'All Bodies' Proposal
AW21 MA Collection
As designers, we have our own ideas of what is beautiful.
The pursuit of youth, beauty and the 'perfect body' is all around us. Social media, music, art, film, photography and fashion is constantly sharing ideas of a very specific, aspirational image that most people will never be able to relate to. As an industry, we put these beauty standards out into the world through our work.
Sometimes this can have a negative impact on society. Retouching has become the norm, both in a digital sense and a physical sense. The 'ideal body' we all strive for is always changing; we all know the Slim Figure of the 20s, the Hourglass Bombshell of the 50s, the Heroin Chic of the 00s. What are we asking people to look like now?
Yes, fashion is moving forwards into a more body positive and inclusive area. We see more gender, race, body and age diversity on our catwalks than ever before. But are we really changing our mindsets? Is this not just another 'trend'? Is it possible we may move in a different direction once this wave has moved on?
We use promotional taglines and hashtags like 'LoveYourself', we promote 'body positivity' and 'diversity' and 'inclusivity'. But as an industry, do we really believe it ourselves? Or is this just another way to sell products and jump on the latest relevant bandwagon? Is simply telling people to love themselves over and over again enough? Do the words feel meaningless the more we see them over and over again? Do we need to rethink diversity and inclusivity from the inside out?
It is easy to just think about the final product; what this says, what this looks like. The dress. The show. The shoot. If these things are 'body positive' then we must be doing better? But what if there is more to think about than that? What if it is our process that is broken?
I have had to ask myself some very difficult questions about the way I work and the impact I could have on someone's self-image. During the creation of 'The Feminine Ideal' I realised that some of the things I do naturally when designing affect even my own self-esteem. My design process is just as much a part of the systemic beauty standards as the pieces I create.
So what can we do about it? Let's start by taking a look at our design process, break it down and take a step back. I am calling for designers to share their process, even those things we do without thinking.
Next, comes the fun part. My AW21 Collection is inspired by the lessons I learnt, how my thinking has changed, and an appreciation of the beauty of the human body as it is. All Bodies.
Design for Discussion is a powerful tool for creatives, it allows us to share ideas that we can't always put into words. This Collection will allow you to ask yourselves those very same questions I asked myself before taking on this project.