Diversity has been one of 2017′s most important words, especially in light of the year’s mounting racial tensions.
Some might say it became a bit of a ‘buzzword’ – used to ensure boxes were ticked and the masses were pleased.
Arguably, no industry courted the word as much as the fashion world, for both good and bad reasons.
Now, looking forward to 2018, it seems the zeitgeist is demanding more inclusivity than ever – without the tokenism.
Here are 4 fashion ad campaigns that blazed a trail among their contemporaries and spearheaded us all towards a more genuinely inclusive world.
Old Navy And Modern Families
The first in our round up actually first aired in 2016, but continued to make waves this year.
The adorable advert in which a black maternal figure is seen with a white father-figure carrying a black son outraged some upon its release.
While the large majority of people seemed to love the American label’s nod to inclusivity in blended families, a notable number of individuals took to social media to air their frustration at the narrative.
Not only did this backlash demonstrate the United States’ ever-present racial issue, but it also shone a spotlight on how crucial diversity in advertising is.
After all, the more this type of imagery is seen, the less shock it will elicit.
Nicopanda And Ambiguity
Nicopanda’s choice to feature five young models of ethnically ambiguous backgrounds was a perfect reflection of the designer’s stance against putting people (and things) in boxes – whether that be on gender or identity.
Headed by Italian-Japanese director Nicola Formichetti, the brand has a strong sense of unity with the ideals of this zeitgeist and is never dull with it’s presentation.
To quote the brand’s ‘about’ page: “NICOPANDA is designed for all and available to all.”
Nike Pro Hijab And Accessibility
With the mantra of ‘sport is for everyone,’ Nike sent a powerful message into the world: modest fashion is not a tokenism, but very much a branch of their business.
They brought this point home by featuring three leading Muslim athletes: Olympian medalist fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, four-time Berlin boxing champion Zeina Nassar and international figure-skater Zahra Lari.
In so doing, Nike proved the relevance of this campaign and silenced many naysayers.
Benetton And Future Generations
Oliviero Toscani’s re-instatement as art director of Benetton saw a re-focus on the topic of diversity with the visionary’s first new campaign featuring students of various backgrounds in the same Italian primary school.
“This is the reality of today,” Toscani told HuffPost UK back in November 2017.
He added that “children will be the future of Italy, of every country,” and that featuring narratives of integration would be the brand’s main mode of communicating with their audience.