Like many of us, Joan Smalls is not here for fashion’s diversity problem, i.e., there being so little diversity that season after season we’re able to do full reports on how bad it is. You would think that by now the fashion world at large would take a hint and realize that including more nonwhite models of varying sizes in campaigns and on the runways may ultimately be beneficial, but it seems so many are dedicated to selling the idea that whiteness and thinness are the be-all, end-all of beauty.
Joan chatted with Styleite about the issue, saying she thinks the industry needs to take it upon itself to reflect the diversity of the world, as fashion companies are indeed trying to sell their wares to a diverse group of people. Surely, fashion brands love the dollars they get from people of all colors and sizes, but don’t seem to be too committed to actually representing some of the people keeping them in business.
“I feel like the fashion world owes that social responsibility to people to see themselves on the runway or in high fashion. Everybody’s a consumer. Not just a particular gender or a particular race,” she said. “When you’re in middle America or the middle of the world, you want to see the fashion. You want to say oh my god that girl is so beautiful, you know, you can identify with the girl because you’re familiar and it gives hope instead of pushing an idea of what beauty is or a stereotype of what beauty is. Beauty is different shapes, different colors, different backgrounds. I think that’s what beautiful [sic].”
Once again, Joan nails it. Like it or not, people of all races and sizes consume fashion, so why shouldn’t they be represented?