Beauty & Health

Emeli Sande
Emeli Sande
Emeli Sande
Emeli Sande

EMELI Sande has thanked her Zambian roots for influencing her musical talents.
The Heaven singer, whose mother is English and whose father is Zambian, grew up in the UK, but African culture largely influenced her during her childhood.
She revealed: “At home, Dad always spoke of a relative in Zambia, either his auntie or his grandmother, who used to go into these musical trances. She’d be busy cooking and then suddenly starts singing.

“He’d say I reminded him of her because I’d start singing and that would be it until the end of the night. So I feel that side of me comes from my Zambian ancestry.”
Emeli also admitted that growing up as a mixed race child in a white neighbourhood made her struggle to fit in and cites music as helping her to find her identity.
Here is a write-up from her official website:
“You are a 23-year-old from rural northern Scotland. Piano has been your instrument, your songwriting tool, since you were ten; your voice has been remarkable for even longer. A tattoo of artist Frida Kahlo – a typically single-minded, forthright heroine runs the length of your right forearm.
Some of the greatest names in modern pop have sung your thrustingly exciting compositions: Tinie Tempah (Let Go), Professor Green (Kids That Love To Dance), Tinchy Stryder (Let It Rain), Chipmunk (Diamond Rings), Wiley (Never Be Your Woman). You’ve also written for divas big (Susan Boyle), small (Cheryl Cole) and medium-sized (The Saturdays). Your dad (from Zambia) and your mum (from Cumbria), who schooled you in music and encouraged your ambitions, are already proud.
Then there are the richly melodic, classically powerful, retro-futurist soul-pop songs you’ve written for your own debut album. Your love for – and understanding of – Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill are obvious, loud and proud.
Then there’s the stuff you did in your ‘spare time’: three-quarters of a six-year degree in medicine at Glasgow University. You specialised in Clinical Neuro-Science, “cause I really like all the brain stuff.”
You are Emeli Sande, and you also really like all the soul stuff, all the heart stuff, and all the emotional stuff. Not many people knew it, but you were behind some of the key pop tracks of recent years. Now you’re about to be the voice in front of the freshest debut of 2012.
Since its release in February, ‘Our Version of Events’ has gone on to become UK’s biggest selling debut album of 2012 so far, winning Emeli this year’s coveted BRITs Critics’ Choice Award, securing her a slot on Coldplay’s US tour and at Coca-Cola’s Olympic Torch Relay City Celebrations. – /Zambia Daily Mail/Sbtv/emelisande.com.

Marsha and a visitor share a joke at the Zambia stand

By Ben Kangwa

ben kangwa
Ben kangwa

The recent Washington DC Travel and Adventure Show held at the prestigious Washington DC Convention Center attracted enthusiasts and experts from around the world to talk about the best that the tourism industry offers. It was one of the largest travel shows in the United States. A one-stop travel market place that generated thousands of leads and bookings for tourism offices and operators from around the world.

In its first edition of the African Tourism Monitor magazine (September, 2013) produced in partnership with the New York University Africa House and the Africa Travel Association (ATA), the African Development Bank says the tourism industry in Africa constitutes an important pillar in the realization of Africa’s economic potential. “The revenues from tourism in Africa represent more than double the total given in donor aid,” it states.

Professor Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice President at the African Development Bank Group is quoted as saying that in order to make African tourism more inclusive and beneficial to all segments of the population, corporate and government practice must change. He further states that while high growth has been achieved and sustained even in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, Africa’s challenge now is to embark on inclusive and “green growth”. He refers to tourism as an important contribution given Africa’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Washington Travel and Adventure Show - A view from the top
Washington Travel and Adventure Show – A view from the top
Marsha and a visitor share a joke at the Zambia stand
Marsha and a visitor share a joke at the Zambia stand
Zambian Lodges -  an evening view
Zambian Lodges – an evening view
Washington Travel and Adventure Show
Washington Travel and Adventure Show

“Tourism, as an employment intensive sector, cuts across a spectrum of skills, as well as creating opportunities for greater regional trade and integration. It has the capacity to contribute significantly to the agenda for social inclusion, as cultural endowments and natural assets can be leveraged to create opportunities for local communities,” he adds. The magazine was distributed at the 7th Africa Travel Association US-Africa 2014 Travel Industry Conference.

The stand-alone Conference was graced by keynote speaker Ambassador Bisa Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of African Affairs of the US Department of State and Mark Preston, Northeast Sales Manager of Destination Marketing at Trip Advisor, who headlined the travel trade organization’s Tourism Seminar. The event took place on February 21, 2014.

