Industry Volume VIII

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THE INDUSTRY TEAM EDITORS Stephanie Suh and Lily Baker DEPUTY EDITORS Surya Bowyer, Joshua Teasdale, Sophia Jennings CREATIVES Charlotte Hyman, Daniella Shutze PHOTOGRAPHERS Nick Hampson EVENTS Zainab Mahmood, Libby Widdowson CONTRIBUTORS Ben Gonsalves SPECIAL THANKS Hellavagirl, Rosie Red, Jon Harris, Scott Russell, Omar Mansoon

VOLUME V111: EDITORS’ NOTE We’ve done something a bit different here. This is Industry Magazine’s first exclusively online edition. In the age of gadgets and gears, it seemed both appropriate and ironic to create a magazine that would appear only from a screen, manifested by pixels. We were inspired by the chaos and bright buzzing of the web, the excitable, strobe-like quality of its content and took advantage of the online form to create something similarly stunning. Everything is bright, high res and stimulating - no holds barred. There is no concept, no thematics or ideology other than the great overarching one of fashion. From feminism to Formula 1, we approached fashion from every angle we could think of, shuffled it around, and threw in some eclectic imagery for good measure. Hopefully you won’t know what to think. Hopefully it’ll make you think. So click this, read this, share this - whatever you’d like. It belongs to the web, and so, by default, to you. We sincerely hope that you enjoy this edition of Industry.


THE INSTAGRAM PARADOX RITUALS FALLING AT THE HANDS OF COMMODITY WRITTEN BY: SURYA BOWYER Undoubtably, the rise of Instagram has been phenomenal. The app, in the course of two years, has astonishingly went from being created by a tiny team of six to being bought by Facebook for $1 billion, surely a testament to its importance within modern culture. Instagram is now even used as a verb – “to Instagram”, or simply “to ‘gram” – underscoring its position as a staple in many people’s lives.

photographer to “beautify” their photos through adding these effects. The dedicated photographer, once an animal of such prowess, has been ubiquitously usurped and has surrendered to the label of endangered species. Of course, events that require professional photography equipment in order to capture crystal clear photos (such as weddings and proms) are likely to remain loyal to the professionals, but the need and demand for The app’s tagline reads ‘Fast beautiful photo shar- the awkward guy wearing all black and clutching ing’, which succinctly encapsulates its appeal. In- an SLR with an obscenely large lens has greatly stagram makes it quicker and easier than ever to shrunk. And, as technology is improving conshare snapshots of your life with the world with stantly, even this final frontier may be conquered its myriad of filters, making sure those snapshots by smartphones in the (not so distant) future. are not only viral but also aesthetically pleasing. It seems a perfectly formed (and tiny) package that In a sort of pseudo-Marxist fashion, this is a good does its job and does its job well. However, In- thing. The once elitist power of photography has stagram’s filters have invited ridicule from some been taken away from the few and given to the quarters. But this ridicule is steeped in resentful many. But there is something altogether more balenostalgia – filter effects used to only be achievable ful at work here. Susan Sontag’s seminal work On through the chemical by-product of the film used, Photography highlights how the language of phoand thus were limited to those who took photog- tography is indubitably grounded in violent posraphy (and developing) seriously. It is now an al- session: we “capture” images of things, look for most effortless process for even the most casual good “shots”, place things into “frames”.

We do not think of the connotations of these words when we utter them, but this is due to the repeated automatism with which we use them, rather than because the words themselves do not hold such connotations. Popular usage has desensitised us, making us take their meanings for granted. This was far less of an issue before the advent of the Internet. Photographs held a special significance, as both film and the subsequent development process were relatively expensive. One was limited by the fairly small number of shots achievable on a given roll of film, and the whole process was relatively lengthy. Unless one made copies of a given print, each photograph was a unique, tangible thing. Thus, viewing photographs had something of a ritualistic quality to it, in that one had to carefully remove prints from their protective sleeves or boxes, being careful to hold them by the edges, in order to appreciate them. Photographs, and the memories they unlock, were luxury goods.

when we are waiting for our tea to brew, or when we are supposed to be working. In short, photographs have become the entertainment we turn to when our own lives don’t prove stimulating enough. To borrow Sontag’s term, we are now aesthetic consumers, passively double tapping images that we “like”, and scrolling past those which we don’t.

