The size positive movement has been busy building a ‘fashion for every body’ campaign for quite some time, but things really seem to have gathered pace on the lead up to LFW. Earlier this week we reported on the Women’s Equality Party’s (WEP) drive to introduce more diverse catwalks via a plea to designers to make bigger sample sizes.
And on the back of that, seven plus-size models have been staging their own protest against the fashion industry’s fixation on what’s often perceived as unhealthy thinness.
Ahead of London Fashion Week’s start later this afternoon, seven diverse models including plus size model, Iskra Lawrence, and disabled model, Kelly Knox, gathered to protest against the event’s obsession with size zero and calling for models of more shapes, races and sizes to be included in its runway shows.
Ranging in size from a size 10 up to size 22, the women holding placards asking for #FashionForEveryBody congregated outside LFW’s, Brewer Street site. The aim was to help challenge the size six and below body ideal and promote confidence and self-respect, regardless of body shape and size.
As part of its ‘Step Out’ initiative research carried out by Simply Be, who ran yesterday’s protest, found over three quarters (77%) of people questioned believe zero sized models should be banned from catwalks because they promote an unhealthy body image.
Eight out of ten people surveyed said that if designers used more representative models it would help them sell more clothes and 73 per cent urged high street retailers to use a variety of different sized models in their campaigns.
The statistics are supported by a study from Warwick Business School which found that using overly idealised female imagery at the forefront of an advertisement is more likely to provoke scorn than shopping.
Laura Costin for Simply Be said: “We love seeing the latest collections at London Fashion Week but just don’t understand why there isn’t more diversity on the catwalks – there’s nothing wrong with being naturally thin but like our research findings we would love to see different shapes and sizes.
“At Simply Be we think fashion should be a celebration for everyone – especially when you consider that the average woman in the UK is a size 16. It makes commercial sense and anything that shows a diverse range of body ideals has to be a good thing.”
Jada Sezer is calling for more diversity in the fashion industry [Photo: Instagram/jadasezer]
Psychology graduate and plus-size model Jada Sezer, 27, who took part in the LFW protest and is also an advocate of the WEP’s #NoSizeFitsAll campaign says the problem lies with the designers’ small sample sizes which only thinner models can fit into.
“We are trying to make it compulsory to make samples of eight and 12, and then they’ll use bigger models,” she said.
“The fashion industry’s argument is the cost, but can you put a cost on people’s health?
“The plus size industry is the fastest growing industry at the moment, it’s lucrative so it doesn’t make sense.”
Model Iskra Lawrence took part in the protest [Photo: Instagram/iamiskra]
Size 14 model Iskra Lawrence, 25, said that not having models who represented her own body shape helped fuel some body image issues she experience as a teenager.
“I struggled with my own self-esteem as a teenager,” she told The Standard at yesterday’s protest.
“Struggling to find a body I could relate to in fashion or the media put me under certain pressures to try and look a certain way.
“I think the ideal of perfection and heavily photoshopped images have such an impact on all of us. We focus on our flaws but really we should be focusing on other beautiful attributes we all have.”
Kelly Knox is on board with the initiative [Photo: Instagram/itskellyknox]
Fashion model Kelly Knox, 32, from Enfield, co-founder of Diversity Not Disability was born with one arm and after winning BBC Three reality TV show Britain’s Missing Top Model in 2008, is keen to promote diversity in the industry.
“It is a message to the industry to say it doesn’t matter what colour you are, size, age, ability, your difference. We all deserve to be represented in fashion. There’s a place for everyone in fashion.”
Simply Be’s Step Out campaign launches on Friday 16th September with a 30 second advert during Celebs Go Dating on E4 showcasing the new AW16 collection.
Do you want to see more diversity on the catwalk? Let us know what you think @YahooStyleUK