Iskra Lawrence, Nicola Griffin and Other Models Pose for Boundary-Breaking Fashion Exhibit
Straight-size Maybelline model Charli Howard, mature swimsuit model Nicola Griffin, curvy H&M model Jennie Runk, social media star Iskra Lawrence, curvy model Philomena Kwao and seven other women of all ages, backgrounds, shapes and sizes have come together to pose for a one-of-a-kind photo shoot to promote diversity in high fashion.
The women are all participants in the “Straight/Curve: Fashion Reimagined” exhibit, photographed by Anastasia Garcia, which showed in NYC on October 26 at the Refinery29 Every Beautiful Body event. The models and photographs will also be featured in the upcoming documentary, Straight/Curve, which aims to change the portrayal of what an “ideal” body looks like.
“We live in a melting pot society, and most people are simply not being represented,” film director Jenny McQuaile tells PEOPLE. “Everybody has the right to feel good and comfortable in their own body.”
McQuaile notes that most high-fashion campaigns only feature straight-size women.
“Women over a size 4, older women and oftentimes black or Latina women are not shot with a high-end aesthetic in high-fashion clothes, amazing lighting or through the same lens we are so accustomed to seeing straight-size models,” she says.
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McQuaile hopes her documentary, along with the exhibit’s photos, will further advance the movement to have all types of women portrayed in high-fashion images.
“With these iconic photos we hope to challenge society’s current unrealistic standards of beauty, and really question what is standing in the way of more diverse and inclusive images in the fashion industry and media,” she says. “At a time when 90 percent of women say they do not feel represented by fashion or the media, we absolutely have to change the imagery we are seeing.”
McQuaile also says she wants to send a message to the fashion industry and the media about what true diversity looks like.
“Can all women actually be seen the same way, and as equally beautiful? Or are our current standards of beauty so skewed that we just don’t want to see certain women represented in a certain way?” she asks. “We are interested to see what reaction people will have seeing an older model next to a younger one, or a straight-size model next to a plus-size model.”