Alex Light: 'We only have freedom if we have freedom for ALL shapes and sizes'

Inclusive lingerie brand womanhood and body positivity advocate Alex Light have joined forces on a new campaign celebrating women within the brand's community.

In the series of video interviews, Alex discusses the topics of womanhood and self-acceptance with customers and models Rhiannon Barnfather, Marta Lucia Kupfer, Chloe Lee and ex-Eastenders actor Melissa Suffield (nee Carter).

In line with the campaign launch, womanhood have also added three new brands (Skarlett Blue, Attollo and Natori) to their eclectic, female-led collection, extending their size offering up to 30-38 back and A-HH cup.

Here, Alex talks us through her latest project, and what the fashion industry can do to be more inclusive.

Talk us through your new campaign.

It was so wonderful to be involved in the womanhood campaign and interview five women about their journey with their own womanhood and bodies… The interviews were raw, vulnerable and authentic and it was really moving to have those honest conversations.

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What are the biggest misconceptions around lingerie?

I think it’s really important to note that fancy lingerie should be accessible for more than just one kind of body. Everyone, no matter their shape or size, should be able to get their hands on really beautiful lingerie and not have to resort to plain bras and knickers that are designed to simply cover up and minimise. We should be able to celebrate our bodies in whatever feels and looks good to us.

You've worked in the media industry for a while, how has it evolved, and how has your relationship with it changed?

I think there have been huge steps towards inclusivity and diversity in the media - but we still have a long way to go! Currently, many of the ‘plus-size’ women who are being used for campaigns to show diversity are not actually above a UK size 14, and have hourglass figures with flat stomachs and no cellulite, while fatter bodies are still marginalised and not shown. And we only have freedom if we have freedom for ALL shapes and sizes!

My relationship with the media has been interesting - as a magazine journalist for 10 years and writing often about celebrity bodies, I definitely contributed to perpetuating diet culture and have really struggled to make peace with that.

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What steps can the fashion industry take to be more inclusive without it feeling like a box ticking exercise?

I think it’s really important for brands and the media to truly understand why diversity is so important, therefore why it’s imperative that we make the fashion industry an inclusive space and stop causing harm to those marginalised. That way, they will genuinely be on board with the change and striving to make as much genuine change as possible - that includes behind the scenes as well and within the companies themselves. Everyone wears clothes, so everyone should feel represented by the fashion industry.

What style lessons have you learned?

That it’s OK to like what you like and stick with it. I always felt like I had to be trying out different trends and trying to switch up my wardrobe to make it more interesting but I think there’s no harm in sticking to good basics that you feel good wearing. For me, it’s all about comfort. That goes for lingerie, too.

Has social media changed your outlook on body positivity? 

Hugely. Social media has really helped to educate me on the subject by being able to listen to the experiences of people in marginalised bodies and understanding that body positivity is vital for those that are oppressed just for how they look. Body acceptance has been life-changing for me, but I still have to acknowledge that, at the end of the day, my body is still very much privileged.

I think social media is really helping to change how we view our bodies - after being subject to the media only for so long (who depicted only one type of beauty), we are now able to create and steer our own narrative and it’s wonderful.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.