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fashion industry winnie harlow

Inclusivity in fashion: the most diverse brand campaigns we've seen so far

Living in today's society it’s not unheard of to feel pressured to live up to society version of beautiful, and those who feel they don’t fit into that category can find it hard to love and accept themselves.

It's easy for some people to feel disconnected and almost unthought of when it comes to the fashion industry and their use of models. It wasn’t until a recent time that some brands have now consciously chosen to include models that they wouldn’t have thought of using before. 

One of these models who has been part of the inclusive movement is Chantelle Brown-Young, otherwise known as Winnie Harlow, a 24-year-old model from Canada. Winnie has a skin condition called vitiligo. She went through a hard time growing up and was bullied for the way she looked and also battled with suicidal thoughts. Thankfully she didn’t give up! Winnie began to see how beautiful she truly is and with this, came self-acceptance of her originality. The Canadian model got into the industry by modelling items for her friends such as beanie hats and t-shirts. The content was posted on Instagram which was where she started getting noticed for her uniqueness by those already in the industry. 

View this post on Instagram

Bae watch ?? @thesetaimiamibeach

A post shared by ♔Winnie Harlow♔ (@winnieharlow) on

Harlow previously reported this piece of advice that I believe everyone needs to hear “I loved myself, and with that, opportunities started to fall in my lap and I thank God for all of them. Try loving yourself”, along with another inspirational statement during an interview on the Jimmy Fallon show, “When I was growing up, I didn’t a lot of people that looked like me in magazines or on billboards. So, I'm so honoured to be someone who's representing inclusivity in the entire world. We need more people who look like us, more people who are different”. I feel that this promotes a really strong, positive and motivating message for anyone who aspires to be a model, but feels that they can’t because of their disability or any aspect that makes them different to others. I think that Winnie has helped to destroy the stereotypical image that may come to mind when you think of a model or what you may expect to see being represented in the fashion industry. She has shown that you can be different than everybody else and still is loved, accepted and seen for everything you are rather than everything you're not. 

River Island also turned heads with their #labelsareforclothes campaign, which included models that have a variety of looks, ethnic backgrounds, and disabilities including Down’s syndrome, deletion syndrome and cerebral palsy to name a few. River Island collaborated with Zebedee Management, who is an agency who supply diverse models. They made the following statement after creating the campaign with the fashion brand. "We are delighted that River Island is using models with disabilities as the norm now. We hope that other brands will follow the example set by River Island." With that being said, I feel more brands should make the choice to include more diverse models within the campaigns, advertisements and look book to make more people feel involved in their brand become a representative of a diverse society. 

Have you noticed any brands who are using diverse models for the campaigns? Or feel that the fashion industry doesn't use them enough? Voice your opinion below.
Featured image: Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com

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