Inclusive Stylist Toronto-image-makers behind the scenes

Inclusive Stylist Toronto


the image-makers behind the scenes

While we remain distracted falling in love with the Beauty in front of the camera, we very often forget the people working behind the scene as part of the teams. It is not uncommon for society to have overlooked their significance, the value of tastemakers and innovators who help give the world that very ‘Beauty’–we are mesmerized with– from behind the scenes.
In the chaos of the industry, during recent years, the commercial, film, and fashion industries are seeing an increasing push for more diversity, equity and representation in front of the camera.
Not surprisingly, while all focus and consideration are devoted to those in front of the media, for the major part, the equity gap behind the scenes–which remains a long way from closing the gap–is often the last to be addressed.
It is, of course, excellent that the industry is increasingly expanding its representation of race, gender, disability, and range of body sizes. Still, to ensure that ‘the fight’ itself is equal and promotes progression at all levels and settings, every sector should be at the forefront of equity goals.

Enter Inclusive Stylist Toronto. Launched in 2018 by Toronto-based creatives Vanessa Magic and Georgia Groom, Inclusive Stylist Toronto is an initiative that encourages inclusion in wardrobe styling and costume design in the commercial, film, and fashion industries by providing practical support for BIPOC and LGBTQ2SNB+ people. Magic and Groom have been working in the fashion, commercial and film industry for a total of 35 years between them, during which time they noticed a huge lack of diversity in the world of image-making. They questioned why the wardrobe department of the industry did not reflect diversity despite living in the most multicultural city in the world. The founders came together to take actions toward a more diverse setting and help facilitate a shift in hiring practices. They started with workshops to share what they knew about being wardrobe stylists and offered ‘shadowing’ opportunities to give those creatives just starting the practical experience needed. Inclusive Stylist functions to put new and emerging wardrobe and style professionals in touch with more established people who can help them gain practical skills and knowledge. Its primary focus is to get more BIPOC and LGBTQ2SNB+ people in the industry and guide and support their transitions into key roles and positions. They believe that the more they can help make the industry accessible to emerging creatives, connect them through networking opportunities, and empower them to work in the industry actively, the better the industry will be.

According to Magic, when asked about the challenges particular to fashion Minorities, “It is not seeing themselves represented, or working in the industry. If you don’t see anyone like you doing the job you want to do, sometimes it’s indicating that you want to be the first to take it on. We aim to reflect and engage a broad range of diverse professionals back to those emerging in the industry, to show people that trust belongs in Fashion too.”

Magic pointed out that, Fashion is global, so by including everyone and every point of view, it will only become a more well-rounded industry. “The trouble with inequality in Fashion is when you are trying to fit things into a very patriarchal system; the perspective becomes singular,” Magic says. What can Fashion do to become a more diverse, inclusive and representative industry? 

“Fashion can be more inclusive by being more inclusive,” states Inclusive Stylist.

The industry is being asked to catch up with society as a whole, explained Magic, and it has become harder to push things under the rug, especially with social media. “The consumer can ask for accountability, ask where their ideas and products come from, who is producing or directing them, and why they are choosing to work with certain partners and organizations.”

They understand that there are associated costs due to the lack of racial diversity in the creative space, and “the lack of perspective” is the most consequential. Magic stated that “If you are constantly highlighting the same voice, incredible stories don’t get told.”
While she points to the importance of the fashion industry to move forward with acceptance and an open mind, Inclusive Stylist Toronto is inspired to move forward by their strong community. “It’s the most incurable feeling seeing the change that’s happening in the industry. We love when people we’ve helped get into the industry share their success by including others like them.” IST ∎