We’re making strides in improving diversity in the fashion and beauty industry… it’s just that those strides are frustratingly slow.
We’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to representing everyone, not just tall, slim, able-bodied, cis white women.
To urge us along in terms of representing those with disabilities, Models of Diversity put together a photoshoot featuring five models, each wearing Swimsuits For All.
They hope the photoshoot will ask what’s stopping the fashion, beauty, and media industries from employing models with disabilities.
‘I have been photographing and giving workshops for disabled models on behalf of Models of Diversity (MoD) since early 2012,’ says photographer James Lyon. ‘Working alongside MoD I’ve help cast and co-ordinate many fashion shows, both specifically for disabled models and as mixed ability’ catwalk events.
‘To me photography is a great medium to deal with some of the issues regarding self-esteem and disability, especially to those who have recently become disabled.’
The models in the photoshoot are Fran, Carla, Dominique, Ellie, and Angelica.
Fran was born with cerebral palsy. She swam competitively until an injury forced her to stop seven years later. She now models to inspire others with disabilities.
A fire when she was seven months old left Carla with burn scars and the loss of her left hand. Her confidence has grown over the years and now she embraces her scars.
Dominique has invisible disabilities – she has autism, learning difficulties, and foetal alcohol syndrome, which has led to sight and hearing problems.
Ellie has Incontinentia Pigmenti, which can cause scarring, tooth loss, pain, and mobility issues. Ellie now studies hair and makeup and models.
Finally there’s Angelica, a survivor of bowel cancer. As a plus-size model with a colostomy bag, she fights back against body-shaming on the regular.
With so many brilliant models with disabilities, why are we still seeing such restricted ideals of beauty in the fashion industry? It’s time to change things.