We understand standards to mean that which sets the norm or the benchmark in a certain context. Since time immemorial there has always been a set of criteria in the world of beauty that characterises what is commonly thought to be beautiful. The uniformity in the selection of models that we were once used to see is now changing. Right now, we are seeing the doors being flung open regarding these standards; no longer sealed tight, they are letting in a whole new world for the meaning of what we consider beautiful.
For quite a while we have been offering examples of this paradigm shift, even though the change towards the standards that we had been looking at has been based on the idea of age. This time we want to go even further and show you the new faces that are reshaping the world of beauty.
Among the thousands of examples of this new opening trend, the one that stands out for us is Winnie Harlow, a model whose identifying feature is a disease called vitiligo which causes discolouring to her skin, leaving her covered in patches, patches that are surprisingly very beautiful.
At the 2015 Gala Spa awards, held in Germany, the model was awarded the title “Beauty Idol,” and when she was asked what the award meant to her, she replied: “It’s an amazing honour. The fact that people recognize what I’m fighting makes my success even more valuable.”
Melaine Gaydos is also considered to be a model who has broken all the stereotypes of beauty. The 26 year old, diagnosed with ectodermal dysplasia, has been hitting our runways since 2013 when she was discovered by Style Like U’s What’s Underneath project.
We do not just find women as examples of this phenomenon. Shan Ross is the first albino model to step foot on a runway; a trained model, actor and dancer, at just 23 years old he has already modelled for prestigious fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen and Givenchy.
Another of the names on the list is Andreja Pejic, who was born as Andej Pejic and was the first model to appear on both male and female catwalks for the same collection and self-identifies as being “between two genders”.
A lot of the models we have mentioned were victims of bullying during their childhood because of the conditions that made them different from their classmates. These same conditions are now leading to their success in the world of fashion. We hope that this display of the diversity that makes up our world is not just an illusion, but is actually a step taken towards real change in the sector.
Winnie Harlow herself told Today magazine: “The only person that can make you feel that you aren’t beautiful is you.” Working in the world of fashion, we need to be aware of the burden we bear on our shoulders. Our job is to show that anyone can become more beautiful if they just follow our advice, however this beauty comes first and foremost from within, the only thing we do is to bring it out so that everyone can see it.