Introducing the All Woman Project, championing a diversity revolution in fashion
We spoke to the models behind the explosive campaign
Started by British model Charli Howard, who went viral last October with an explosive – and absolutely necessary – Facebook status shaming the modelling industry’s unrealistic standards, and French model Clémentine Desseaux, who made headlines as the first plus-sized model to star in a Christian Louboutin advert, the All Woman Project is a feminist masterpiece.
Launching with a series of stunning photos, the project celebrates women’s bodies of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities – and it’s so so refreshing.
Garnering 19.3k Instagram followers in the few weeks since it was launched, the movement has been a huge success. We chatted to Charli and Clem about the inspiration behind it, liberation of the female body, and dealing with the haters.
What made you start the campaign?
CHARLI: Clem and I questioned why we never saw ‘straight’ size models (i.e skinny) and plus size models together in the same campaigns. We are both capable of looking great in the clothes and wanted young girls to see their body shape or ethnicity represented. We don’t think a colour or dress size determines your worth as a model.
How has the reception been? Were you expecting it?
CLEM: We were amazed by how easy it was to put together to start with. We contacted the coolest chicks in the game and – naturally – they were all down to be a part of it just because it spoke to them personally.We were surprised by the press response – everyone wanted to cover it.
As soon as it was released, on VOGUE and i-D first, the reactions from girls started flooding in and it was amazing to see how strong they felt about what we were doing. That pushed us to take it further and continue growing our community, giving everyone a voice.
I’d imagine it’s a liberating kind of modelling – is it?
CHARLI: On the two days we were shooting, we were having so much fun that we were just being ourselves. But looking back, it was very therapeutic to see girls of all shapes, sizes and colours standing together.
CLEM: It was great. Everyone involved was being honest and true during the whole shoot, which made it what it is now. You can’t achieve these kind of photos without honest hearts involved.
How many of you are involved? Are you looking to recruit more women as the campaign grows?
CHARLI: Clem and I founded it, and we modelled in it with eight other girls who all speak openly about diversity. Everyone, from the make up artist to stylist to the photographers were women. We’ve literally been featured in every major publication so it’s been amazing. Model wise, we’ve had Iskra who has a huge following and Barbie Ferreira.
CLEM: We will be continuing our mission taking it to the next level with some of the original team, some new recruits, some of our followers. People are engaging with the campaign in overwhelming numbers – they want to be an active part of it. We heard them, and, starting next week, we’ll give all of them a voice on our channels.
The Instagram page was taken down – thankfully only temporarily – because people had reported it for ‘violating Instagram’s terms’. How did it make you feel?
CHARLI: I think the thing we found most ridiculous is that there are people out there who are offended by a woman’s natural body. We’ve come so far towards loving ourselves that we’re not going to let a set back like that hold us back.
CLEM: We’re not going anywhere and we won’t let anyone mess with our mission, be that Instagram or anyone else.
How do you see yourselves alongside similar feminist projects like Free the Nipple, or the recent H&M campaign?
CHARLI: I think it’s interesting because there’s a wave of diversity coming through into fashion. That’s what people want to see.
CLEM: We’re representing what our generation has been craving but never got. By putting our campaign alongside the most feminist, women driven organisations, we’re making society a better place for women and young girls.
What would be your advice to young women just starting out in the modelling industry?
CHARLI: Hold your ground and believe in yourself. It’s no longer good enough to just be a pretty face; you have to stand for something.
Is it daunting showing what might be perceived as ‘flaws’ in a modelling capacity?
CHARLI: Yes but I think it’s become daunting for any woman nowadays, model or not. We tend to think everyone else other than ourselves is perfect, which isn’t the case at all.
Is the project is the perfect kind of ‘screw you’ to the conventional modelling industry?
CHARLI: We don’t hate the modelling industry. All we want to do is prove that beauty isn’t limited to those ideals; that beauty is varied and limitless.
CLEM: It’s more of a ‘let me show you’ than a ‘fuck you’ really.
You can follow the campaign on Instagram at @allwomanproject or check out their website at www.allwomanproject.com