Vivienne Westwood with models at the conclusion of her LFW show
It is probably rule number one to not blog about a previous fashion week when the next one is already underway. New York had its moment last week, and now our gaze has drifted over the pond to see what London has on tap. Given that I came across this stunning article on ‘models storming the catwalk to end the tyranny of size zero’ in today’s online version of The Guardian, I must chime in with some additional thoughts on the runway casting of models, and the messages that we send regarding sustainable health and style.
Backstage at Bright Young Things (photo by Nicole Lenzen)
Size matters as does age, not to mention the ability to age well. When I was having my make-up done backstage prior to the Bright Young Things runway presentation for The GreenShows, I was complimented on having long lashes and healthy hair, which made me feel quite lustrous as a 44 year old woman who is perpetually sleep-deprived due to my toddler twins. It was great to feel special in conjunction with the diversity of lovely models that BYT designer, Eliza Starbuck, had hand-picked. In addition to a line up varying body types, ethnicities, and professional backgrounds, Eliza also included two women considerably older than your average runway nymph.
'Bright Young Things' with Eliza Starbuck (photo by Elisa Hyman)
I really do not have any sort of agenda in terms of why I participated in The GreenShows besides supporting the work of a talented designer and growing community that I believe in (and also wanting to have a bit of dress up play in the process). It is interesting, though, to absorb some of the reactions that I have received since last Tuesday’s show - everything from sisterhood praise to emphatic comments that people who are not models have no business strutting down a runway.
A 'Bright Young Thing' shining bright (photo by Nicole Lenzen)
And to that, I just want to clarify that sustainable fashion is very much about materials, methods, and outreach efforts, but it is also about women and men having healthy relationships with their own bodies and, in turn, the environment. Creative styling and genuine self-awareness are very much a part of the overall equation that feeds the ebb and flow of goods as well as the confidence that informs our purchasing power.
Pre-show glow (photo by Nicole Lenzen)
As part of the fine tuning of what sustainable fashion might encompass, it seems that we cannot exclude the unique role of the individual, not only in terms of responsible lifestyle choices, but also our ability to fashion ourselves in a way that allows us to participate in the long-term love affair that we have with our clothes, accessories, and most importantly, our self. Until we see ourselves as worthy of sharing the runway, we will continue to remain somewhat disconnected from our surroundings and the resources that fuel fashion houses as much as our true desires.