Sunday 11, Apr 2021, Delhi (India)
Inclusivity In Fashion – Bending The Rules: In its extensive and eminent history, the fashion industry has mostly represented only one standard of beauty. From advertising campaigns to fashion shows, brands in the past have traditionally steered towards models of a typical body type, age, and ethnicity – but it is a fact that the world is a far richer platform.
However, in recent times, the industry has been making efforts to advocate diversity and has brought about much more inclusivity in fashion – Bending its rules. Evidently, fashion is being redefined by four main aspects – race, gender, religion, and size.
Sudanese-Australian model Adut Bior made history by becoming the second-ever model of color to make to close Chanel’s Fall 2018 show. She was handpicked as the ‘Chanel bride’ of the season by the late Karl Lagerfeld himself.
Italian fashion house Versace put together a 54-model campaign including models like Egyptian-Moroccan Imaan Hammam, among established stars like Gigi and Bella Hadid. Donatella Versace referred to inclusivity as a key value for her vision for the brand. Such interventions show, how inclusive fashion has become and how race is no longer a stereotype in the fashion world.
The issue of body image is also one, that the industry has struggled with. It has been problematic for quite a long time and has set unrealistic standards of beauty. However, this notion is being challenged by many designers and brands. People like The American model Ashley Graham have become pioneers for size inclusivity in the industry, becoming the first-ever plus-size model to grace the cover of the Sport’s Illustrated magazine.
Talking of pioneers, designer Prabal Gurung has been designing stunning collections for women of all sizes, color, and age. Inclusive fashion has evolved to become the future of both runway and retail. Contemporary designers are not the only ones to be the flagbearers of inclusivity, but top brands like Gucci as well.
Gucci has been a major part of inclusivity with regards to gender – hosting runway shows that mix concepts of gender, having male models wearing pieces from the women’s collections and vice versa. Such gender-fluid concepts are working for the brand as well, as non-definitive ideas of Gucci’s clothing are what the stereotype-breaking contemporary generation is after.
Speaking of another aspect of inclusivity, religion has been a controversial factor, but not anymore. 19-year old Halima Aden was the woman of the moment at Max Mara’s show in Milan – sporting a hijab with utmost confidence. Such major designers are showcasing diversity beautifully by including new faces in their campaigns.
Inclusivity’s work is almost never finished and there is always scope for improvement. That’s why brands should remain open to what the audiences have to say. Humbleness is perhaps the key virtue when it comes to conversations regarding inclusivity in the fashion industry.
The ‘standards of beauty’ have kept many blocked from the industry for decades. It is in the present that things are changing. The best thing to do in the contemporary fashion landscape is to listen to the voices of those who feel excluded and under-represented.