Photographs are now markers of half-truths, which we exude in order to construct an idyllic representation of our lives. People ‘gram their meals, but not the ensuing washing up. But the meals in this analogy are also themselves devalued. The value we attach to the image of the thing invariably affects the value we attach to the actual thing. Thus, if the images become commodified, so do things. Experiences become products we consume in order to try and live a certain lifestyle. This becomes ever more problematic when applied to people, rather than things. Whereas they were once “captured” in unique photographs that were treasured, their images are now mere commodities designed to be The Internet, smartphones, and Instagram have consumed. If we bump into a celebrity, our first turned this on its head. People are no longer lim- reaction is to get a selfie with them and share the ited by the number of exposures on a reel of photograph on the Internet. We must always elevate film, but by ludicrously (and increasingly) large ourselves by showing that our lives are better than digital storage capacities – whether this be mere- those around us, whilst simultaneously demoting ly within the phone itself, on a memory card, or our lives to the realm of consumable entertainment. in the Cloud. The development process has been entirely removed. Photographs are no longer Modern technology has placed the power of phounique or tangible, and can be shared endlessly. tography in the palms of our hands. But with this power comes one of the paradoxes of modern Rather than luxury goods, the viewing of which life: now that we are surrounded by images the inwas a ritual in itself, photographs have been com- fluence and sanctity of the photograph has been modified. We scroll through Instagram when the largely eradicated. person across the table from us is boring us, or




on Harris was trained at the Mini plant and then spent 17 years in Formula 1 starting as a composite fabricator and then mechanical and hydraulic technician for the Benetton F1 and Renault Formula 1 teams. However, this extensive training and impressive auto resume has recently not manifested in automobiles but rather copper corsets. Discovered by Industry at Oxford Fashion Week in Spring 2015, Jon Harris’s corsets are the ultimate bespoke garments. The almost Amazonian corsets are made from old copper water tanks which Jon strips apart and molds to a person’s torso. The process of making a corset is an extensive procedure, one that takes over 100 hours. Jon first makes a full plaster cast of one’s torso, and then follows up with multiple fittings. Jon then makes a torso pattern and sets out a design, deciding where the joints, fixings and curves are going to go. Everything is done by hand. When making the corset, Jon takes into consideration the person he is making the corset for. As well as making sure the corset fits from a technical perspective- Jon emphasizes that “nobody is symmetrical”- the corset must also fit the character of its wearer and furthermore, the corset should enhance. The creation of subtle lines or dramatic ridges and curves can change the appearance of the wearer significantly. Importantly, each of these alterations really does vary from person to person. This is something Jon is keen to emphasize: these corsets are difficult to fit

retrospectively. The corsets are made up many pieces of metal, depending on the design. The more simple early designs are comprised of as little as ten pieces, while the most complicated have just over 100 pieces. The copper is heated so it becomes malleable and then work begins before the metal work hardens, at which point it becomes impossible to shape and the copper must be reheated. It is a lengthy process and is completed on the model’s plaster cast mannequin. Jon hand-cuts the mannequins used for display, as they also need to be unique, as the wearer is unique. The corsets are finished with a lining so that they are not cold- a common misconception, Jon tells me. In fact, I found mine to take on my body heat rather quickly. They then get final polish to ensure they are done justice under the lights of the runway. This is followed by a lacquer (to avoid turning the wearer green). Jon’s corsets within the context of fashion is both complicated and relevant. The subject of many fashion related campaigns is that of body diversity.

While these all inevitably conclude that bodies are different and all are beautiful, never has this sentiment been made clearer to me than at my day at Jon’s studio. As I take in a row of gleaming copper corsets on their mannequins (hangers are of no use here, making transportation of the corsets “They can be the same waist and clothing size for both which can make it difficult to swap designs from each person.” tricky), I start thinking which one I’d like to try on. After all, each one was cast on a model whose dress size is the same as mine so surely I’d have my pick. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Jon takes a good look at me before working his way through his row of mannequins in their fashionable armour, trying to see which one might possibly fit me. After one failed attempt, we have success. We are all sent the message of what the ideal female body is (at least in mainstream Western culture) so I won’t reiterate it here. But at Jon’s studio, dress size tells you very little about body shape. More important are things such as the waist- not just its circumference, but also its profile. Is it round or oval; is it the same size from all viewing angles of the body? Where is the “true” waist? This is all key to Jon’s design and is what he refers to as the “cross-section” of the body: “What I call the cross section is as if the person is cut through the waist to reveal their waist shape. This is normally a round or oval section. A

