‘I’M THE CLOSEST THING I HAVE
TO A VOICE OF REASON’
GIL SCOTT HERON
PAINTED TRUTHS No1.
MARGOT BOWMAN 2011
PHOTOGRAPHY : ARIANE LEBLANC
SUBJECT : NAOMI SHIMADA
Naomi Shimada on “I’m the closest thing I have to a voice of reason” by Gil Scott Heron
I’ve been modelling on and off since I was 13 I’ve always had fun but I never thought it was important. I feel differently now. Everyday, whether it’s through my blog or whatever, my life has more purpose because I’m doing this. There are plenty of plus size models, but there are hardly any that represent the mixed-culture generation that we’re living in.
Part of the problem with the female body image comes from having so much access to unrealistic bodies. Celebrities are everywhere but there are hardly any role models that show that you can be beautiful over a size 12. I get emails and letters from women all over the world about this, people who are sick of being told that if you’re not a tiny size 6, you can’t look beautiful in clothes.
With my career at the moment, I’m stuck in a gap. Some plus size brands won’t work with me because I’m too “fashion,” but fashion brands won’t work with me because I’m plus size. It’s and upward struggle but I’m doing my best to make my own imprint.
Fashion is so important to me. It runs in my family – my parents had a vintage business in Japan and it’s something I’ve been surrounded by since I was a kid. One of my favourite things about it is that it’s supposed to be challenging and that every day, you can change your mind about who you want to be, you don’t need to fit a cookie-cutter shape to look great. I know for a fact that using a good plus size model creates a positive image. Our beauty and variety are part of fashion.
Margot Bowman is an Artist and Designer living in London. She is the creative director of The Estethetica Review,
a publication focused on ethical fashion published biannually in conjunction with the British Fashion Council. Other ongoing projects include the Painted Truths series, 15Folds and everythingissoamazing.com. Making work to challenge the expected, the strange beautiful and the imagined physical.
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