Thanks to some powerful and conscientious names in the fashion industry, namely the younger forces that are paving the way for a different view of fashion, runways and even products that are placed on the market, the diversity in the fashion world has never been bigger. Times surely are changing, and for the better. Not that we don’t love ‘regular’ supermodels like Gigi and Kendall, but it’s good to see that runways are now full of people of unconventional beauty, people who look like us and with whom we can hence relate. This brings consumers closer to the brands, knowing that what looks good on the models will probably look good on us and that we no longer have to look at glossy magazine pages and say ‘sure, she would look stunning in every dress, but imagine me in that’.
The diversity is bringing a more positive attitude of the general public and that’s good for both the regular consumer and the fashion industry, so let’s dive in and see just how much the fashion landscape has changed.
All genders and no genders
In the pursuit of inclusivity and diversity, some brands are true pioneers. For instance, Chromat founder Becca McCharen-Tran has for a long time been an advocate for models who are both purely feminine, as well as those who identify as female and even gender non-binary models. Models of different shapes and sizes were included in the brand’s show as well, proving once again that aside from the fact that curves are sexy, it is possible to create garments that flatter curvier bodies.
Beauty knows no age
Artist and designer Patrick Church made his own statement on ageism by having exclusively older women rock his collection that consisted of printed bodysuits, crop tops and even skin-tight wares, and has made a great point that beauty knows no age. We keep saying that age is just a number so it’s good to see it live on the runways, as they do dictate the way we think, whether we like it or not, so kudos for this move, kudos. Yet, there is another brand that deserves an applause – Tome, who not only put his models in menswear inspired outfits – sustainable ones at that – but the models who were wearing the clothes represented a melting pot of ages as well, which is truly commendable and what diversity in terms of age is all about.
Fashion in the digital age
Aside from the perks of online shopping, where we can snag both fast-fashion and high-end garments with just a click of a button, the fashion industry has started resorting to such technologies as the incredibly useful apparel ERP. It helps everyone from manufacturers, retailers, to huge enterprises keep close track of their sales, inventory, and even expenditures and revenue, offering and all-encompassing insight into every step from production to the possible shortage of certain items, allowing retailers and manufacturers to act quickly and be able to either downsize their costs or, of course, make sure to restock so all consumers can get their hands on their desired items. We might have thought that as consumers we were tech-savvy, but brands are diversifying the way they do business in ways that we can’t even comprehend.
An all-black cast
In the name of inclusivity of one of the groups that have been marginalized (though the word may sound harsh), in the wake of new political climate in America, Shanel Campbell didn’t only make sure that her runway cast included all-black models, but she also had an all-black cast working backstage. This is a very bold and empowering move, one similar to Kanye West’s, and there is nothing wrong with this kind of exclusivity when the fashion world has done the same for decades, just in the opposite direction.
Things even got political when Kerby Jean-Raymond – the face behind the Pyer Moss- had his models wear shirts with slogans which said ‘see us now?’ and “Stop Calling 911 On The Culture” in order to both celebrate and shed light on the African-American struggles and experience, and to also reference the recent calls of police that were made solely based on the colour of the person’s skin. The collection was also full of graphic illustrations of black families, communities and imagery from everyday life. It was a true celebration of blackness and a killer collection altogether.
Things got sassy
We couldn’t possibly talk about diversity and not mention the Savage X Fenty lingerie collection which did feature both Gigi as well as Asian and African-American models, models whose beauty is considered unconventional, and even models that don’t generally get to enjoy fine lingerie because as we all know, us curvy girls have to settle for simple black and white bras as if there was nothing cute and lacy in our size. Well, Rihanna is on her way to change all that and make every single female, of every race, body type, and even state completely satisfied. One of the models featured in the show was pregnant and looked stunning by the way, so we never have to browse lingerie stores and feel frustrated again. Lingerie companies, you have been lectured.
A cast of 40
This is certainly a first, and one of the many strides towards inclusivity. You see, it’s not always just about colour and race, sometimes we have lack of international representation, and when Prabal Gurung took matters into his own hands he created a cast that featured models of 40 different nationalities, including Indian and Chinese models, models from Nepal, and Eastern European countries. It was truly something to behold and a true celebration of diversity on a global level.
Finally, the opening ceremony that featured a collection in the form of a live drag show hosted by Sasha Valour, in collaboration with Ru Paul’s Drag Race sealed the deal on diversity and now we have it all – all genders, no genders, the LGBTQ community, all colours, nationalities, shapes and sizes. Let’s just hope the industry continues down this road and that this kind of versatility isn’t just a one time show.