Before big-name shows and glitzy parties engulf the news agenda, London Fashion Week has taken off in a spirit of dissent with protests both on and off the runway.
Body inclusivity, trans representation and political inaction were brought to the fore at the opener of the capital’s fashion extravaganza on Friday.
As emerging talents showcased their creations, Hayley Hasselhoff led a charge of fellow plus-size models and social media influencers to rally against the narrow range of body shapes on the runway.
Brandishing placards reading “Fashion shouldn’t shame us” and “Our beauty is immeasurable”, the likes of Felicity Hayward and Sonny Turner descended on 180 Strand - the heart of LFW – in white t-shirts bearing their professions, as a further reminder that women are more than a mere dress size.
Despite the average British woman wearing a size 16, only 30 plus-size models walked in 10 shows across Fashion Month last season, with Nicholas Kirkwood being the only LFW designer to use a plus-size model, according to Fashion Spot.
Hasselhoff, 26, took part in two similar protests last year, the first at LFW in February and again in November to shine a light on the annual Victoria’s Secret lingerie show, which has never featured a plus-size model.
“I think it’s really important that we continue to campaign for body positivity and diversity in the industry,” she told Evening Standard in February.
“We want to give women everywhere the confidence to be who they are. This is only achieved by showing a wide variety of models, irrespective of size.”
Also on the Strand, trans activist group Transmissions held a fashion show themed protest against a lack of trans inclusivity at the shows.
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Sometimes you have to challenge the system in order to make change. A protest for more trans inclusivity to kick off London Fashion Week with @wearetransmissions has been empowering. Visibility is important because it helps normalise trans and nb bodies and identities! Stop putting us on your mood boards and put us on your covers!
The group’s founder Lucia Blake told Dazed that because “the fashion industry decides what bodies are normal and which ones are not” it should be hiring more trans models rather than rotating a few big names who have been accepted into the industry.
Moving away from fashion’s responsibility towards representation, Friday evening saw supermodel Adwoa Aboah lead a powerful show of support to survivors of the Grenfell disaster.
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💚JUSTICE FOR GRENFELL 💚 PLEASE JOIN US. . “London Fashion week is a perennial event in the international calendar and highlights the world talent, creativity and inspiration in our diverse city. . The fire at Grenfell Tower is the unfashionable side of London where 72 people needlessly lost their lives. Their deaths will not be in vain. . We are honoured to be part of LFW that will assist our campaign in keeping a global focus on what happened at Grenfell and to support the bereaved families in their continued fight for truth and justice. . The accountable authorities have been inadequate and tardy in their response and 20 months on; no significant changes or improvements have been made and no one to date has been held responsible. . These factors and issues are fundamental to ensuring that nothing like this is ever allowed to happen again.” The incredible Yvette Williams J4G campaign coordinator. . In #solidarity and to #demand justice for those who lost their lives, Justice4Grenfell is encouraging the public to show support for the movement by resharing these images during London Fashion Week on social media with the #Justice4Grenfell @officialJ4G . Please show your support and join us 💚#LFW #support #grenfell #demand #justice the #truth 💚
The supermodel joined Clara Paget, Emile Sande and DJ Becky Tong to unite with members of Justice4Grenfell on the runway. They all wore simple white t-shirts bearing a strong message: “72 dead and still no arrests? How come?”
It’s 20 months since a fire destroyed the 24-storey block of flats in west London.
“I hope the public sees the faces, the stories, and knows that it’s still very much part of the survivors’ everyday lives.” Aboah told Evening Standard.