The fashion industry has been long thought of as an exclusive world. The reality of becoming a fashion model was always dependent on your height, build, ethnicity, and even age. Growing up in a world where there was only one accepted standard of beauty is a traumatizing experience. Thankfully, those days are nearly over. As the fashion industry is diversifying, we are seeing a more and more inclusive approach to fashion in general. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons inclusivity is now considered a norm in today’s fashion world.
Standards of Beauty
Personal identity, individualism, and self-expression have become a significant factor when it comes to consumers and how they make their fashion choices. The shifting norms of our culture have put traditionally exclusive beauty brands in a highly complicated position. The old standard of beauty is slowly making it’s exit off the runway, making room for a more diverse approach to beauty standards.
Today’s beauty consumers are part of a highly engaged, vibrant audience that is not limited to a single type of woman. Instead, it encompasses a variety of people from all ages, ethnicities, and genders. The standard of “mainstream” is gone, and beauty brands still trying to target this group of consumers will inevitably fall short. Marketers are now navigating a much more complex market and are actually finding an incredible opportunity for growth, authentic connection, and creativity, like never before.
Marketers used to be able to just push their unattainable, “aspirational” standards of beauty on the world. Today, they are forced to look to the consumers themselves and work with them as individuals. Consumers want products that take into consideration their unique needs, whether they are searching for makeup, skincare, or even fashion. They want clothing that is specifically designed to fit their unique body shapes.
What It’s All About
Self-care, self-love, and body positivity are what today’s consumers are after. They want to embrace the bodies they were gifted with and draw attention to their best features, not merely transform into another person’s ideal of what beautiful should be. When we give people the opportunity to love themselves, there isn’t a reason to want to be someone else.
This is such a positive movement and step in the right direction. In an industry that has historically excluded people for reasons such as their skin tone, or their ethnicity, their gender, and especially their body shape, there has never been many options for normal, every-day people. Recent studies point out that this is not just a trend either, this appears to be the long-term solution many women and men alike have been searching for.
If you have not read about New York City’s 2018 Spring Fashion Week, you might be surprised to learn that it was the most curve-friendly runway show since, well forever. It was record-breaking, to be frank. 208 women, weighing more than the standard industry model, were featured in the show. It didn’t stop there. It also showed a variety of models of all ages and races across them gender spectrum.
It has always been a challenge for women to find beautiful clothing that fits their bodies properly. Thankfully, this new age of diversity-friendly fashion has given us more options than ever before. Until recently, the most popular brand of clothing for women over a size 12 was Lane Bryant. Now, it is mostly up and coming independent retailers who have been leading the market for inclusive clothing. Various startup such as Eloquii and ModCloth are leading the market currently, reaching more consumers than many other brands.
Corporate retailers are slowly catching on as well. Stores such as Walmart and Target have both launched their very own plus-sized clothing lines, and they have been a tremendous hit. These options have consumers ecstatic due to the variety of styles and relatively low price point. Recent studies show that the online marketplace Amazon is looking to branch out and setting its sights on plus sized clothing as well.
This is just smart business. The average American woman is between the sizes 16-18. To paint a picture of what that means, an average women’s medium is between a 6-8. When retailers only offer sizes as large as 2XL, they are missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. What they fail to take into consideration, is men and women are not just numbers and dollar signs, they are individuals who now want their clothing catered to them and marketers have to take that into account as well.
In summary, inclusion is so much more than offering clothes in a wider variety of sizes. It is offering consumers quality clothing in an array of price points and styles. It is showcasing men and women of all sizes and ethnicities as models. And it is eliminating the destructive standard we have placed on ourselves, thanks to the fashion and media industry. This is a new age, and it is good to see industry leaders revolutionizing the fashion world.