For a long time, advertising campaigns lacked equal representation, and were anything but diverse. Flipping through magazines, catching a television spot for a back-to-school sale, and odds are, most of the models would be fair-skinned and slim.
Things have improved in recent years, with companies like Aerie and Dove featuring models of all shapes, sizes, and skin colors. Aerie launched one of the most diverse campaigns last month, featuring a young woman in a wheelchair, and women with diabetes, vitiligo, arm crutches, ostomy, body hair, chronic illness, and Down’s syndrome.
Slowly, but surely, things are changing for the better. Representation in the media is on an upclimb, and a recent back-to-school campaign is contributing to that.
Gap debuted their back-to-school advertising campaign a couple of weeks ago, and it immedietly attention.
Check out the video from the advert here:
Gap featured a little girl wearing a hijab in their new back-to-school ad, and people are loving the campaign’s diversity ❤️ pic.twitter.com/dRfHM31R5x
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 10, 2018
It wasn’t the clothes that stood out – no offense, Gap – but the diverse group of children modeling them.
Twitter applauded and praised the campaign:
The children in the campaign are all students at P.S. 153 in Harlem, New York.
Back to school ad for Gap.!! This makes me so happy OMG.! pic.twitter.com/n97dogf25H
— Hamdia Ahmed (@hamdia_ahmed) August 5, 2018
The advert featured laughing, smiling children wearing natural hair, breaids, and a hijab.
People loved the inclusion:
Gap definitely deleting the GAP between different color races and religion✌✌
— Shiree Zaidi (@zaidi19857) August 7, 2018
Oh my gosh my heart I love this!!
— &NR• (@no__oms) August 7, 2018
— ccinsf (@staceyinsf) August 10, 2018
Some touched on the importance of representation, especially for those marginalized groups who are not representated in mainstream media:
Natural hair?? Braids?! And hijab?!! Whew GAP is doing the damn thing!!! https://t.co/lo8nDuKvhZ
— Sumaya (@Sumayaburr) August 7, 2018
The diversity, the natural hair, the black hair styles, the hijab… it’s giving me life this is important for every person represented in the ad.
— t. stuckey (@_tjxs) August 8, 2018
Hijabi women expressed the difficulties they’ve faced finding clothes – and companies that represent women and girls like them – making this extra meaningful for them:
One woman wrote that the photos from the campaign brought her to tears.
you have nooooo idea how important this is! we love represenation of older hijabi women but this!!!!! i rmbr feeling so weird & out of place being a young girl wearing the hijab and for a young girl seeing this is soooooo heartwarming and re-affirming. im so happy https://t.co/NVeyjR3NuF
— Aroosha (@arooshmir) August 6, 2018
litterally all through elementary and middle school finding clothes that made me feel comfortable and was one of the hardest things i struggled w. seeing this representation finally making its way actually brings me to tears. idk if anyone could understand how amazing this is! https://t.co/U4kdZIAxZY
— اية (@ayaa0801) August 8, 2018
This is amazing! Representation is so important I hope this helps every little hijabi girl! https://t.co/xubx3jXd7g
— Mo (@that_boy_mohami) August 7, 2018
Gap is no stranger to representative, inclusive advertisements. In May of 2017, a campaign called “I Am Gap” was released, and featured more diverse young people.
The campaign featured video and print, like the recent back-to-school campaign.
Yet again, the clothing brand turned to real people, casting them off the street, rather than using a modeling agency:
No doubt that the popular denim brand will continue to release diverse, inclusive campaigns that represent everyone.