Sign In

IGERT Logo

APAcT

Alliance for Person-Centered Accessible Technologies

an IGERT program developed by ASU & CSULB

NSF Logo

Fashion forward thinking

Via Patrick McGurrin

“The fashion industry works on a singular vision of beauty.” In light of this truth, inclusion in the fashion industry has been an ongoing issue, but also one that has been attracting increased attention in more recent years. Interestingly, the media seems to breaks this idea of inclusion into two categories. The first is including body types that are beyond the stereotypical model physique, i.e. tall, thin, and generally white. The second is that of ableism. It’s a picture that receives less attention, but one that begs the question of why people with disabilities wouldn’t be placed in the ranks of the fashion industry models.

We know that, generally speaking, a fashion model is meant to represent the “ideal” vision of beauty and perfection; the image that people then chase after. You strive to be what you see in these women (or men, for that matter), and you then invest in trying to change yourself to match this vision. However, if this is the case then the fashion industry has left behind a vast majority of the population. People are unique, whether in body type, weight, height, or the presence of some disability. Just imagine the financial gain of expanding sights to include models that portray a more diverse and inclusive depiction of today’s society.

Beyond the financial incentives, some argue that there is moral obligation to represent people of all body types. Inclusion is about self-expression and identity, and by striving to achieve an image that is in line with what people see on the covers of magazines, on television, etc., we start to lose our sense of self-expression. The fashion industry pushes forward the images that we see in our daily encounters with media, and can play a vital role in helping us to move toward a more inclusive mindset. What if there was no longer a single image of what we consider beauty, but rather countless depictions? Billboards, magazines, and advertisements alike would be diverse and innovative. Perhaps we would stop considering what it would be like if we looked like someone else, but rather began to better appreciate our own image.