Growing up, I remember preparing for my dance recitals and having to wear beige tights because they were the only “nude” color stockings available to me. For decades, fashion has featured predominantly thin white models, but in recent years, with the lead of consumer demand and social media, designers have started progressing to include models outside this category. One designer who is here to challenge these fashion norms is Rihanna. From her Fenty beauty line to her Savage collection, Rihanna is creating products that actually acknowledge the diversity of the world we live in. Her latest Savage x Fenty lingerie show, that closed out New York Fashion Week, adhered very little to fashion show protocol and people couldn’t be more excited.
The show featured women of all shapes, sizes, and skin colors, and even two pregnant women – something unheard of in the fashion world. Rihanna’s decision to specifically cast real women on the runway is one that took the Internet by storm, receiving praise worldwide. The show displayed a wide range of nude colored pieces, for the true range of nude shades that exist. The size range was even wider with bras ranging from 32 A to 44 DD and underwear ranging from XS to 3X. From the endless conversation to the increased profits, Savage x Fenty is proof that diversity matters and when present, is a success. The whole presentation was a statement on empowering all women and celebrating their differences. Collections like this are a step forward in diversifying the fashion industry to create a space for everyone to express their individuality.
The Savage x Fenty line is forward-thinking and stands as a paradigm of what fashion should be. Rihanna’s collection redefines what beauty is by being unapologetically real. When young girls see women who look like them on tv and in magazines, it reshapes their perception of beauty early on and teaches them that they can do anything. Too often we see brands have a tokenistic approach to diversity, having one or two models of color in a brand campaign. Although there are brands that are making an active effort to be more diverse, there is still a long way to go. Brands need to actively educate themselves on diversity and that starts with having a diverse group of decision-makers from various backgrounds to bring in a broader range of perspectives and ideas. By doing this we can start to shift inclusion in the fashion industry from a novelty to the standard.
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