Co-hosted by the African Union Mission to the USA and with Premier Sponsor, the Travel and Adventure Show, the event offered tourism industry leaders and professionals from both Africa and the USA the opportunity to network with fellow professionals interested in Africa and to meet the industry’s top decision-makers. It also offered participants the opportunity to learn about Africa’s 50 plus destinations and their diverse services and products.

 

During the opening plenary Ambassador Williams, who is responsible for African economic policy issues and West Africa, spoke about US policy in Africa, with a special focus on the role of tourism. The plenary also included remarks from seminar co-host, H.E. Amina S. Ali, Ambassador of the African Union Mission to the USA and Edward Bergman, Executive Director of the Africa Travel Association Mark Preston of Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel website with more than 125 million reviews and opinions by travelers, delivered the industry keynote, and spoke about best practices and product offerings for both the travel industry and consumer. The use of smartphone and how African specialists can leverage a Trip Advisor to build business and or find services in a mobile space.

With a focus on the US market, participants were updated on travelers to Africa – what they do, and where they go across the continent by way of a presentation from the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries at the US Department of Commerce. Updates were also given on each region – North, South, East and Central and West. Speakers included representatives from airlines serving Africa, including APG Air Promotion Group USA Inc., Arik Air International USA, Delta Air Lines, Ethiopian Airlines, and South African Airways, and Africa specialists from the Botswana Tourism Office, the Egyptian Tourist Authority, Group IST, Infinite Safari Adventures, Palace Travel., Partner Concepts, LLC, Tanzania Tourist Board, The Bradford Group, and Warren Green and Associates.
At booth number 802, where Zambia participated as an exhibitor, brochures and DVD’s of various tourism entities in Zambia like Anabezi Tented Camp, Baines River Camp, Chiawa Camp, Lion Camp, Robin Pope Safaris, Royal Zambezi Lodge, Sanctuary Retreats, Sausage Tree Camp, The Bush Camp Company, Tongabezi and Wilderness Safaris were on display as giveaways. All in all the Victoria Falls, South Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park, and the Lower Zambezi National Park were greatly promoted. To add to this whole list of positives were activities such as safari walking, white water rafting, bungee jumping and river boating. Traditional ceremonies among them, the Kuomboka, Umutomboko, Likumbi Lya Mize, Nc’wala, Shimunenga and many others.

Winning the hearts of many visitors to the Show which had a total of 1,500 booths from over 120 countries, the Zambian stand attracted a happy 800 visitors considering that only a handful of African countries participated including Ethiopia, Kenya, Morroco, South Africa and Tanzania. For this reason, First Secretary responsible for Tourism at the Zambia Embassy in Washington DC, Marsha Holdway and Katie McDough from Explore Incorporation highlighted the importance of having presence in the Travel Show. Explore Incorporation designs customized trips to Zambia and many other countries in Africa including Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Uganda, South Africa, Sudan, Sychelles, Reunion Island, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Earlier, Ms Holdway observed that the Show was an eye opener in as far as Zambia was concerned in that it provided an overview of opportunities and strengths on Zambia’s tourism from a global perspective. Weighing in Ms McDough stated that most visitors expressed an interest in an African Safari in Zambia after a slideshow depicting the country’s tourist attractions, a thing they had never considered before.

“What we were highly successful in achieving today is an increased awareness of Zambia as a viable destination of tourism. I am certain that this will result in actual bookings whether through Explore Incorporation or through other operators,” she added.

Having taken time to listen to almost all the tourism experts make presentations during the seminar and later the next day tour most of the exhibitors’ stands from around the world, I was left with a feeling that tourism was receiving serious attention from travel stakeholders across Africa and around the world who are taking an innovative approach to growing and sustaining the industry. Examples that captured my attention were innovation tourism products such as adventure travel, food and rural tourism, family and multi – generational travel as well as Diaspora travel – topics in the near future

Justina Mutale, African Woman of the Year 2012 is to be honoured as Africa Goodwill Ambassador during the 2014 African Goodwill Awards ceremony on Saturday 12th April 2014 at the Radisson Hotel, LAX in Los Angeles, California.

Justina Mutale (seated) flanked by (Left) - Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, U.S. Department of Education; and (right) Judy Matthews, Chair, National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Los Angeles).
Justina Mutale (seated) flanked by (Left) – Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, U.S. Department of Education; and (right) Judy Matthews, Chair, National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Los Angeles).

