In 2016, a study of International journal of fashion design, technology and education has shown that the average height of an American woman is between 16 and 18. Yet when looking at most clothing sizes, anything over size 12 or 14 is considered “plus size,” and brands do not offer these larger sizes.
Also, historically, the models of many fashion brands were size 0. So anyone looking at these models as a standard is not looking at a true picture of reality.
Over the past couple of years, more and more fashion brands have started to include more women of all sizes.
In 2018, Cosmopolitan UK featured plus-size model Tess Holiday on the cover. Also in 2018, Rihanna launched her ultra inclusive lingerie line which offers a wide range of sizes and featured models of all sizes in her fashion shows. Tall women rejoiced. They had gotten used to not feeling seen, not being able to find their size in the clothes they wanted, and not feeling good about themselves because of the images that didn’t include them and the experiences that didn’t include them. had frustrated and ashamed. And now there were signs that things were changing.
Even brands that have been slow to embrace size inclusiveness are starting to appear. Victoria’s Secret has received a lot of criticism over the years for not being in favor of body inclusion. Their spring 2020 line included two plus size models.
You don’t have to be in the fashion industry to consider what’s going on with it from an inclusive marketing standpoint. The lessons here are universal.
Don’t ignore the numbers
If the average woman in the United States wears a size 16 or 18, it makes sense that products, services, and experiences include women of those sizes. It’s a smart business.
The data also shows that racial and ethnic minorities in the United States will soon be in the majority. Pew Research reports that Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, make up 24% of the U.S. population and are 48% in the minority. Trends show that Gen Alpha, the generation that succeeds Gen Z, will be even more diverse.
A study by Refinery29 and Chase showed that women are the breadwinners in 40% of American households. And more data from Pew Research has shown that 42% of adults in the United States live without a spouse or partner. If you look at this data for adults 35 and under, the percentage jumps to 61%.
The population is changing at all levels from a demographic point of view. And these demographics have a profound impact on how people see and interact with the world, which of course includes your marketing messages.
The numbers show that inclusiveness in your marketing is necessary. Inclusiveness is staying. And inclusive marketing will soon be no longer an option, but an expectation.
Representation matters more than ever
Your customers need to see themselves or who they aspire to be reflected in the visual images you provide. When they can be seen, your brand sends the signal that “you are here”. When they don’t see each other, they get the signal “it’s not for you”, and go looking for another brand that makes them feel like they belong.
So, if the people who buy your products are taller, the images you offer should include people who are taller. If black people buy your products, your marketing should take that into account. And if single adults buy your products, your images should include single adults who are thriving.
Inclusive marketing is the future of marketing. Don’t fight the future. Lean over it and start reaping the rewards.