Inclusivity in the Fashion Industry
Posted on November 20 2019
Let’s talk about inclusivity in the fashion industry. When you look up the definition of inclusivity on Google the first definition that appears states: “the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups.” Inclusivity is a term that we have become more and more familiar with in recent years. As fashion evolves towards sustainable and ethical practices, inclusivity has been another topic/area in the fashion revolution.
Along with Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry, the fashion industry has a history of exclusivity - prioritizing and catering to white consumers, more specifically: the white, tall, and thin. The sad truth is that the vast majority of us women grew up surrounded by images of this one type of person and many of us could not relate. The industry lacked representation of color, ethnicities, and especially various body types- making us believe that this absence was in fact the ‘norm’. Although the ‘norm’ of what women’s bodies “should” look like has varied throughout the decades, dark skin and plus size bodies have never had much of a role until now.
In the last few years the fashion industry has shifted: we are beginning to see a surge of plus size models and colored faces in ad campaigns and on the runway. For the first time, we are experiencing women being celebrated for their differences and what sets them apart versus what makes them just like everyone else. Many models such as Ashley Graham, Winnie Harlow, and Alessandra Garcia-Lorido are paving the way and opening doors to topics that have never been touched in the industry before such as cellulite, skin pigmentation, and a whole lot of self love! For the first time, we are experiencing women being celebrated for their differences and what sets them apart versus what makes them just like everyone else. 2018 alone has been a year full of inclusive triumphs such as dreadlocks making an appearance on the runway, brands designing clothing with wheelchair users in mind, and Vogue celebrating all body shapes in their July/August 2018 issue.
As people have become more aware and outspoken about the lack of diversity in the industry, we are starting to notice these acts of progress towards a more inclusive industry. Although progress has been made, our work is far from over! As brands attempt to promote diversity, a hierarchy of who gets to be represented remains today, resulting in a homogenous feel to the diversity we are seeing today. We all deserve to be seen and accepted in the fashion industry. Let’s persist and continue to inform and speak out about inclusivity!