Hayley Hasselhoff has kicked off London Fashion Week by protesting the lack of diversity

15th Feb 19 | Fashion

She's been joined by a group of other body positive models and activists.

Simply Be Protest - London Fashion Week February 2019

The fashion industry is increasingly having conversations around diversity, which is historically pretty poor. Luckily, things seem to be changing – last fashion month saw the most racially diverse range of runway models than ever before, according to a report by Fashion Spot. However, there isn’t such positive news for the state of plus-size modelling.

Last season saw only 30 plus-size models walk in ten shows across London, Paris, Milan and New York, a number which is actually going down, the report said. This is a problem that plus size models and activists like Hayley Hasselhoff want to tackle head on – and they’ve done so by kicking off London Fashion Week with a good old-fashioned protest, staged by Simply Be.

Hasselhoff – along with other familiar faces like Sonny Turner and Felicity Hayward – commandeered a Routemaster bus for the occasion, cruising through central London chanting things like: “We have more to say than any dress size could.”

Hayley Hasselhoff
(Katie Collins/PA)

The group were all wearing slogan t-shirts emblazoned with words like, ‘Art director’, ‘Entrepreneur’ and ‘Activist’, showing these women are so much more than a number on a scale.

Simply Be models
(Simply Be/PA)

Even though the average size of women in the UK a size 16, that size is so rarely represented on the catwalk. In fact, only one designer – Nicholas Kirkwood – hired a plus-size model last season in London, the Fashion Spot reported.

Hayley Hasselhoff and other models
(Katie Collins/PA)

This isn’t the first time Hasselhoff has decided to protest the lack of body diversity in the fashion industry. Last November she and a group of fellow models donned underwear and angel wings to boycott the Victoria’s Secret show, which has never seen a plus-size woman on the catwalk.

Hayley Hasselhoff (right) and other plus-size models
Hasselhoff (right) protesting the Victoria’s Secret show (Jonathan Brady/PA)

London Fashion Week comes hot off the heels of New York’s version. This season in the US was a definite step forward for diversity – major shows for the likes of Prabal Gurung, Christian Siriano and Chromat all featured plus-size models.

Christian Siriano
Christian Siriano’s show in New York featured multiple plus-size models (Kevin Hagen/AP)

We can only hope this inspires London to do a little bit better, and that we’ll be pleasantly surprised by the body diversity on the runways this LFW. As Hasselhoff et al show, you don’t have to be a specific size to be a model.

© Press Association 2019

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