When we see fashion advertisements, commercials, runway show coverage, it is not unlikely to see a lot of similar sizes, races, and ages. The lack of diversity within the fashion industry has been an issue for a long time. But, over the past few years, the industry has made huge changes in its representations of models.
While the changes have each been steps in the right direction, it is nowhere near where it needs to be. Right now, high fashion advertisements contain a gaping majority of white, very young, and very skinny women. While of course there are standards that need to be upheld for the marketing of high-end brands, this fact does not justify the lack of ethnicities, races, ages, and sizes. Luckily, the modern women of today’s generation are kicking down the walls of conformity and paving their own roads, despite the setbacks the industry has put on them.
Madeline Stuart is a beautiful 18-year-old girl, who has Down syndrome. She has surpassed all of the limits set for her, and gone far beyond them. She has let nothing stop her from pursuing a modeling career, and has inspired many through her instagram account @madelinesmodelling.
In terms of the fashion industry being labeled as ageist, Iris Apfel is here to challenge that notion. Being young is not the only thing synonymous with being beautiful. Apfel is 93 years old, and just last year, she was the leading model in the Kate Spade Spring 2015 advertisement.
Winnie Harlow is a gorgeous black model with vitiligo, a skin disease. She has modeled for top brands such as Desigual and Diesel. Instead of her disease being something that makes her want to cover herself up, it makes her want to show herself off; making her both unique and authentic. Her bold willingness to accept her difference is what makes her truly beautiful.
Robyn Lawley is the first Plus-Sized model to be featured on Sports Illustrated, followed by many others who don’t fit the size 0 category such as Ashley Graham, Kate Upton, and Myla Dalbesio.
These models have begun a movement that is sure to continue, especially with the rise of social media. The issue with a lack of diversity in the fashion industry comes with the risk of placing an unattainable beauty standard on the public. If one does not fit the “standard mold” the industry has set
which, by the way, is not standard in any way, it doesn’t mean one is not beautifull in by any chance!
However, thanks to this diverse array of women models listed above, the public can now be inspired and find an appreciation for the fashion industry, which was certainly lacking before. Rather than being inspired by the beauty of the photographs, we can be empowered by both the beauty and the diversity and realness of the models. Now… don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go for equal representation, but just hold on darlings, baby steps are the key to success.
Written by Samantha Jensen