Real Beauty: Fenty's All-Embracing Imagery Opens Doors To A More Inclusive Futureby | June 10, 2019
That Rihanna has been championing inclusivity through numerous designer collections is a detail well known. From Fenty Beauty offering 40 shades of foundation to Savage X Fenty presenting its customers with an array of sizes and shades in lingerie, the singer has clearly revolutionised the beauty industry and the standards to which we uphold it.
Now, delving a step further to establish her already strong foothold in the beauty and fashion industry, the newly launched luxury fashion house, Fenty, has released an unretouched image that is garnering a lot of applause.
With south Sudanese, Kenyan, and Australian model Awen Mayen Chuol in the frame, the picture prominently showcases her facial scars, a departure from usual industry standards. Twitter, quite predictably, didn't hold back the much-deserved virtual applause while discussing the brand's latest advert.
This isn't the first time that Fenty has highlighted inclusivity in its portrayal of models; Savage X Fenty runways have long focussed on a lineup that defies societal norms and conventions. Case in point: For the brand's Fall 2018 show that served as the NYFW finale, two pregnant models walked the runway, showcasing the latest lingerie collection.
The 'inclusivity' factor, though relatively new in fashion, is a phenomenon that is catching up. To give credit where it's due, a small number of brands have been incorporating it in their brand adverts, photoshoots and more since quite some time now. With its 'Campaign For Real Beauty', Dove became the first beauty brand to present women without using Photoshop to retouch images back in 2004. Fast-forward 10 years later, vintage-inspired American retailer Modcloth became the first ever brand to sign 'Heroes Pledge for Advertisers', a no-Photoshop vow that would celebrate women as they were.
Fashion houses too are taking the leap towards inclusive fashion. In 2018, Adut Aketch Bior became the second model of colour in history to close Chanel's Fall 2018. Chosen by Karl Lagerfeld himself, the 18-year-old has since walked for a number of heavyweights, Isabel Marant, Off-White, and Versace to name a few. Following suit was Anok Yai, an Egyptian-born American who became the first black model to open for Prada in 20 years as she walked the Fall 2018 runway, following Naomi Campbell who was the first to do it in 1997.
Moving a step further in the direction towards inclusivity was ASOS's move to partner with BBC reporter Chloe Bill-Hopkins in 2018 in order to design a jumpsuit for people in wheelchairs. Waterproof and comprising of zips and fastenings, the two-piece tie and dye clothing was lauded for making fashion accessible, as was Tommy Hilfiger's line, Tommy Adaptive, that designs specifically for the specially-abled.
Newer names in beauty are depending heavily on making products that are available for one and all, regardless of appearance. Spktrm Beauty, for instance, is a relatively new player in the beauty industry to have banned retouching in its entirety.
Closer home, design maestro Sabyasachi is one name who is doing his bit in terms of honest representation. A wide range of skin tones and sizes grace the designer's Instagram, his primary form of communicating his brand's ethos.
Now, as more and more big names opt for inclusivity, we can only hope for a more all-embracing future that is open to all. Rihanna's Fenty has set the ball rolling, here's hoping that mainstream brands and those that cater to the masses also follow suit.