Fashion Branding and Body Image Inclusivity

December 22, 2020

Who decides the Standards of Conventional Beauty?

 The presence of thin models across media platforms has been apparent since time eternal. But, how did they happen to be identified as the standards of conventional beauty is still unknown.

Obsession of society with a certain body type increased as the media began to trial those who didn’t conform to the norm. For instance, a healthy woman was pitted against a thin one and often demeaned in advertisements. This created an impression of what is desirable and what’s not.

Society accepted this discrimination with open arms and acknowledged the portrayal provided by media houses. The chain of acceptance was so formed that it’s nearly impossible to understand where this irrationality began from.

We, as a society, have tagged along in this regressive path of marginalizing varied body images. The standards of beauty, which was supposed to be a subjective concept became a collective voice for forcing discriminatory behaviour.  

Fashion for All Bodies

While all of us have started on this path of self-acceptance, the destination is quite far. Media houses, social media platforms, fashion brands, and society in general have begun preaching the importance of being comfortable in one’s own skin.

But the fact remains that we haven’t stopped idealizing a particular body image. And where there is idealization for a specific sect, others are bound to feel discriminated upon.

Fashion brands have, however, started becoming inclusive to ensure that women of all body types know that they are as natural as one possibly can be. In addition, lingerie brands have also taken upon themselves to highlight inclusivity. Brands like Zivame are taking every step possible to include women of all shapes and sizes without making them feel undesirable.

The rage due to the non-inclusive nature of brands was such that the voices were heard by brands as huge as Victoria’s Secret. As the brand launched its Spring 2020 line, two plus-size models featured in the campaign, alongside a transgender model.

Starting from a place where only hourglass was the parameter for women who were Victoria’s angels, this is an applaudable progress.

Inclusivity should be a Standard

With advancing fashion trends, inclusivity has also been misunderstood by the masses. Inclusivity is not a function of differentiation. When we say that ‘I think curvy women are prettier’, we are drawing a line between what’s desirable and what’s not desirable.

So instead of putting all women up, we are actually pulling a particular section down, which was never intended.

This may look like a compliment to many, but it has a biased undertone. Rather inclusivity should be about how ‘all bodies are beautiful’, ‘all shapes and sizes are desirable’. It just takes the right people to acknowledge and appreciate diversity.

Brands and Inclusivity

In the fashion industry, inclusivity has always been a contemporary topic. People are always fighting for inclusion of more shapes and sizes in clothing items, be it lingerie, dresses, or the like.

The constant struggle does show some significant results now as brands have begun to accommodate more and more sizes. For instance, a few years ago, a fashion hub like Myntra didn’t feature as many inclusive brands as it does now. And that’s definitely worth monitoring progress.

Furthermore, brands should grow in their sensitivity towards women and their struggle with accepting their bodies. For example, creating a separation bracket for women may make them feel type casted.

Instead, if brands genuinely intend to accommodate diversity, they should give thought to each body type. What flatters a particular body type should feature in their collection instead of just making basic clothes in plus sizes.

Myntra, Ajio, and Nykaa Fashion have given a space for brands to showcase their idea of inclusivity.

In Essence

As sensitive as the issue of body image is, fashion brands have played along this insecurity of women for a prolonged time now. Collectively, the rebellion against this discrimination has begun showing results in terms of inclusivity of various shapes and sizes.

Not only have brands accommodated diversity in their clothing aspect, but also in their campaigns. This gives across a very strong message to the fashion industry as well as society in general. Futuristic fashion trends will be a collaborative effort for every woman, instead of being separatist.  

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