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10th October 2016

The diversity debate

Following the controversy regarding the Marc Jacobs SS17 show, contributor Jai Joshi weighs in on the debate on diversity within the industry and calls for a need to change

As this fashion season starts to unwind, concluding with Paris Fashion Week, one topic that never goes out of style is diversity in the fashion industry. That is cultural diversity, to be exact, with the very definition of the term meaning the variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.

Throughout numerous advertising campaigns and other fashion mediums, the industry has been criticised for its lack of diversity from models on runways to those in advertisements.

Living within a multicultural, connected world where everything is accessible, I find it astounding how cultural diversity is still not reflected on the runways or advertising campaigns in the international world of fashion. The industry stands for creativity, acting as a form of self-expression and celebrating innovative design from and for all.

Sadly however it fails to represent the many lovers of the fashion world. Each and every race and cultural type should be reflected within the industry to portray the culturally diverse world that we live in. Enough is enough with cultural appropriation as demonstrated in the criticism of the recent Marc Jacobs SS17 show, for which models were styled with dreadlocks.

Beauty is subjective (that is something we can all agree on) and recently we have slowly seen a different attitude… however only slightly. This needs to change. The industry needs to learn that all individuals, regardless of race, shape, size and sexuality, are all equal. As citizens of the world we should strive to represent our rich and diverse backgrounds, celebrating race and skin colour in all facets; not merely viewing the world in one colour or size.

The crux of the issue could lie in the never-ending battle with Western perfectionism that the industry suggests countlessly throughout its flawless, airbrushed campaigns. Sometimes I wonder if we are just mindlessly absorbing this painted picture, manipulating our minds to believe this unattainable beauty. It is an illicit fantasy that is simply not a true reflection of our reality.

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