The media we consume on a day-to-day basis plays a role in how we see ourselves in the world. Biases and prejudices do not have to be blatant in order to be received. In fact, the most impactful and long-lasting expressions of prejudices are rarely undisguised.
While this is true in all areas of our lives, let's focus on how inclusivity in fashion can impact our lives.
Representation in fashion is equally important, if not more important than, representation in other forms of media. When we shop for clothes, see fashion advertisements, or see clothing brands on social media it’s important that we see ourselves represented.
Wearing clothes is a societal requirement. Everyone needs to wear clothes every single day. If everyone needs to wear clothes, the least that the fashion industry can do is make clothes so that everyone can feel comfortable and confident.
Many people within the industry claim that we are in a state of overproduction and need to find ways to scale back for sustainability. While fashion’s negative environmental impact is undeniably growing, it’s quite hurtful to say this when not everyone’s bases are covered. It isn’t fair to claim that the fashion industry has done everything it can and more if not everyone has clothing that they feel comfortable and confident in. It means we still have room for better design and better fit.
When the fashion industry fails to represent or serve the needs of certain people, especially marginalized groups, it communicates harmful messages. It shows those people that society is not thinking about them and that the industry does not value them. It tacitly implies that those people are not worth companies’ time.
By neglecting to cast and photograph different types of models, each brand is silently communicating who the brand is for and who it’s not for. By neglecting to design different types of clothing, such as adaptive clothing, each brand is silently communicating who the brand is for and who it’s not for. By neglecting to produce and sell larger sizes, each brand is silently communicating who the brand is for and who it’s not for.
When every brand finds excuses to justify why they may not want to serve a particular group of people’s needs, what are those people left to think and feel? Naturally, people will feel excluded and ostracized. They will realize that brands are not interested in including them.
Inclusive fashion is about allowing people to feel like they belong. If we all have to wear clothes every day, we all deserve to have clothing that makes us feel comfortable and confident. Clothes should always fit us. We should not have to fit into clothing.