If you asked me what 'Fashion For All' means, I would say it's about acceptance of diversity; of all genders, sexualities, ages and ethnicities, and the ability for all people to feel confident in their own skin, the clothes and makeup they want to wear. Although self-confidence can seem hard to achieve, once you've got it, it can change your life. As a 17-year-old male beauty blogger, I believe I am proof of that.
My name is Lewys, but I'm known online as 'LookingforLewys' - a name which was inspired by John Green's book Looking for Alaska. I loved reading that book and was hugely inspired by all of the characters' stories, you should definitely check it out.
Ever since I was little I have been intrigued by makeup. I was always fascinated by how creative and artistic you could be with it, as well as the fun you could have with it. This was spurred on when I started watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. I loved watching the different looks that girls were creating and wanted to be able to do that myself but I didn't feel it was the "right" thing to do. Then around two years ago I came across a boy on YouTube who had created a video of his everyday makeup routine. Amongst all the beauty content online I had never come across a boy doing this and it got me really excited; I had to try this for myself.
I spent hours on end watching makeup tutorials for beginners and put together a list of drugstore products that I wanted. I saved up my money and went to the nearest Boots. But having never seen boys wearing makeup out, I felt so embarrassed just walking into the store. The shop was in my local area, so I knew I would bump into people I knew and that panicked me! I ended up picking products in random shades, quickly paid for them and left the store in a hurry. It's not all doom and gloom though. This was a defining moment for me because I felt so happy afterwards, having products that I could finally use after saving up for months. It also got me thinking how unfair it was that boys buying makeup wasn't as accepted - I got stares of confusion whilst I was in the shop, but I am so happy I went in and bought those products, it changed my whole life.
Since then I've practiced and practiced, putting lots of time and effort into creating looks from everyday makeup to more dramatic looks, using lots of different beauty and makeup products. I've grown in both skill and confidence, and I now don't feel afraid to wear makeup out in public. It actually makes me feel confident knowing I'm walking down the street with a good face of makeup on. Occasionally when I'm in smaller towns and places I don't know, I can feel a little self conscious due to the unknown, but knowing that I think I look good helps me to still feel confident wearing it out.
I wanted to impart some of this self-confidence, to be who you want to be, by publishing videos of the different makeup looks I was creating. I wanted to inspire people of all genders, sexualities, ages and ethnicities that you shouldn't be ashamed of who you are, what you like and what you want to look like, whether it be clothes, makeup, jewellery or how you wear your hair - this all comes under the definition of 'fashion'. Fashion cannot be for one group of people only. Clothes are just a piece of material, so how can a gender define that? I wear an item of clothing if I like it, it doesn't matter to me whether its categorized as male or female - if I like it and it fits, I get it and wear it with confidence, just as I do with makeup.
As I said, self-confidence is such a hard thing to achieve and it won't happen overnight, but once you've got it, it enables you to do what you want without caring what others think. I'm particularly fortunate that I am part of an online community which is so open and embraces diversity - of course there can be some negativity but it's important to ignore the minority and focus on the majority. I love who I am and I want others to feel just as good about who they are.
That's why I got involved in a brand campaign, which is all about embracing that diversity. When Rimmel got in touch with me a few months ago about being one of the faces of their 2017 'Live the London Look' campaign, I was over the moon. I have loved Rimmel for years and it was the first makeup brand I bought when I first went into that Boots store. I think that brands with a global voice can play a huge part in helping us to achieve a world which is more accepting so it's amazing to see so many brands embracing diversity. It's a huge confidence boost for those that are diverse, to feel accepted.
Beyond brands, over the past year I've really seen a change in the acceptance of diversity. I get less weird looks when I walk down the street, and I've seen so many more people wearing bold colours and dramatic makeup, across all genders, sexualities and ethnicities. Although there's still a long way to go, it's such an exciting time and this is just the start. I would love to think that somewhere in the near future no one will be judged for what they wear, and ultimately who they are. And we will see a world in which fashion really is for all.