wealth were lower than men’s.
And, according to the Pew study, the percentage of women earning less than $30,000 per year fell from 41% in 2000 to 29% in 2017.
“The wealth gap has narrowed,” Martin says.
“As a result, there’s less of an opportunity for women of Color to achieve wealth.”
And while the financial sector may be changing, it may not be changing for women.
The financial services industry, which is overwhelmingly white and male, is changing too.
As a whole, the financial services sector grew by about 1% per year over the last 10 years.
And while that growth was fueled by the growth of the tech and financial sectors, it wasn’t all that surprising.
“What is surprising is that the growth is occurring even as there are more and more people of diversity entering the finance industry,” says Martin.
“It’s not just about race and gender.
We’re also seeing a lot of people with other identities and backgrounds and economic and geographic diversity, too.”
For example, Martin says there are now more Asian-American professionals in finance.
And in 2016 the Uptown Financials office was the first Asian-owned financial services office in the United States.
The Uptow Financials also operates two branches in London and Hong Kong.
But in the industry, “the financial services are largely dominated by white male CEOs,” Martin adds.
And those white male bosses often have less wealth than women, according the Pew report.
“When you look at the CEOs who hold the top financial positions in the sector, it looks like the financial service industry is overwhelmingly dominated by men and women,” Martin explains.
“And that’s why you see this disparity.”
But the financial industry is not just the home of the rich.
There are also the working class, who are more likely to be working class and less likely to have a college education.
Martin says that’s a stark difference between the financial and the non-financial industries.
“People of color, especially working class people, tend to have higher incomes and education levels than their white counterparts,” Martin notes.
“But the financial system is still predominantly white and largely male.
And they’re still making a lot more money than their non-white counterparts.”
And, Martin explains, the disparity isn’t limited to the financial realm.
“If you look beyond the financial, women of color are also disproportionately in prison,” she says.
In 2016 there were 4,700 women of colour behind bars in the US.
And the median prison population is about 4,200 people.