This morning I was approached by a Fashion promotion student who is working on her final campaign in her final year of university, via LinkedIn. She asked me a question that I really, in reflection went to town on answering, but after reading my passionately and impulsively written response I know I’m right and would answer the same way all over again.
So the question posed to me was this –
My final campaign is based on a campaign ‘Nude for all’ lingerie collection that provides nude bras in 8 different shades for various skin types and colours. I was wondering if you could give me an insight on the industry and whether you think there is a need for it in the UK at all?
I immediately started writing, you know how you just start fast-pace writing when your mad, but I wasn’t mad I was relieved that this question was being asked about the U.K. market. My first thought, however, was she should really be asking someone who has faced the struggle of finding a colour match because I can safely say that my colour option has almost always been available in stores. However the question was being asked and I have asked her to approach women of different shades of skin tone within blogging on LinkedIn to get a complete perspective. As if I wasn’t so passionate on the subject I would of been of no use at all.
Here is my stand point on the subject of equality in fashion.
The need for variety in “Nude” shades has always been necessary, it is simply the expansion of certain company’s awareness to social needs that has been recent.
For too long the idea that nude is only a beige shade of white skin has been accepted and ignored as an issue but in the recent year, even months, we have seen the issue, which has always been an issue for the majority of people, come to light.
Ignorance allowed make up company’s to provide only two options for black and brown skin with a plethora of options for white and light tones. This specific issue was highlighted to the masses by the creation of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty collection. Since this we have seen a few mainstream companies wake up to or even attempt to take advantage of a long standing issue. An example of this is Asos. In a recent marketing campaign advertising Dorina lingerie they referred to the options available as “New Nudes” taking advantage of a social awareness as though these shades of nude hadn’t always been a thing, as though people hadn’t been these shades of nude since birth. And to add insult to injury, they only offer 3 of Dorina’s shade options.
If people cannot walk into a shop and see themselves reflected in the underwear, clothes and makeup they buy then the company is marginalising a whole sector of people through ignorance, a lack of understanding and a lack of care to see a bigger issue than just churning out clothes and products to the masses. The truth is that most head offices in London do have diversity but through my experience the majority of the head product development roles, the ones who make the larger decisions regarding collections, are predominantly white. And someone who has never been marginalised or gone out of their way to see the marginalisation of others cannot begin to understand struggles that they do not see and will therefore never consider the implementation of equality based products.
So my answer is YES, the UK public need these options of Nude and an amazing advertising campaign that reaches across platforms to allow everyone to be aware of its availability in our currently one sided or even “white-sided” market. Maybe large scale advertising campaigns of inclusiveness and equality within fashion will spur on other companies to follow suit and therefore enforce a climate of change to a market place seemingly oblivious to the struggles of their ‘could-be’ customers.
This is what I had to say… I would love to hear your views on this as every insight counts in a matter as great as social equality and the marginalisation of people in fashion.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my view points on this matter and has given you food for thought. Have an open minded day, and if this is an issue you have never given time before because you think it doesn’t affect you, I ask you to spend a few minutes contemplating this issue and also as a large scale reflection of our industry and its shortfalls to us as an entire society, it involves each of us and will take us all to implement any change.
Thanks for reading,
Laura Jayne Zammit xoxo