Why are Brands Still Having This Problem in 2018?

From H&M’s racially insensitive ad misstep, to Revolve, a trendy influencer-friendly brand being slammed for their lack of inclusivity; social media has been on fire this week with comments on brands’ diversity problem.

Revolve, an LA-based e-commerce brand who supports a network of 5,000 influencers, hosted one of their many fancy excursions #RevolveAroundTheWorld this week in Phuket, Thailand. The trip was organized in collaboration with Chrissy Teigan and Kim Kardashian’s hairstylist Jen Atkin and her brand OUAI. Influencers were chosen to frolic on beaches, have fun, post cute pictures and wear clothing from the brand. Sounds pretty lit, right? There was  just one problem:minimal representation of women of different backgrounds and sizes.

When scrolling through Instagram following this trip on Monday, this issue resonated with Valerie Eguavoen, a 26-year old, black plus-size blogger of On A Curve. She shared her thoughts to her platform of 12k followers, and was reposed by @Diet_Prada–the go-to account for all unjust practices in the fashion industry–which caused the dialogue to take a life of its own.

While the fashion industry makes small strides when it comes to inclusivity, it’s not exactly starting off on a more progressive foot in 2018.  Whether you’re apart of Instagram’s fashion community and follow those who engaged in the conversations, this is a topic that precedes fashion and these controversies. Although it’s not shocking that people of color and women who don’t meet certain standards of beauty are generally overlooked in the industry, change starts within, and they have to work twice as hard for a seat the table. Sure, these women have enough talent, pizazz and creativity to create their own avenues, however, it’s still fair to call out injustices in an industry that excludes, yet profits off of people of color.

With this, there was one collective agreement: brands should stop talking about diversity and be about diversity, and employ enough people of color. Not only do all kinds of people deserve to be represented, but they’re able to offer their own uniqueness and perspectives of the message the brand is sending out. This may avoid the inevitable apology of tone-deafness many brands opt for when faced with backlash of offensive ads and campaigns. *Rolls eyes at Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad*  

Revolve, which we’ve noticed doesn’t have the most diverse marketing team, and is no stranger to lack of diversity backlash, has yet to issue a statement.

Aimee Song aka @songofstyle, one of the most popular influencers and one invited on the trip, did respond, however. In a DM to Valerie, Aimee agrees with the struggle to make it to the top as a blogger of color, but also suggested that Revolve’s lack of diversity may be caused by the ‘lack of popular POC bloggers’. This angered Valerie, leading her to create an Instagram page named @YouBelongNow, highlighting “content creators who are consistently overlooked because of the color of their skin, their religion, their gender, and size.”

The idea that bloggers of color, more specifically black women, are excluded because they aren’t as ‘known’ proves the point that their lack of exposure is perpetuated by the fashion industry. They don’t receive the same collaborations and campaigns, and  often times don’t make the same amount of money for the same projects.

Luckily. there are multiple online communities that highlight women of different backgrounds and religions. From plus size, body positive women, to women of color who want to see different skint0nes and hair types, these platforms connect you to talented content creators and working girls just like you. You can do your part by spreading awareness and submitting content creators of color you know to these communities, or simply follow and get inspired!

You Belong Now by Valerie Eguavoen / @youbelongnow

Brown Girl Bloggers / @browngirlbloggers

Bloggers of Color / @bloggersofcolor

 

Blacks Who Blog / @blackswhoblog

Muslim Girl / @muslimgirl