Diversity in fashion and in the media in the past was often used to raise ratings and sales for short periods of time as part of some sort of fad. It allows the use of making people of color and their different cultures another short lived trend, like camouflage print in the early 2000’s rather than a timeless asset in the fashion industry.
People of color vary in every way imaginable and add different perspectives on creativity that are needed to move forward in fashion. For many years there were very few black models and even fewer supermodels. Supermodels like Grace Jones, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks held the few spaces there were for black supermodels of their time, the point is that there should have been more space to create diversity in fashion. Most magazine covers up until the 2010’s were of white women. Even to this day we have yet to see an increase in indigenous people in major fashion or beauty magazines.
Media historically mistreated and overlooked people of color and diverse backgrounds like the LGBTQ+ community. The queer community has fought and is still fighting to normalize the idea of loving who you want and being who you are. Iconic LGBT celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and RuPaul have greatly catapulted media forward in forms of talk shows and reality television. Their television shows and media appearances allowed people in the LGBTQ+ community to feel related to and free to live their lives honestly and with pride.
Representation does in fact matter
Representation does in fact matter, people look to the media to tell them what to wear, what they should look like, and who to be. The lack of images of people of diverse ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions is a misrepresentation of what the world looks like. It sends the wrong message and advocates for people who look one way. It also promotes superiority of a single group over others. There should be so many different types of people on our screens and in the media that it surprises us when everyone looks the same.
Moving forward as allies of the diversity in fashion movement the first step is to recognize where you are lacking in diversity and do some personal research on how your brand can be an ally for diversity in the fashion industry. Every person can be an ally and an activist and the fashion industry is a great place to begin. It’s important to bring awareness through every avenue and research how to use your voice to be an ally.
Join us Friday, July 10th for our Mingle Mastermind on Diversity in the Fashion Industry Webinar on Facebook Live. There we will discuss the topic in depth with some of our members in the fashion industry who will speak on some of their personal experiences they’ve faced during their careers. Register here for the webinar.