BODY POSITIVITY



BY TRAVIS WILLIAMS

Subjects:
Akram Arshad,
Shannon Griffin-Payne, Stephenie Howes, Raffaellino Martinez,
Abi James-Miller,
Douglas Williams,
Destiny Boateng,
Yvonne Okiyo,
Cherise Adrien

Make-up and hair:
Kristina Pavlov

Styling:
Travis Williams

Set designer:
Ofilaye and Travis Williams

Photographer:
Ofilaye

Studio:
Fav Studios


JUST TAKE ME AS I AM


Sometimes we don’t realise how powerful it can be to be part of something that can inspire people. Within fashion there has always been a lack of representation of all bodies. Introducing Yvonne, Raffaellino, Shannon, Stephenie, Abi, Akram, Douglas,Cherise and Destiny who each in their own way aims to challenge this.


 

Abi (23):

An advocate for seeing more disabled models within the fashion industry; she hasn’t let her disability stop her from chasing her dreams. Her past experiences led her to keep advocating and educating people on disabilities and the impact the fashion industry’s ableism has on those whose bodies don’t conform. “I did my first photoshoot and the photographer told me that I didn’t look normal, that moment I had to take it in. Who on earth is telling us what normal is? Is that the message the industry is creating?” - Abi

 

Akram (27):

A model for more than 7 years and frequently a gym goer. Whenever he doesn’t feel positive about his body he goes to the gym – ‘he looks after himself’. Despite growing body positivity online it often excludes men, yet research shows that many men’s mental health is affected by their body image. Akram has a good relationship with his body but sees his body as something that has to be worked on – this is how men often deal with body image issues. “ I don’t think there’s enough conversation about body positivity around men, because when we talk about body positivity it is more connected and related to women. So, I definitely want to hear more about it.” - Akram

Mountains

Cherise (22):

Cherise, who is pregnant, is embarking on a new journey in her life, reflects on the industry and how pregnant women need to be seen more. She recognises the importance of seeing the different representation on the runway and how this can help more pregnant women be visible within the industry and not just for campaigns. “I tend to see myself in more campaigns and advertisements for pregnant women, we don’t see them in catwalks or in the fashion industry per say you see them more as marketing.” - Cherise

 

Destiny (23):

A speaker, mentor and empowerment coach has taken time to embrace her individuality and not allow people's opinions to hurt her. She uses her experiences to help other women become the best version of themselves. She knows who she is, and she stands on that. “I am very confident within myself; I am very funny, and I have a loving heart.” - Destiny

 

Douglas (62):

A former PE and biology teacher who retired at the start of the Pandemic because everything was going to online teaching, and that wasn’t for him. Douglas who is very body positive and happy with his body focuses on changing the way the older people are seen in the industry. He recognises that age has always played a huge factor into the success of someone. But, the times are changing, and companies are aware of the need to provide a broader range of representation. “I went into teaching, and I had an audience every day. I think companies are now using older models in their advertisements and that’s great. I don’t see myself in fashion at the moment, I’m older but I’m a Peter Pan (which means I act younger).” – Douglas

Mountains

Raffaellino (27):

A model who has been going through gender transition since the age of 18 and uses this experience and journey to help other transgender people. Raff is an example of being confident in the body you choose and using your voice to help other people who need support. The journey Raff has been on has led him to a place of happiness. Sometimes you don’t realise how an individual’s story can help others and Raff will touch so many people who are voiceless and scared. "Being body positive means being happy with your body, being confident in what you want to wear and not caring what people think.” - Raffaellino

Snow

Stephenie (23):

A body positivity content creator and Tik Toker from London, known for her ‘try on hauls’. She uses her personal experiences to help other people not feel the same way that she did when she was growing up. Stephenie has been on a journey and being able to see the beauty within herself is amazing. Her voice and energy is so powerful – she is going into her best year yet. “People are going to know what I look like with clothes and without clothing on. So why am I going to hide it?” ” - Stephenie

 

Shannon (20):

A content creator from London who uses her platform to educate and use her voice to bring change into the industry. While social media may have opened the floodgates for trolling and negative comments, it can also open up spaces for people to create communities. In the Pandemic the increase of Body Positivity hashtags across Instagram Tik Tok’s dancing by plus-size content creators began to change peoples’ views. Shannon has embraced this side of social media turning negative comments into background noise. Shannon is a bubbly, caring person and her journey will inspire many people. “I make Tik Tok videos and some of them get a lot of hate from it. I turn the hate comments into something good; because I don’t care what they say about me.” - Shannon

Mountains

Yvonne (42):

An activist for curvy bodies within the fashion industry, she shows that sharing positive images, words and stories can help other women gain confidence and see the beauty within themselves. She believes that being confident with who you are is important and this comes from knowing and appreciating yourself. Life has been a journey that has taught Yvonne the importance of embracing her individuality and turning the curvy body that people criticised her for into a positive. She knows that representation matters and that seeing all bodies in a positive way challenges the way people are seen. “I took part in another shoot called The New Normal and it was looking at the female body and normalising bodies. I think I represent a lot of women who have an average healthy body and I felt really empowered in my bra and pants. Just take me as I am" - Yvonne