The Weekend Leader - Inclusivity, gender neutrality, body positivity: Fashion embraces change

Inclusivity, gender neutrality, body positivity: Fashion embraces change

Nivedita   |  New Delhi


Size, shape, height, weight, colour or gender -- none of it matters anymore in the world of fashion, which is fast embracing change that is defined by inclusivity, neutrality and positivity.

The Lotus Make-Up India Fashion Week (LMIFW) is geared up to celebrate the LGBTQ community with a one-of-a-kind "Rainbow" show as a grand finale at the end of the week, making a huge statement that the fashion world is here to accept change.

Meanwhile, a section of lifestyle brands' representatives sense that the industry is moving away from air-brushed, size zero and polished perfection to attract consumers.

For some, there is a clear divide between the glamorous fiction that they are selling and the gritty reality that consumers are demanding, while others feel that showing unreal imagery is passe as today consumers prefer buying brands which are true to their story.

Tanvi Malik, Co-founder of FabAlley, an online fashion store that has introduced the campaign #FabFitsAll to champion inclusivity in fashion and embracing body positivity irrespective of one's size, shape, height or weight, says brands are now closer to the consumers.

"Air-brushed, size zero perfection is no longer aspirational to Indian women. On the contrary, such imagery now alienates swathes of consumers. Consumers are so accustomed to seeing this unattainable, polished perfection that their visceral reaction is now simply indifference, as opposed to aspiration. Women are seeing through the fake and the photo-shopped and dismissing it as irrelevant content, and thereby brand," she told IANS.

"Brands are now closer to their consumers due to two-way social media communication, and have been able to see the divide between the glamorous fiction that they are selling and the gritty reality that consumers are demanding. The voices of women calling out for inclusivity and diverse representation are finally being heard by brands.

"The body positivity movement is empowering women to rebel against the narrow confines of conventional beauty, size and weight; and instead revel in their differences and imperfections. As a result, the onus is on brands to represent these real women, address their very real concerns, and help them along their journey of self-love and acceptance," she added.

Lifestyle's recent Ginger campaign #ImperfectlyPerfect too focused on many positives.

"Perfect doesn't necessarily mean real. And today, every brand wants to resonate with their consumers by providing them with fashion that makes them look and feel good while celebrating their individuality. Embracing this new positivity has enabled us to build a strong connect with our consumers across demographics.

"Ginger by Lifestyle, our fashion brand for young girls, continues to bring forth their bold, unfiltered and fearless voice," M.R. Srinivasa Rao, Senior Vice President Marketing, Lifestyle, told IANS.

HRX, founded in 2013 by Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan and Exceed Entertainment, is a platform for bringing like-minded people together to believe in the philosophy of becoming the best version of themselves, and empowering people to "be their own hero".

The idea is to help the common man learn from Hrithik's example, said HRX's Head Marketing and Operations, Pallavi Burman.

"He doesn't shy away from admitting that a lot goes behind his Greek God persona and more often than not people don't see or see through the struggles, painstaking hard work, perseverance and discipline. He uses HRX to voice all of this and share this with people, thereby inspiring them to take the first steps and keeping them motivated through their journey."

BIBA Girls' thought-provoking digital campaign "ChangeTheQuestion" takes on the issue of body shaming via a short film, reiterating the thought that "We are beautiful in our own way". It is an extension to the brand's ongoing "Change" series which has brought films on gender roles in arranged marriages and the dowry system in the past.

Bespoke menswear label Minizmo is coming up with its "Minimal is Genderless" campaign, which promotes the idea that clothing is divided by aesthetics and not by gender as one doesn't need a tag to define their individuality.

Rohan Khattar, the brand's co-founder, feels body positivity means acceptance and appreciation of all human body types.

"In this day and age of social media, people are keen to see what others are doing and this is not just limited to models or celebrities who walk the ramp. Inspirational stories play a big role and have brought about this change.

"Any brand or person who chooses to incorporate responsibility in their messaging, it makes it real and less intimidating for a common customer. It allows one to accept their flaws and use that as real beauty and focus on stories that are inspirational for all," Khattar told IANS.- IANS

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