Diversity and inclusivity; once considered buzzwords in a society undergoing real social change now they underpin the idea that everyone is worth their place.
And it seems business is embracing the fact there’s merit to promoting equality in meaningful ways.
New Zealand brand Jamie Kay, which creates boutique childrenswear is one of those outlets adopting that representation of a real society. They’ve just dropped their latest collection, which features children living with disabilities as some of their lead models.
Creative director Hannah Whitehead, whose own daughter is going through treatment for blood cancer says they, “pride themselves on making clothing for and representing every little one.”
They don’t want anyone to feel like they couldn’t dress their child in beautiful clothing and so, with little fuss or fanfare, chose to include kids with disabilities in their marketing campaigns.
The first drop of the ‘Grace Collection’ of the ethical fashion brand was released at the end of June, with accessories and winter clothing for babies and young children. Jamie Kay chose to use children with disabilities to model alongside their other children.
The response Whitehead says, has been overwhelmingly positive, with families getting in contact to thank the brand for representing children like their own. Whitehead says they want every family to feel welcomed and see it as an honour to be part of such a wonderful shift in the market.
The New Zealand brand which began in 2013, has stores throughout the country and has expanded to the global market with stockists around the world, all promoting their inclusive modelling; and the understated approach businesses like Jamie Kay have in these marketing campaigns is commendable.
They are, of course, not alone in their pursuit of diversity in fashion. All is for All, set up by kiwi, Grace Stratton, exclusively uses models with disabilities to showcase how clothes fit a more diverse range of people than they were first intended.
But they don’t stop there, the inclusive platform provides detailed descriptions of how garments work, making it easy for people to figure out whether they would be able to wear the clothes before they buy. Focussing on which designers to work with comes into mind for Grace as she chooses people who think about inclusivity and accessibility.
Lonely lingerie is another inclusive organisation providing a line of lingerie, swimwear and clothing which showcases women modelling from all walks of life, representing diversity, gender expressions, religions and physical abilities. They offer over 30 sizes and a comprehensive guide so all women can find the right fit.
Ignoring traditional marketing strategies, they aim to “Foster a sense of positive body image and freedom of expression.. bringing its collections to life via the Lonely Girls Project, a journal featuring women around the world from all walks of life captured wearing Lonely in their way.”
Studies are even illustrating the movement is taking hold, with people becoming more likely to choose one brand over another if they demonstrate real and authentic inclusion and diversity.
As a result, advice on how to create inclusive marketing campaigns is now starting to make its way into the industry now too. It’s emphasis on representing all people addresses values like tone, language, context, appropriation and stereotyping are helping companies from excluding anyone from a marketing approach.
The more companies begin to provide these inclusive solutions, the number of accessible companies grow. And thanks to companies like Jamie Kay, the inclusive marketing movement is on the path to make it the norm.
This story was first published for Attitude and is used with permission.