The fashion industry has been exclusivist for far too long. Only Eurocentric fashion trends and apparel for skinny body types have featured on runways. The industry has disregarded and excluded anybody who did not fit into a specifically crafted mould.
However, things are starting to look better for the future. Many fashion collections –high-end and fast fashion– highlighted inclusivity in the year 2020 and onwards. In fact, it has become such an essential aspect of fashion that people call out and cancel collections lacking diversity!
This article breaks down changes in the fashion industry that have made it more inclusive. We will specifically focus on the recent trends in clothing, modelling and beauty within the fashion industry.
What Does Inclusivity in the Fashion Industry Mean
The idea behind inclusive fashion is to create items that can be used by anyone: disabled, petite, plus-sized and people of colour. The goal of inclusivity aims to eradicate adaptation –to simply adjust oneself for the fashion item. Instead, people should have access to clothing that they prefer, catered to their disabilities, sizes and so on.
Inclusivity in Clothing
Be it plus sized boy shorts or maternity swimwear; these were a rarity previously! However, brands are becoming increasingly conscious today to be as inclusive as possible.
Most stores have at least one collection catered to plus-sized individuals such as Forever21, Anthropologie and Fabletics. Similarly, a small percentage of brands are exclusively plus-sized such as ASOS Curve. After all, clothing should never be limited to one body type.
Apart from size inclusivity, brands have incorporated cultural styles into clothing as well such as Masai cuts and Keffiyeh patterns. This step forward has enabled various ethnic groups to access fast fashion, making them feel included.
Inclusivity in Modelling
Infamous model Tyra Banks has stated an unsaid rule in the modelling industry: there could only be one black supermodel in the league. However, an increasing number of people of colour are high-level models today, such as Naomi Campbell and Ming Xi.
Similarly, plus-sized models –such as Ashley Graham– consistently make magazine covers, photoshoots and ramp walks. Viewing modelling trends set by high-end fashion, small-scale brands have feature dpeople of colour and plus-sized models in their catalogues too!
Additionally, religious inclusivity has increased with the Muslim “hijab” making seven appearances on the 2019 Paris Fashion Week.
Inclusivity in Beauty
Up until a few years ago, makeup brands created formulas exclusively for Caucasian skin tones. Foundation shades would cover over 50 pale skin tones but only around 2 darker skin complexions. In fact, Fenty Beauty’s launch in 2017 was the first time 40 skin shades were released by a brand. Of course, it did not cover every single skin complexion out there but it did cover the vast majority.
Similarly, skincare lines have also only catered people with lighter complexions. Most sunscreens are formulated with ingredients that leave a white cast on the skin after application. This means that people with darker skin tones cannot even apply readily available sunscreens!
Yes, the fashion industry has come a long way in terms of inclusivity, but it has not achieved it yet; there is still a long way to go! We can still see overrepresentation of White people and mostly clothes made for skinny body types. Frequently, cultural patterns included on clothing are hurtful to the ethnic communities’ sentiments.
We must continue fighting towards inclusivity in the fashion and all other industries.