NOTES ON: INCLUSION
I decided that 2019 was going to be MY YEAR! And in doing so, I am going to do things differently. A vision board? How 2018! My friends, I embarked on a…wait for it… manifestation wall! Yes, I actually covered an entire wall with cut out images and phrases that will manifest for me this year (fingers crossed super tight!).
I combed through my archived fashion magazines…Vogue, W, Essence, Elle, some of which dated back to 2013 and was stunned by what I discovered. The representation of POC (people of color) were few and far in between. This stood out even more as I flipped through my more recent issues of these same magazines (except Essence, of course) where men and women of varying hues and ethnic descents smized for the camera.
In 2013, 85% of the models in the beauty campaigns were white, the ads for luxury brands, white as well, as were the majority of the models in the editorial spreads.
Also lacking representation was the population size 12 and above. Am I to believe that only women and men who fit into sample sizes appreciate fashion? How about individuals with disabilities? How about the transgendered community?
Did we not believe in inclusion six years ago? Why did I not feel excluded when flipping through these same pages in 2013? Although we as a society have much work to do in the areas of representation within media, I applaud the progress that has been made within the fashion industry.
The models on the runways for the past several seasons have more variety not only in hue but in size. Christian Siriano appears to be one of the designers leading the charge by showcasing his designs on models size 14 and up right on the runway. In recent years, we have begun to celebrate fashionista(o)s regardless of how they choose to identify themselves on a piece of paper and see cover girls in wheelchairs.
Representation is important. As a black woman, I remember growing up and not seeing myself on the pages of the magazines I loved. I want the next generation to feel empowered within fashion and beyond.
Inclusion is not a trend and we must continue to make our voices heard.
Remember, “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.” (― Kathryn Stockett, The Help )