Empowering Plus Size Women

“EveryBODY is beautiful and should be celebrated.”

Amy Boyd explores the way plus size women are able find self love and embrace their bodies through fashion.

What do you think of plus size? Fat, unhealthy and gross are all words associated with this term and it is apparent that bigger women do not fit into society’s expectations of the perfect woman. Magazine covers depict slim silhouettes, airbrushed skin, and immaculate bone structure; these qualities are envisioned as being flawlessly beautiful and it is something each and every woman both young and old desires to be. We have been conditioned from a young age to strive for the perfect image of ourselves and when you don’t feel you fit into these almost unobtainable factors we feel lost and unvalued.

Speaking to Megan Scott a primary school assistant, 21 and Lisa Docherty a hair stylist 35 who have a combined age of half a century share their views on the taboo of being sizes 18-26 in 2018.

Do you think society’s views are changing towards plus size women?

Megan: “I do feel like society’s views are changing. I think social media is allowing women to accept their own bodies more and reassuring them that everyone has a different body shape and it is actually considered more unusual to be a size 0.”

 what do you think the future will hold for plus size?

Megan: “I definitely think being plus size is going to become more accepted although I think it will always have a stigma attached to It.”

Do you think the misconception of plus size women can be altered through the means of social media?

Lisa: “I love the way Instagram empowers bigger girls. I’ve seen many plus size models and influencers show off their figures in a confident way and they aren’t afraid to wear whatever they want, Its amazing.”

How do you think plus size fashion is viewed by people outside of the size range?

Lisa: “it’s easy for people who are slim to have a negative opinion on curvy girls because that’s what society has taught us to believe. I think many people think it’s wrong to love your body and your imperfections, it’s kind of strange to associate the word beautiful with being overweight.”

Do you think the fashion industry needs to focus more on a diverse range of body types and do you think it will have a positive or negative impact on the future of the industry?

Lisa: “Yes, it does. It should be about embracing everyone, imperfections and all. The world would be a boring place if everyone was the same. It will have a positive impact on the future of the industry because people will feel acceptance for who they are.”

It is refreshing to see a woman comfortable in her own skin and wearing whatever clothing she chooses then posting them freely on social media and spreading the message that every woman is worthy enough to respect her personal opinion and brave enough to juxtapose with the magazine covers we see on a daily basis.

Photography/styling/direction/visuals/Interview by Amy Boyd (@amyboydphotog)

‘My boobs of burden’ – The struggles of growing up with a fuller bust


With the numbers of mental health issues on the rise, 19-year-old, Chloe Spedding from Newcastle explains the struggles she faced growing up with a fuller bust and how this has affected her confidence and self-esteem growing up.


What was it like growing up with a fuller bust?

I struggled with finding my fashion sense for ages so ended up hiding myself behind big clothes and baggy tops for a few years in high school. I felt awkward at house parties when I was younger because if I didn’t wear low cut tops I didn’t feel pretty but whenever I did it was the only attention I would get off young boys taking the mick out of big boobs. I also struggled with trying to buy clothes like my friends to fit in but ended up feeling insecure because they didn’t fit me like they would fit them.

Was there a specific moment that you realised that you were treated differently because of your fuller bust?

Yes! I remember this moment so clearly, I remember always feeling a need and pressure during high school to look nice and to dress like all my friends did. Which is wrong now I think about it, but I thought I’d fit in more with the other girls if I was more like them. So I would go out and buy short skirts and low cut tops like everyone else was wearing even though I knew my parents would not approve. So when I actually came round to wearing them, I tried to sneak out of the house without them noticing. Of course, my mam would always spot me somehow and she said something to me once that stuck with me for a very long time. She kind of gave me ‘the look of disapproval’ said ‘are you sure you don’t want to put a vest under that top? Or maybe put a cardi on?’ and I just remember thinking how unfair it was and wondering why there was such a big problem with having my cleavage on show. I mean, I now know why she asked those questions because as I’ve grown older I have faced the consequences of having cleavage on show, the stares, the sly comments. So, I guess my mam was just looking out for me, but it’s a shame that society has put this negative stigma onto women’s bodies. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed or self-conscious of my body, but sadly I do.


Do you feel self-conscious going out in outfits that may seem provocative simply because there aren’t tops that fit both your bust and waist?

Yeah, I always feel embarrassed, like I hide them in some pictures and wear coats sometimes because I just feel like I get unnecessary attention. I hate it.

What annoys you about having a fuller bust?

Oh, this is my life defined! My boobs are a burden, literally. I hate how I can’t buy bras from most normal shops eg. Topshop H&M, Urban Outfitters, tops fit in a way that makes me look bigger than I am because my boobs make the tops stick out.






