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Fashion: Body Image, Diversity and Mental Health

The fashion industry often comes under fire for lack of diversity, but are their statements of change anything more than empty promises? Thankfully, we now have more models of varying shapes, sizes and ethnicity but I still wouldn’t go as far as saying the fashion industry is inclusive.

We have women such as supermodel Ashley Graham whose success is worldwide, and is really pushing the body positive moment but the sad truth is whenever we see “plus size” models doing well and landing big campaigns they are still blasted with a lot of hate.

And it is clear that social media also has a huge impact on the fashion industry: for every person calling out for diversity and inclusiveness, there are ten who will criticise the change. When a model with a slightly ‘different’ look rises through the ranks, they receive so many hate comments, trolling and bullying. 

There was a lot of controversy last November when Victoria’s Secret said they wouldn’t cast plus size or transgender models. Some people defended the brand, and their right to market to whoever the choose. However, a lot of people were very angry about this decision and its “schoolgirl mentality” where the popular group has to look a certain way (and so do you if you want access to the inner circle).

I think the fashion industry can have very negative affects on people’s mental health, especially young girls and boys who are struggling with their bodies changing. It is harmful for one perception of beauty to be constantly thrown at us and leads to people having very poor body image if they don’t fit into this ideal.

Although there have been some improvements, in my opinion things need to change faster. I understand the industry has been this way for so long, but it is time to change. We need to be inclusive of everybody and show that beauty doesn’t fit into a box, it comes in many different forms – which should be showcased!

It’s terrible to think of people who dream of being models but feel they don’t look “right” and end up taking drastic measures in order to change themselves.

As recent as the end of September, Gucci showed models in straitjackets at their Milan Fashion Week show. Gucci are not new in the face of controversy, it is frustrating to see these designer brands comes under fire time and time again, yet nothing appears to be done about it.

Mental health, thankfully, is spoken about a lot more in today’s age however with so many people struggling it is important for change to be made. I am a huge fashion lover; however, I am sick of the empty promises. I don’t want to see the same thing over and over again, I want to see women and men with a variety of looks walking the runway and gracing the covers of major fashion magazines.

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