London Fashion Week Street Style

Who Ignored Us at London Fashion Week?

Exclusive

Glamorous, creative, exclusive. Words to describe the fashion industry…exclusive. Strange that products such as clothing that we all use should be portrayed as exclusive, but that is how the luxury fashion industry defines itself. Exclusive products, exclusive events, exclusive experiences, exclusive launches, an exclusive image is desirable. However as Coco Chanel once said “If fashion doesn’t make it onto the streets it is no better than costume” and those clothes that are making it to the streets have a much more inclusive plan.

Street style London Fashion Week Roxy Henley wears Rachel Comrie

Street style London Fashion Week Roxy Henley wears Rachel Comrie

Dress and Coat by Rachel E Comerie

Trendy, fast fashion brands like misguided and ASOS are proudly using non-conventional, un-airbrushed models for news-worthy press releases but also to connect with a younger, more socially aware consumer who wants to be represented.

Missguided stretch marks

Missguided have stopped airbrushing their models

Body Image

A blogger friend of mine Luisa is a positive role model for natural women. She wrote in a magazine piece recently how she instantly fell in love with a dress online thanks to the “stunning curvy model” wearing it. When Lu was asked to model for a huge high street store herself she received tones of messages from women and girls, thrilled to see a different (and relatable) body shape represented. However, Luisa pointed out that inclusivity in the fashion industry needs to go way beyond hiring one healthy, able bodied, cis-gendered, white woman for a social media post,

“If a brand doesn’t progress in the model hiring and marketing, it makes me feel their social media message is a little fake”

Luisa Christie Inbetweenie London Edge magazine

Luisa-Christie talks inclusivity

However, with plus (normal) size models like Ashley Graham, who last night launched her own collection for e-retailer Pretty Little Thing and Felicity Hayward, the face of Matalan, L’oreal and Simply Be becoming household names, and America’s Next Top Model series 21 contestant Winnie Harlow becoming bigger than the show itself with her amazing talent and the skin condition vitiligo, representation is on the up! Winnie even has a mannequin body double in the Missguided store (although to me this feels some what exploitative to me).

Ashley Graham Pretty Little Thing Party LA

Ashley Graham in LA last night with Pretty Little Thing

Felicity Hayward London Fashion Week 2018

With supermodel Felicity Hayward

Winnie Harlow Red Carpet Cannes 2018

Supermodel Winnie Harlow

vitiligo mannequin missguided

Mannequin with vitiligo

Black Representation

When abroad with three friends of African decent, their delight at seeing a whole campaign of gorgeous black models in a shop window made me happy, and sad. Happy they were being represented at last but sad that it was such an ‘event’, rather than a normal occurrence. As a feminist blogger I write about the challenges of being a woman, but the challenges of being a black woman far outweigh my own and I stand with all women for progress, respect and equality.

Philip Plein all black model campaign

Other Ethnicities

It is fantastic to see that non white, non super skinny, non ‘perfect’ women are being represented but are they still the token black/curvy/authentic face used as a PR stunt, or as genuine and progressive, inclusive advert to real consumers?

River Island model in burka

#LFW

Luxury brands have started to be influenced by the inclusive movement and I saw more ethnic variation on the London Fashion Week catwalks last week than in previous seasons. I was once told by an established, successful model that it wasn’t uncommon for her to be turned down at show castings because they ‘already have a black girl’. One brand in particular went further than any others so far during fashion month (New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks ones after the other) in it’s variation of presentation. Teatum Jones not only had the most eclectic assemblage of models but they also presented a round table film of industry experts discussing the responsibilities and roles of the fashion industry in the protection, unification, inclusion and equality of women.

Teatum Jones SS19 UN Women

Teatum Jones SS19 UN Women

“We are two humans inspired by other humans. We truly believe in the power of fashion to present a pro-social message of inclusivity and positive identity.”

Working in support of UN Women International’s campaign to end violence against women and girls ’16 Days of Activism’ they have created a space for discussion and have brought this conversation to fashion.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

I chatted to the Jones of Teatum Jones, Rob about how the pair’s research and conversations with survivors of abuse and violence directly motivated the formation of the collection. Woven into the collection are phrases like “I define Myself” and “I own my story” because the women Teatum and Jones spoke with don’t want to be characterised by one horrific event they endured but by who they are as strong, beautiful, powerful, kind, loving, 3 dimensional humans.

Teatum Jones SS19 UN Women Rob Jones

The collection is even sustainably made with recycled yarn repurposed from old season jumpers and plastic sequins made from the bottles of previous sponsors.

Teatum Jones SS19 UN Women

Teatum Jones SS19 UN Women

Where are the Midsters?

Despite an amazing step forward from some influential brands on both ends of the price spectrum, a group of recklessly underrepresented female fashion consumers is still the over 40. Despite being the target market of most luxury products, you will still see teenagers on runways and celebrity children in ad campaigns rather than an aspirational reflection of the consumer herself. In May of this year JD Williams launched a nationwide search to find two unsigned models over 45 (Midsters) who would star in the brand’s future advertising campaigns. The competition came off the back of research which revealed that 79% of British women feel ignored by the fashion and advertising industry. Creative Director at JD Williams Beth Lowry has found it incredibly difficult to cast models for the brand, who’s ethos is ‘to feel comfortable in your own skin no matter your age or size’ in a notoriously small pool of 45+ models. “As a brand which caters for older woman, we believe it’s important to use age appropriate models in our advertising and marketing campaigns, which is something we wholeheartedly encourage others to do. It is one of the reasons why we launched this model search”.

JD williams midster finalists gold

JD Williams Midster Model Search Finalists

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Now this feels like an authentic and legitimate move towards inclusive advertising for this brand.

JD Williams Midster Model Search

Jenny and Sue, JD Willams Midster Model Search Winners

Is London Still Proud?

During the shows at London Fashion Week I was accompanied by many fabulous, queer fashion icons but didn’t see any models representing this group on the runways. A few seasons ago Rupaul’s Drag Race star Miss Fame walked for Mark Fast and Jack Irvin also used diverse models, but I didn’t see anyone repping the amazing London Pride movement this year which is a sad shame. I hope all the Pride London projected wasn’t for commercial ventures rather than social progress…just a thought.

Miss Fame London Fashion Week Runway Backstage Mark Fast

Miss Fame and Mark Fast backstage

 London Fashion Week Runway Mark Fast

Be kind to one another and with your privilege support those without it.

Star jacket star bag Roxy Henley Stylist

Love Roxy xXx

JOIN MY MAILING LIST TO NEVER MISS A FEMINIST CLEAVAGE BLOG POST

If you enjoyed reading this blog you may enjoy ONE WEEK, TWO ‘FASHION WEEKS’ and OMFG BEYONCE TAKES THE REIGNS AT VOGUE

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