Inclusion. Exclusion. Where does fashion fall? Are designers, of ready to wear garments and patterns alike, obligated to provide fashion for ALL shapes and sizes? Must designers include all body types, members of all possible ethnic, racial, and gender groups in their advertising? Should all garments proffered be usable/wearable for every conceivable human condition? Including mom's who are breast feeding? Folks in wheelchairs? Those who require colostomy bags? Where do the responsibilities of the business owner/designer fall? Should expectations for the content included in a large multinational business be different from a small family run establishment?
I grew up admiring ads for the United Colors of Benetton like this one:
In researching Benetton for this post, I found this beautifully made video they created supporting equal rights for women, United by Half. The underlying audio follows:
"We're not better halves, or worse
Definitely not the weaker halves
We won't settle for less
All we want is our half
Our half of the space
Our half of the take
Our half of the give
Our half of the strength
Our half of the opportunity for education
Our half of the share
Our have of the decisions, in the decision-making.
Women have been denied their half for far too long.
Let us unite for the equal half."
Powerful stuff. But Benetton's ads have not been without controversy, as noted in Eilidh Nuala Duffy's article for Vogue in December 2017. Clearly some of these photos make you wonder, "This has what to do with purchasing a colorful sweater, exactly????"
Currently, some fashion brands have chosen to embrace various social positions. TOMS campaign to end gun violence and Nike's embrace of Colin Kaepernick (the former 49ers quarterback who began taking a knee to highlight police brutality and social injustice in 2016) are two examples.
|Multiple independent sources report Blake Mycoskie, TOMS founder, not only put his company on the line with this campaign, he donated $5 million of his own money to various gun violence prevention organizations. Using various media platforms to explain his desire to facilitate change after the shooting at the Borderline Grill in California in November, the campaign facilitated the sending of over 600,000 postcards from American citizens to their elected officials advocating for universal background checks within the first 10 days of its launch and garnered support from loads of celebrities from Snoop Dog and Tyler Hubbard to faith leaders and chefs.|
|According to this report in the Washington Post, from September 2018, "...a Quinnipiac University poll showed voters approved of Nike’s decision to feature Kaepernick in its latest ad campaign, 49 percent to 37 percent. The poll also found a distinct age gap, with those 18 to 34 approving of Nike’s decision by a 67-21 margin, while voters 65 and older disapproved of the decision, 46 to 39 percent."|
And while all the topics I've covered here over the past few days percolated in my brain this month, I discovered Niki Groom of MISS MAGPIE Fashion Spy, an incredible artist who, when unable to find the diversity she seeks in the fashion world, creates it herself!
|Thinking boy friend jeans? She's got you covered with that and more!! Her art and attitude are amazing. This illustration is but one of many diverse presentations up on her IG feed and blog.|