Inclusion and the Changing Fashion Landscape

The marketing schema, for many years, was dominated by a singular standard: show the ideal person in an ideal world experiencing an ideal product. Although traditional advertising still sees success in the modern world, older tactics are becoming increasingly weak in the face of a new awareness and value for the diversity among us.

Consumers are no longer interested in the traditional formats of advertising and marketing. As the world becomes more and more diverse, buyers from all over the globe are looking for proper representations of themselves and their values. Diversity and inclusion efforts are an important aspect of brand management, with thousands of global enterprises scrambling to be seen and heard. Some fashion businesses, however, have already been leading with inclusion and diversity for many years.

“The concept of inclusion isn’t just a trend that’s come and will leave,” says a representative of Knotty Knickers, a unique subscription box focusing on inclusive underwear for women. “At Knotty Knickers, we have worked tirelessly to answer the call for inclusive practices. From our designs to our marketing, we truly believe in celebrating the beauty of all women, not just a few. I’m excited to see how the fashion industry continues to provide new pathways toward inclusion and highlighting the beauty of diversity.”

Knotty Knickers is one of several brands looking to make a difference in the changing fashion landscape. Many are forging ahead with diversity efforts in and around their business, pioneering the future of the industry in several ways.

Today, people all over the world not only expect, but demand to see inclusion and diversity within their fashion choices. Unfortunately, the fashion industry is slow to catch on. Many large figures in the fashion world have called on brands such as Gucci, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger to step up their DEI (diversity and inclusion) efforts for consumers. Interestingly, many of these pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Despite its slow growth over the past two decades, the importance of inclusion is taking hold in fashion. Many professionals now seek out diverse talent within their organization. There are more plus-sized models on the catwalk than ever before and multicultural women from all backgrounds are finding themselves represented in the landscape, as well as many others who are just beginning their fashion journey.

Of course, fashion as a whole still has quite a lot of work to do. There are many elements of the industry that still lag far behind others and are slow to modernize along with the rest of the fashion world.

5 Ways the Fashion Industry Needs to Transform

Although the fashion industry is making a concerted effort to recognize, celebrate and include diverse bodies, lifestyles and viewpoints, there are still many weak areas that deserve attention.

1. More Diverse Providers

Allowing new types of models, designers, and commentators into the fashion industry would allow big brands to get up to speed with others in the marketplace. New, more inclusive ideals could change many elements of pop culture and provide passive inroads to inclusive design.

2. Better External Footprints

The onus of fashion design lies on the brand’s choice of contractors, vendors, and distributors. Celebrating the work of diverse participants begins with choosing a diverse set of external moderators, as well as supporting minority voices and viewpoints. Some large brands, including Brother Vellies, follow the 15 Percent Pledge in their design efforts. African American designers and models must make up at least 15% of their products, employees, and leadership.

3. Transparency & Accountability

Like nutrition labels, fashion brands must begin to provide transparency and accountability in their fashion choices. Properly calculating DEI metrics and supporting a diverse board of directors is an excellent first step toward this idea, as well as finding industry partners with accountability in mind.

4. Independent Watch Dogs

Instead of relying on individual companies to provide transparency, accountability should be maintained with help from independent groups and organizations. Although some societies have already been established (such as the Black in Fashion Coalition), it will take a wider collective of voices to better represent all peoples from all backgrounds.

5. The Consumer Revolution

Ultimately, it comes down to the consumer, not big fashion brands, to dictate how the industry will change. By voting with their wallets, social media trends, and buying habits, fashion consumers have the ability to encourage more diversity on all fronts.

As the fashion industry continues to change over time, it will be interesting to see diverse voices continue to push for its revolution. As DEI efforts become more and more accepted worldwide, fashion will continue to become more diverse, more inclusive, and ultimately much more modern in its approach to everyday style.

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