round section normally gives a smaller visual waist from the front and back. An oval section is wider from the front but narrow when viewed from the side and normally gives a better shape posture wise. They can be the same waist and clothing size for both which can make it difficult to swap designs from each person. Also the shape can change due to muscle on one side if the person is an athlete or dancer. The norm is approximately 30mm bigger one side under one arm.” These many factors mean that whilst other couture might fit your similarly sized friend- albeit you wore it better, of coursethese couture corsets really are as bespoke as it gets. The fashion industry can be hectic and highly stressful. Fashion shows in particular are notoriously fast-paced, allowing little time for models to get in and out of Jon’s fragile and highly valuable corsets, which require pins and bolts to be removed from their hinges. So how does Jon (a relative newcomer) cope? Luckily, being in the F1 pit stops mean that speed and organization are second nature. Then, in possibly my favorite answer I’ve had from him, Jon gives us some perspective on the at times self-important fashion industry: “whilst things can go wrong backstage, its not as though people are going to burst into flames or die if a mistake is made”. Too true. Jon will be showing his brand new collection in the Fashions Finest Show during London Fashion Week on the 19th September






WRITTEN BY JOSHUA TEASDALE More than simply a series of dark rooms filled with booming music, night-clubs mark the convergence of multiple artistic mediums. As the ultimate form of self expression, fashion has long since found a home within the subversive and eclectic night-club scene. In fact, the night-club has been central to the development of alternative fashion, producing some of the most iconic movements in recent years, from the dramatic and eccentric style of the New Romantics through to the monochrome minimalism of the British ska movement in the late 1970s and early 80s. In its essence, the night-club is a work of performance art; the convergence of music, dance, fashion, art, and interior design. The best illustration of this philosophy is the eighties New York club ‘AREA’ (1983-1987), which fostered an infamous reputation for its outrageous stylings. Every six weeks a team of carpenters and well-known artists descended upon the club to re-design the interior almost absolutely. Each re-design was executed according to a specific theme, which included amongst others ‘Night’, ‘Surrealism’, ‘Red’, ‘Confinement’, and even ‘Faith’. Clubs such as these were characterised by the interaction between venue and patron. While the club offers a unique experience in itself, the customer brings just as much to the clubbing experience. Venues such as AREA offered free entry to those who dressed creatively or outrageously, often turning those away who failed to embrace the spirit of the club. More recently, special nights at the Bullingdon in Oxford have featured themes including ‘Shaolin Forest’, which was described by organisers as an ‘environment set to the theme ‘Shaolin Forest’ with props, instillations, and other interesting features’. Certainly the theme was immersive, and with an intimate gathering of only 450 the night had something of an atmosphere, bringing together those with similar artistic tastes and values.

The interaction between aesthetic style and immersive music is not a concept entirely new. Kandinsky paved the way for such artistic endeavours during the 1910s when he attempted to capture the disjointed nature of atonal music within his monumental and confrontational series of ‘compositions’. Similarly, the style of New Romantic fashion embodies the flamboyant and inventive nature of New Romantic music. The use of synthesisers and electronics was to be popularised for the first time, bringing a new era of electronic music to the masses. Clubs, then, have long since been the venue for the birth of subcultures, providing a platform for artistic interaction. The identity of a club was as much determined by the clubbers and their style as the music played by the venue with AREA proving popular amongst the fashionable avant garde as well as experimental musicians. The subversive nature of these clubs was articulated by the fashions of the clientele who used these venues as an opportunity to indulge the extraordinary and bizarre. Indeed, the 1980s brings to mind impossibly high heeled platforms, jackets that bordered the architectural, and a cacophonous array of colours that now seem somewhat offensive. AREA, as with other clubs, provided a prominent meeting point for the emergence of artistic communities. Soho, for example, was central to the emergence of music ‘genres’. Where an album might be described as ‘electronic’ or ‘dance’, the clubs here gave birth to a ‘dance’ community that became popular with LGBTQ+ customers whose style has since come to characterise the area around Leicester Square. Moreover, these clubs became an important venue for groups who were otherwise excluded from the mainstream of society. Alternative clothing therefore became a symbol for social difference; the infamous rainbow flag and copious amounts of glitter were the aesthetic weapons that were used to forge the image of the LGBTQ+ community. Fashion is much more than what see on the catwalk. It is entirely personal and at the same time wholly public. What we wear on a night out is a reflection of our ambitions, sense of self, and our orientation within wider society.





