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TLC in Manila Bulletin

TLC_MB.jpgNational daily Manila Bulletin featured The Lewis College on the front of their Schools, Colleges and Universities Bulletin section (E1), To see the online version of this article, click here (this opens a new window/tab).

Inclusivity in the Fashion Industry: Why Representation Matters

In the world of fashion, trends come and go, but one aspect that should never go out of style is inclusivity. The fashion industry has a profound impact on society, influencing the way we express ourselves and how we perceive beauty. It is, therefore, crucial that this influential realm reflects the diverse tapestry of the world we live in. In this article, we'll explore why representation matters in the fashion industry and why it's a topic of paramount importance in today's society.

The Power of Fashion: More Than Meets the Eye

Fashion is not merely about clothing; it's a form of self-expression, art, and identity. What we wear sends a message about who we are, our values, and our aspirations. But when certain groups are underrepresented in the fashion industry, it sends a message that they are not part of the narrative. This lack of representation can lead to feelings of exclusion and inadequacy among those who don't see themselves reflected in the industry's standards.

The fashion industry is a global powerhouse, with countless designers, models, and influencers shaping the way we look at ourselves and the world. According to the Global Fashion Agenda, the industry is responsible for 10% of the world's carbon emissions and 20% of the world's wastewater. With such influence and impact, it's crucial that the industry takes responsibility for its representation and the messages it conveys.

The Impact of Underrepresentation

When certain groups are excluded from the fashion narrative, it perpetuates stereotypes and fosters unrealistic beauty ideals. This can lead to a host of negative consequences, including body image issues, low self-esteem, and mental health problems. For example, young people who don't see models who look like them in advertisements or on the runway can develop a distorted sense of self-worth, which can have long-lasting effects.

It's not just about body size; it's also about ethnicity, gender, age, and physical abilities. The lack of representation in these areas sends a clear message that some people are more important and beautiful than others, perpetuating inequality and prejudice. It's crucial to break down these barriers and celebrate diversity in all its forms.

Progress and Positive Change

Fortunately, the fashion industry is gradually evolving. We've seen a growing number of designers and brands embracing diversity and inclusivity. Plus-size models, models of different ethnic backgrounds, gender non-conforming models, and models with disabilities are now finding a place on the runway and in advertising campaigns.

Moreover, the rise of social media has given a voice to individuals who don't conform to traditional beauty standards. The body positivity movement, for example, encourages self-acceptance and celebrates all body types. Influencers and activists use their platforms to challenge the status quo and demand more inclusivity in the fashion industry.

Conclusion: The Runway to a More Inclusive Future

Inclusivity in the fashion industry isn't just a trend; it's a fundamental shift in mindset. The industry has a profound impact on how we perceive ourselves and others, and it has the power to shape our self-esteem and self-worth. Therefore, it is essential that we continue to push for more representation and diversity.

The fashion industry has the potential to inspire and empower people of all backgrounds, sizes, and abilities. By celebrating our differences and showcasing diverse voices, we can create a world where everyone feels valued and beautiful. So, the next time you see a fashion advertisement or attend a runway show, take a moment to reflect on the message it conveys. Is it one of inclusivity and acceptance, or is it perpetuating harmful stereotypes? Together, we can steer the industry towards a more inclusive and representative future.