Depending on whether or not you’re into fashion, you may or may not have heard that it’s New York Fashion Week. Basically the best of the best fashion bloggers, the most fashion forward celebrities and the most prestigious and influential ensemble of designers are all hanging out in NYC this week having a blast. I have been a lover of fashion and the industry ever since I can remember. I love to celebrate the idea of putting art on the human body. Since the very first “supermodels”, think Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Kate Moss, I have been obsessed. Obsessed with it all! From the catwalk to the stories that take place behind the runway’s curtain, it’s always been my thing. Now fast forward and there is a new group of gals currently headlining the most distinguished fashion shows in the world. Think Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Chloe Delevingne…unarguably a beautiful new group of leading ladies. As with all moments in fashion history, there has been some debate and drama this past week. For instance, Victoria Beckham received some backlash for using, what some are saying, too skinny of models. Alas, with the aid of social media, her models went on the record showing themselves holding big plates of food proclaiming they do in fact eat. And then just recently, Tim Gunn of Project Runway, got vocal about the fashion industry and it’s lack to appeal to all American women…not just sizes 0-4.
Now, let’s take a time out and rewind to two Saturdays ago. I was asked to teach some yoga for the retail company, Aerie. If you haven’t heard of Aerie, you have now and it’s unlikely you’ll forget about them from here on out. I started following Aerie on Instagram a while back when they kicked off they’re #aerieREAL campaign. Their mission is to teach and show young girls and ladies to learn to love the skin they’re in with all the flaws and imperfections…noting that those are what make us all unique and extraordinarily beautiful. It’s easy to say this and that, but when the retailer made a move to no longer retouch and photoshop their models, they really brought their campaign for self love to a whole new level. These are real bodies, not computer images. So with that being said, I was super excited when I was approached to teach for the company, as I love what they stand for. Plus, their clothing line is off the hook comfy, cozy and all sorts of good stuff for the autumn season coming up. Top it off with amazing and affordable yoga apparel and I think they may have my whole heart.
As I was prepping for my classes I noticed one of the main faces and supermodels of Aerie, Iskra Lawrence, walking around the event. I think in our culture when we use the word “supermodel” to describe some one we think, 5’8, lengthy, skinny, small breasted, little booty and legs that go for days. Now, think of the opposite of these traits and we have our girl, Iskra. Iskra is seemingly of normal height, curvaceous, has bigger breasts, a voluptuous booty, curvy legs and a beautiful face. I found out later during the program that not only is she beautiful on the outside, but that same beauty resides on the inside as well. Towards the end of the evening she got on a mic and asked the group to have a seat for an open Q&A forum. We all sat in a circle as she began to tell us a bit about herself and how she got to where she is now – the face and body of Aerie. Years ago she started her journey to become a model. She went from agency to agency who repeatedly told her she was too big to be a runway model. Eventually she began auditioning as a plus size model, but alas, she was told she wasn’t big enough. She confessed that over the years this created emotional issues and eating disorders until one day she decided enough was enough. She was just going to be, well, her. No longer would she indulge in unhealthy habits in hopes of being accepted as a certain size or shape that the fashion industry deems as perfect for their designs. Iskra was ready to be accepted for the body that she was gifted with. Which happens to be freaking gorgeous. Now as I sat in on this conversation I was reminded of the insecurities I have had with my own body as a young woman. The shape of it, the texture, the size, the changes, all that good stuff. Parts of me I freaking love, parts of me I don’t always freaking love. But it was then that she reminded me to love the skin I’m in. All you can do is your best. Eat healthy, work out several times a week, indulge every so often and fucking love the body you have…because guess what…we only have the one we were born with. That’s it. She opened up the conversation for others to share their story and it was when a ten year old girl got on the mic that I’m certain there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. This little gem of a mini human being told us how she has a friend that doesn’t like her own body. She said her friend, who I assume is near her age, looks in the mirror and picks apart the parts of her body she hates. From her height to the shape of her face, her friend doesn’t see herself as pretty or perfect. The little girl emotionally began to tell us all how she tells her friend everyday that she is beautiful inside and out and no matter what she looks like, it doesn’t matter because she is her friend and that is good enough for her. What an innocent reminder of what we all should remember. And if you ask me, we all deserve and need a friend like that. To help pick us up when we are feeling low. Here’s the deal. Hearing a ten year old girl feel as if she doesn’t meet the standards of what beautiful is is heart breaking. But that is what I love about Aerie. They want each of us to see and embrace the beauty in ourselves and our bodies, no matter what the shape or size. Knowing that it isn’t always easy to do, they have set out to make a difference among young girls and women of all ages with their #aerieREAL campaign.
Iskra said something that was really beautiful. She simply stated, “I want to wake up in the morning and be happy and content with who I am.” I think that is something we all want. With the leadership of people like her and retailers like Aerie, I truly feel they are spreading awareness of self love and loving the skin you are in. Well done to this crew of beautiful beings. And congrats on your first New York Fashion Week catwalk, Iskra. You are a huge inspiration to us all! XOXO
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