Women who have been victim to violent acid attacks will appear on the catwalks at this year’s London Fashion Week – which begins today and ends 20 September.
In conjunction with the British Asian Trust and GMSP, the two women’s charities will work together to incorporate women affected by violence at the fashion event of the year.
Adele Bellis, 24, from Lowestoft in Suffolk, and Laxmi, 26, from Delhi will take part in the show which aims to remind people about the global problem of violence against women and to honour the women who survive it.
In an attack orchestrated by an ex-boyfriend, Bellis had sulphuric acid dropped on her head in 2014 while waiting at a bus stop. As a result of the attack, Bellis lost an ear and has permanent scarring to one side of her face.
Laxmi, who is one of India’s most prominent anti-acid attack campaigners, was the victim of an attack when she was only 15 years old. The attack came after she rejected the repeated advances of a 32-year-old man who wanted to marry her.
Speaking of her experiences and the positive impact of the show, Laxmi said: “The world will automatically turn you into a victim and victimise you. I would say instead of having a mentality that makes you feel like a victim, become a fighter and become a voice for the people who are going through these things. So you can strengthen those who are going through violence.”
Acid attacks are on the rise in the UK, with the statistics showing that the number of incidents has almost doubled within the past 10 years.
London’s coveted fashion event will follow the likes of New York’s – as Reshma Qureshi, a victim of a vicious acid attack in 2014 – took the stage at a runway last week.
In spite of our integrated beliefs, the fashion industry is becoming more and more open and accepting with regards to diversity and challenging perceptions of beauty. Last year, Madeline Stuart, an Australian teenager with Down syndrome, was invited to walk the runway during Fashion Week.