We all agree that the fashion world has a lack of diversity. The fashion industry has been exclaiming diversity across campaigns, behind the lens, and catwalks for cultural appropriation, racist advertising, and its blatant lack of diversity. Over the years, there have been some examples of insensitive and offensive imagery and themes in fashion filtering through the final collection in all possible ways. In 2018, the campaign of H&M faced controversy because of showing a Black boy wearing its “coolest monkey in the jungle” jumper. While last year Gucci was forced to apologize for releasing a Balaclava design that favored blackface. There’s a great need for awareness on why inclusivity works, how it affects business, why inequity is wrong, how it affects the fashion industry, how it affects employees, and all processes that come with consequences.
Standard of European beauty
Light eyes, straight hair, and fair skin of European standards beauty have heavily influenced fashion industry brands. They use this standard of beauty to promote their products. The face of fashion has a history of being solely white with no room for diversity behind the scene or in front of the camera, from magazines to billboards. Women’s colors are hardly represented in fashion campaigns or on the catwalk that often reproduces racist ideologies in ordinary sight. That lack of fashion has led young girls and women to perceive their bodies, their features, their beauty, and their identities as not being so worthy.
In 2013, models Iman and Naomi Campbell formed the diversity partnership to name and shame designers guilty of only casting white models, along with fashion activist Bethan Hardison. This ideal trio wrote an open letter to the most esteemed fashion industry including Chanel, Roberto Cavalli, and Saint Laurent, directing the barring of models’ color as “An Act of Racism” with a demand of changing. The campaign secured media attention for some time but soon it failed because of not building momentum and forgetting. It is an instance of fashion’s finest who are ignoring the need for inclusivity and silencing the black voice. In the past black models were used and treated like a token. This discrimination and ruthless treatment of black models always existed.
Cultural diversity in fashion
The lack of cultural diversity in the fashion industry has real costs too. Fashion companies cannot make more missteps that offend the audience during these unusual times, from product recall to brand boycott. H&M, Gucci, and Chanel have in present years introduced corporate enterprise and hiring candidates from black and ethnic minority groups. The fashion industry needs to create opportunities for Black, Asian, and minority ethnicities to enter the industry as a photographer, designer, stylists, and creative directors.
In 2019, Burberry’s Christmas campaign broke cultural barriers with its British Somali Hijabi Model, Ikram Abdi Omer. it was a moment of vindication for the luxury British brand but after some months it was forced to apologize for sending a model wearing a hooded noose down to the catwalk. With this Christmas campaign not only does Burberry showcase their commitment to cultural diversity but also acknowledge the need for fashion lines including Muslim women who want to dress up modern.
Diversity in the Pakistani fashion industry
This article is not to bash the Pakistani fashion industry but to show some real facts. All-inclusive statements with divers becoming popular in the Pakistan fashion industry. Generation and jeem’s powerful campaigns enfold diverse beauty standards are becoming a mechanism in the progressive direction.
Reasons why we need to embrace diversity
Now, we are going to discuss some annoying fashion of Pakistan that need to adopt mentoring and understand the real meaning of diversity. There are no hijab models at all. We are all talking about women empowerment and equality but illustrating that it is only going to happen through wearing short Pakistani Dresses. Almost all New Dress Designs are becoming short day by day. It’s so annoying and sad that we are promoting western culture. Wearing loose-fitting suits and colored jumpsuits will not lead male models to modern. Anyhow it is unfair treatment to male models from the fashion industry.
People support H&M models, covering models of our community, and struggling to launch careers. They are usually judged by what is in their head instead of what is in it. Millon of educated women and their dreams are drained by saying that they should search for a job in their field. Many Pakistani women who decide to cover themselves are looked down upon in society. It makes sense if we talk about some non-Islamic state but it is sad that it is happening in our Islamic Pakistani estate.
London modest fashion week makes a team of designers who encourage modest wear and making clothing easier for hijab women. It is a great surprise to know that many of the hijabi models are Pakistani. Instead of copying others and promoting annoying fashion, we need to create and do something different for a change.