The Future of the Fashion Industry in the Digital Age



he 1995 American comedy ‘Clueless’, opens and is expected to generate double digit growth with the now famous scene where teen pro- between now and 2020. Much of this growth is tagonist Cher Horowitz flicks through her coming from developing markets, notably from enviable wardrobe via a digital outfit-selecting pro- the exploding buying power amongst Asian congram. At the time of release, it offered an answer sumers, who are migrating into the middle class to that eternal dilemma - “What should I wear to- and starting to view fashion as an extension and day?” - which seemed an improbable fantasy. How- expression of their new lifestyle. By 2020, 75% of ever, 20 years on, a digital outfit-selecting program all sales in the luxury goods segment will be from appears antiquated in the light of the rapid tech- Chinese consumers, with more than half of that nological advancements that have shaped today’s being spent outside China. These are just some of fashion industry. Whether one is shopping for the ways in which the world will look very differhigh-fashion or for high-street brands, it’s now ent for the fashion industry in a few years time. So possible to open up your web browser, or app, and what can fashion companies do today in order to with a few clicks secure whatever you desire for ensure that they are amongst tomorrow’s winners? delivery the next day. Online retail has become a multibillion- dollar industry; according to Forrest- The digitalisation of the fashion industry has made er Research, online shopping sales are predicted targeted advertising incredibly important; a huge to grow steadily to $370 billion in 2017, up from amount of consumer data is recorded at various $231 billion in 2012. ComScore ranks ‘Apparel and touch points. It’s no coincidence that when you Accessories’ amongst check out an item online, The fast moving nature of fashion, which requires the top-performoften an advert for that companies to jump on trends immediately rather ing online categories. particular website pops than adopt a fast-follower approach, provides a comup on your Facebook plex set of issues. As consumers move page five minutes later. increasingly online, Yet in the next few years companies must confront a unique set of chal- there will be huge shifts in demographics. The lenges. The dynamics of the fashion industry are global economic base of power is shifting from changing rapidly, and to maintain their edge, appar- north to south and from west to east. Fifteen of el businesses must constantly innovate and evolve. the twenty cities with the quickest growing clothEven at the most basic level, the fast-moving na- ing sales lie outside established Western markets, in ture of fashion, which requires companies to jump places such as Chongqing and Guangzhou. Moreon trends immediately rather than adopt a fast-fol- over, increasing migration is giving rise to new cuslower approach, provides a complex set of issues. tomer profiles; for example, the buying power of Online retailer ASOS prides itself on providing Hispanic Americans in the U.S. will triple by 2020. ‘up to the minute fashion’, with ‘daily global edits’. If the online retail industry is to exploit these With online retail, the store is never closed, and changes, then it must be able to fully explore all brands must constantly update their stock to satiate the data it collects; everything from user accounts consumers in search of instant digital gratification. to social networks. Based on this data, sophisticated algorithms can calculate the time, type, and Consumers want to see a level of freshness not only scope of the customer’s next purchase with high in their products, but also in the entire shopping precision and probability. This can yield diverse experience. They want brands to speak to them ways of personalizing advertising. The fashion inwith the same level of relevance, whether they dustry therefore faces the challenge of processing are browsing online or in-store. Of course, all of huge volumes of data in real time; they must first these challenges come with exciting opportunities. identify which data is most relevant and then have The size of the global fashion industry is growing the capabilities and structure in place to use it.

