The fashion world is taking small steps when it comes to tackling the issue of diversity. There is still a long way to go, but certain women are taking a stand, defying expectations, and breathing new life into an industry that needs a shake up. The modern idea of what constitutes as the “perfect” body shape is old, dated and as unattainable as ever, and in 2016, we’re seeing a range of people with different mobilities and uniqueness come to the fore and help to represent a minority group – those with disabilities – who deserve as much time in the spotlight as anyone else.
Model, presenter, and author, Katie Piper, is one such incredible woman who believes in a life without limitations. An acid attack survivor, she has rebuilt and devoted her life to charity after founding The Katie Piper Foundation and those in the same situation, offering them a positive support when they need it most. She is supporting TK Maxx and Enable Ireland’s Give Up Clothes For Good Campaign, in line with Enable Ireland’s No Limits Week (taking place all this week) to support people with disabilities to be the best versions of themselves. Piper donated many items from her wardrobe to the campaign, and the Irish public is encouraged to do the same and donate their unwanted clothes, accessories and quality homewares to their nearest TK Maxx store.
“I’m hugely passionate about the ethos behind the No Limits campaign; it’s something I apply to my personal life,” she told IMAGE.ie. She explained that she “doesn’t believe in labels” and instead, is all about encouraging others to live as full a life as possible regardless of mobility. “Fashion is about feeling good, something that should apply to everyone. I use fashion as tools to feel confident and empowered, and this is the premise of this campaign; to encourage everyone to be inclusive and be themselves.”
And her go-to fashion item? “Without a doubt, it’s a pair of high-heels; I put them on and feel I can take on the world.”
Sadly, disabled models in the industry are a rarity, yet with such a mainstream campaign there is some hope that a more inclusive light will be shined on the extraordinary women (and men) who are working so hard to make their mark. It serves as a reminder that diversity in fashion campaigns means adequately representing people with disabilities, just as much as it does gender fluidity, race, and size.
Piper herself is an empowering and inspiring woman, full of positivity and she aims to pass this on to everyone, but in particular to young women in the same situation as herself. “I used what was a negative time in my life and wanted to turn it into a positive to inspire other people and show them that no matter what, you have the power to live a full life and not be defined by negative times in your life,” she continued.
She has an array of projects currently on the go (she was also recently involved in the Pride of Ireland awards) the next of which is her new book, Confidence: The Secret due for release later this year. She explained that the book is the next step in her journey to recovery and revolves around feeling empowered and said the idea for the book came after she hosted a fashion show of the same name last year, featuring a range of strong, diverse and influential women.
“I worked with a number of people on the book including phycologists and hope that I can use what I learned from my most difficult moments to inspire and guide others, and give readers the tools they need to feel happy, confident and better about themselves,” she added.
To take action on disability, donate unwanted clothes, accessories and quality homewares in store and nominate a friend, colleague or family member to do the same. Share your donations and nominations using #GUCFG at www.facebook.com/tkmaxxIE.