The intent of the inclusion rider is to ensure that, at every level of production in the fashion industry, diversity and inclusion are pillars of practice. The inclusion rider not only accounts for racial diversity, but also acknowledges cultural appropriation, colorism, and sizeism in the fashion industry.
In recent years, inclusion riders have been gaining traction in the entertainment sphere — especially in Hollywood — with big names backing the addendum. Back when Frances McDormand won Best Actress at the Oscars in 2018 for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, she publicly endorsed Hollywood’s inclusion rider.
Cox and Kotagal, alongside Dr. Tasmin Plater, also co-developed the inclusion rider for the fashion industry, announced by the #ChangeFashion initiative founded in 2021 by Color Of Change in partnership with IMG and Joan Smalls.
The inclusion rider is a contractual provision to ensure certain levels of diversity amongst staff and talent, including artists, modeling agencies, photographers, stylists, designers, and publications in the fashion industry, in order to counteract systemic racial injustices.
The inclusion rider “can be adopted by an individual with leverage and used in contract negotiations, or it can be adopted as a hiring policy by a studio, production company, network, etc.,” Kotagal wrote in an email to Fashionista. “In this situation, the inclusion rider would be applied across a whole slate of movies, TV shows, fashion shows and productions to advance equitable hiring practices.”
According to Kotagal, the fashion industry inclusion rider also has elements to ensure it is not just adopted, but implemented. A commitment to diversity in the hiring process, benchmarks for improving diversity within the hired staff, the collection of applicant and hiring data, and the use of accountability measures to improve future practices are all necessary to ensuring a meaningful and successful inclusion rider.
IMG Focus is releasing a guide at inclusionrider.org/fashion for September’s New York Fashion Week on how to implement and use the inclusion rider as an open resource.
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