The African Goodwill Awards is an annual award ceremony organised and hosted by African Focus Inc, an American non-profit organization, whose core objectives revolve around the crisis in Africa with a mission to promote Intercultural Exchange, Education and Economic Development of Africa. The Award ceremony highlights the accomplishments as well as challenges facing African Diaspora humanitarian organizations, individuals, and groups that are working in a difficult environment in their mission to provide hope to the African Poor.

“Through the Africa Goodwill Awards, we aim to deliver a strong message of hope that touches hearts, lifts spirits, and inspires the African Diaspora community and the general public to participate in efforts to help the African poor”, says Mr. Uchenna Nworgu, CEO of Africa Focus Inc. and organizer of the Africa Goodwill Awards.

Ms Mutale is the Founder/CEO of POSITIVE RUNWAY: Global Catwalk to Stop the Spread, an international social development organisation registered with the United Nations Department for Social and Economic Affairs (UNDESA) Civil Society Database. POSITIVE RUNWAY also boasts membership of various international and global organisations including the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights; The Bond Network, which represents the largest household names in the UK International Development Sector, who influence key decision-makers at national, European and global levels; and the ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE IF Campaign, a coalition of leading UK development organisations working to end world hunger. POSITIVE RUNWAY runs a worldwide HIV/AIDS response, which spans 6 continents across the globe to bridge the gap in the global efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by speaking the same language as the 21st century generation.

Previous recipients of the African Goodwill Award include Ziggy Marley, the son of legendary reggae artists Bob Marley. Other recipients of the 2014 Awards include Barbara Morrison, an African-American Soul and Jazz Singer; Dawn Sutherland, Vice President of Southern California/Las Vegas Operations of the United States Client Operations division at Xerox Corporation; Mohammad Yahaya, a visionary leader and pathfinder boasting multi-million dollar capital projects in construction; Barbara Goldberg, Founder of Salon Forum and Responsive Research Inc; Dr Joseph A. Bailey II, Medical Doctor, Inventor of Orthopedic Appliances and Author of medical journals and text books; George C. Fraser, Chairman of FraserNet, a global network bringing together human resources to increase opportunities for people of African descent; and Lara Okunubi, Nigerian Banker and Entrepreneur.

“Each individual has been part of a cause of breaking barriers, providing emotional, moral and financial support to empower members of the African community to the betterment of their lives and that of their families”, said Mr Nworgu

In addition to the Goodwill Awards, the ceremony unites Continental Africans and Africans in the Diaspora to create an opportunity for dialogue. The African Family Induction ceremony acts as a medium through which Africans separated by slavery can come together in solidarity and in celebration of a common heritage. Countries represented in this year’s Family Induction Ceremony include Nigeria, Zambia, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Uganda welcoming 29 African-American inductees. The reunited families will share in the rich culture of the host family through African fashion, music and dance.

Among the cultural highlights of the ceremony will be the blessings of two African Kings from Nigeria, His Royal Highness Igwe Sylvester Ozoekwem, Traditional Ruler of Umumba Ndiuno of Enugu State; and his Royal Highness Igwe Ezebuilo Ozobu OFR, Traditional Ruler of Umuagba Owa, Ezea-gu and Chief Judge Emeritus of Enugu State.

“It is a great honour and privileged to be recognised as Africa Goodwill Ambassador in the presence of such high profile personalities and African Royalty”, says Justina Mutale

Photo: Justina Mutale (seated) flanked by (Left) – Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, U.S. Department of Education; and (right) Judy Matthews, Chair, National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Los Angeles).

Emerald book cover

Zambia’s emerald resources and the spectacular esteem in which they are held worldwide has come to the fore in a new glossy book launched in London recently.

The 318-page hardback coffee-table book, entitled Emerald, features 400 colour illustrations and is billed as the definitive guide to the world’s most valuable precious gemstone.

It is packed with hundreds of examples of fabulous emerald jewellery and tells the story of this fascinating, enduring and magnificent gem. A gem that is 20 times more rare than diamond and which was first discovered more than 5,000 years ago.

Emerald is divided into three sections, and includes a full chapter on the largest emerald mine of all time, which is in Zambia’s Lufwanyama district and owned by Kagem Mining, in a partnership between the Zambian government and London-listed Gemfields.

The chapter is part of the third and final section of the book, in which author and globetrotter Jonathan Self uncovers the secrets of the emerald trade. In addition to visiting Kagem, he visits Cleopatra’s lost emerald mines in the Sahara Desert, interviews gem hunters and jewellers, investigates legends and myths and traces the gemstone’s long and frequently romantic history.