An example of where this can go wrong is the attempt of Neiman Marcus in March 2012 to expand into the Asian market. They took a $28 million stake in Glamour Sales Holding, a private ecommerce company that specializes in authorized online flash sales for consumers in China and Japan. However, by May 2013, it was cutting down its China-based employees by more than half and getting rid of Chinese warehouses. Julia Zhu, founder of China e-commerce consultancy Observer Solutions, accounts for this failure on the basis that she sees there as being are fundamental differences between the habits of Chinese shoppers and those in the West. Online shoppers in Asia are very concerned about counterfeits and thus want as many pictures of the products they’re buying as they can get. Zhu claims that the average Western online shopping site only The success of fashion brands is increasingly tied with the way that they exploit social media.

has about three to five pictures of a product, compared with five to seven on a Chinese e-commerce site.She recommends that Western brands should carefully research their target audience, the key to success is to leverage existing established marketplaces in order to conduct marketing efforts according to what the Chinese consumer wants. Thanks primarily to mobile devices such as phones and tablets, global online clothing and shoe retailing is growing at a rate three times that of the market overall. These devices also have huge implications for the way that young fashion customers get information on trends, exchange experiences or compare prices. Social media is a key player; up to 35 percent of consumers indicate that they rely on recommendations from social networks. The success of fashion brands is increasingly tied with the way that they exploit social media. One of the best examples of this is the fashion brand Burberry, which has undergone a total transformation in the past few years from a failing brand to see an exceptional rise in sales, almost 14% higher than the rest of the luxury fashion market. Instrumental

in this renaissance was the way that the brand embraced innovative marketing techniques, blurring the boundary between its online environment and physical stores. Speaking about this strategy, CCO Christopher Bailey said: “Technology is an intrinsic part of most people’s lives. All we’ve done is make sure to weave technology into the fabric of the company. This is how customers live, they wake up with a device in their hand and life begins.” This is, of course, perhaps the most important next step for the fashion industry. As consumers grow used to the seamlessness of the way that they interact with their devices such as mobiles and iPhones, they have begun to expect a seamless shopping experience, independent of channel and device. This presents a huge set of challenges for retailers, requiring them to fuse links between these channels. One of the forerunners in this integration is Burberry, which has equipped all of its store associates with iPads that help make a customer’s store experience closer to that of online. Associates can order goods not available in the store – in the London flagship, 10 percent of orders are placed this way. Furthermore, Burberry’s flagship retail store on Regent Street in London is inspired by the site map of, with the layout and architecture mirroring that of the website. Floor space in the store is split between Bespoke, ‘ready-towear’, Acoustic and Experiences, similar to how they’re divided on The brand has also started embedding digital chips into products, which activate short films telling the story of its creation, including sketches and runway clips. When a customer moves around the store, these chips react with mirrors causing them to turn into digital screens that display further digital content. Bailey recently mentioned to GQ that: “We had realised that we had created a lot of platforms that only exist online so we decided we had to bring these to life. Our approach to the store was to make a bridge between the online and offline experience. Today I think we’re less concerned about where we actually shop, and more concerned about the experience we have while we’re shopping.”






“I see fashion as a proclamation or manifestation of identity, so, as long as identities are important, fashion will continue to be important. The link between fashion and identity begins to get real interesting, however, in the case of people who don’t fall clearly into a culturally-recognised identity.” Kate Bornstein, Gender Outlaw: on Men, Women and the Rest of US.

Fashion and culture have been symbiotic since the beginning of written history. In fact, historians have discerned much about society and concepts of ethnicity and identity by looking at artifacts of clothing, jewelry, badges and so on. The historian Jacques Le Goff revolutionized historiographical writing in his contribution to the Annales School by looking at the ‘micro-histories’ of medieval societies and wrote on the intersection between identity and dress being part of the larger history of the forging of identities. By taking a historical approach to fashion I wish to investigate how, over the centuries and decades fashion has remained the key focal point for expressing one’s identity. Focusing on British culture will elucidate some key points; that fashion was utilised in order to express membership to a group- whether this be a kinship network, political society or part of the rise of youth culture in the late 1950’s- that it evolved over time in interesting and often dichotomous ways and finally that fashion operates in a paradox; it keeps cultural traditions alive whilst finding new and innovative forms of self and group expression.

man Emperors ruling during the tetrarchy such as Diocletian were only allowed to wear purple as the colour signified royalty. Fashion here was used to demonstrate an elitist group, to separate the emperor from the rest. For the gothic groups that emerged at the fall of the Roman Empiretraditionally seen as the founders of the modern European states- jewelry, brooches, badges and hairstyle was a way to distinguish between one Gothic group such as the Ostrogoth’s from another, the Visigoths. Fashion thus played an important role in the identity of historical actors.

