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Body Beautiful : Diversity on The Catwalk

"For so long, we have lived with an industry that we all subscribe to, that doesn't reflect us" - Sinéad Burke

Body Beautiful | Diversity on The Catwalk

From the beginning, the heads of the fashion world have dictated the image translated in their catwalks, editorial spreads and video campaigns. However, during visiting the Body Beautiful Exhibition (displayed at the stunning National Museum of Scotland), it was extremely refreshing to see representation of all genders, disabilities, ages, races and sizes.

When it comes to seeing representation on the catwalks, we wish to see a relatable, natural figure; walking the runway. This is usually because we wish to attempt to break away from societies stereotypical view of a model figure - which tends to be unattainable and un-relatable to a general audience.


 


The Body Beautiful exhibition - with Georgina Ripley standing at the helm of the project - is getting everyone engaged about why the theme of representation and diversity within the fashion industry, shouldn't be and won't be just a passing trend. She's making sure the under-represented groups within the industry don't go unheard for any longer. Georgina has curated an amazing exhibition, both inspirational and eye opening, featuring shocking statistics like ' less than 1% of castings for autumn 2019 were models aged 50+' alongside an inclusive exhibition space, where every category is displayed, ensuring every overseen group of people is equally presented and visible, an important underlying message for the entire exhibition.

 

Personally, the exhibition that stood out for me was the one that focused on representation of Achondroplasia, with the disability activist Sinéad Burke at the forefront. It was extremely provoking to see the work and progression of Mrs Burke, including how she'd made an impact and the changes she was supporting and enforcing. Viewing the tailored made garments, designed and made by Christoper Kane - dress/ handbag - and Burberry - trench coat - and the specially created mannequins - which Sinéad Burke had had full body casts made of her for them - was very moving, not only in the hope for their cause to create change and for this type of representation to be widespread, but the fact it was supported by the funding, as these mannequins weren't cheap!

Another part of the exhibition which was one of my favourites was the exhibition on disability. I loved the way the disability mannequins were represented as ultra-powerful and strong warrior figures, using what should of been as their main 'weakness' as their key fashion statement, e.g. metal cuffs/metal gladiator sandals representing where there was loss of limb.



 

Another of my favourite parts of the exhibition, were the displays on gender, races and sizes. Which were represented with actual size 16 mannequins, another huge development within the industry. I really hope this starts to filter down through the fashion industry and there is a wider variety of display mannequins within shop windows for an 'on-the ground' effect.






So, if you're thinking of visiting the exhibition, I highly reccommend visiting, without doubt. The curators of this project have done the most amazing job, both in education and visuals, a truly thought provoking exhibition, one NOT to miss.


More information here : https://www.nms.ac.uk/about-us/services-and-expertise/international-exhibitions-for-hire/body-beautiful/

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