10 Clothing Brands Celebrating Diversity in 2019
By Emma Warner
Diversity is an issue that's long been contended with in the world of fashion, where too often, a narrow ideal of beauty is rigidly imposed. In recent years, however, more and more brands have begun cutting through the fog and celebrating the minority groups that should always have been embraced.
But in this day and age, it's no longer simply about diversity — it's about inclusion. This distinction is evident among brands who capitalise on the LGBTQ Pride Parades merely to treat diversity as a trend to market, as well as those whose participation is simply about jumping on the bandwagon. This calls into question whether or not diversity is truly being accommodated, or whether it's all just a marketing stunt. Even on the runway, The Fashion Spot reports that although there were more people of colour and those over 50 walking down catwalks this year, there are still plenty of fashion brands that refuse to embrace diversity in their clothing range and marketing campaigns. This demonstrates how there is still a long way to go when it comes to improving representation and inclusion in the fashion industry.
So, it’s important to recognise brands who are placing diversity at the heart of their organisation. Here are 10 clothing brands leading the way:
Gender Free World
Gender-neutral clothing lines have only recently started being developed by leading fashion brands, but Gender Free World puts this at the very core of their work. GFW’s popular line of gender-neutral and long-sleeved shirts are comfortable without sacrificing style, proving that gendered clothing isn’t just about keeping up with the trends. And it doesn’t stop there, as the brand also offers gender-neutral clothes for children.
Often referred to as the Purple Pound, the collective spending power of the disabled community in the UK is currently estimated to be worth £249 billion per year. Despite this, plenty of companies fail to meet their needs. Enter Kintsugi clothing, which aims to change exactly that. Launched in February, Kintsugi Clothing engages with the disabled community to come up with inclusive, on-trend apparel with functionality in mind. Business Up North shares that the brand aims to offer clothing that can be worn by anyone, regardless of their age, abilities, or body type.
For Brooklyn and Berlin-based Official Rebrand, clothing is its owner's canvas. Non-binary artist MI Legget promotes a non-binary lifestyle, and seeks to inspire gender-fluid audiences to openly express themselves through fashion. The creative takes gendered clothing and transforms it into elaborately designed gender-neutral pieces available for all.
Woman Within offers a variety of comfortable, plus-sized clothing options with inclusivity at the fore of everything they do. The brand's dedication to size inclusivity is always accompanied with a focus on elegant and timeless designs. Case in point: the collection of crinkle dresses on Woman Within highlights how the lightweight fabric exudes a casual aesthetic that flatter a woman’s curves — a common thread among all of the brand’s different collections. The brand is passionate about offering unique, trendy pieces to make sure plus-sized women don’t miss out on the latest styles.
Marks and Spencer
Retail giant Marks and Spencer has joined the movement to celebrate diversity, introducing the Easy Dressing line for disabled children, closely modelled after their main kidswear collections to ensure inclusivity and value. The brand developed the line over the span of two years, working with parents and children to ensure maximum comfort and functionality.
One of the UK’s popular high street fashion brands, River Island honours diversity through several lines that promote individuality through self-expression and fashion. Harpenne is one brand they aim to launch by September this year, as it focuses on offering an older age group timeless apparel meant to be worn all year round. Harpenne aims to tackle the gap in the market, and allow women of all ages to embrace their sense of style and feel confident at all times.
Focused on creating underwear any body can feel comfortable in, TomboyX has a range of gender-neutral underwear that caters for all sizes. Branching into apparel, TomboyX now offers everything from comfortable hoodies to swimwear — all of which have unique, eye-catching designs made for all body types.
TU (A Sainsbury brand)
The UK’s largest supermarket has its own clothing brand that celebrates diversity with their all-inclusive swimwear collection. Promoting comfort, TU offers a range of trendy swimsuits for a variety of ages and sizes — so that everyone looks and feels great at the beach.
Exclusively selling clothes for plus-sized women, Lovedrobe has been in the business for over 40 years, continually offering catwalk-inspired styles. From beautiful, everyday dresses to fab outfits for a night out with the girls, Lovedrobe offers plus-sized clothing for all occasions.
Clothing giant Zappos offers an entire line of accessible fashion, always taking things one step further compared to other brands. Aside from providing clothing with adjustable waistlines and easy closures, Zappos offers a variety of hospital wear as well — including active loungewear built for recovery, and clothing with adjustable collars for treatment. With so many options present, everyone is sure to find something they need at Zappos, which truly embodies the value of diversity.
Potential for more diversity
With more and more brands adopting inclusivity and diversity, it’s safe to say that we can expect the world’s major brands to catch on soon. Together, these brands can promote a market that encourages not only self-expression but also inclusivity, regardless of age, race, capability, or gender.