The late 1950’s and 60’s was the beginning of the marriage of fashion and self-identity on a mass scale. This was a product of the student mobilisation of the 1960s in response to the Civil Rights activism in America and the global peace movement that culminated in the 1968 Vietnam congress. The New Left and radical students in the 1960’s wore slogan t-shirts and badges adorned with images of Mao, Trotsky, Che Guevara and their revolutionary slogans. This signalled to the conservative authorities that the students who Historically, fashion was used as an expression wore such items were members of subversive and of identity. To take an obvious example, the Ro- radical groups and openly chose to identify as such.

When demonstrating in the mass Vietnam peace conference in 1968 hundreds of thousands of students from across Europe and America, including Britain wore badges and t-shirts emblazoned with the peace sign to show solidarity and group commitment to the political cause. Fashion at this point had undergone a period of mass production with the French first championing ‘net á porter’ in the early 1950s during the period of post-war economic reconstruction that placed consumer goods high on the list of government reconstruction polices. T-shirts and other mass merchandise were thus easily accessible in the 1960s. for the first time in history, a young and statistically poorer generation of people were able to seize fashion and make it completely their own through the process of customization and politicization. British Youth culture from the 1960s best encapsulates that fashion signified group identity. The warring between the mods and the rockers in the 1950s was likened to gang war, in which members from the respective music-affiliated ‘gangs’ would strike against each other. The gangs were discernible from the type of clothing they wore. The rockers sported Black leather jackets, white t-shirts and gelled back hair whilst the mods conversely wore tailored suits. May 1964 was the year that saw the biggest clashes between the groups in the South in the areas Brighton, Southgate, Bournemouth and

Clacton. The Mod and Rocker conflict led sociologist Stanley Cohen to coin the term ‘moral panic’ in his book Folk Devils and Moral Panic. Fashion therefore was not limited to just an expression of group identity but also had the potential to be subversive. The clothes the rockers wore had the intent of being intimidating. Combining a leather jacket with a cigarette and adopting the posturing of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause had the effect of projecting fear and down right coolness; it maintained the on going generational conflict that pervaded the youth culture at the time; fashion helped to foster a “us against them” paradigm. Fashion is malleable, mutable and central to identity, especially with the advent of ‘youth culture’. Today British culture- especially youth culture- is diverse and exciting, a product of the multiplicity of ethnicities Britain harbours. One of the hardest challenges youth today face is to understand the line between appreciating and appropriating different cultures. Fashion is ubiquitous and thus an accessible area to experiment with one’s own identity; keeping forward and relevant but at the same time propping up some elements of one’s own cultural heritage. I think fashion has the capacity to revolutionise the world, the 1968 rebellions in Europe reveal this but most importantly fashion needs to be fun. Fashion should not constrain one’s identity. It should set it free.



There has always been a stigma attached to the issue of body diversity in the fashion industry; one that has, until very recently, remained largely unchallenged. The unprecedented surge of plus sized bloggers is changing this. Together they are unashamedly raising their middle fingers to the industry standard and proudly declaring “we are here to stay”. What’s more, their combined social media following runs into the now millions. They are a force to be reckoned with; dragging the heads of industry leaders out of the sand, making them face up to the expanding realities of modern women’s fashion needs. This is a far cry from another ‘big is beautiful’ fad as some naysayers would have you believe. These women are happy, proud of the skin they’re in and voicing their right to look and feel as good as anyone else. Poster girls for this movement, such as size 24 American model Tess Holliday, have turned fashion conformities upside down. Being forced to hide themselves away by a restrictive and neglectful industry is no longer acceptable. They have proven that there is a massive market for plus sized fashion thus also proving the absolute need for diversity. The facts are impossible to ignore. Around 1 in

4 women in the UK buy plus sized clothing. As such, from a business point of view, it seems frankly ridiculous that clothing companies would not want to capitalise on what is substantial proportion of the market. It has not gone wholly unnoticed however. High Street retailers such as Evans and Yours Clothing have taken up the mantle and with the help of some of the top British based bloggers, including Georgina Horne aka Fullerfigurefullerbust, are creating new high fashion ranges women are actually proud to wear. As a male model I’m obviously passionate about fashion and I’m a firm believer in the basic principle that style should have no barriers. Having worked with models of all shapes and sizes has given me a hands-on look into a world where diversity should be welcomed, not stopped at the door. There are of course many health implications tied to the debate over plus sized fashion, and for every supporter for diversity, you will undoubtedly find someone fighting against it. Ultimately though, 25 per cent of women are plus sized and it’s not for the rest of the population but rather the women themselves to decide what they can and cannot wear.

