fashion

"I went to THE ICONIC Summer Show and for the first time, I saw my body on the runway."

On Thursday night, I stood in the crowd as models walked down a runway on water at THE ICONIC’s 2019 Summer Show.

It was as chic and vibrant and joyous as one would expect from an event held at possibly the most Instagrammed hotel in the country right now, Brisbane’s The Calile Hotel.

The summer and swimwear show gave us retro neon one-pieces, ’90s California cool, bright, fun bikinis, modest summer-wear, matching board shorts and shirts, beach cover ups, beautifully patterned hijabs and SO. MUCH. LEOPARD.

The Iconic’s 2019 Summer Runway Show celebrates all bodies. Post continues below.

Video by The Iconic

These styles were worn by 30 international and local models ranging from sizes 6 to 16 (women) and sizes medium to extra large (men), including Halima Aden, Samantha Harris, Charlee Fraser, Bree McCann, Bruna Lapinskas, Nawal Sari and Isaiah Firebrace. It was so far away from the uniform, perfectly curated images we’ve seen from runways like Victoria’s Secret in the past (which by no coincidence, has been cancelled).

You can watch THE ICONIC’s brilliant runway show below.

 

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But hours later, it’s the bodies – the humans – wearing the swimmers I can’t stop thinking about, because they looked like me and they looked like you, too.

I saw legs. Pale legs, short legs, long legs, tanned legs, legs with cellulite, slender legs, legs with stretch marks, legs with the odd bruise and legs that have lived. And breasts. Breasts that wobbled and moved when they walked, and some that didn’t.

And bums. Bums in high cut swimmers, bums in swimmers that sit on your hips, bums in fuller coverage bathers and bums that jiggled because, bums jiggle. I saw skin in so many different tones and shades, some pale, some brown, some tanned, some dark, some wrinkled.

And for the first time, I saw two Muslim women, international supermodel and trailblazer Halima Aden and Aussie model Nawal Sari, wearing what Aussie summer fashion and swimwear looks like for them.

 

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THE ICONIC Annual Summer Runway Show 2019. ???? Shop with @afterpay.it now. #THEICONICsummershow #THEICONIChumans

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TREND: SAFARI. ???? THE ICONIC Annual Summer Runway Show 2019. ???? Shop with @afterpay.it now. #THEICONICsummershow #THEICONIChumans

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TREND: SAFARI. ???? THE ICONIC Annual Summer Runway Show 2019. ???? Shop with @afterpay.it now. #THEICONICsummershow #THEICONIChumans

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Last year, the Australian and New Zealand retailer made a point of championing body diversity in their 2018 Swim Show, but this year, the brand’s We Are Human Summer ‘19 campaign is focusing on ‘reality’.

Representing Australia’s reality on the runway means featuring Indigenous Australians, plus-size Australians, Muslim Australians, mixed-race Australians, queer Australians, older Australians and Australians who were born somewhere else. It’s important to note that absent from the show was a model with a disability, but here’s hoping the retailer can go even further in their representation next year.

At a time when many brands would rather continue sending the same bodies down the runway and putting models that look the same in their campaigns, not because they want to, but because they’re scared of doing diversity “wrong”, THE ICONIC are daring to be bold.

One of their boldest choices was the decision to invite Halima Aden to make her Australian runway debut. The 22-year-old, who grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp before immigrating to America, was the first hijab-wearing model to appear on the cover of British Vogue, and the first woman to wear a hijab and burkini in the now iconic Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot.

In 2019, including a Muslim woman in a fashion show, even one as famous and trailblazing as Halima, shouldn’t be a “bold move”, but in the context of the Australian fashion industry, it is.

 

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Halima is well-acquainted with conversations around whether her inclusion in the fashion industry, as well as the inclusion of other diverse or minority figures, is less about actual inclusion and more about tokenism. Appearing to be inclusive. It’s a part of what she wears being ‘a first’ to do something.

But for her, as she told Mamamia, the idea of being a token doesn’t bother her. As long as it’s the start of something more.

“I might be the first, but I always say that means nothing if there’s not a second and a third and a fourth.”

For me, the person I identified with most from the show was curve model Bruna Lapinskas. When I saw her come down the runway in a leopard one-piece with her gorgeous red hair and a massive smile on her face, it made me want to buy that one-piece.

And that’s why putting more inclusive models on runways and in advertising campaigns or, as some might call it, ‘jumping on the diversity wagon’, is simply smart business.

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Because show me on-trend clothes worn by a woman that looks like me or the woman next to me, and I’ll give you my money.

Keep scrolling to look at all the images from THE ICONIC’s 2019 Summer Show. Can you see your body?

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All images supplied by THE ICONIC. 

How do these runway images make you feel? Does seeing models like this make you more likely to buy the clothes? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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