The book begins with a searching and historical piece by Hettie Judah on the power, allure and status conveyed by gemstones.

The second section is a showcase of the finest emerald jewellery, ancient and modern, ever created. The selection of over 200 outstanding pieces – many of which have never been seen by the public before – has been made by jewellery and gemstone expert Joanna Hardy, who explores royal emeralds and the royal beauties, from Cleopatra to Empress Josephine, for whom they meant so much, as well as the extraordinary commissions by grand Maharajas of the nineteenth century and heiresses of the twentieth. Historic creations up to 5,500 years old are seen alongside pieces from Cartier, Boucheron and Bulgari and contemporary designers such as Hemmerle, Leo de Vroomen and Sevan Biçacki.

The book’s author, Joanna Hardy, is an independent gemmologist and jewellery specialist, formerly of Debeers, Philips and Sothebys. She lectures widely and writes for many international magazines and newspapers, and features on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. Hettie Judah is a British author who has written extensively about fashion, art and design in various international publications. Jonathan Self has been passionate about emeralds and their enigma for more than thirty years. He has written for The Times, Country Life and Vanity Fair, and is the author of over a dozen books. Franca Sozzani is editor of Vogue Italia.

The book is published by Thames and Hudson and is priced at £75.00 (around K675).

About Gemfields

Gemfields plc is a leading gemstone miner listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange (ticker: ‘GEM’). The company’s principal asset is the 75 percent owned Kagem emerald mine in Zambia, the world’s single largest emerald mine. In addition to the Kagem emerald mine, Gemfields has a 50 percent interest in the Kariba amethyst mine in Zambia. The company also owns controlling stakes in a highly prospective ruby deposit in Mozambique and licences in Madagascar including ruby, emerald and sapphires deposits.

In July 2009 Gemfields commenced a formal auction programme for its Zambian emeralds. To date, the Company has held 14 auctions which have generated revenues totalling US$224 million.

Too many UK Africans are missing out on life-saving HIV medication because they’re diagnosed too late, warns Terrence Higgins Trust as PHE releases HIV report

Ahead of this year’s National HIV Testing Week (22nd – 29th November), new figures released today by the Public Health England (PHE) show that in 2012, UK Africans were the group most likely to be diagnosed late with HIV.

66 per cent of African men and 61 per cent of African women diagnosed with HIV in 2012 were diagnosed late, at a point after which they should have already started treatment. Someone who is diagnosed late and doesn’t start treatment on time will die on average 10 years earlier than someone who tests in good time. They are also far more likely to pass on the virus unwittingly.

HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is calling for a doubling in the numbers of UK Africans who take an annual HIV test.
Taku Mukiwa, Health Promotion Specialist for African Communities at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “For many UK Africans, the word HIV still conjures images of the pain and death this virus has caused in Africa over three decades. No one needs to suffer in the same way in the UK today. There is free medication available irrespective of your immigration status. Someone who is diagnosed in good time in this country can expect to live a near-normal life expectancy, have healthy relationships irrespective of their partner’s HIV status, even start a family. Taking the treatments also means you are far less likely to pass on the virus to others.

“HIV doesn’t need to damage our communities any more, but we have to drive down undiagnosed and late diagnosed HIV. Testing is fast, simple and confidential – Africans in England can even test by post. I would urge anyone unsure of their HIV status to take a test during National HIV Testing Week – it is the single most powerful thing you can do to protect your health and the health of the whole community.”

Scientists and public health bodies agree that undiagnosed HIV infection is a key factor driving the UK epidemic. Modern drug treatments drive down the level of virus in the body, often to an undetectable level. This means someone with HIV who has tested and is on treatment is far less likely to pass on the virus than someone who doesn’t yet know they have it. Currently, most onward HIV transmission in the UK comes from people who are unaware they have the infection.

National HIV Testing Week runs from 22nd – 29th November. It is being co-ordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust through HIV Prevention England, a partnership of community organisations funded by the Department of Health to carry out national HIV prevention work in England among communities at an increased risk of infection. For further information, visit www.startswithme.org.uk.

Public Health England’s key findings:

6,360 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2012, a 1% increase on the previous year.

Nearly half (47%) of those people were diagnosed late, after a point at which they should have started treatment.

3,250 of the total new diagnoses were among gay and bisexual men, the highest annual figure since the start of the epidemic. Between 2011 and 2012, testing rates in this group increased significantly, with an estimated 100,000 tests taken.