“BEAUTY, IN ALL OF ITS FORMS” WRITTEN BY ROSIE RED As a woman I’m diverse. I suppose we all are when it comes down to it. But in my industry, the fashion industry, I am considered diverse. My body type is not one which is pictured frequenting the runways regularly. At a UK size 16 I don’t have any difficulties buying clothing, but I still don’t fit into the ‘norm’ where fashion is concerned. My 5ft 9 curvy adult body has been many sizes and thicknesses and has felt many emotions regarding what it should look like, and definitely what it should not look like. This is part of the reason that when it came to creating my own fashion label I knew the direction I wanted to be heading, I knew the philosophy I wanted to adopt. I’m a big fan of people and a big fan of bodies. This helps as I spend a great deal of my time dressing them. I am also a big fan of being kind to yourself. We are so often sold one ready-packaged idea of beauty, and at a young age we tend to not take into account anything else, or to question what we are being told. Large barrages of advertising work subliminally to manipulate us at a time where our hormones are all over the place. We are trying to revise for GCSEs, trying painfully hard to be cool enough to fit in (something I never achieved), and on top of this we are told in a roundabout way that we are not beautiful. Not yet, not without change or intervention. This is why I feel there is a need for diversity in the fashion industry. There is a need to project a broader spectrum of body types as desirable, healthy and intelligent. Perfect as they are. The fashion industry is integral to influencing all of our daily choices through music and culture and it needs to have an ethical awareness of its responsibility to its impact on body image. Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture showed at Oxford

Fashion week earlier this year, and it was a joy to see my designs walk the catwalk in my home town. But there was an even bigger joy. Through much persuasion I had managed to get a plus size model on the runway, the only one in the entire show. This was picked up by the press, and the amount of positive feedback I had was overwhelming. It wasn’t just the fact that in a sea of beautiful thin bodies this buxom woman of 5ft4 stood out so drastically, but more the fact that as an audience we could relate. It was refreshing to see diversity, because diversity is interesting and it is reassuring. Making body diversity commonplace in fashion not only tells us that it’s okay to have a gloriously rippled stomach, or to be able to count every rib if that is how our body is. It also tells us that as an industry which at the core essentially just provides clothing, that all bodies can and should be dressed beautifully. Diversity in fashion broadens our horizons and opens our outlook. This can only be a good thing. In an age where you can edit your selfies before filtering them on Instagram, and a time in which we still have thin privilege in this part of the world and most disabilities are kept hidden from our screens and magazines, it’s no wonder why as a society we feel so under pressure to look a certain way. It’s time we were kinder to each other, and also to ourselves. Diversity is needed in the fashion industry because it’s about time we represented all women. Scrap that, it’s time we represented all bodies, indifferent to gender. Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture is a luxury bridal and event wear label for all body types. Bodies don’t scare me and I plan to do as much as I can to represent beauty in all of its glorious forms. Let’s break some stereotypes.






Q: How and when did you become interested in fashion? Is there a specific ‘moment’ that jumps out to you, or a particular avenue you followed that led you to it?

Q: How would you describe your wardrobe, and your approach to fashion?

