New U.K. Inclusivity Report: 68% Witnessed Discrimination in Fashion

LONDON – The British fashion industry needs to become more diverse, inclusive and less discriminatory, according to the findings of a report from a Parliamentary group.

The report, “Representation and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry,” was released Tuesday by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion, and revealed that 68 percent of people surveyed have experienced, or witnessed, discrimination in the fashion industry based on their appearance or beliefs.

The report addressed three key areas: Disability, race, and LGBTQ-plus. It found that 87.5 percent of those surveyed do not feel represented in advertising campaigns, fashion shoots, or on the catwalk. Some 83.7 percent stated that if a fashion brand is shown to be non-inclusive, it would impact their decision to shop with that brand.

Some 82.8 percent of the survey participants believed that the government should play a role in demanding better inclusion and representation from the fashion industry.

The report also looked at the impact that a lack of diversity and inclusion has on the revenues of brands, the wider economy and the community.

“It is my hope that this paper is read widely, both by industry and government, and that our recommendations serve as a roadmap towards a more inclusive, representative and successful U.K. fashion industry,” said Lisa Cameron, chair of the Parliamentary group. Cameron is a Member of Parliament and a clinical psychologist working for the National Health Service.

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The report was spearheaded by members of the advocacy group Fashion Roundtable, which supports the fashion industry and is urging the U.K. government to shift toward a more representative, equal, and sustainable future.

Royce Mahawatte, senior lecturer in cultural studies at Central Saint Martins, and a co-author of the report, said the study only scratched the surface in revealing ongoing systems of discrimination and exclusion within the fashion industry.

“While I am pleased that we have been able to produce this ambitious report, I am also dismayed by the evidence we heard. I hope that both government and industry can use our recommendations and seek to address the imbalances that we found, and to undertake further [work] on this little researched area,” he said.

Lottie Jackson, journalist, disability activist, and editor at Fashion Roundtable, added: “We must challenge the systems that tell us, time and time again, that beauty is found in archetypal norms. True representation is about authenticity, empathy and collaboration. In fashion and politics, we must do everything to ensure that a full spectrum of identities are heard, valued and showcased in the most creative of ways. This is where real beauty lies.”

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