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H&M Campaign Sparks Discussion On Media Diversity

Diversity in Fashion

Written By: Kay Angrum 1/10/15

Reporter Kay Angrum spoke with sudents about their first reactions to the video and what images like this do for the fashion industry.

These days it isn’t always easy trying to keep up with ever-changing fashion friends.

Julian Lee, a student at the University of Southern California, confidently sits on a bench waiting to meetup with his friend for lunch in his Tuesday threads.

“Fashion has all these stigmas that you have to look a certain way to dress a certain way.”

Like most millenials today, Lee is somewhat of a rebel.

Still the age-old adage remains true: it’s not what you wear but how you wear it.

Sometimes that means standing out — a theme H&M proudly promotes in the retail clothing store’s latest ad campaign.

The video, titled “Close the Loop,” urges consumers to recycle clothes. It’s now up to 8 million views. This campaign comes 5 years after the fast-fashion company received heavy backlash for its reported disposal practices.

Cody Hosang, an aviation student visiting from Miami Dade College was impressed by the campaign’s message in support of sustainability.

“The little fun fact at the end. Actually, one shirt saves, what, 2,100 liters of water? That’s really cool,” said Hosang.

However, since the ad’s debut earlier this month all anyone can talk about is the hijab-wearing muslim woman.

In the viewo, this woman is first shown standing in the doorway of a building. It then cuts to a close-up of her face.

Julienna Law is a print and digital journalism major at the University of Southern California who wears her hijab proudly.

Law was shocked to see a muslim woman wearing a hijab in a mainstream ad – something she says is very rare.

“I really like the H&M campaign for including a Hijabi person because, you know, Hijabis are fashionista,” said Law.

This is the first time H&M has featured a muslum model wearing a hijab.

“I was shocked in a good way. To have that kind of shows how we’re sort of progressing in our ideas and how we’re recognizing that our world is more diverse,” said Law.

However, change does not stop with the hijab.

Alison Trope is a clinical professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She says for years the fashion industry has received criticism for its lack of inclusion and diversity, so now the industry is taking that criticism and turning it on its head.

“It’s an interesting ad not only for its diversity that it shows, but for the focus on sustainability. That this is another really important issue in the fashion world.”

Source: Annenburg Media Center

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