London Fashion Week (LFW) kicked of this week, and a couple of days ago outside Store Studio, the Strand (home to LFW), a group of 5 professional models over the age of 40, carried placards campaigning for representation on the catwalk. One placard read ‘Stop Ageism at London Fashion Week’, whilst another challenged LFW to ‘grow up’. The campaign was organised by online UK fashion retailer JD Williams who led last year’s groundbreaking SS16 fashion shoot where everyone (from professional model to camera crew) was not only female but over the age of 50. It really is admirable that JD Williams is trying to break the mould, along with the professional models, in advocating for fashion to be made accessible to those of us in our 40s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond.
But, we don’t all look like professional models such as Daphne Self, Yasmin Le Bon, Jilly Johnson or Yazzmeenah Rossi (to be fair, JD’s Brand Ambassador is the lovely TV presenter, Lorraine Kelly, who is not a professional model). Standing at 5ft tall, and of curvy build, with grey peppered short natural hair, black skin tone and wearer of variofocal spectacles, I certainly don’t.
In a previous post I talked about the-Bias-Cut.com and their use of ‘real models’ – women, just like you or I, who have no previous experience of modelling. Now, this to me is groundbreaking – the opportunity to visualise how a jacket, shirt, dress or pair of trousers might look like on us, from a more realistic representation of someone whose body shape, height or colouring might be closer to our own. Hope Fashion which launched in 2015 (available online and via social selling/pop up boutiques) is also a staunch believer of using real women to model their collections.
The clothes are aimed at women aged 40 upwards. Founder, Nanya McIntosh is inspirational in that she and her design team do not adhere to traditional sizing and instead design clothing to work on any body shape! They say “our clothes are designed to enhance and to work with your height and proportions to create your best ever silhouette”. The majority of their dresses and tops are in the following sizes:-
– Freesize: to fit sizes 8-20
– Dual Slim: to fit sizes 8-14
– Dual Curvy: to fit sizes 16-20
I love their philosophy and the items I have purchased to date, personally work for me, bar one dress which unfortunately (I felt) didn’t suit me (for my height and large bust), so is being passed onto one of my sisters who is taller than me.
I consider their items to be a lovely blend of timeless fashion/style comprised of quality fabrics. Also, almost 55% of their clothing is manufactured in the UK, and the rest in Italy.
Most of the clothes are neutral in colour. You can add your own unique splashes of colour (i.e scarves, jewellery and shoes) to compliment or contrast.
The basis of Hope Fashion is their foundation range, which creates a smooth, shaping/sculpting silhouette from which you can then layer and build your outfit. Here, Debs, models foundation wear in grey with SS17 bonded sweat top in grey marl on top.
New to the collection is this navy blue foundation scoop dress featuring 3/4 sleeves – as modelled by Helen.
I had the opportunity to be one of the Hope models for the spring and summer 2017 collection featured in this post, and here I am, wearing their foundation vest in white, with chalk coloured ankle grazers (comfy stretch cotton trousers) and – sheer navy blue chiffon cocoon top – which I really love and feel gives you some reassurance if you are feeling a bit conscious of exposing wobbly upper arms or post menopause tummy whilst wearing sleeveless or close fitting items underneath.
Trudy, models a silk pop on top with its gorgeous Jamaican sunset print over foundation wear. You could also wear this over a vest top and jeans/trousers or shorts, or wear as a swimsuit/bikini cover up.
And finally, for this post, I wanted to show you the cashmere and cotton blend poncho (modelled by Angela). The aqua colour is absolutely gorgeous isn’t it!
What do you feel about the concept of using ‘real model’s, are you for or against it? And, what item of clothing from Hope’s collection would you wear and why (visit their website to see the full range)? Would love to hear your views 🙂
Please note, this is not a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.
Images – courtesy of Hope Fashion.