Dyslexia: An Explanation and a Celebration

What have Tommy Hilfiger, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen and Cath Kidston all got in common? Assuming you’ve read the title, the answer is obvious: they are all dyslexic.

Given their iconic fashion status it is perplexing that dyslexia is often described in terms of the difficulties those with it face. For example, reading problems, inferior spelling skills and the elongated time it takes to process certain types of information. So why is it, in a generation at the forefront of self-acceptance, we are yet to embrace the positive aspects of common learning disabilities such as dyslexia?

Being dyslexic myself, I have decided to use a series of photos to explain and celebrate dyslexia. I feel that these images, with a few words running alongside them, will best convey the emotions and achievements that can be experienced with dyslexia.

The scrabble letters that are stuck onto Eva, with their numbers in the corner quantifying the worth of the letters, are there to mirror the way in which letters can make a dyslexic feel.  The way in which the letters themselves, and a dyslexic’s ability to understand them, can sometimes quantify our self worth.

Eva poses with a fed up expression, to convey and explain the distress and frustration a dyslexic experiences on a daily basis. However, she stands tall and elegantly, showing that despite her struggle with the letters she doesn’t let it bring her down.


This photo shows Annie demonstrating her strengths, the things she relates to and how she expresses herself. Annie prides herself on her ability to think outside the box and see things in a quirky and new way others do not.

In this image Annie is posed upside down on a chair which personifies her outside the box thinking. Given that reading and writing aren’t the way that she naturally expresses herself, Annie embraces and utilises her creativity. She holds a record by Fleetwood Mac, she is dressed in one of her many unique and eye catching outfits and her sketch book lies next to her on the floor to demonstrate her strengths and different methods of self expression in which she excels. From art, to music, to fashion, Annie is certainly not short of talents.


Tilly and Westy, two dyslexic models who proudly pose with confidence in clothes designed by two great dyslexic designers, Tommy Hilfiger and Paul Smith.

My final shoot celebrates the fashion achievements of two dyslexic designers modelled by two talented, dyslexic models. This shoot exudes confidence and positivity with both models wear pieces designed by Tommy Hilfiger or Paul smith.

A dyslexics struggle with the written word does not define them, there is no shortage of ways to express yourself. Luckily for society many dyslexics have already found the fashion industry for their creative outlet and I have no doubt that many more will in the future.


By Evie Loy

Looking back at a year of skin positivity

2018 was a pinnacle moment for the skin positivity movement. To celebrate we looked back at the trailblazers that encouraged us to show our skin this year.


This was the month that Peter DeVito started his Untouched project to remind us that it is normal to have Acne.

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Mercedes Matz was the face of the Dove Dermaseries campaign. As a part of the campaign she said “You see perfect skin all over social media. But not everyone has perfect skin – whether it’s eczema, psoriasis, acne, or whatever, the more we show it the more people will accept it.”



In march Kadeeja Khan shared her story to raise awareness of skin conditions.  L’Oreal told Kadeeja they couldn’t work with people with skin issues and this is what she had to say “To think we’re supposed to live in an advanced society that not only ACCEPTS of [sic] ALL walks of life but actually embraces people of all backgrounds, religions, ethnicities and disabilities. Shame on you L’Oréal.”


Louisa Northcote created #freethepimple a campaign which encourages people to not be ashamed of their natural skin.


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Sophie Harris-Taylor shared this with us when we asked her about her latest project “Epidermis”.

“Most of my personal projects are brought about by my own life experience, dealing with both the familiar and unobserved. As a photographer, I use people to express my own pre-occupations and concerns. When I think about it throughout my work there is always some element of my own vulnerability. A big part of it is about capturing something honest and truthful in some shape or form. I want to make people feel good, essentially. All women, in fact.”- Sophie Harris-Taylor

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Petra Collins’s created a short film A Love Story,  featuring artist Sarah Sitkin’s “Bodysuits”.


The website #getyourskin remodelled it’s website in order to celebrate more psoriasis campaigns and raise positive awareness.



Ben Simpson shared his photography project which focused on what people really look like, outside of perceived digital perfection.


Sophie Mayanne launched her “Behind the Scars” website celebrating scars and the stories behind them.


Brock Elbank held his #Freckles exhibition in Sweden’s Regionmuseet Kristianstad. He photographed 180 individuals with different genders, ages, and ethnicities from Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia.


Em ford skin positivity blogger released a follow up to her “You look disgusting” video which hit 29 million views. The “Redfine pretty” campaign asked volunteers “If we change the standards of beauty, do we change how we see ourselves?”


