Throughout the history of fashion in Europe there has always been a key aesthetic women are pushed to aspire to. The European beauty standard is closely associated with someone who has features closely related to whiteness “Lighter skin, straight hair, a thin nose and lips, and light-coloured eyes” (1). This in turn can make many women of all races feel inadequate especially in the fields of beauty and fashion.
In the words of Chloe Pierre, founder of wellness platform, thy.self, “women and young girls…in some cases, sadly wondering what is ‘wrong’ with them when as they are constantly being fed images in the media and their everyday lives that promote unrealistic standards of beauty” (2)
In the world of fashion there is a high disproportion of racial representation in modelling. In 2018 a survey found 78% of models were white and the rest of the 22% were a mixture of black, Asian and Hispanic. Making the choice of models extremely disproportionate to the population. On top of this when black models are working many make-up artists and stylists are not trained to work with black hair or darker skin tones unless they take further training as it isn’t standard.
New York fashion week in Spring/Summer 2020 had the most radically diverse catwalk with 47% of all the models being people of colour. This is a bright pointer to the fact that things are moving in the right direction. With cancel culture on the rise, many people are boycotting brands that do not have proper racial representation, and products built on cultural appropriation have even been recalled in the past.
One element in fashion that needs desperate improvement is the representation of Asian and south Asian individuals. Most fashion designers and well-known retail brands in the western world are run by white men including womenswear. Black fashion houses are becoming more and more prominent and popular through movements such as BLM and body positivity. However, Asian designers are less known and even less Asian women are known in western fashion. This may be because “the fashion world typically speaks of China as a market and Japan as an aesthetic” thereby creating this box where designers struggle to go far without using stereotypical Asian styles in their work.
It’s time we acknowledge and celebrate Multicultural fashion is here to stay. Every culture, race, and background deserves proper representation in the fashion and beauty industry, and women need to help and support each other to make this goal a long-lasting reality.
At The Luxe Nude we #choosetochallenge proper racial representation in Fashion.