by Ally McLaren
The Spring/Summer 2024 runway season wrapped earlier this month, featuring hundreds of star-studded fashion shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York.
Renowned fashion houses and up-and-coming designer brands showcased their latest collections to A-list models and attendees, gathered to celebrate what’s new fashion.
But, what was missing from 99% of this season was size inclusivity.
Vogue Business’ analysis of the SS24 womenswear shows found that less than 1% of the looks at SS24 shows were plus-size.
The size inclusivity report for SS24 analysed all the shows and presentations to determine the total looks that were straight-size, mid-size and plus-size. Out of 9,584 looks, 0.9% were plus-size, while 3.9% were mid-size.
However, it’s important to mention those who made an effort. Included in the top five most inclusive shows were designers Karoline Vitto and Chopova Lowena in joint first, followed by Bach Mai, Palmer Harding, Di Petsa and Patrick McDowel.
These statistics prove that smaller, independent, mainly female designers are more focused on including a diverse range of models and looks over larger fashion houses and big-name designers.
Luxury brands Balenciaga, Ferragamo and Mugler did make a positive change, having been included on the top rankings for inclusivity for the first time during reporting. Despite this, the majority of brands still have a long way to go.
This is an improvement, albeit a minor one, from the statistics that Vogue Business reported for the AW23 looks, where only 0.6% were plus-size.
While an improvement is an improvement, if we can only hope to see a rise of 0.3% of inclusivity between seasons, it is going to take far too long for runway shows and fashion collections to be anywhere near as diverse and representative of the people who wear their clothes.
In 2022, The British Fashion Council and the MBS Group launched a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) report analysing how this is being prioritised across the industry. This research further demonstrated the urgent need for change throughout all levels of organisations. The aim is to provide a benchmark for progress to hold organisations to account and to act as a tool for businesses who want to prioritise diversity and inclusion.
Rather than brands thinking about how they can do the minimum to tick a box, the focus should be on the long-term impact across the entire industry.
A lack of representation leads to isolation for a huge community of consumers who will feel as though the statement from brands is that their clothes are not for you. This not only can remove a huge target audience for brands, but as diversity becomes more of an important consideration for all consumers and investors, it can hurt reputation and sales.
As fashion is the way that so many of us represent our individual style and personalities, it’s extremely hurtful for brands to deliberately isolate people who look like me. Plus-size people just want to see themselves represented, included and respected in the same way that straight-size people are. The best designers create clothes for people and not for coat hangers, embracing that looks can accentuate all people and all bodies.
Edited by Emily Duff