The fashion industry has been criticised for its lack of inclusivity, diversity and unrealistic expectations. However, the fashion industry is moving with the times and transforming to make it more inclusive and have accurate representation. The runway, websites, magazine covers, social media, and other marketing campaigns and promotions now feature models of different sizes, genders, races, and disabilities from all different backgrounds showing that we should embrace and celebrate our bodies in all forms and sizes.
Body image is defined as a combination of a person's thoughts and feelings about their own body. These thoughts and feelings can be both positive and negative and can be influenced by internal and external factors. There are 4 different aspects of body image: perceptual, affective, cognitive, and behavioural.
Inclusivity is defined as the practice of providing equal access to opportunities regardless of gender, age, race, class, sexuality and disability.
How is inclusivity promoted within the fashion world?
There are many ways in which inclusivity is promoted within the fashion industry. Brands promote inclusivity to target wider audiences with different body types to ensure everyone feels comfortable in their skin as people can resonate with the models.
Examples of inclusivity within the fashion industry:
Winnie Harlow rose to fame when she was a contestant on America's Next Top Model. She then appeared to walk in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2016, being the first model with vitiligo.
Tess Daly is a fashion and beauty influencer, she appeared on the Pretty Little Thing runway in a wheelchair as she suffers from spinal muscular atrophy.
Tasha Ghouri appeared on Love Island 2022 although she was already a model on ASOS before. She spreads awareness about deafness and wears cochlear implants.
These models don't let their appearance and disabilities stop them from feeling confident. These are just a few examples of how the fashion industry is trying to be more inclusive and celebrate all different body types.
Why is it important to promote body positivity within the fashion industry?
It is important that we promote body image within the fashion industry to help people feel comfortable in their bodies and celebrate them. It helps when people can resonate with the models that look the same as them so that they can feel confident. It is important that we have accurate representation as these people end up becoming role models for the younger generation, to ensure they have a positive image and perception of their own body.
It is important now more than ever with the rise of social media that there is body positivity and inclusivity within the fashion industry as social media has caused people to become very critical of themselves and have low self-esteem due to many unrealistic standards. Social media has had a negative effect on people with many editing, enhancing, or using filters in their photos to look a certain way. It is key that we have role models for the next generation to show them that they can be comfortable within their own skin and that we are all different and unique.