Gone are the days when fair, skinny models dominated the catwalks. Inclusiveness is becoming the defining word in the fashion world and models with disabilities or other conditions are no longer shunned by the industry. Instead, they are used to set an example for the public and build the image of the brand.

It is always a dream come true for any model to be able to walk the ramp for Victoria’s Secret. So when the American lingerie, apparel and beauty retailer — considered to be one of the biggest names in fashion — recently decided to introduce its first model with Down syndrome, the world took notice. First, it was hailed as a big step towards inclusiveness and diversity.

“It’s a dream come true. I am happy to show everyone that Sofia Jirau is going to shine all over the world. I feel confident because fear is not in my vocabulary,” Puerto Rico model Sofia Jirau told Victoria’s Secret. Jirau modeled the brand’s latest collection, The Love Cloud.

Likewise, 20-year-old Ellie Goldstein achieved global fame in 2020 after being the first model with a disability to launch a Gucci Beauty campaign. Earlier, in 2017, the personal care brand Dove brought in blind YouTube star Molly Burke for its campaign.

Closer to home, 19-year-old Pranav Bakshi emerged as India’s first male autistic model in 2019, as he became one of the many changemakers leading inclusivity on the runway. Bakshi, who also suffers from extreme obsession and anxiety, instantly made headlines for his looks, turning his weaknesses into strengths.

Another prominent name, Jamaican-Canadian model Winnie Harlow, embraces her skin condition vitiligo with confidence and often walks the runway with grace. To set an example and inspire children with vitiligo, Harlow-inspired dolls with vitiligo have now flooded the market.

Likewise, wheelchair model Lebohang Monyatsi is making waves because she has collaborated with several brands. Danish model Nina Marker, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, didn’t let it affect her career path as she walked for brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Stella McCartney.

Precious Lee is the world’s first black plus size model and the list of such names includes Chloe Marshall, Ashley Graham and Jessica Leahy. In India, Vizag girl Varshita Thatavarthi starred in several of designer Sabyasachi’s campaigns, including his controversial mangalsutra campaign.

Gone are the days when fair, skinny models dominated the catwalks. Inclusiveness is becoming the defining word in the fashion world and models with disabilities or other conditions are no longer shunned by the industry. Instead, they are used to set an example for the public and build the image of the brand.

Set an example
The move to include models who are either differently disabled, gender neutral, body positive, or of different races not only reflects positively on the image of the designer or brand, but also proves how the world is moving towards inclusivity. Hiring disabled models or models of different races or sizes to walk the catwalks strengthens the brand image, as it proves that the brand embraces inclusivity and sets an example for the world.

There is no shortage of plus-size, black or Asian models today compared to a decade or two ago and big names in the industry are hiring more and more models who break stereotypes to walk the runway. Adidas’ 2021 ‘Impossible is Nothing’ campaign became the hottest campaign from an inclusivity marketing standpoint. And why not? Brands that speak of inclusivity such as Nike, Reebok, Asos and Old Navy are increasingly resonating with the young generation.

Designer Binal Patel, the founder of TheRealB, the brand that recently made its debut at Paris Fashion Week 2022, says: “As a brand, we focus on both Z & Y generations and understand that people have become more aware of what they are wearing. them, especially when it comes to fabrics. Since its inception, we have always made sure to create silhouettes with sustainable fabrics and for all body types. Lifestyles change and over the years we have found that influencers have played a very important role in changing people’s decisions.”

“That’s why we’ve always worked with people who speak out about inclusivity and spread the message that ‘fashion is for everyone’,” added Patel.

In addition to setting examples for body positivity, races and inclusiveness of people with disabilities, brands are also looking at embracing gender neutrality, not only in terms of clothing designs, but also models. Designer Rahul Mishra’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection featured model Nitin Baranwal in mini dresses and jackets. In 2018, the gender neutral model Rain Dove graced the cover of Diva magazine and also appeared in several other magazines such as Elle and Vogue.

Ashray Gujral, founder of clothing brand Dash & Dot, adds: “There is also a growing market for gender neutral fashion, a segment we pioneered at Dash & Dot. Brands understand that building a bigger tent is not only a values-based effort, but also makes long-term business sense. Brands that can be truly inclusive and build authentic relationships across sizes, colors, sexualities and other identities will find loyal customers that will stay with you for decades.”


This post Fashion positive: fashion houses are now pushing for more diversity and inclusivity in their shows, campaigns was original published at “https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/fashion-positive-fashion-houses-are-now-pushing-for-more-diversity-and-inclusiveness-in-their-shows-campaigns/2465354/”

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