Fashion diversity is a constant talking point in the industry and seems to always be far out of reach. Despite the industry attempting to diversify, it always feel like it could go just that one bit further.
2017 was no different. The year started with London Fashion Week Men’s, but instead of hundreds of male models on the catwalk dominating fashion news, a group of diverse male models were the top headlines as they protested against the industry’s underrepresentation of ‘real’ men. They were fighting for more male models who represented everyday men in every shape, size and disabilities to be included in runway shows and fashion campaigns.
The demonstration was organised by menswear retailer, Jacamo, the #FashionForEveryMan hashtag was made up of contestants from their Real Man Runway 2016 model search competition. Stood outside London Fashion Week Men’s main venue on the Strand, the group held posters with shocking research findings written on them, which exposed the pressure of ‘perfect’ models, whether muscly or skinny, driving men to extreme measures.
Last year’s catwalk shows saw frequent male models with a tiny 28 inch waist size take to the catwalk, which is an unrealistic representation of men in society, when compared to the UK average of 37 inches.
The study of UK men, commissioned by Jacamo, revealed that a whopping 95 per cent of men don’t feel like the models used in fashion campaigns and advertising represent them. Consequently, a third of them aren’t happy with their current body shape, with over half (57 per cent) resorting to going on a diet and a significant 20 per cent going to extreme measures, including slimming pills or crash diets.
The protest follows last year’s news of the signing of the UK’s very first plus-size model. Ben Whittaker (aka Ben Whit) from Surrey was signed to the London-based Bridge Models agency in March as Britain’s first ever brawn model.
In problems widely discussed by female plus-size models such as Ashley Graham, the 24-year-old has previously opened up about the difficulty he found landing jobs for widely known brands, as they simply don’t design clothes for men who don’t fit into the standard sizes.
Despite the fashion industry starting the year off on a negative foot, the beauty industry could be the saving grace. Manny Gutierrez was announced to be the first male face of make-up brand Maybelline, where he starred in an advert for their new mascara, whereas previously the firm has used female models including Gigi Hadid and Jourdan Dunn.
But movements like the #FashionForEveryMan are hoping to spark a change, as there’s an increase in progress for body positivity in the female fashion world, there’s still a little way to go for men.
We’d love to know some of your opinions on this, do you think the fashion world needs to do more to involve all men? Tweet us at @SpiceUKOnline or leave a comment below, thanks!