FASHION FOR EVERYONE: THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY
Fashion, once an industry difficult to access, has gradually opened its doors to a greater diversity of bodies. Although this movement of inclusion is restricted to advertising models, it is no less remarkable for that.
Fashion has always shown itself as an inaccessible world for the majority. An industry for the lucky few who have the correct measurements and heights, however, it is counterproductive when one realizes that they sell a product that is a basic need for everyone: clothing.
Although it is true that, within fashion, there are different styles and brands of clothing, and that not all haute couture designs are accessible to the average person, if any, the possibility of being able to find said design in your size should still exist. After all, that is one of the greatest principles of design as a discipline: designing for all. Something that, for decades, fashion did not want to apply.
From the unfortunate comments of Tommy Hilfiger who said "I don't make clothes for fat or ugly" to the lack of sizes or in many cases the impossibility of knowing exactly what yours is, due to the lack of consensus on the specific size of each size, it has been a long way to go, until finally in recent years we have achieved milestones for inclusion such as having been able to see Jari Jones, a black trans actress and plus size in a poster of the brand Calvin Klein or Amcherin Madit as the model with the most catwalk shows accumulated during the last fashion week, something that would not be so remarkable if it were not for her Sudanese origin.
Undoubtedly, this is a great advance, especially for an industry, which, as the Zoolander films ironically put it, centered on the adventures of the male model Derek Zoolander and his friend Hansel, during the 90s and 2000s was characterized by its lack of diversity and in fact, it became quite harmful for girls, who idealized an extremely thin body, heir to the “heroin chic” movement as the perfect body. The films of the saga reflect this change in the industry, since while, during the first film, released in 2001, hardly any diversity of bodies is shown, in the 2016 sequel we are introduced to characters like "All", a model non-binary and "Derek Zoolander Jr", the plus size son of the protagonist, as the new faces of fashion.
However, this progress should not stop there. And of course, it should not be just another “fad”. Well, the industry is characterized by being especially unstable, pending new currents and movements that shape it. And although it is true that there is an increasing number of clothing brands that seek inclusion, among which we can highlight Rihanna's underwear brand, Savage x Fenty, which not only has models for all types of bodies, but also pregnant women, or the French firm Jacquemus, a pioneer in betting on black models in its castings, it is undeniable that trends can change.
Even so, according to a report published by the TagWalk platform, during the Fall/Winter 2020 runway season, at least 19 firms incorporated curvy models (18.8% more than in 2019), while 32 shows did so with models. LGTBI+ (14% more than last year) and 43 opted for models over 30 years of age. Figures that, although they do not mean the end of the fight, do represent an undeniable turning point.
In this context, the Versace show on the occasion of the presentation of its Spring/Summer 2021 collection has been especially striking, not so much for its rupturism as for its symbolism.
And it is that if there was a day when the Italian house was the natural habitat of the top models of the 90s, in the middle of 2021 Versace has opted for models that escaped the tyranny of 90-60-90 such as Jill Kortleve or Precious Lee or Alva Claire. Women who, on the other hand, have contributed to the normalization of the sizes by the hand of other names such as Ashley Graham or Paloma Elsesser and who, it seems, are beginning to see the fruits of their efforts for visibility. Or, at least, the beginning of them. However, although the trend is pointing in the right direction, spirits remain on guard. Because despite the fact that the changes are beginning to be more noticeable than ever -with record numbers of black women on international covers and Kortleve as the face of the moment-, the truth is that the capacity for improvement is still unfathomable.
Well, despite the prevailing optimism, these cases continue to be treated as exceptions, as well as perhaps lacking in true inclusion. Well, although the change is undeniable, it only happens from the outside. Inside, fashion is still an industry dominated and ruled by white men.
Criticism launched by the magazine Afro féminas, very clearly: "Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, equality is also being an organizer." Or, in other words: making progress towards the gallery -or in this case the catwalk- is a first step, but there is still the root metamorphosis.
For this reason, it is important to remember that although progress has been undeniable, this has only been the first step.
We left you with this video from savage x fenty last runaway: