Diversity in the City – Inclusivity Matters in Fashion
Hey fashionistas! So if you have been following me on my Insta stories you would have saw the exciting news! I am one of the 85 finalists for the Fohr Freshman Class!!! What is that you may ask? Fohr Freshman Class is a program designed to provide mentorship, opportunities and networking to influencers whose voices have been ignored by the industry. As you may already know since I have voiced this topic on many occasions, the influencer industry has a BIG diversity issue. Unfortunately influencers who don’t look a certain way whether is size, race, color and following counts do not get the same opportunities of certain group of influencers in the world. Many may have noticed a lot of brands instagram pages would only feature a particular look of influencers. But influencers are coming in all sorts – older ages, male, curvy, short, black, Indian, middle eastern, latina, Asians, etc. Fohr wants to see more diverse voices getting the attention and deals that they deserve therefore created this amazing opportunity to see more “Diversity in City” or cities I should say. The final 10 gets an all expense paid trip to NYC to learn from the best in the industry, meet brands, PR companies for a very up-building learning workshop. Meet the 85 finalists here! This post is discussing how diversity matter in fashion and influencer world!
Photography Credit BanAvenue Photography. Click links to shop my outfit: Copper jumpsuit , pewter clutch and hand bracelet.
The timing of this exciting news could not have been more perfect! This week I had already planned on posting about this beautiful group of ladies that you have seen on my Instagram during New York Fashion! What Fohr is doing is something that I feel strongly about and I feel I have been doing and trying to promote in this influencer world – diversity and inclusivity. In this industry, so many things seems so “exclusive”. Exclusive to certain people but not everyone, no inclusive Everyone wants to be able to connect with not just those who are similar to them but with others who may not be similar to them. Influencers and people in general need to feel that they connect with their peers and feel welcome but the ugly truth is the is far from being the case in the influencer/blogging world. Those who say – “oh it is not that bad… I always feel included and are invited to meet ups or events”. I ask you – are you contributing to the problem? Are you just content with being part of this “exclusive” group and turn a blinds eye not wanting to see the real problem?
Can you use your voice to help encourage those around you… better yet could you INFLUENCE brands that are constantly reaching out to you to widen out? Being in influencer is not just about products. You can influence something good like a positive message which is something that I strive to do with diversity photoshoots that I like to do from time to time such as this one during New York Fashion Week.
The one thing that I have realized in my two and a half years of blogging is that influencers have a bigger influence on brand collaborations than you think. One thing that I learned from a positive conversation with a brand is brands do not know all the influencers in a particular city. They may know a few, but from the influencers photos and instastories they see who influencers hang out with, what other influencers are in the same city, looks them up and invites their friends. What does this create? Most influencers only hang out with those with very similar styles and following counts. You hardly ever see a 100K influencer brunching it up with a 10K influencer. Or a 50K influencer hanging out with an influencer less than 10K. It makes no sense because at one point in time everyone was less than 10K. Some influencers with lesser following have awesome content, have great advice and style that we can learn from. But if you stick to your little clique how can you ever truly grow – not in numbers but as a person? So when all your stories and posts shows the same group of influencers, then it gives the misinterpretation that these are the only influencers in the area or the only ones with great content or worth connecting with. So then this creates a domino effect.
Brand A invites Influencer A to an event and sees she hangs out with Influencer B, C, D and E (all very similar in style and look-no diversity). Brand A then invites all of the influencer to an event. The brand ends up collaborating with all these influencers. Brand A loves their content and reposts photos of influencers A-E. Brand B follows Brand A and says “wow they collorating them” and think “Let me reach out to them for a group collab since they look great together”. Brand B reposts their photos which is seen by Brands C and D. You get the point. Brands could be getting a false idea that this is what consumers wants to see -this particular style of influencers- perhaps thinking diversity cannot be done or won’t look right or won’t create the same results because none of the other brands are collaborating with influencers outside of this particular group/look
We as influencers can change this. When I first had the idea to do small blogger meet ups in my city was to promote this same idea. I figured 1.) try to get influencers of different following together to really get to know each other in real life vs just on social or at an event. 2..) Perhaps get a group shot of all of us having fun looking different and everyone share on Instagram or stories so other influencers and follower and especially brands can see ” hey they are all different but look great together in the SAME photo!”
Unfortunately I discovered some in my city were not interested in “widening out”. They declined my meet up requests. How do I know that they declined for that reason? Well a few times the bloggers stated that they were interested and excited BUT asked for a names of people who I was inviting. Once I gave the names, they were suddenly unavailable… note i never gave them a date or month when this meet up would happen but they already knew that they were unavailable and too busy?? You were not too busy before you knew who I invited…..
However, what I can tell you is that the friendships that have blossomed because of widening out and doing these meet ups have been great! So when I knew I was going to attend New York Fashion Week this year, I wanted to do a diversity meet up! I wanted to do it last year, but because I decided to do NYFW so last minute there was no time to coordinate. So I put a lot of thought in what I imagine this diversity shoot would look like who I wanted so to give a powerful message of true diversity. So I reached out to 4 other bloggers for this cool shoot. Meet Dania of The Girl in the White Scarf, Lauren of Lauryn Cakes, Vanessa of Vanessa in Dallas and Steph of Trend In Indy! As you can see we are all very different in race, style, size and follower size. But look how beautiful we all look together, in the same photo, attending the same fashion event! We all have different fashion styles but all very chic. Just because someone may seem different or does not fit some false mold that industry tries to promote as what an influencer should look like does not mean we cannot be successful, beautiful or considered an real influencer.
I have learned alot from these girls and even gotten fashion inspo from them too! Definitely give these girls a follow to be inspired! They all love the idea of diversity and to promote it during New York Fashion Week! My sweet Dania I was so excited that she agreed to be part of the shoot. I had be following her for awhile but never had a chance to connect in Dallas. With this culture of wearing head scarfs, I had never seen it styled so high fashion until I came across her page! I loved her look and felt that others should see this too! Influencers are not always caucasian or tall or skinny so I felt this group of ladies represented something that everyone could relate to in some way.
So if you are an influencer or brand remember this, Fashion Sees No Color, so widen out! As far as the Fohr Freshman Class, I don’t know if I will be part of the final 10 but just knowing that I was recognized and my story was heard and thought of makes me happy just being one of the 85! Congratulations to all finalists!! I feel like it has been a big success just making it to this round! Thanks for checking out this post! I hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned for more content by following me on instagram and subscribing to my blog!