Rana smith completed her of skin photography

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Is fashion still scared of people who are not traditionally ‘pretty’?

Nur Khamis explores the obstacle-filled path of unconventional models and the underrepresentation of individuals lacking Eurocentric features in the fashion industry.


I was raised in Bucharest, Romania, with a Jordanian father and a Romanian mother. Growing up, I was not considered traditionally beautiful, but rather interesting looking. This might be because, as an ethnically ambiguous person, I did not look like anyone else. Even though I am half Caucasian, the only white features I possess are my pale skin and blue eyes– I inherited my dad’s Middle Eastern looks. With a wide, square shaped face, a bigger, rather bulbous nose, bushy eyebrows, untamed, curly hair and a very unsymmetrical face, you could say I did not fit in society’s beauty norms.

When I moved to the UK, I suddenly realized how different people actually are, because of the mix of cultures in the country. Romania is majorly white, and there’s not a lot of us mixed race individuals. UK, with its cosmopolitan London, is the complete opposite.

Still, as I observed the diversity around me, I also observed the lack of it within the fashion industry. The industry is still fixated on the traditional, Western ideals of beauty, and they are considered by society as the standard.  Unconventional looking models, which I find incredibly beautiful, are marked as ‘interesting’ or ‘weird’, and it’s harder for them to get jobs. Take Slick Woods, for example. She quickly became one of the most talked about models, and Rihanna’s muse. Gaped teeth, shaved head – her beauty is harder to consume and understand – so she’s constantly getting bullied online, called “ugly”.

I decided to photograph people, models and fashion enthusiasts, who possess strong features, and unique looks. These individuals break the rules and the boring standards of beauty and embrace their own individuality. It’s that powerful confidence to be yourself that scares people, because not everyone is courageous enough to do it. That’s exactly what the fashion industry needs – people who are unconditionally themselves and don’t care if they don’t fit in.

Working on this project taught me how I was never the only one struggling to be accepted and fit in – a lot of us were trying to take away from our own individuality in order to mould into an idea of what we should be.


“I think I changed myself over the years to become more like the girls who were all the same because I stood out too much and never felt I was like them.” – Tee, 22, told me. She grew up a mostly white community in Lichfield, with a Botswana father and a mother from Kimberley, Northern Cape. When she was little, she used to hate her teeth gap – but now she learnt to love it, and models like Slick Woods helped her embrace it.



Joey, 25, works as a model in London, for AMCK modelling agency, one the best male agencies in the UK. His unique looks got him a few important gigs – ASOS and Valentino, to name a few. He’s a mixed-race child – a Jamaican mother and an Algerian father. His freckles define him, and also put him in the ‘unconventional’ model category.  As hard as it was to hide them growing up, he doesn’t want to anymore.




Daniel, 20, likes being called by his family name, Nejat. His case is very similar to mine – he grew up in Bucharest, with strong, Iranian features inherited from his father. No one looked like him, which attracted people’s attention. That’s how he learnt to be a people’s charmer.

It’s hard to find models that look like him. Take a look on every catwalk – you won’t see a lot of Middle Eastern men.

Society framed us in clothing sizes. Can we be positive?

Gabriele Kazbaraite interviewed three different size women’s to share their own experiences about body positivity and clothing sizes. With a twist of them spreading positivity about how they look in photo shoots.

It all depends on the upbringing – our perception of a human being, emotions, opinions and thoughts. Society understanding to the body image in the fashion industry or in life can be really judgemental. But at the end of the day is all about how your mind works and what do you think when you look in a mirror when you see yourself. CLOTHING SIZE – THIS IS NOT YOU!

Do you feel comfortable in your own body?

Gabija: Quote I live with: ‘I’d rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero’ by Sophia Loren is the one I can relate most. I’m happy with the way I look and it’s not a big secret that I’m clearly not avoiding junk food or eat as a ‘student’. As long as I’m happy with myself everyone around me should be happy as well.

Have you ever had mental health issues related to body image?

Urte: When I was younger I thought that I have to change just because others think that I am not good enough for them and I have mixed feelings and emotions about how people see me when they talk with me. What I realised through years is that I should know what I want to be and it doesn’t matter what other people want I have to think for myself. So I wouldn’t call my insecurities and emotions as a serious mental health issue.

Have you ever been bullied in school?

Gabija: Yes. When I was at 8th grade two guys from the senior class was calling me ‘cow’ to be able to get my attention using the way I look. Is this how guys talks with girls?

Do you think that what person wears says a lot?

Deimante: In some degree, I don’t enjoy when people judge by what a person is wearing. It doesn’t tell the whole story, just what the person enjoys to wear.

