• APPG Textiles & Fashion

Representation and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry report launch

Updated: Jul 27



Representation and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry report finds 68% of people have experienced or witnessed discrimination in the fashion industry based on appearance or beliefs.


London, 20th July 2021 // Today the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion (T&F APPG) chaired by Dr Lisa Cameron MP releases the Representation and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry report.


The report looks at the role of the fashion professional and the impacts which a lack of diversity and inclusion has, not only on the individual, but also the economic impacts on the business revenue of a brand and on the wider economy. The report also offers solutions to address the social, cultural and far-reaching implications of a less inclusive fashion industry.


The Representation and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry report addresses three key areas of diversity and inclusion: disability, race and LGBTQ+, while acknowledging the urgent need for further research on more areas, which will form future work by the T&F APPG’s secretariat Fashion Roundtable.


The T&F APPG’s Representation and Inclusion Advisory Committee alongside Fashion Roundtable, conducted 5 parliamentary evidence sessions, which included submissions from designers and creative directors, models and model agents, and fashion educators. Written submissions were also collected as part of the evidence gathering.


In addition, the Are You Represented campaign which was launched at London Fashion Week in September 2019, gathered data from 337 survey respondents, ranging from fashion professionals to students and consumers. There have been many insights gained from the data, which include:


68% of those surveyed stated that they had experienced or witnessed discrimination in the fashion industry based on appearance or beliefs.

94.4% of those surveyed think it is important to see bodies like their own reflected in media images.

83% of our evidence submissions believed that the government should play a role in demanding better representation and inclusion in the fashion industry.

83.7% of those surveyed stated that if a fashion brand is shown to be non-inclusive, this would impact on their decision to shop with them.


Key findings:

  1. Lack of inclusion and representation in the fashion industry

  2. The fashion industry is missing out on potential revenue

  3. Sustained structural change is needed

  4. The industry is segregated

  5. Strong, transformational leadership is required

Alongside key findings, the Representation and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry report offers a series of policy recommendations for sector and governmental implementation with the aim to serve as a roadmap towards a more inclusive, representative and successful UK fashion industry. Full details can be found in the report.


Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion: This report looks at the role of the fashion professional and the impacts which a lack of diversity and inclusion has, not only on the individual, but also the economic impacts on the business revenue of a brand and on the wider economy. But this is not just an economic impact, it has social and far-reaching implications, all of which this paper not only outlines, it offers solutions to address. It is my hope that this paper is read widely, both by industry and government, and that our recommendations serve as a roadmap towards a more inclusive, representative and successful UK fashion industry.

Lottie Jackson, Journalist, Disability Activist and Editor at Fashion Roundtable: For me, the matter extends beyond numbers and commercial incentives. Achieving greater representation in fashion is a moral imperative. We must challenge the systems that tell us, time and time again, that beauty is found in archetypal norms...True representation is about authenticity, empathy and collaboration. In fashion and politics, we must do everything to ensure that a full spectrum of identities are heard, valued and showcased in the most creative of ways. This is where real beauty lies.

Caryn Franklin MBE, T&F APPG Representation and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Visiting Professor of Diverse Selfhood, Kingston School of Art and FACE Council member: After 40 years in fashion, observing business leaders entrusted with self-regulation, yet choosing to abdicate all moral responsibility in pursuit of quarterly profit return, I conclude that vital pro-social advance must be embedded within corporate governance by stakeholders with vision. As this report makes clear, there are new and untapped sources for business expansion requiring a wider variety of perspectives. Attention to progress and intention to swiftly engage, involves transformational leadership from the highest level. This then poses the ultimate question: Are the leaders currently holding such power – the right ones?

Karen Binns, Fashion Director, Fashion Roundtable, British Fashion Council Diversity Steering Group, Room Mentoring Advisory Council: Statistics do not lie. We know from the data that the person of colour spends double, sometimes triple the amount of money on clothes. Why? Because they must. We must. We are constantly the most judged on our appearances, which means we have no choice but to look the part, at all times to represent and to be successful. People of colour will be dismissed, ignored, and disregarded for an equal opportunity. This is business, and if fashion brands continue to ignore this issue of disregarding their biggest consumer they will lose - completely - especially now, that all black owned businesses are on an all time rise. At the end of the day, just do the numbers!

