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Inclusive is the New Exclusive: How the Fashion Industry is Evolving

Hello friends! I'm back, I know it's way overdue but this post is the perfect way to return.

Everyone knows that the fashion industry is infamous for lack of representation of the global community. Being that we live in the social media age, people are constantly aware of the mistakes major brands have made in the past and even recently when it comes to the lack of diversity. I've had the idea for this post on my mind for months. I've been thinking to myself the fashion industry is finally making the efforts for real diversity more than they ever have before. Some might take the cynical approach and say, "Oh, these brands don't really care. They're just doing it for the money or to save face." Which might be true, but you have to look beyond that.

As a plus size, black girl from a small town and daughter of immigrant parents; I've always thought that my aspirations to have a career in fashion were far-fetched and unattainable. I quickly had to learn that if I continued to believe that there was no way I would succeed. Companies within the fashion industry are beginning to realize that people are holding the brands they support accountable for who and what they represent. For example the household name Gucci had been criticized recently when photos of their vintage ski mask inspired sweater was claimed to resemble black face.

Several people on social media were offended, saying that the sweater was racist. Others went as far as saying they were going to boycott the Italian fashion brand. Gucci released a public apology and removed the sweater from their website. In addition to that, the fashion house announced it was launching a plan that included a scholarship investment in Africa, partnering with other schools globally and establishing a diversity and inclusion global director. Celebrities like super model Naomi Campbell have joined the brand’s advisory council, which includes racial justice activists, academics and other celebrities.

The most recent development towards inclusivity within this industry was when LMVH, home to brands like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, announced their partnership with Rihanna. She will be launching her new luxury brand named Fenty that embodies her flair and vision for ready to wear, shoes and accessories.

The importance of this partnership goes beyond selling clothes and shoes. This collaboration makes Rihanna the first Caribbean woman of color to have a label under LVMH. This is evidence that only progress can come from including everyone regardless of skin color, gender, or sexual orientation. The world is made up of so much untapped talent and creativity which tends to be overlooked because they might be different than what is considered the norm. Nevertheless, the fashion industry is slowly but surely realizing its faults and is now taking the steps to break down the barriers that have blocked the paths of so many in the past.