Designer Steven Tai and photographer Rankin have teamed up to challenge beauty standards at London Fashion Week.

One image from the Portrait Positive campaign

One image from the Portrait Positive campaign

The fashion designer and the world-renowned photographer have joined forces alongside UK charity Changing Faces to launch the Portrait Positive project, which will challenge perceptions of beauty through a series of striking images of 16 different women with visible facial and bodily differences, and will be showcased during London Fashion Week.

Conceived by Stephen Bell, the project was shot by Rankin and the women were dressed in designs by Steven Tai, who will use three of the women from the series in his catwalk presentation on Sunday (16.09.18).

Steven's presentation will be followed by a panel discussion at London Fashion Week about the fashion industry's limited conceptions of beauty.

Photographer Rankin said of the project: "Living with a visible difference you are literally judged by your appearance and compared to what I think is a fake idea of what it is to be beautiful or even 'normal'. The only way to shift this perception is to talk about it and face it head on. Our amazing subjects are dealing with these issues with grace, dignity and strength. It was an absolute honour to work with them and try to create a discussion around what it is to be beautiful. To me they are all unique."

The Portrait Positive images have also been collated into a book of the same name, and proceeds will be donated to Changing Faces, a charity which aims to assist 1.3 million children, young people and adults in the UK who have a medical condition, mark or scar that makes them look different.

Becky Hewitt, CEO of Changing Faces, said in a press release: "As a charity that supports people with visible differences, we are delighted to be part of a movement that challenges the way the fashion industry represents difference. We want to break down barriers and change the narrow view of beauty that exists in society, especially in the fashion industry. These amazing images by Rankin will help to address the stigma around 'looking different' and show that true beauty is about being proud to be yourself. We want to see brands, publications and designers work with real people of all appearances so that fashion is accessible to all."

The Portrait Positive book will launch on September 25, and will be available to purchase on the Portrait Positive website as well as select stores, boutique and art spaces across the UK.

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