Does Ethical Fashion Have a Diversity Issue?
I've had body issues on body issues for my whole life. Finding clothes that fit my tall and large body is actually the bane of my existence. I basically live in pants I pretend are meant to be a cropped style. Love the long legged life. Investing in clothes that also fit my ever fluctuating body is also a struggle.
When I started shopping ethically, I thought hey, here's a market that is striving to make the world a better place, so I'm sure I'll be able to find clothes that fit me. Unfortunately the ethical fashion industry is just as bad as the fast fashion industry when it comes to representation of diverse bodies. So when Morgan of The Garment Life asked for real humans to be a part of a photoshoot and virtual pop-up event featuring a larger representation of bodies wearing ethical clothing, I jumped at the chance.
I felt beautiful wearing these clothes that are made with love, and I was so happy that I finally could see myself represented (in a way more literal way than I intended) in both the photos, and the subsequent brands Instagram feeds. Morgan has a goal of connecting 1000 ethically made pieces of clothing with people (goal recently accomplished) fighting against exploitative fast fashion. She also wants the people buying ethical clothing to feel beautiful and comfortable wearing the pieces. She also recently prioritized WOC to be featured in a future shoot. She curates brands that are beautiful & ethical & sweatshop free. It was refreshing to be in the company of impressive and powerful women, and also to not feel uncomfortable in my body.
While this was a great thing to be a part of, there is still a major lack of diversity in the ethical fashion industry. From actual body sizes, to racial diversity, to physical abilities, the mainstream media still highlights bodies that are white and thin. If we can't see ourselves represented, how are we supposed to believe that we are worthy, and valid as people in the world? I say this being a white, cis-gender woman, who although wears plus size clothing, also can still fit into clothing at most stores. I recognize that my body is being seen more and more, but I am still frustrated and angry at the fact that so many people can't find both representation and clothes that fit them. I believe that ethical fashion has an immense diversity issue.
I hope that the ethical fashion industry steps it up. I see more and more brands, especially smaller makers & creators listening to their customers, and offering more sizes. I believe that the ethical fashion world must improve on their representation and offerings, otherwise they're not only missing out on a whole market of wonderful people, but actively excluding them.
Here are 4 ethical brands offering more than just a size L.
- Emilie Maine