After UK-born Adele and Delhi-based Laxmi were attacked with acid, they began campaigning to prevent other women from going through the same thing. And now they've been signed up to walk at LFW
As Fashion month kicks off its Converse and starts practising its catwalk strut, there’s one show coming up in London that’s worth paying attention to – regardless of whether you’re a ticket-holding member of this season’s FRow.
Organised by the British Asian Trust and a UK-based charity, GMSP, which helps victims of sexual violence, the show is set to feature designs by Asian designer Raishma and shoe-designer Lucy Choi.
But for once, the clothes aren’t going to be the centre of attention. Seriously. Because this show is all about the models.
Featuring 24-year-old Adele Bellis from Suffolk and 26-year-old Laxmi Aggarwal from Delhi – both survivors of acid attacks – the show’s organiser, GMVP CEO Sonal Patel, hopes to highlight the extent of the violence against women that takes place all over the world.
Adele was attacked in 2014 when her ex-boyfriend threw acid in her face, causing her to lose her right ear and endure severe scarring down one side of her head and body. Meanwhile, Laxmi’s experience took place in 11 years ago, when she was only 15. After a 32-year-old man repeatedly tried to propose to her, she said no – and he punished her by throwing acid in her face, chest and hands.
‘You see acid survivors and you see how unfair it is, you see how one act of violence has a huge impact on a woman’s life. But a lot of violence isn’t visible, the story is much wider,’ said Patel in an interview with the Guardian.
‘We feel so much admiration for Laxmi and Adele. I met with a surgeon who does a lot of work with acid survivors, he said most of these people don’t want to leave the house and so for one to step out on to a catwalk with all those lights, that’s a huge thing that requires such strength of character. They are standing up for all women who face violence.’
The show follows on from Archana Kochhar’s collection at New York Fashion Week on September 9th, which saw Indian Reshma Qureshi walk down the runway. She lost an eye when she was attacked with acid two years ago – but was met with applause as she stepped onto the catwalk in a floor-length gown.
‘I feel really good and the experience was great,’ Reshma said after the show. ‘I feel as though it has definitely changed my life.’