Inclusive Fashion and Beauty – Are We There Yet?

In years gone by, catwalks and magazines were filled with women of a particular ethnicity, build and age. Now, the industry is starting to recognise that inclusive representation is vital for the future of fashion. Yet there is still work to be done. Here, we explore some of the key moments that have championed diversity and inclusivity across the industry.

Designing for Disabilities
Several huge brands have started to design specifically for those with disabilities. This includes the iconic Tommy Hilfiger, which launched the ‘Tommy Adaptive’ collection in April 2018. The brand states the pieces have been “designed for all, with innovative features to ensure getting dressed is easier than ever”. Their range offers items with easy closures and ease of movement, specific fits tailored for prosthetics and seated wear for wheelchair users.

Russian brand Bezgraniz Couture are also championing design for the disabled, winning multiple awards for their work. Not only do they create stylish and modern adaptive clothes, they have been “developing educational projects in the form of art and innovative workshops designed to break through barriers of the perception of beauty” since 2008.

Modelling that Champions Inclusion
We’re also starting to see a more diverse range of models being used across the industry. Recently, Benefit Cosmetics announced Kate Grant as their new brand ambassador, a model with Down syndrome. This has been applauded as a step in the right direction, promoting the inclusion of those with disabilities.
Further to this, Cosmopolitan UK’s October 2018 cover made a statement, featuring the beautiful plus-sized model Tess Holliday. Famous for championing body positivity, Tess spreads the message that beauty comes in diverse shapes and sizes. It’s not just Cosmopolitan that have featured her, she’s been snapped up by brands such as Dermalogica, H&M and JcPenney.

Sample Size Smack Down
Typically, the sample sizes worn by models on the runway is a US 0-4, or a UK 4-8. Do you know many women that are a UK size 4?! Didn’t think so. Yet for decades, it’s been the norm for designers to showcase their pieces in these sizes. Chromat, a swim, sport and lingerie brand, showed that it’s time to break the rules during their SS19 New York Fashion Week show. Model Sonny Turner, who states she’s a US size 10 (UK size 12) took to the runway wearing the brand’s iconic “Sample Size” t-shirt in a medium. The brand state that their “goal is to encourage more designers to sample their collections in a range of sizes, in order to celebrate all different size bodies on the runway”.

It’s great to see the industry taking steps towards a more inclusive future. But there is still a long way to go. How will you help champion inclusion in the fashion and beauty industry?