First of all, I’d like to state that I absolutely love the fact that the beauty and fashion industry is being redefined – it’s been a long time coming and finally more and more clothing stores have a plus-size range and the make-up industry is producing foundations for every skin tone. The fashion and beauty industry absolutely need to cater for every body shape, every dress size, every skin colour and every age. Whilst I’ve luckily never had a problem getting a foundation that matches my skin colour, trying to find tops that aren’t backless, strapless and are made for women with larger boobs but not in the plus-size range is a struggle.
when articles label a certain fashion or make-up brand as inclusive, they’re basically saying it’s for the people who don’t fit it into the norm
Having said this, the word ‘inclusivity’ in fashion and beauty can absolutely get in the bin. I have two major problems with it. Firstly, for me, when articles label a certain fashion or make-up brand as inclusive, they’re basically saying it’s for the people who don’t fit it into the norm and, in doing that, isolates them completely. For example, a Cosmopolitan article titled ‘Target just launched a super cute (and majorly inclusive) swimwear line’ is basically just another way of saying ‘it’s for plus size girls who can’t buy bikinis at normal shops’. It even goes as far as to say “now you can find your perfect swimsuit that fits AND happens to look cute as hell”. This overemphasis on the fact that the clothing range is inclusive and ‘super cute’ is their way of communicating that you shouldn’t worry if you’re plus-size because thank goodness someone has made nice-looking bikinis for you. The fashion industry should be able to make products for plus-size (the more I write it, the more I also want the term ‘plus-size’ to go in the bin too) people, which are sexy or practical or both without labelling them as inclusive just because they’re not a size 10.
Furthermore, just because a fashion label is inclusive, does not mean that the ‘inclusive’ clothing that they produce is necessarily the same or as nice-looking as their non plus-size clothes. For example, when online shopping, I regularly see clothes that would fit a size 8 or 10 but don’t appear in the plus-size section, which again reiterates my point that these ‘inclusive’ items that have been created are still separating customers.
these ‘inclusive’ items that have been created are still separating customers
Secondly, what was once a term with meaning and importance attached to it has now been used so many times that it has lost its value. The overuse of ‘inclusivity’ means it is now regularly deemed to be inauthentic or forced, especially when it is just thrown around to create publicity. Plus-size clothing, different shades of foundation, and adaptive clothing for individuals with physical disabilities need to be embedded in the fashion and beauty industry instead of just being labelled as ‘inclusive’ which basically isolates these types of products to anyone not fitting the ‘norm’. Also, how many fashion and beauty brands actually have people of colour, those who are plus-size or those with disabilities making decisions about or creating clothing and beauty products that benefit them? I guarantee a lot less than they should. What we’re left with is white, slim, able-bodied people shouting “we are inclusive”.