Dr. Royce Mahawatte, Academic Lead, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Central Saint Martins, UAL: In this report we have only scratched the surface to reveal ongoing systems of discrimination and exclusion within the fashion industry. Some of it is historic, repeating prejudices that date back to the very origins of the sector, some of it, however, was very contemporary, and very nuanced, and has perpetuated due to the way the industry is viewed now. While I am pleased that we have been able to produce this ambitious report, I am also dismayed by the evidence we heard. I hope that both government and industry can use our recommendations and seek to address the imbalances that we found, and to undertake further research on this little researched area.


ENDS


Notes to editors

Key statistics

83% of our evidence submissions believed that the government should play a role in demanding better representation and inclusion in the fashion industry

88.1% of those surveyed believed that images produced by the fashion industry do not represent a spectrum of different bodies and identities

87.5% of those surveyed do not feel represented in advertising campaigns, fashion shoots and on the catwalk

94.4% of those surveyed think it is important to see bodies like their own reflected in media images

90.5% of those surveyed stated that if a fashion brand has a good reputation for being inclusive (i.e. catering to marginalised people and showing a diverse range of bodies in adverts), then this would motivate them to purchase from those brands.

83.7% of those surveyed stated that if a fashion brand is shown to be non-inclusive, this would impact on their decision to shop with them.

76% of those surveyed believe that fashion imagery should combine fantasy with real life, only 4% believe that the imagery should be purely fantasy and 16.3% believe that fashion imagery should be based purely on real life, showcasing diverse selfhoods.

68% of those surveyed stated that they had experienced or witnessed discrimination in the fashion industry based on appearance or beliefs, with the largest group of those surveyed saying this was based on body image at 73.4% with ethnicity being the next highest reason at 49.2%, followed by age at 48.6%, disability at 48%, gender at 27% and religious expression at 17.6%.

82.8% of those surveyed believed that the government should play a role in demanding better inclusion and representation from the fashion industry.


About the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion (T&F APPG), chaired by Dr Lisa Cameron MP, was re-established in 2018 to promote the UK fashion industry, supporting and championing new design, British heritage brands, fashion manufacturing, retail and creative talent, as well as business development, and trade.


All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion Members Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Chair

Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP

Helen Grant, MP

Carolyn Harris, MP

Sharon Hodgson, MP

John McNally MP,

Stephen Timms, MP

Craig Tracey, MP

Baroness Uddin

Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey

Baron Vaizey of Didcot


This report was undertaken by the APPG and compiled in conjunction with Fashion Roundtable, Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion (T&F APPG), Academic Lead Dr. Royce Mahawatte, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Central Saint Martins, UAL, Davina Appiagyei, Research Assistant, Fjolla Kondirolli, Economics Researcher, Lottie Jackson, Editor, and Tamara Cincik, CEO & Founder.


With thanks to the T&F APPG Chair and members, the office of Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Sally Farr, Jodi Muter-Hamilton, Heather Lafferty, Cozette McCreery, the representation and inclusion Advisory Committee: Karen Binns, Fashion Director of Fashion Roundtable, Zowie Broach of the Royal College of Art, Claudia Burger, Celia Hensmas of Zebedee Management, Zebedee Models, Jacynth Bassett of the Bias Cut, Lucy Clements of Lucy London, Tolu Coker, Clara Holmes, Rebecca Weef-Smith, Caryn Franklin MBE, Lottie Jackson, Cynthia Lawrence John, Laura Johnson, Alex Pleasants, Hari Prabu, Jamie Windust, Grace Woodward, Meg Ellis, and Michelle Noel. Thanks also to the Fashion Roundtable Ambassadors, The Creative Industries Federation, the Social Mobility Commission and everyone who submitted evidence and completed the survey.


Fashion Roundtable is an advocacy organisation that supports the fashion industry and Government to shift towards a more representative, equal and sustainable future. We ignite effective discourse between fashion industry and policy leaders; Front Row to Front Bench.

Are You Represented social media campaign can be founded using the hashtag #AreYouRepresented




All reports available online at Fashion Roundtable

https://www.fashionroundtable.co.uk/reports

For comment or more information email: admin@fashionroundtable.co.uk For our news updates, please opt in to our newsletter


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