We are very lucky this month to have our blog written by Sam the founder of Another Now the new sustainable and ethical online store for EVERY BODY. She writes, very inspiringly about Inclusivity and Diversity in the fashion world today, and what it means to be truly inclusive. We were honoured to be part of their initial launch and to have found our partner where our values align and can inspire us to do better.


Another Now was born from a place of love.
For our planet, people and animals.
I think when you start there, and make that your North Star, then it’s impossible for you not to have a spirit of acceptance for everybody, so inclusivity just became part of our brand DNA.
I look forward to the day that all brands see it that way.

Inclusivity and Diversity are very on-trend subjects right now, which is great because it means there is a positive tidal change.
Inevitably with this, comes the propensity for these to be used as marketing tools without any real action put behind them, (in the same way that greenwashing exists when it comes to Sustainability) but I guess this is how it has to be for now. The important thing is that we continue to break down boundaries and change attitudes and it’s great that so many brands, like Wild Clouds, are adding to the conversation because I think that collectively, we can bring about real and lasting change.

In my mind, true inclusivity will exist when all those under-represented or marginalised are seen, valued, represented and catered for without question, and this is not viewed as a box-ticking exercise or dismissed as ‘wokeism’.
I’m not suggesting that brands shouldn’t identify an aesthetic, or niche, and define and position themselves appropriately.
It’s not financially viable for all brands, small brands especially, to be everything to everyone, plus a total homogenisation across the board would just be boring, wouldn’t it? not to mention having the opposite sentiment of celebrating our differences.
I do feel though, that a shift change across the fashion industry as a whole is the right way forward, one which means that brands feel encouraged to consider including certain offerings which they perhaps hadn’t previously thought about. For example truly size-inclusive ranges, and also so that brands don’t or legally can’t, discriminate.

When I started out as a styling assistant in the early 2000s at fashion magazines, I was indoctrinated into a world where there was a certain ‘look’ which was deemed to be aspirational.
The look that was peddled at the time was mostly photographed on white models.
“Black cover models don’t sell magazines” I was once told by an Editor who was my former boss.
In luxury fashion, this look also usually meant the skinnier the better, and very young models tended to fit the ultra-small samples.
Whilst I’m not going to pretend that I did much, or anything at all at the time to try and fight the status quo, (and I’m ashamed to say it was common knowledge that many young models suffered from eating disorders) the irony of the fact that in reality, the customers most likely to be able to afford these luxury pieces were undoubtedly much older and probably not a sample size, was never lost on me.

Thankfully we’ve come quite a long way since those days. Racism in fashion has been called out, and we’ve seen some positive change. Edward Enniful even being appointed to the helm of Vogue, was a watershed moment, let alone the great work he did there to promote Diversity and Inclusivity, before handing the reins to a black woman, Chioma Nnadi.
The rise of black and brown-owned brands who have created a space for themselves also shows huge strides forward. Nevertheless, we still have a long way to go when it comes to Inclusivity, Diversity and Representation, not just when it comes to ethnicity, but for many other under-represented groups.

I could talk all day about the way that ageing, or more specifically anti-ageing is marketed to us, especially to Women. The messages we are drip-fed, that as we age, our youth should be preserved at all costs are so ingrained in me, that now I’m in my 40s, I have to work hard not to speak to myself badly or judge myself harshly as I watch the changes which occur on my face and body as the year’s progress.
I mostly choose to view ageing as a privilege, but after years of conditioning, this is still something I battle with.
I find myself being drawn towards anti-ageing products or treatments, and whilst I have no problem in admitting that, I do feel a responsibility to question how much of this comes from a place of self-care and empowerment versus the feeling that I’ve been shamed into thinking that I should not age, or that I should buy expensive products and treatments to ‘hold it off’ for as long as possible.

Ultimately, surely it’s up to each of us individually to make our own choices over our bodies and decide for ourselves how we want to project ourselves to the world. Still, I can’t help but feel that we need to keep questioning the messages we are fed, and if they make us feel like we are not worthy, not enough, or lied to, then should we take them on?
Should we also perpetuate a cycle which sends the message to younger women that they too should not have the audacity to age? On a deeper level, does that convey a more damaging, insidious message which suggests that we are not as valid as we age, or that we should not be considered a whole person after a certain point? If so, then what impact does this have on the workplace? One where we are already challenging the gender pay gap, fighting centuries of the patriarchy, and questioning the balance of power in the top jobs.

Perhaps it’s also time we really questioned our attitudes to size inclusivity. Let’s be honest, even if a brand provides a ’plus size’ range, they are usually very limited or can be a bit of an afterthought when it comes to the design.
People come in all shapes and sizes. Every one of us has to wake up in the morning and get dressed, and we all deserve the same style options and to feel valued. We only need to look at the runway shows to see that a constant lack of body diversity means that the luxury fashion industry doesn’t care enough about ‘redressing’ the balance, if you excuse the pun.

I also feel passionate about positive representation for disabled people. In the UK, people with disabilities represent a significant portion of the population and many of those have adaptive wear needs, which are sadly lacking in the market.
Imagine how inspiring it would be if more brands, including big brands (who have more resources), were to include clothing with additional functions in their ranges, such as zippers, velcro fasteners, extra openings, or considerations for the needs and comfort of people in wheelchairs. If they included these in their smart and workwear collections, this would communicate an even more powerful message.
Perhaps, even more vital is the need for people with disabilities, or physical differences, to be visible. Research has found that despite representing 24% of the population, models with visible disabilities feature in only 0.02% of fashion campaigns.

Challenging all of these attitudes, and addressing our blind spots and gaps in the market is about way more than allowing more people to buy more clothes.
It’s important on many levels. It’s not just inherently wrong to make any person feel that they shouldn’t have a seat at the table, but when attitudes which exclude certain groups become so ingrained and endemic in our narrative and framework then it’s limiting and damaging for society as a whole.

By readdressing the status quo, the knock-on effects can be political and can have a real and lasting effect on democratising society, but apart from anything else, it also makes good business sense.
By embracing diversity, fashion brands can tap into new markets, connect with a wider range of consumers, and foster a more positive and inclusive brand image. Ultimately, a more diverse and inclusive fashion industry benefits everyone in the end, doesn’t it? leading to greater creativity, innovation, and a more accepting society.

One of the things that drew me to Wild Clouds was not just their wonderful pieces and beautiful prints, but also the fact that in their imagery they feature a mix of different ages, sizes, ethnicities, genders and abilities. It’s so refreshing to see, and we need more of it.
For a small business that is not only producing responsible clothing, Wild Clouds founder Franny, has decided that it’s right for the brand's aesthetic to be Gender-Neutral, and she is also not afraid to keep re-evaluating and expanding her size options.

Another Now’s primary purpose is to bring to our customers, brands that are putting People, Planet and Animals first, but we also exist to be a platform which caters to EveryBODY, across our platform as a whole.

Each of our brands may offer something slightly different, but our goal is to work towards being fully Inclusive. We think it’s hard enough to cut through the greenwashing and buy responsibly, but if also you happen to be a wheelchair user, or choose to wear a hijab, or you are a size 4XL or 24, or you choose to dress or identify in a way that sits outside of the gender norm, and you want to shop Sustainably and Ethically, then where do you go? Another Now intends to provide that space.

We are only just starting out but our mission is clear, and we invite all who share our vision to join us on our journey towards a more accepting, diverse, inclusive and equitable, greener future.

With Love
Sam Willoughby
Founder of Another Now 💚

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