Unpopular Opinion: Diversity Is Just A Trend
How do we know if the fashion industry REALLY cares?
Let me start by saying: lots of lovely people do want us to all be treated fairly and equally, to all be represented and cared for and made to feel safe – that is how the world should be. However all to often it does seem that these concerns may only be skin deep, and upsettingly may be being used to make money.
Lots of racial diversity in fashion is just tokenism, one black model is thrown into the photo just to make it appear diverse – this isn’t a real change. As problematic as it may sound black culture has become something of a trend (see cultural appropriation of braids, and the recent scandal of blackfishing online, etc.) and it concerns me that maybe some brands are jumping on the bandwagon to show what people want to see, and don’t really care about true diversity.
Queer culture has also become a trend – with programs like Drag Race bringing this amazing group of people into the limelight and helping to make them feel safer and more accepted (which is great). However lots of straight people are suddenly ‘getting into’ things like voguing or visiting gay bars, and seeming to forget that they are actually deeply significant safe spaces, not tourist attractions.
Body positivity is an amazing thing! BUT why are brands, that claim they cater to all body types, selling a size 12 as a size XL? When it’s actually smaller than the average woman. Why are shops still only stocking up to a size 16? And why are plus sized models (although they are beautiful and a good influence ofc) still a lot smaller than most women, and still often lacking in cellulite, pimples, body hair and stretch marks in their photoshoots?
If we look at some of the most famous fashion ‘it girls’ right now (think Kendall, Bella, Gigi) They’re all powerful, talented women – no doubt – but they are also all white, slim, straight and from well-to-do families. Again, it’s not always the case, there are also women like Rihanna, Slick Woods, Jazelle Zanaughtti and Ashley Graham who are making moves. But there does still seem to be a little bit of a culture clash, and it is not clear whether these more diverse individuals are actually going to become fully embraced and insight social change, or whether brands are using them to spark interest and draw in the people who actually care. Sadly several recent political debates seem to suggest that despite seeing more diversity and acceptance, people don’t want it to actually become part of the law.
As trends go a trend for diversity is pretty lit, and is hopefully making steps towards a more harmonious and loving world. But I am worried – when diversity looses it’s novelty will we ditch it, or will we keep pushing forwards no matter what?