My personal wardrobe is a bit compartmentalised. I’ve got my suits and I’ve got my denI remember seeing a Hugo Boss runway show im and casual clothing. My approach can be on television when I was primary school age and summed up by this, “I never want to be unI wanted to wear those suits. I looked myself in derdressed.” I believe the complete outfit inthe mirror and wondered who I would grow up cludes all accoutrements, else I feel half dressed. to be. You could say I’ve always had an interest in My colour palette, for the most part; is black, fashion. Growing up in the southeastern United navy, and white. I rarely depart from the three, beStates I didn’t have access to fashion that some- cause I like to have infinite options when dressone growing up in Paris or London might have. I ing. I buy a garment to compliment everything knew it existed and occasionally caught a glimpse else, not just a shirt to wear with that one pant. in the news or in a women’s fashion magazine in the hair salon while I waited for my mother (remember this is all pre internet). My ideas of fash- Q: What inspires you daily? ion and style, as a youth, came mostly from my imagination; in some ways I think they still do. I’ve got two sides. One part of me loves adventure and going new places. Art galleries, architecture, Q: What does ‘fashion’ mean to you? restaurants, and theatre really inspire me. My other side likes to live in a box. I find inspiration in my furI do genuinely feel that fashion is art. It’s an invest- niture, my books, my clothes, and my surroundings. ment and it shapes our lives, both how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. A garment Q: As a photographer, what do you seek to should be cherished and passed down to your chil- achieve in an image? dren or across to your friends. It’s something that defines and accents you and makes you feel good. I want to admire it. I want to be drawn back to Each purchase is a step closer to an ideal and you it. I want the personal satisfaction of being becoming the person you dream of. Fashion can be pleased with an image I’ve created. I prefer to luxurious and loud or functional and subtle; it’s re- be straight on in front of my subject and capally up to you to decide how you’ll spend your mon- ture the mood of the setting and a bit about them ey and exercise your creativity in your wardrobe. they don’t tell everyone. I want the viewer to feel a bridge of personal connection to the subject.

Q: What really ‘speaks’ to you in an image? Q: How would you describe the ‘flavour’ of your chosen pieces (for Shop Pyramid)? An image that is framed, in my opinion, perfectly like a Wes Anderson frame. It speaks to me if I Our edit really is for every woman. A lot of it lends see it and I want to be there and be a part of it. itself to the well-informed consumer who really loves fashion, but I don’t want that to be intimiQ: Do you consider photography an art form? dating. When you try something on that is foreign to you, it’s exciting and I think that’s when you see Absolutely, photography is art. You can simplify something in yourself that might have been hidit or over complicate it. You can spend hours or den all along; something confident and beautiful. only seconds creating a shot. I think the test of I hope that women feel that they can experiment time is what determines what the label of art is in their wardrobes and have a place to play here. applied to. If you go back to it you get that feel- In the end we have put together all these pieces ing over and over again then I think that’s art. in a way that makes it really hard to go wrong. Q: Can, and should, fashion be ‘functional’? Q: What characteristics would you say the budding fashionista or entrepreneur needs to It doesn’t have to be. That’s a personal decision. possess? Lady Gaga represents fashion, but usually not functionality. I like the brands that are function- I think you need to have a grasp on who you are, al. For me and my customers wearability is huge. even if that is a work in progress. Have a defined That said, there are pieces that are must haves styled and develop it so that you and your style that you may only wear once a year, but it’s that are synonymous. Also, network endlessly and be art factor that makes that piece indispensable. valuable to others; try to add value to every situation. Put in the hours and research your industry Q: What gave you the inspiration for setting up and interests. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for faShop Pyramid? vours and reach out to those who have made it, respectively, they are more often than not happy to I wanted to create a place where women could help you or give you a little guidance along the way. come and experiment with their ideas of fashion. We are bringing together designers who all share Q: What’s the long-term plan? How do you see a common theme and ethos of luxury, but are not your future panning out? complicated in their design. We are offering a selection of colours and materials that blend easily. I’m looking for sustainable growth for Shop PyrMy goal is to deliver a closet that has endless op- amid. I want to add new designers each season portunities for a new and exciting look everyday. that share our vision and keep the relationships with existing partners mutually beneficial and Q: How has this process been for you so far? fun. Relationships both personally and in busiIt’s been really nice. I enjoy travel and my adventur- ness are very important to me. I like to try and ous side loves discovering a new designer and bring- take the time to be the best partner in business ing them into our edit. I’ve met so many fantastic I can be and also be the best server of my cuscreative people who all share my passion. It’s been tomer. Everyone is important on both sides and rewarding and I look forward to many more sea- we all really share the same passions. It’s a spesons and many more adventures for Shop Pyramid. cial position to be in with Shop Pyramid and getting to share what I love with so many people.