There are probably not many people that would claim fashion changed their life, but for me I would say it's pretty close to the truth. Of course there are different circumstances that have changed my life, changed the path I am on and helped me to be happier, but hand on my heart I put a lot of that down to the discovery of plus size fashion and learning my own sense of style.
Women need to be able to relate to the model - how can you invisage yourself in an outfit if a teenage girl with a body of a boy is modelling it? I want to open a magazine and see all types of bodies looking back at me, because the world does not come in one dress size. Everybody is different and that is what makes us beautiful.
If companies are going to represent body positivity, then they need to be FULLY inclusive of all body types, sizes, backgrounds and lifestyles - not conform to the cookie cutter humanity that we've so far been subjected to in society for financial gain.
Bianca Von Stempel is a fashion designer motivated towards changing perceptions of visual impairment through her love for fashion design. Raising awareness of sight loss through her creative and dynamic deisgns. Out to prove that sight loss isn't a barrier to achieving your aspirations in life.
In the 80s and 90s, Madonna established herself as an unapologetically strong, female role model. She pushed the boundaries of sexuality and femininity to become the ultimate sex symbol and global superstar. Now, she's expected to revoke all that, because society can't handle it when women age. We like our older women invisible and devoid of sexuality.
Schumer aside, I'd like to know why Glamour decided to have an issue to celebrate plus size women in the first place. Is it making up for (decades of) lost time? Having an entire issue to plus size women only serves to highlight how exclusive the magazine is the other 11 months of the year - and has been every year since it first launched in 1939.
Beauty adverts are many things to many people - iconic, aspirational, dishonest, Photoshopped, damaging. But, universally, they are inescapable. But with great spending power, comes great influence - want to play on the insecurity of women and girls to sell your product? Sorry, we're just not buying it anymore.
The world and it's perception of beauty is changing, and in the UK, the black and minority population has doubled over the last 10 years, and the mixed race population is one of the fastest growing ethnic groups. I now see more and more advertising campaigns and magazine editorials that feature a wider range of ethnicities.
As the Minister for Disabled People, I see the incredible skills and talents of people battling physical and mental disabilities every day. This includes individuals like Amandeep from Wolverhampton; fed up of her drab grey crutches she worked hard to redecorate them - turning them from appliances to fashion accessories. She now runs her own company, Stride Style to make them available to lots of others.
From the age of 10 I was obsessed with models and fashion I loved the creativity and the glamour. I would look at these images and wish I to could look like those models in the magazines, being young and naive I was unaware about the hard work that is put into creating an image and that what I was really looking at were images of fantasy.
I am proud of my uniqueness and believe individuality should be celebrated. Why try and blend in when you were born to stand out?! I refuse to be labelled. I am not a robot, or a carbon copy. I am a human being. My arm does not define me as a person. It is just part of me, like every other part is.
The collection is loud, fun and daring. The prints make a bold statement, like Beth herself, immediately saying 'I've arrived' in the most exaggerated fashion. This is no random collection. I felt Beth's energy and presence in every piece.
I decided that if I couldn't find models that I could relate to, neither could a huge portion of women. Size-wise I'm around the UK average. Where as fashion model's measurements represent less than 5% of the population. So it became my mission to try and promote diversity in the industry by showing that #everyBODYisbeautiful.
Fashion is and should be for all. But for many of the people I know and work with, fashion - and specifically this month's embodiment of creative ingenuity and flamboyance, London Fashion Week - is about as relatable and relevant to their everyday lives as nipping to Mars for a quick charcoal facial.
One of the messages I promote on my blog is that fashion is more than something we perceive with our eyes, it appeals to many of our senses. Fashion is more than a visual concept, it's language and a form of expression and it's tangible.
I had the immense pleasure to meet with my dear Beth Ditto this morning to talk about the launch of her new collection! Here's what went down...