Beauty + Diversity17th July, 2019 by Sjaan Askwith
As the global perception of ‘beauty’ diversifies, how are brands evolving their marketing tactics?
Following the controversy shrouding the roll out of Nike’s plus-sized mannequins (a move that the brand has been both berated and hailed for), we’re discussing whether the idea of ‘beauty’ is in fact finally changing.
It’s no secret that there’s been a step change in the beauty and fashion industries when it comes to diversity. The new narrative is one of inclusivity and empowerment, and brands are finally taking notice, challenging archaic, regressive ideals about the definition of ‘beauty’.
We’re starting to see brand campaigns which make room for people from a full spectrum of races, sizes, ages, cultures and identities. It feels like the greatest and most ceiling-shattering shift in the fashion and beauty industries, ever.
The benefits of this need not be explained, but the real beauty (pun intended) of this shift is the impact it’s having on the lives of the individuals it most directly affects. Where previously, thin, sexualised, white women walked runways and filled magazine pages, we’re now seeing them replaced with people of all walks of life – each beautiful in their diversity – and that’s what this is about.
Brands have a new opportunity to not only enrich people’s lives with their products and/or services, but also to give a place to those that have historically been repressed. There’s now an opportunity to set the tone for young women and men when it comes to beauty ideals – and by celebrating individuality – encourage people to fully and proudly embrace their own identity.
Asos recently launched a wheelchair-friendly jumpsuit, the first in the world, and other major clothing retailers such as M&S and Tommy Hilfiger are also moving in a more inclusive direction – through adaptive clothing lines and advertising campaigns. Our client Deichmann has long embraced inclusivity, most recently partnering with model, entrepreneur, and activist, Leomie Anderson – a strong role model for young black women globally.
There is not a single brand that shouldn’t be considering this shift when planning campaigns. Diverse models are representative of the world as a whole, a rhetoric which fashion and beauty brands alike should be working hard to convey. With that said, if the ‘why’ is to stay in pace with competitors, unlock a new consumer base, or for tokenistic reasons, it’s inauthentic and lacks integrity. Reconsider.
The clincher? This is the beginning of a movement, not a trend, and inclusive brand campaigns are soon to be the new norm. By championing diversity and creating products and/or services which appeal to the collective, you’ll be contributing to the positive change we need to see in the world, and who doesn’t want to do that?