Sarah Neill, Founder Mys Tyler App
Research conducted by body confident fashion app, Mys Tyler, revealed that 90% of women don’t feel represented by fashion models or runway shows and 81% don’t feel represented by fashion advertising. There is an evolving consumer demand for diversity and representation in advertising, and in recent years, consumer voices are getting louder making it harder for retailers and the fashion industry to ignore.
Why is diversity and representation important?
Past research shows that when we’re exposed to body diversity, we can be less critical of our own bodies and this latest research shows that seeing women who are representative of how we look makes us feel better about our bodies with 78% of women feeling more relevant, better about their bodies, and/or inspired to try new styles when they see women who look similar to them in the fashion industry.
Representation in fashion not only helps women feel seen, it also improves the shopping process, helping us easily find clothes that suit our characteristics and fit our bodies.
There is a strong correlation between how we dress and how we feel with 89% of women feeling more body confident when they like their outfit. Despite the high correlation between what we wear and how we feel, a staggering 85% of us are not wearing outfits that make us feel good every day. Why is that?
It was revealed that 59% of women felt underrepresented by the fashion industry in size, 52% in age, 35% in height, and 9% in ethnicity. Style and ability also need greater visibility. 82% of women revealed they had recently had issues finding clothes that fit and surprisingly 51% of women found that their body shape was the biggest challenge they had when it came to fit, not their size.
Most models don’t represent most women. Whether it’s size, shape, height, age, ethnicity, or abilities, it’s hard to shop for clothes for your body when you can’t see how it will look on a body like yours.
So, where do women turn for these appropriate references?
Retail stores are still the main source of fashion inspiration for 55% of women, followed by social media at 33%. While brands are starting to promote diversity in their campaigns, the statistics argue there is still a long way to go.
Consumer sentiment has been changing, and representation is becoming increasingly important. 91% of women want to see a diversity in fashion, and there’s evidence that women will spend more on clothes worn by similar-looking models. Dollars drive behaviour, so we can look forward to seeing diversity improve in shop windows, the pages of magazines, runways and on social media.
But this is where we all can have an impact. We can continue to challenge the status quo and help dispel the myth that fashion has an age, height and size limit. By wearing your most fabulous pieces, the outfits that make you feel great, you can be that fashion reference point our society is craving. It’s time we help all women realize that what makes you feel good is always the most appropriate thing to wear.
Photographer: Gregory Beltre