NEW YORK. LONDON. MILAN. PARIS. MELBOURNE. COPENHAGEN — Over the past few seasons, fashion week has officially ushered in a growing movement, and the rest of the world is finally listening.
Inclusivity has become far more than just a buzzword. Now a standard in the fashion community, designers all over the world have renewed their commitment to breaking down barriers. It has become more about who wears these styles off the runway than creating designs for those on the runway. Size, race, and age have been better represented alongside designs that echo the growing element of gender neutrality. As the envelope continues to be pushed in the fashion world, it also lends way to a brand new spectrum of creativity within beauty.
Of this movement, ARTISTIC DESIGN.DIRECTOR James Nicholson has seen the changes first-hand. “I have witnessed inspiring changes in the beauty industry recently – model castings have become refreshingly diverse, characteristics once seen as flaws are now understood as uniquenesses and strengths. I hail those that are responsible for the subversion that has brought us this new fashion and beauty norm to hero inclusion and diversity,” Nicholson says.
From newcomers on the scene to industry greats, we saw the blurring of lines begin to take place at Prada, Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier nearly a decade ago and continue to echo more recently at Balenciaga, Tom Ford and A.P.C.. As androgyny continues to weave its way through society, artists like Olivier Rousteing’s protégé Ludovic de Saint Sernin have stopped portraying gender when designing and are moving toward “co-ed” collections. This movement is not simply a woman wearing a blazer, but rather clothes are being produced for well-rounded lifestyles. Doubling down on this movement, London Fashion Week announced that in addition to holding a completely digital Fashion Week this June they are also moving away from “Men’s Fashion Week” toward a gender-neutral classification.
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Allowing beauty to branch out in a parallel way, there is no longer a gender distinction when it comes to cut, colour, style, or products. Seeing the direct influence from non-binary skincare and makeup products, haircare has become more about how a certain colour or cut works for that individual person, or product for a hair type or style, versus what box they should fit into — reinforcing the notion of creating an individualistic bespoke look that fits a lifestyle. Additionally, natural texture is no longer being masked on the runways but rather capitalised upon. Models are gaining notoriety for their freckles, for their curls, and for the individual attributes that make them unique.
Now, more than ever, people are abandoning the search for “where do I fit in”? And instead of looking for the answer to “how do I stand out”? Garments, and coincidentally beauty decisions, are the currency in which individuals express themselves, and at a time where many are left in flux, so is their style. Moving forward, the runway as we know it will continue to morph into this new inclusive landscape. Brands will be challenged to meet the needs of individuals, hairstylists will be called to reiterate these sentiments through styling, and consumers will be looking for ways to embrace their natural beauty. Breaking down social constructs, we’re in for an exciting season of creativity ahead.