On Saturday I took part in a flash-mob style, activist catwalk founded last year by America’s Next Top Model graduate Khrystyana Kazakova. Khrystyana started the catwalk to redefine accepted standards of beauty in fashion and media.
As a fierce campaigner for inclusivity and body-positivity, I jumped at the chance when I was asked to take part! I hungrily looked over the pictures on social media of last years catwalk and prepared myself for what was to come.
The lead up to the catwalk was filled with love and encouragement in the form of messages on a group chat of all of those taking part. The amount of helping comments and words of wisdom and support from the individuals in the group was one of the most beautiful things I have taken from the experience as a whole. Of course baring yourself in a public place can be daunting but the group chat members never failed to pick each other up and bolster those who were loosing faith.
The night before the catwalk we all met for a picnic in Soho Square. This was a lovely idea because it meant we could get to know each other before hand an put faces to names. It was a lovely atmosphere filled with excitement and a touch of anxiety! Khrystyana was lovely and really helped to quash everyone’s fears before the big event.
In the morning, myself and fellow Plus-size beauty Kaisa, got ready. We made our way to Trafalgar for the rehearsals, quaffing prosecco along the way! As you do!
When we got to near Trafalgar it was time to rehearse. We were out of the taxi and onto the rehearsal catwalk within 30 seconds! Talk about a baptism of fire!
After some mingling with other walkers it was time for the big show!
We moved to where the catwalk was taking place which was directly outside the National Gallery. Waiting in the queue to actually walk, was utterly nerve wracking but so much fun. You could hear the sounds coming from the amazing beat boxer and drummer and the cheers from the crowd as others in front did their thang on the catwalk.
Pretty soon it was my turn! I waited behind the catwalk curtain and after a hug and words of encouragement from the founder Khrystyana it was my time!
Walking through the curtain, I was greeted by a sea of faces, some smiling, some bemused. But it was clear that we had caused a stir and achieved in highlighting inclusivity in the fashion world.
As I walked I thought ‘right you only have one go at this, so make it bloody count girl!’ So I did what I do best. I pouted, posed and slapped my fat ass down that catwalk! It felt completely liberating and the buzz was incredible.
And then it was all over, in what felt like a second I had done it. I had been part of something very special. Something that felt like it could actually change the world for the better.
During the day I met the most incredible people of all shapes and sizes, of all abilities, of all colours, of all sexualities. What mattered was that in that moment, on that catwalk, we were all equal and that is exactly how the fashion and media world should consider us. Every day ‘normal’ need and deserve representation. Not just for the benefit of those who would work in the fashion world but for those watching. It is not healthy to see one, singular body type on the catwalk or in the magazine, especially as that body type may be unattainable. I honestay believe that The Real Catwalk can help change the face of fashion to the more inclusive, which in my view, makes the world a more welcoming place.