The fashion industry has come under much criticism for its lack of inclusivity. To this day, fashion designers from the minority groups, Blacks, Asians, and others, have continually had to battle racism to themselves and their craft. This is a significant issue, especially when you consider that racism should have been long buried.
However, seeking more inclusivity seems to be lost on the industry’s primary stakeholders: they believe that the industry is as inclusive as it can be. On the other hand, the affected designers and models have described the industry’s efforts as diversity, not inclusivity.
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Diversity and inclusivity
These two terms are often used interchangeably as synonyms, whereas they describe different concepts. The lack of understanding of their meanings and application is detrimental to the purposeful recognition of the barriers against the fashion stakeholders in the minority.
Diversity is superficial. It has come to define the careless and shallow attempt by the superior majority to give some form of credit and recognition to the designers from the minority. You will find an example of the concept of diversity in the casting of different races of people on the runway or in campaigns while they have no representation among those calling the shots.
On the other hand, inclusivity implies that everyone, no matter their race, is a significant participant at all levels of operation, from the executives and designers to those on the runway and campaigns. If this does not happen, then there is no inclusivity. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether the fashion industry is inclusive is negative. The present modus operandi of the industry lacks inclusivity, but it appreciates the concept of diversity.
What The Fashion Industry Can Do For More Inclusivity
Understand the difference between diversity and inclusivity
When the industry understands the difference between both concepts, it makes it easier to make significant changes that will allow for inclusion for all parties. Such changes will see blacks and others in the minority take active leadership positions in the industry.
Be proactive against racism
Racism is a poisonous hydra that always seems to come back alive. It is not enough to talk about it; proactive actions must be taken to ensure that it is totally destroyed in the industry. Strict guidelines that will ensure the protection of creatives from the minority must be put in place to exhibit their craft without hindrance.
Minority creatives should be treated individually
Minority creatives should not be treated collectively but independently. Often, professionals of the minority are lumped together in the way their collections are reviewed or the kind of editorials they can participate in. This can be detrimental to the creative spirit of designers. While the inclusivity problem has been identified, many designers from the minority group feel that having independent businesses outside the system is the best way to move forward or promote themselves.
Openly and sincerely discuss the issue and proffer solutions
When the issue of inclusion is selectively discussed, it makes it challenging to deal with it. Many times, the issue is shuffled under the carpet, hushed up, and insincerely discussed. Whether it is due to ignorance or deliberate action, people avoid talking about the issue of inclusivity. This should not be so, as discussions will proffer solutions that should encourage inclusivity and reduce diversity.