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Transgender Model Johanna Londinium On Why The Fashion Industry Needs To Be More Inclusive

02/09/2015 16:37 BST | Updated 15/06/2016 17:59 BST

Transgender models are finally having their moment - with more fashion brands than ever embracing the fact that beauty comes in every different form.

Taking notes from New York's push to include more diversity on the catwalk, this year's London Fashion Week will feature transgender models like England-born Johanna Londinium.

A regular at the British fashion event, this year, Londinium will be the lead in the LFW F.U.S.E event, fresh from her recent success in award-winning editorials for Candy and Harpers Bazaar China.

johanna londinium

Johanna Londinium by Giovanni Martins

Having trained as a makeup artist as a teen, the model begun her career in front of the camera six years ago as a performance artist and told HuffPost UK Style she hopes to represent those from transgendered backgrounds.

"I would love to be able to represent at a higher level and to a bigger, more mainstream audience", she said. "The only way people can be educated in a positive way is if they are exposed to people like myself in their everyday lives."

Londinium, who started her own transgender journey at the age of 17, is certain an important part of this education will come from the fashion industry.

"People across all walks of life look at and follow fashion and trends. And if they can identify with the models used it can only be a good thing.

"We're all educated by exposure, so if the industry uses a diverse range of models then people will be exposed to other types of people they may otherwise not be."

Citing transgender model Leah T, albino male model Shaun Ross and Winnie Harlow, the America's Next Top Model star with vitiligo, as her fashion inspirations, Londinium feels the industry is definitely becoming more inclusive.

"Things are definitely moving in the right direction," she said, also noting that the media attention on Caitlyn Jenner's transition has been a positive step for the transgender community.

"The Kardashians show has a huge audience and an audience of people who would otherwise never get to see a transgendered person.

"Caitlyn Jenner has handled her transition completely elegantly and is educating her audience sensitively, tastefully and with genuine emotion."

Before her transition, Londinium admitted to feeling alienated and depressed - even being discriminated against in her small hometown in the east of England - but now she feels the fashion world has accepted her.

"I have forged a career that has seen me do so many amazing things across the world. I am very happy.

"A lot of the modelling work I have been booked for has been as a female model, with no reference to my transgendered past.

"There are obviously jobs I know I haven't been booked for because the client thinks that my history, referenced or not, might be detrimental to their brand should it become common knowledge.

"Hopefully as we move forward with education this will no longer be an issue and, indeed, something that is embraced."

The F.U.S.E. spring/summer 16 show will be taking place during London Fashion Week at the Montcalm Hotel's Grand Ballroom on Sunday 20 September.

For tickets, call 02031519507, email ik@Le-Starr.com or visit londonss16.com for more information.

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