The Diversity & Inclusion in Fashion & Beauty panel took place on Saturday at Summer in the City 2019. With Nafisah Atcha moderating, panellists Demi Donnelly, Isabelle Weall, Jojo Watson, and Nikki Lilly discussed the need for diversity and inclusion in a tough industry that focuses so hard on looks.
The panellists discussed some of the ways the industry has improved its stance on diversity and inclusion, but decided there is more that needs to be done when it comes to representation. Here are the three of the main points they made…
Diversity in advertising needs to be normalised
Izzy opened the discussion by mentioning that, as amazing as it is to see companies accepting different body types, races, and disabilities, they need to do it more so it becomes the norm.
Jojo said that there shouldn’t be a massive celebration when they do it — it should just be a normal thing for them to do, to the point where there is no massive discussion about it all.
If you have the power to educate an audience, then do it!
Nikki said that she started her channel in order to educate others — not only about her condition, but about how to ask questions about her in a polite way. Izzy chimed in saying she much prefers that people ask questions about her disability than stare at her.
This led to the panellists discussing how putting themselves out there online can help their audiences. “By doing what I do, it allows others to see the different type of bodies that are out there,” said Demi, “and makes it amazing to see clothes on these bodies that may be similar to yours.”
Don’t wait for brands to catch up – set the trend now
Jojo followed on from the discussion of education to state that you shouldn’t have to wait for brands to make progress: “If you have the confidence to put yourself out there, do it now! The sooner people are out there accepting the differences, the quicker we can all be seen as beautiful.”
Demi added that no matter what type of videos you do or what kind of person you are, there will always be negative comments – so you might as well get them talking about you and drawing in more attention for your channel.
Overall the panel decided that it’s amazing to see the fashion and beauty industry starting to better reflect the real world, but there are still improvements to be made.
The session ended with the panellists sharing some top tips for self-care, including pampering sessions, social media detoxes, and only following those who inspire you. Nikki concluded the panel by stating that “all of you need to look in a mirror and say, ‘I’M ENOUGH!'”
Photos by Emma Pamplin.
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