Thinking Beyond: Diversity in Fashion Marketing

A brand that values diversity will get ahead in a world where customers have endless choices.

Think about all of the people you see on an average day. How they are different from one another? Do they have the same body type? Do they have the same skin color? Do they have the same sense of style? All of these people wear and shop for clothing.

When people think about the idea of diversity in fashion marketing, I always encourage people to start by picturing the people around them. If your friends and family are diverse and different, why wouldn’t a big group of customers be the same way?

The path to diversity.

Marketing to the Internet-savvy customer means embracing diversity. The fashion industry has finally realized that customers of all sizes and skin tones want fashionable clothing. However, many companies are struggling with how to change their marketing.

This isn’t happening only in the fashion world. Netflix is promoting international shows that focus on non-white cultures. Dietland and Shrill both recently showed plus-size women living full lives on television to great acclaim. Yet the media giant is taking out ads in an effort to attract diverse talent.

People buy more clothes when the models look like them.

If you have the resources, try to make sure that your models represent a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and sizes. This makes it easier for customers to imagine themselves in your garments. You’ll increase your sales by helping them feel welcome and supported

While you don’t have to please everyone, make sure that each piece of your inventory is displayed on an appropriate size model.

If you don’t showcase your full range of sizes, you risk losing customers.

Have you ever seen a website that carries a core and plus-size version of the same item but uses only the core size photo? Of course you have, because that is standard for many shopping sites.

People are more visually oriented when shopping online, so you need to make sure you show people that you carry their size. If they don’t see images of models in their size, customers may just assume that you don’t carry it. And they’ll never give you a chance. They may even assume that you actively don’t want to serve their body type. This deprives you and your brand of the ability to create new fans and sales.

Size-free shopping is the future.

An increasing number of brands are moving to the concept of a size-free store where every piece of clothing or lingerie is available in a vast range of sizes. Modcloth now runs multiple stores that carry the same pieces in sizes XS through 4X.

Universal Standard has been experimenting with pop-up shops that run from 00 to size 40. At the shop of the future, three friends in different size ranges can walk in together and all try on the same dress.

You can recreate a size-free shopping experience online with smart photography and menu labeling. Make sure that no size range feels put aside or minimized and ensure that all menus are easy to navigate. A sort-by-size option is fine, but that doesn’t mean that your offerings have to be grouped by size range. Embrace equality and diversity.

As shopping online becomes increasingly popular, customers are choosing between hundreds of brands. You can get their attention – and their business – by including everyone in your marketing efforts. After all, everyone wants to feel seen.

About the Author

Andrea Roe is Project Director for Seven Stockings, a graphic design firm for the fashion industry.