How the Fashion Blogging Industry Lacks Diversity & What We Can Do About It

This article has been syndicated from GoodTomiCha, an InfluenceHer Collective Member. Read the full post here.

When I started my blog in 2015, I wanted to be one of the first black fashion bloggers. Crazy, right? I was really naive enough to think that there wasn’t a lot of us out there. As I began searching through hashtags like #blackgirlswhoblog and #browngirlbloggers and finding inspiration on Pinterest, it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t alone. If there were so many of us, why wasn’t I seeing black fashion bloggers on my feed?

How does this happen?

One of the main ways to make money as a fashion blogger is through collaborations. Different affiliate networks or retailers will reach out if they believe your audience will love their products. While some of this has to do with the brand you’ve created for yourself, it can also be from exposure from blogging websites. When those websites fail to highlight women of different backgrounds, you’ll begin to see the same faces over and over (seriously, the amount of Gucci belts and LV bags on my timeline is almost laughable). The brands then choose the same group and work with them on campaigns and the harmful cycle continues.

Fashion and beauty are not one-size-fits-all.

It seems that only recently has the fashion industry decided to implement more diversity. From runway shows to magazine covers, I always do a little dance when I see even the tiniest bit of Black Girl Magic represented. If you dress a certain way, you’re seen as “too white” or “too black.” What do those terms even mean? This can lead to a lot of young, black women believing they need to fit into a specific mold in order to be on trend.

Beauty standards for black women have also always encouraged us to fit into a Eurocentric culture. After being teased for having braids as a kid, I begged my mom to let me get a perm to straighten my hair. Unfortunately, that led to severe hair damage which of course made the teasing even worse. Not only is highlighting diversity the right thing to do, but it’s also good business! Rihanna’s launch of Fenty Beauty grossed over $72 million in one month simply because makeup lovers were excited to finally see a shade created with them in mind.

What we can do:

Next time you see a woman of color posted in a campaign or posting their content, share it! The more eyes that see that we’re here, the more people will pay attention. If you see a brand reposting a black fashion blogger, leave a like or comment so they know that people we want more diversity. Finally, to all of my fellow bloggers, let’s make sure to encourage one another! “Community over competition” is a beautiful thing. It’s my goal to encourage women of all backgrounds to be proud of their style and who they are, but I specifically want to use this platform to lift up other women of color. I think it’s time we hold brands accountable for showcasing all of the beautiful women out there. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors and we deserve to be represented in the fashion and beauty space.

It’s great that we’re moving forward, but we still have a long way to go.

Read the full post here.