London Fashion Week has only just started, and everyone is already talking about the Simply Be catwalk show. Why? Because it's the only runway featuring plus size models - Ashley Graham recently called out Rihanna's Puma show for that reason.
The show featured models from a size 10 to a 26, a mix of influencers and celebrities including Tess Holliday, Marie Claire Curve columnist Hayley Hasselhoff, Callie Thorpe, Felicity Hayward, Kelly Knox, Sonny Turner and Ali Tate.
They modelled Simply Be's new collection, which is available to buy now FYI, which included sheer dresses perfect for party season, incredible silver boots and a blue puffer jacket that has our name on it.
The show came about after research from Simply Be showed that 89% of the 2,000 women questioned didn’t feel that their size was represented in main stream advertising, on runways, on TV and in the fashion press. Last night’s show was a celebration showing that fashion is for everyone regardless of size or shape.
Hayley Hasselhoff commented, 'When the guys at Simply Be asked me to be involved I jumped at the chance. The brand empowers women to be themselves and stand proud saying 'this is me'. This message resonates with what I project out into the world… that the greatest gift is being connected to yourself and loving yourself for all that you are. It's amazing to see Simply Be bringing more diversity on the runway because, after all, celebrating fashion shouldn't be dependent on dress size. The Curve Catwalk is about representing beauty in all and empowering women to love themselves through fashion. I can’t wait to be involved.'
When we interviewed her last night, she emphasised that looking fabulous was all about how confident you felt in your own body, not about what size you are. 'If you're super confident, you'll always look amazing, no matter your outfit' she said.
Angela Spindler, chief executive N Brown Group, the owners of Simply Be said, 'This isn’t about thin shaming – we just think it’s time we saw more diversity in terms of size in magazines, in advertising campaigns and on runways at fashion weeks around the globe. Something Simply Be has firmly embraced. After all it’s our job as clothing retailers to make customer feel great. The research clearly shows that having only one body ideal is impacting how people feel about themselves. Through the Curve Catwalk we want to celebrate curves and show that fashion is for everyone.'
'Our research shows that many women feel they’re not catered for with trend-led high street fashion and this is where we come in; Simply Be exists to create amazing fashion collections off the back of consumer feedback… making our customers look and feel amazing, irrespective of size.'
Kelly Knox, Diversity campaigner and the UK’s leading disabled model, added: 'Fashion should not be defined by ability, size, age, colour or gender choice. Fashion is for everybody.'
We couldn't agree more.
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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 MoneySavingExpert.com, 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.
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