We have been shown time and time again that sometimes catering to a small demographic is not the best way to make a profit. The likes of Fenty, Louboutin, Dolce & Gabanna, Ivy Park and Tiffany & Co, have aligned their brands to represent a larger, more diverse market; proving through success that radical inclusivity is the way to go in the new market.
And while it’s obviously a convenient time to be an activist, it’s worth celebrating the fact that after decades of criticism, fashion is finally embracing an audience of different races, ages, and sizes.
Unsurprisingly, it seems Rihanna’s Fenty lines have tapped into a palpable void in the market for more inclusivity in commercially-sold beauty products. Representation has been a huge problem in the beauty industry for a long time. Even before Fenty Beauty launched, it positioned itself as an inclusive beauty line for all skin tones offering 40 shades of foundation. Now its radical marketing towards pretty much all women has proved a good move, recently introducing a lingerie range with sizing that goes up to 3X in underwear and 44DD in bras.
While the beauty industry has historically failed to represent people of colour in ads and with products, Rihanna, along with other celebrities and beauty moguls like Pat McGrath, Christian Louboutin, and Kylie Cosmetics, has taken matters into her own hands. Last year, Beyoncé introduced a baseball cap just for women with natural hair and curly hair for an accessible $35 as part of her Ivy Park collaboration with Topshop. Unsurprisingly, it sold out.
While companies begin to build their arsenals to appeal to a wider set of customers, more education to better address the needs of minority women is coming further into demand. But it isn’t just the beauty industry that is turning to inclusivity as part of its ethos, bigger brands have been using inclusive marketing to get people talking.
A year ago, Tiffany & Co., ran its first ad featuring a gay male couple with the slogan “Will you?”. Magnum icecream featured a lesbian wedding in a TVC campaign – the icecream was portrayed as fairly incidental to the wedding itself, but Magnum’s ad still went viral because of its inclusivity. Spark included a non-traditional family in a starring role in one of its ads this year, resulting in recognition from its customers.
By taking a strong stand, these brands get many more eyeballs than they would with safe, please-everybody-and-therefore-nobody products and marketing. For every person they might annoy, the brands are reaching many more potential customers. Just like sex, inclusivity can be controversial, but right now the benefits are outweighing the drawbacks. The success by brands such as Fenty has shown that companies who aren’t aiming to have radical inclusivity at the front of their ethos have no excuses left.