The Importance of Inclusivity in Fashion

The fashion industry promises that anyone can look glamorous, chic, professional, or sporty—they just need the right set of clothes. But when you feel like you don’t have that “perfect body”, it’s easy for self-loathing to sink in. That’s why we’re on a journey to unlearn the industry’s hurtful messages, build up the women around us, and minimize future pain. 

Two girls holding hands


The Allure of Fashion

Fashion has always been an outlet for creativity, a space that offers endless choices and encourages experimentation. In a world where you can buy just about any garment imaginable, the clothes that you choose to own become special. Whether they have a memorable backstory—maybe you bought those shoes on vacation after your very-cute-but-impractical heels started to hurt, maybe that shawl was your grandmother’s—or they’re just the perfect mix between comfy and stylish, each piece of clothing holds significance. Getting dressed becomes an act of curation, one that allows you to customize your image while deciding which clothes mean the most to you. 

Fashion can also be a quick and easy way to quickly switch up your look: you can go from chic athleisure gal to powerful businesswoman to cool biker girl in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, while it can definitely be fun to instantly command more respect with just a quick switch of clothes, fashion’s promise of individuality also has a dark side.


Models walking on fashion runway

Photo by Michael Lee

A Broken Industry

As alluring as the fashion world can be, the industry is also infamous for excluding numerous groups of people. From the top designers’ runways to fast fashion ads, models always seem to promote an impossible beauty standard. Tall, super skinny, drop dead gorgeous. Curves, but only in approved locations. Especially in the age of social media, where we criticize every little imperfection and base self-worth on likes, it’s hard not to feel self-conscious when watching fashion shows. Whether you’re embarrassed by your family’s wide hips or you struggle to “tame” the curls you adored on your grandmother, harsh beauty standards have convinced us that we are not enough. 

These doubts start early, too. According to a 2015 research report by Common Sense Media, just under half of tweens and young teens compare their appearance to models. Whether you smile, laugh, or cringe at your goofy middle school pictures, you’d never let someone tell that little girl she wasn’t enough. So why does the fashion industry get a pass? Why do we still criticize our own appearances, even as adults?

 Six girls walking on the beach

Moving Towards a Better Future

The fashion industry has recently taken steps to be better and embrace  inclusivity: runways are becoming more diverse, plus-size models are more common, and some brands are launching photoshop-free ad campaigns. But there are still major gaps in representation and accessibility.

Even though the average American woman wears a size 16-18, most stores only carry sizes 0-12.  Some disabilities can also make it harder to wear clothing with particular details such as buttons or clasps, but clothes with adaptive features are rarely found in stores. In both cases, women are faced with few options for clothing (and stylish clothes are even harder to find).

At The Valle, we want to empower the women around us. The fashion industry has a big problem. A Beauty Dilemma. We’re here to tackle it head-on, to be a champion for the people it excludes. Our clothes are made-to-order based on your measurements, so everyone can find their perfect fit. And since our greatest strength is community, we’ll be sharing conversations with inspirational change-makers. The world is complex and insecurities caused by the fashion industry run deep, but we’re excited to heal and nourish alongside our community.

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