One of the most visible elements of any culture is the fashion that it is a product of. People from all over the world wear so many variations of clothing that it is near impossible to track it all. Unique beauty stems from each of these cultures and the world has begun to take notice. As technology has opened up the world through communication and travel, society has become more aware of the differences people hold.
This awareness has led to an appreciation from some and not so much from others. However, these differences are what make human kind wonderfully beautiful. On top of this, these differences complement each other and should be appreciated. Author Catherine Pulsifer summed this up, “We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity, life would be very boring.”
Everything about fashion screams the opposite of boring. Therefore, it is logical to assume that when being inclusive within the world of fashion it would bring great benefit. How does this happen? We connected with a few business experts to understand their thoughts on how to promote inclusivity in the fashion world.
Haim Medine is the creative director of Mark Henry Jewelry, a brand of jewelry featuring natural alexandrite. He suggests dedicating time and resources to informing employees of all kinds on the inclusivity matters relating to a company.
“Whether you run a storefront or you’re an online retailer, everyone who works for you should be well educated on diversity in general but also issues specific to your brand. For example, if you run a business offering products for pregnant women, your employees should be well versed in the appropriate language to be used for products and in conversation. Similarly, if your store is in a very culturally diverse area then your training should focus on topics related to the corresponding cultures. Not only will this keep your company out of hot water, your customers will feel far more at home.”
Honor And Praise
Differences are a natural piece of life that can sometimes create the feeling of being side-by-side with others rather than unity. Essentially, the two people are close but do not see the other clearly. Bisoulovely is a business providing a variety of jewelry options. Their CEO, Breanne Millette, advises actively working against this trend.
“If our ancestors had lived in bubbles completely separate from each other, the world as we know it would not exist. Our civilization has grown because we’ve learned from what others around us have been doing. And, this growth will continue so long as we continue to do what our ancestors did on a greater scale. When it comes to fashion, noticeable change has come out of demonstrating honor and praise for the distinct aspects of culture. This should absolutely continue.”
Lashkaraa specializes in modern and affordable traditional Indian clothing. Their CEO, Sumeer Kaur, considers the awareness that can be created online to be extremely helpful.
“There’s so much evidence to support the idea that social media has the power to bring about the winds of change. From community discussion to advertising and even globally available displays of fashion, social media has shown time and again that it can be used for good. That being said, it’s up to the users to focus on inclusivity.
Like in the real world, bringing people together to a place of trust and understanding requires concerted effort. Chasing the inclusion of others is an admirable and encouraged cause worth participating in. Seeing as social media is available to anyone, we can all take part in including others and their marvelous characteristics.
Jack Gindi is the CEO of Pori Jewelry, a brand offering fine silver and gold jewelry. He cautions designers against creating pieces that are not capable of being used by everyone.
“True inclusivity takes place when it is practiced on a regular basis by all. This idea extends to those who create clothes and other items as well. If we want fashion to be a world that can be accessed by everyone who has an interest, then the items within this world must be developed with different physical sizes and flexibility in mind.
Practically speaking, there are more than a few items out there that cannot be worn by people who are sizable or even struggle with disabilities. Creative solutions to this issue exist and designers should give this ample consideration so as to include everyone.”
The fashion industry has continued to move away from body shaming of any kind in order to create a much more welcoming environment. PixieLane is a business providing clothing for kids and moms. Their founder, Lori Price, proposes eliminating traditional sizing to continue this movement.
“I’m not sure why it’s taken so long but people in fashion are starting to wake up to the idea that no two physical bodies are equal. Arms, thighs, or waists will all measure differently even for people of similar builds. A large t-shirt will fit differently for two people who regularly wear large.
The more this idea continues to simmer publicly, the more it’s become apparent that clothing is not one size fits all. Some have even eliminated the standard size measurements in favor of terms of empowerment such as ‘Achiever’ or ‘Trailblazer’. If the size on the tag truly doesn’t matter, it should be made to matter.”
La Blanca specializes in a wide range of swimwear. It’s vice president of ecommerce, Karim Hachem, believes in taking the time to research matters related to the culture and ethnicities of an audience.
“One of the biggest facets of inclusivity is being able to not only understand another person but also appreciate them for who they are and what defines them. But this is impossible if you do not have the knowledge necessary to understand someone. Let’s say you’re creating a fashion line with a specific target audience in mind. It would behoove you to first study the things that make up the structure of said audience’s culture. Whatever it is that you learn about them can be incorporated into designs and decisions in an all-embracing manner.”
Trisha Bantigue is the CEO of Queenly, a brand offering users the ability to buy and sell dresses for any event. She advises looking towards newer aspects of technology for unique solutions to the question of how to promote inclusivity.
“Things like virtual reality or artificial intelligence have gotten us to the point where inclusion is a built-in feature of the technology. It’s now possible for clothing companies to receive exact measurements for any person using a virtual reality setup.
Not only will this allow customers to feel like they’re stuck with cookie-cutter sizes, the company will be able to show the customer other items that have been made with their specific body types in mind. If there’s one way to include a person, it’s to show them that you know and care about them as they are.”
When people do not see the way they fit into something, they are likely to experience feelings of alienation. Andar is a business providing hand-crafted leather products for everyday use. Their co-founder, Eric Elggren, considers making sure unique people are represented to be a necessary step.
“The quickest way to endorse the inclusion of everyone is to give them a visual representation of people who look like they do. Think about it, ads these days have become much more diverse. For good reason too. The earth holds more than just the six foot four all-american. No matter what kind of content you’re creating on behalf of your company, do your best to give representation to a variety of people.”
As evidenced above, there are numerous creative means for promoting inclusivity within the fashion world. And, as put by Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc, it’s worthwhile, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.
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