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Diversity in fashion: brands leading the way

Diversity is one of the biggest issues facing the fashion and beauty industries today. The number of underrepresented groups is vast with size, age, ethnicity and sexuality fighting its way to be seen and heard. However, in recent years, these industries have taken steps towards being more inclusive.

Driven by social media, the world of beauty and fashion has moved to welcome and represent customers along the spectrum of skin shades, gender identities and body types. Undoubtedly, diversity, and inclusion have become powerful movements and a priority for companies looking to succeed.

Paving the way for diversity

Fenty Beauty is just one example of a beauty brand paving the way for greater inclusivity.

Rihanna launched her makeup brand in 2017 with 40 shades of foundation to meet every skin tone. With the aim of including women everywhere, the Pro Filt’r foundation made its way onto Time’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017 list.

Fast-forward to 2020 and her brand now offers 50 shades. This provides consumers from almost every nationality the opportunity to find their perfect shade. Basically, when it comes to skin colours and undertones, Fenty Beauty has got you covered like no other brand.

On top of Rihanna’s effortless approach to including individuals of all shades and backgrounds, the brand also uses a diverse selection of makeup models. For example, the inclusion of Halima Aden and Paloma Elsesser, Fenty Beauty is a true celebration of diversity.

With brands like Fenty, there is no longer an excuse for products not being available. And whilst both the beauty and fashion industries are far from perfect, there are a number of brands leading the way for greater inclusivity.

10 fashion brands creating change

Girlfriend Collective is an elegant activewear brand offering durable leggings, sports bras and t-shirts that you can wear to your hearts content.

The brand holds a strong belief that representation matters with an understanding that health and wellness come in different shapes and sizes. Their inclusive sizing, ranging from XXS to 6XL for leggings and XS to 3XL for bras, proves this.

Not only this but the diverse group of women that model for the Girlfriend Collective on both their website and their Instagram page helps to truly represent the size range and provides athletic empowerment for all.

Third Love is a lifesaver for those of us who struggle to find the perfect fit for our bras. Using millions of real women’s measurements, the brand curates the most fitting and comfortable bra potentially known to woman.

Say goodbye to the standard sizing template. Third Love carries 80 sizes for each style of bra – that is double the number of other brands. They even invented half-cups for those of us who don’t fit into a specific cup size; they’ve really thought of it all.

And to top it all off, they’ve partnered with numerous organisations to donate bras to women in need. After all, it’s only right that every woman gets to feel confident and comfortable in her own skin.

Alice Alexander is a sustainable and ethical size-inclusive brand, founded in 2017. Every piece of their collection is designed, patterned, cut, and sewn on a made-to-order basis in a strong effort to reduce waste and cater to all.

Originally launched as a brand for just plus-sized women, Alice Alexander now includes sizes 0 to 30 to avoid giving in to the exclusivity of the fashion industry. And if you still can’t find the right size for you, no problem!

If your measurements fall outside of their sizing chart, Alice Alexander will create a garment just for you, at no additional cost. So, whether someone is petite, regular, or tall, this brand is able to provide clothing for a multitude of body types.

Kirrin Finch is a brand built with the LGBTQ+ community very much in mind. Founded by couple Laura Moffat and Kelly Sanders Moffat, they wanted to create clothing that embraces the tomboy spirit and doesn’t constrain women to society’s views of how they should dress.

This brand offers gender-neutral shirts and pants for female and non-binary bodies. This is a significant step forward in the fashion industry as it makes menswear-inspired clothing more accessible to people across all points of the gender spectrum.

In addition to this, Kirrin Finch also supports LGBTQ+ organisations through donations and events. They even have sizes ranging from 0 to 24, helping to embrace diversity on all fronts.

5. Aerie

Aerie is a brand known for embracing stretch marks, cellulite and real bodies. The launch of their #AerieREAL campaign not only put a halt to the retouch of photos but also promotes body positivity with a group of brand ambassadors that represent real women.

But perhaps the most vital step forward is their strong track record of representing the disabled community. Aerie recently launched a collection which includes accessories and underwear for customers with disabilities and medical needs. The collection which includes ostomy covers and insulin pump belts, is designed to empower those with physical constraints.

With its unique and eye-catching designs, it’s no surprise that TomboyX has gained such popularity throughout the years.

Founded in 2013, this apparel company creates and curates clothing and accessories for those with a tomboy style. Founders initially came up with the idea after struggling to find a button-down shirt made for a woman’s body. However, after noticing a gap in the market, their signature boxer briefs for women were introduced in 2014.

TomboyX’s gender-neutral underwear, sprung them into the spotlight as they erased all stereotypes. Not only were they praised for their ability to embrace gender fluidity, but also their size-inclusivity. With sizes ranging from XS to 4XL, this brand designs inclusive garments for any body.

Another underwear brand embracing diversity is HARA the Label. The brand was founded in 2016 by Allie Cameron and offers minimal and feminine intimates.

The HARA woman is described as being comfortable in her own skin and this is exactly the type of woman you will find across their online platforms. Scrolling through their Instagram feed you will find an abundance of lumps and bumps and cellulite. And with an endless array of diverse body shapes and races, this brand encourages strong and body positive women, with a brand aesthetic of pure body confidence.

Launched in June of 2014, The Social Outfit is truly a fashion brand striving to make a difference.

They have a social mission. To employ and train people from refugee and new migrant communities. This means that each time a purchase is made, those purchasing from this brand are contributing to a better life for minorities.

They even provide training programs to individuals so they can learn more about the production of clothing, retail, design, and marketing.

The diversity and commitment to their workforce is refreshing and an inspiration for other brands to follow suit.

Summersalt launched their moving “Every Body is a Beach Body” campaign in 2019. They partnered with more than 30 women of different sizes, backgrounds, ethnicities, ages and sexualities. You name it, they included it.

The collection offers not only maternity swimwear but also a sun-shield swim tunic with matching leggings, perfect for Muslim women.

Their sizing is also something to be celebrated. Summersalt support their designs with data that is taken from 10,000 women to ensure the best fit for you, whether you’re pear shaped or square shaped. Sizes range from 2-24 or up to a 2XL.

Perhaps one of the most inclusive fashion brands, Universal Standard aims to bring all women together. They want to break down the barriers and allow each woman to have a shopping experience without fear and anxiety.

They offer sizes ranging from 00 all the way up to 40 and a ‘See it in Your Size’ option for each garment. This allows each woman to get an idea of how the clothes will look on them.

Furthermore, for up to one year, any piece purchased from their Fit Liberty Collection can be exchanged for a new size. Because Universal Standard understand that our bodies go through a lot and constantly change.

Erasing the line

As we can see, more and more brands have started to place diversity at the forefront of their business; and it won’t be long before we see more popular brands jumping on the bandwagon.

It’s important now for brands to promote a marketplace which encourages self-expression like never before. It is time to celebrate the minority groups that have been hiding in the shadows for way too long. The focus should lie now on erasing the line between us and them and giving minorities the representation that they deserve.


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