Relation of gender inequality with fashion industry
Fashion is generally regarded as saucy. It is seen as a superficial realm that is often misinterpreted yet influential.
The most noticeable thing about fashion is that it is aspirational. This might sound fairly obvious. But it is quite possibly the most perplexing reason for gender inequality issues in fashion industry. Once we set apart the word ‘aspiration’ from the real meaning of style and fashion. Only then we could evaluate and solve the problems like gender inequality and sexism in the true sense.
Fashion industry has generally issues like environmental, social, economic and even political. Above all, fashion industry includes gender inequality issues. The main reason behind this is; almost everything to do with fashion has to do with the differences.
They can still intensely felt between men and women. This difference is there for consumers in an economic sense and for the workers themselves in a human rights sense. Serving to societal norms, this industry therefore can’t be isolated from gender inequality issues.
What women face in fashion industry?
We can’t deny the fact that fashion industry is propped up basically by women. They spend three times more on modeling & clothing than men and fill a large number of the entry level jobs. But the truth is slightly different.
Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that women are at the top in this space. Nor are their freedom and rights prioritised over those of men.
On the consumer side, indeed, the fashion industry spots women more than it does men. But when you see people at the top levels like creative directors and C-suite executives, men far outstrip women.
What study shows?
The study titled, “The Glass Runway,” by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Glamour, and McKinsey & Company, shows that fewer than 50 percent of popular womenswear brands are designed by women. And only 14 percent of main brands have a female executive in charge.
If you look so far the fashion industry supply chain, you will notice that — the majority of top jobs are still engaged by men. Even in the lavish space, the top jobs always tend to go to them. For instance, when BoF surveyed 371 designers wheeling 313 brands, it found that just 40.2% were female. This shows, the more esteemed the brand, the more possibly it was to be led by a man.
It is a basically ironic state of affairs for an industry where women make up the enormous bulk of the consumer base. In fact, researches show that women spend three times more than men on their attires. Women spent a whopping $159 billion in 2017 alone.
Why it is a major issue?
According to The Harvard Business Review, women tend to control over the purchasing decisions (around $20 trillion in annual consumer spending). But still remain a largely underrated market overall.
Ironically, fashion is an industry majorly ruled by women’s outfits and invigorated by female money. But still greatly handled by men.
If we work in a system which lets these things to happen until the kickback of the audience comes into play. Then it should be no matter of surprise that hardly any women hold the catbird seat.
It’s an outcome of the greater paradigm of power as well as the fashion industry’s longtime pattern of lifting up men. For what motive? Maybe, public want the male outlook and their throne in fashion. As it seems like a much more distant point of view. And may be it is indicative of the inescapable power dynamics that have been ingrained in our society for decades.
This is a kind reminder that though there has been much to discuss about like fashion’s size-ism issues, and its diversity issues. It has a gender issues too. Period.
How fashion is battling against gender inequality?
Recently, the entire fashion industry acknowledged an urgent need to shatter the glass runway. After which, many companies have enhanced their commitment level to gender diversity in the recent years.
Sure, there have been recent additions of women to an assemble of creative directors and executives of big fashion houses.
Fashion industry also proposes some solutions, including certain standard for advancement and flexible schedules. It is now a good time to start thinking about who runs the show in an industry and what caters to women.
We know that we can battle against gender inequality. But the question is how? Spur conversations; let your work shift the dynamics of gender. Spend your money on clothing and stuffs made from brands you can fully rely on all spectrums. Challenge definition through design; work together to transform the present. That’s where the power is, we just have to grasp it and keep on moving.