Do you think that being framed in clothing size numbers by others have a huge impact on our lives?

Urte: No, I think that being framed into size numbers is normal because we live in a society that is constantly changing and it affects our lives just then when we need to buy something and we need to know our size. But as well as for some of the people clothing sizes and shopping can be a very difficult task, I know a lot of young people who suffers from anxiety, eating disorders and knowing their size in clothes doesn’t help them to have a good shopping experience or good mental attitude. So in another way, it does have an impact on our lives.

Have you ever wanted to change your body? If so why?

 Gabija: Of course there are times when I consider the way I look mainly because our society is hugely affected by social media continent. But at the end of the day, not those models from Instagram are winners but for me, because when I look in the mirror I love myself and the way I look.

What do you suggest for other people who might suffer from ‘fear’ to shop in-store mainly because of how they look and what people would think about them?

Deimante: I think, the main thing is to live for yourself and then you will be happy. And for people who have this fear, I suggest embracing what they have got already. Work on your mind and thoughts. Mental health is more important than you think. Be positive and embrace yourself!

Gabija’s shoot twist was to show how free and comfortable she feels in her own body. Deimante’s one was absolutely no makeup and natural beauty and Urte’s one was just simply happy in my own body. All 3 of them no matter how different they are was related to positive attitude and emotions.

Urte Ivoskeviciute ‘Happy in my own body’

Photography: Gabriele Kazbaraite

Gabija Petreviciute ‘Freedom’

Photography: Gabriele Kazbaraite

Deimante Narkeviciute ‘Natural Beauty’

Photography: Gabriele Kazbaraite

We all look different. People start comparing themselves with celebrities, bloggers, influencers and how they look in the same clothes. Especially younger people as we are. And this our problem. You have to understand that you do look different, every individual wears different clothes and has a different understanding and the same dress will look different on every single person. You don’t have to put a bigger size on let’s stay in our size and let’s embrace it! Clothing sizes don’t say anything about us as a person. Our society framed us but we can make difference and be happy!



Box Ticked

What does it mean when journalists use the phrase ‘diversity in fashion’. Is this phrase another way to tick another box?

As a British Asian young woman, I have never thought to question the word diversity, as I feel that it has become a buzzword. As diversity in fashion has become a huge talking point in the last few years, I have realised that it still isn’t being understood. I can say with my hand to my heart that the only well known, global indian editorial models that I know are Neelam Gill and Saffron Vadher. I have not seen changes in magazines with the representation of diversity, as you can’t just slap on the cover someone who would tick the box. People might say “wow, look how diverse iD magazine is being”, but you have to look at the bigger picture.

Let’s look at how much England has ticked the right boxes. The population is approximately 66 million. According to Census 2011, 80% of the U.K are white British, 6.8% is Asian and 3.4% is Black. Within both Asian and Black communities, the percentages are of both immigrants and British born. You have to ask yourself why South Asian are not being represented. As you can see through the statistics, Britain is made up of more than just white Britain. Burberry did a campaign called English Rose in 2014, this was were Neelam Gill made her first appearance alongside Malaika Firth who is Kenyan British born. This campaign was the start of how Burberry which is an iconic British brand, looked at the more ‘diverse’ ways of portraying England.

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Simran Bhullar, 23, is a Brit-Asian woman and has been watching the way fashion has become more diverse with the models that have been used. Neelam Gill has been a huge influence as before “no one resembled me, unless if I watched Bollywood films” Simran told me. I asked Simran many questions about how it feels to be placed into a category or box and her response was interesting the mood in the room changed. She told me that “diversity has become more prominent but it is not like we didn’t exist before so why has it taken this long”. You could see the frustration in her face and gave a huge sigh when just saying the phrase diversity in fashion. I told Simran that the feeling is mutual and the whole interview become more of a debate and me challenging everything being said. 

Our conversation together started to look at how diversity, as a word, needs to be used correctly and “you can’t just say fashion is diverse anymore as the whole issue behind diversity becomes lost”. Simran then tells me about what diversity means to her and you could not only hear the passion but also see it through what she was saying. Simran told me that diversity is about inclusivity and how we should not judge someone because of their race, gender or creed. This isn’t an issue solely in fashion but in many different areas in multiple industries.

What is ‘diversity in fashion’ and is it another category? This is the question I have tried to answer for my own sanitary. Personally diversity is more that a word it is something that I understand as I am one of many people who have not felt like they have been represented in the media but my only concern about this word or phrase is that we are placing many boxes with one.

Is this the right direction? I open the floor to you who is reading this article and ask to hear your opinion via social media using the hashtag #boxticked.