Transform: Embracing the Unconventional

By Jo Phillips

EMBODY the Art Work

Is 2016 the year where all boundaries will be broken? Over the last few years, the younger generation and society as a whole, has been moving in a direction that has allowed expressive ideas that were once seen as unorthodox, to be gradually accepted and seen as ‘normal’ in society. Is there even such a thing as ‘normal’ in society anymore?

Tattoos have been around for centuries, deriving from the Polynesian word ‘Tatau’ meaning ‘to correct’. Many people enjoy getting tattoos as it is an expressive symbol of their creativity; it is there to remind them of something important or it can even mean that you belong to a certain group. The meanings are endless, and will mean something different to every individual. Having permanent ink on your skin can seem ‘cool’ or liberating for some, but what if you had a permanent scar on you that didn’t make you feel so ‘cool’? This is what it is like for some breast cancer survivors who have had mastectomies. The scars are there permanently and woman can be left feeling less feminine.

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Picture Credit: Women’sDay – Courtesy of Monica Theis

Breast cancer can be an extremely daunting matter to deal with, and the path to beating the disease can be gruelling, however, many survivors have highlighted how strong the human spirit can really be by pushing through and doing something different to celebrate their survival. Some breast cancer survivors, although appreciative of the breast cancer survivor awareness month in October, feel that the pink ribbon does not represent their struggle. The scars on their bodies can constantly remind them of their battle, so some women have decided to take back control of their bodies, instead of getting replacement breasts, they get tattoos that represent them on their mastectomy scars. Some of the art work tattooed on the women is absolutely incredible, it could even make those who fear the pain of the tattoo needle want to get a tattoo on impulse.

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Picture Credit: Woman’sDay– Courtesy of Trish Kusal

Turning wounded battle scars in to beautiful works of art- transforming their mastectomies and turning their pain into joy – these are intricate designs that are truly inspiring and mesmerising.

Making the Most of your Differences.

We all know there are many models who have broken the boundaries in the fashion and beauty industry, from Naomi Campbell to Kate Moss, but no one is quite like 21 year old model Winnie Harlow, also known as Chantelle Brown-Young.

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Having struggled with accepting her vitiligo most of her life, she has had a slow journey of acceptance, learning to embrace herself as a person and her unique skin condition. You could argue that her vitiligo sets her apart from other models but at the same time she doesn’t let her skin condition define her. Being on front campaigns for Diesel and now the brand ambassador for Desigual, she has certainly accomplished a lot for her age.

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As a society we tend to be fascinated with the people who look different to ourselves and perhaps would instantly label them as ‘different’. The mainstream media doesn’t expose us as a society to diversity enough, especially in the fashion industry. It is quite a rigid environment where there is little room for ‘unique’ people to have a voice or be represented. Winnie Harlow isn’t afraid to be proud of something that society has subliminally told her to be embarrassed of, instead she is bold and embraces not just her skin, but herself in general. It can be hard to act like a regular person when everyone treats you with special attention, however Miss Harlow stated in an interview with Complex Magazine saying that although they have modelling agencies for ‘non-traditional’ models and she is happy that people have open minds, she feels that she shouldn’t be categorised as special for her physical appearance and hopes that all models should be treated the same no matter the circumstance.WinnieHarlow

Lets aim to transform our minds and views in to being more open minded and embrace the uniqueness of everyone. You never know how we could transform the fashion industry next year.

Demi Bailey Paul