The fashion industry has been strongly associated with many significant breakthroughs throughout its colorful history. It has encountered and conquered many obstacles, emerging victorious every single time. Over the past decade, a new form of threat to the fashion industry presented itself in the form of diversity and disability. Attention to these concepts have grown exponentially as many industries are pressured into making changes to their employment policies to provide more job opportunities for this group of people.
The actions and demands of activists for the diversity and disability movement is understandable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides that 20% of the Americans are currently suffering from some form of disability. On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides that the US has one of the most diversified working population that boasts a total of 155 million participants with more than 91% employment rate. The diversification statistics of the American workforce is represented by:
64% White People 16% Hispanic 12% African American 5% Asian 3% Others
Where Does The Fashion Industry Stand ?
Out of all the different industries, the fashion sector has emerged as one of the most resistant towards implementing diversity and disability into their employment policies. Ultimately, the foundation of this industry is built upon positive physical attractiveness. It is only fitting that they employ models who represent this principle.
Activists have been openly vocal in their objection towards this unrealistic perception of the general population. They argue that these models only represent the minority of the population and only serves to portray an unhealthy body image that eludes the general society. While the fashion industry has always been steadfast in its refusal to cave into the demands of these activists, they have recently relented their stance towards this issue and opened the door to hiring models of various diversities and disabilities.
Fashion and Diversity
Over the years many institutions have been established to bring this fight to the fashion industry. However, the most significant progress was only recorded slightly over two years ago. The first disabled model to grace the runway was at the New York Fashion Week in 2014. The model was wheelchair bound Dr Danielle Sheypuk, a psychologist based in Brooklyn. Explaining the decision to make such a monumental statement, Fashion Designer Ms Hammer that rather than employing runway models to represent her creations, she relied on role models in the society to bring across the message instead.
Elsewhere, other models of diversity have also made the headlines. Jillian Mercado, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, took center stage as she became the first disabled model to feature in a Diesel campaign. She has also worked with fashion legend Carine Roitfeld.
While Dr Danielle Sheypuk paved the way for other models of diversity in 2014, many people would hail the following year as a defining period in the fashion industry. IMG Models led the way by signing Jillian Mercado into their books. More importantly, disabled models were cast to walk at the runways of New York, Milan and Tokyo Fashion Week. These events herald in a new milestone of the fashion industry as models of various diversity and disability are welcomed into the sector.
Kelly Everson is an American author and having MA in English literature. After spending time as a writer in some of Health Industries best websites, she now works as an independent researcher and contributor for health news related website like Consumer Health Digest. In her spare time, she does research work regarding Solvaderm Skincare and Women Health, Fitness and overall health issues, which acts as a fuel to her passion of writing. When she is not researching or writing, you can find Kelly staying active, whether it be practicing yoga or taking swimming classes.