In the autumn of 2015, model Charli Howard penned an open letter to her then agency lambasting them for body-shaming her. The letter went viral and started a conversation about diversity and inclusion that continues to be part of the zeitgeist. As an advocate for women and body acceptance, Charli co-founded the All Woman Project to empower women and present an alternative to the limited beauty ideal perpetuated by the fashion industry.
Were you surprised by the support you received when you spoke out against some of the unhealthy practices of the fashion industry?
Yes, completely. I’d felt so alone for such a long time that I suddenly felt people understood where I was coming from.
What role do you think social media has in changing the conversation?
I think social media is allowing women to have a voice for the first time. We’re going back to the old practices of brands listening to the consumer, rather than the other way round. I think social media has had a big influence on diversity within fashion. Natural things like cellulite don’t seem as shocking anymore.
What changes would you like to see implemented in the fashion industry?
I just want to see more diversity. As seasons continue, I think we are seeing that, but we still have a long way to go!
Tell us about the genesis of the All Woman Project.
The All Woman Project was created by me and my friend, Clementine Desseaux. We questioned why we rarely saw plus and straight size girls together in the same campaigns, so wanted to create beautiful imagery where size wasn’t a factor. The images are 100 percent non-retouched, which is incredibly important to us, and made up of an entirely female team. We truly believe women are beautiful and feel all girls should feel represented.
Why was it important to you to get involved with this project?
I wanted to create something that my old, fifteen-year-old self would’ve aspired to. I want to prove to girls that you are beautiful, regardless of your skin or body shape. I felt so insecure growing up so I hope we’ve made girls feel less insecure in some way, even if it’s very minor.
How would you like to see this movement evolve?
We want to continue this until we feel people aren’t shocked by seeing diversity. When diversity isn’t shocking anymore, that’s when we know we’ve done our job.
What message do you want people to get out of this movement?
That you are fine just the way you are. Yes, you may have stretch marks, and yes, you may have cellulite, but so do the majority of women. Just because you’re a model, doesn’t mean you’re exempt from that.
What can people do to get involved or show their support?
You can submit a video to our Instagram video series, upload a photo and tag us or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We respond to every message!