Trend Alert: Asos X Disability Representation

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.

An aspect of diversity and inclusion that often gets forgotten is disability. It may not be a hot button topic like gender or race, but brands often underestimate how many young people are affected, and how simple it can be to improve their product and marketing to cater to this demographic’s needs. ASOS have demonstrated this with one small action that has won them huge praise from the deaf community.

22-year-old Asia Smith, who suffers from usher syndrome, spotted a product image promoting an earring on the ASOS website where the model was wearing a cochlear implant. Her emotional tweet about the image went viral, receiving over 32k likes and thousands of retweets.

The model was soon revealed to be Natasha Ghouri, who has modelled a variety of clothing and accessories for ASOS. The brand has been praised for using a visibly disabled model to promote products that aren’t specifically targeted to disabled people. The image that Asia spotted wasn’t part of a major PR campaign or an initiative for Deaf Awareness Week. It’s simply part of ASOS’s overall commitment to diversity and inclusion, which is evident across their product and marketing.

This small action makes young consumers like Asia feel represented, and that they shouldn’t be embarrassed of their disabilities. While some brands may worry that disabled models aren’t relatable to the average consumer, ASOS understands that Gen Z loves to see brands being inclusive and catering for everyone, not just their own demographic. Our latest Youth Trends survey revealed that 85% of UK 16-24s would like to see more diverse representation in advertising, and currently, only 55% feel that they are represented.

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