45% of new diagnoses in 2012 were acquired heterosexually. One in three heterosexual men and one in four heterosexual women were undiagnosed.

88% of people with diagnosed HIV were receiving treatment in 2012, and 87% of those receiving treatment had an undetectable viral load, meaning they are unlikely to be infectious.

Ends

For press enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Jenny Cameron on (020) 7812 1625, or email jenny.cameron@tht.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

1. HIV Prevention England is funded by the Department of Health and co-ordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust in partnership with Black Health Agency for Equality, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, MBARC, NAM Publications, and Yorkshire MESMAC.

2. Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity with centres across England, Scotland and Wales. We’re here to provide information and advice about HIV and sexual health and offer a range of services including sexual health checks, counselling and support groups. We campaign for a world where people with HIV live healthy lives, free from prejudice and discrimination, and we promote good sexual health as a right and reality for all.

Visit www.myhiv.org.uk, our new site for everyone living with HIV in the UK, for accredited information, self management tools, interactive web services and community forums. Terrence Higgins Trust relies on donations to deliver a wide range of services. To make a donation, or to find out about everything that we do visit www.tht.org.uk

Western lifestyles blamed as one in 20 UK adults now thought to suffer from the disease

Western lifestyles blamed as one in 20 UK adults now thought to suffer from the disease
Western lifestyles blamed as one in 20 UK adults now thought to suffer from the disease
Drinking a can of cola a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by a fifth, according to research.

The largest study of the link between soft-drink consumption and Type 2 diabetes in Europe has found that the sweetened beverages not only cause weight gain, which is associated with a higher rate of diabetes, but also increase the risk of the condition independently.

Almost one in 20 adults in the UK has diabetes, of which 2.6 million are diagnosed and 500,000 are undiagnosed. Rates are rising in this country and around the world, driven by Western lifestyles, and the number of cases is expected to exceed 4 million in the UK by 2025.

Researchers from Imperial College, London, led the study of more than 12,000 people with Type 2 diabetes whose diets were compared with 16,000 controls in nine European countries, including the UK.

The results showed that people who drank one can of sweetened soft drink a day had a 22 per cent increased risk of diabetes.

The risk remained almost as high, at 18 per cent, even after account was taken of how overweight the individuals were and how much they ate.

Sweetened soft drinks contain a lot of calories which contribute to overweight and obesity, which in turn is a cause of diabetes. But the drinks appeared to increase the risk separately from this effect, possibly by triggering insulin resistance, reducing the body’s ability to use glucose.

Diet drinks, with artificial sweeteners, did not appear to increase the risk once account was taken of individuals’ weight and calorie intake.

Dr Dora Romaguera, of Imperial College, who led the study published in Diabetologia, said: “There was an association in normal weight individuals, overweight and the obese. Even in normal weight individuals, those who drank a glass of soft drink a day were more likely to develop diabetes.”

No link with diabetes was found for those who drank fruit juice. But the researchers were unable to distinguish between pure unsweetened fruit juice and the sweetened and diluted fruit juices known as nectars, because the data was collected in the 1990s and no distinction was made.

Dr Romaguera said: “The hypothesis for fruit juice is different. We know they naturally contain sugar but fruits are not associated with an increase in diabetes, rather they are protective. It may be the anti-oxidants they contain that counter the effect of the sugar.”
Read more at http://isupportorganic.blogspot.com/2013/11/one-can-of-fizzy-drink-day-increases-diabetes-risk.html#5Vhlup57FF1OrAcx.99

hiv“This is one thing you can do, right now, to help halt the spread of HIV”, Terrence Higgins Trust urges Africans, with launch of National HIV Testing Week web service

Terrence Higgins Trust and its partners in HIV Prevention England (HPE) are calling on Africans in England to help halt the spread of infection within their communities by pledging their support for this year’s National HIV Testing Week (22nd – 29th November).

From Wednesday 6th November, people are invited to add a short pledge of support to a new section of the It Starts With Me website (www.startswithme.org.uk). Pledges can include pre-written statements, personal stories, photos or videos, all of which will come together to form an online wall of community voices. There is an option to remain anonymous, and another allowing people to share pledges with their friends on Facebook.

The website also makes it easier for Africans living in England to find a test. If someone pledges to take a test during National HIV Testing Week, the website refers them to an online directory with details of their nearest testing service. If someone has tested recently, they are instead referred to a page where they can schedule their next appointment and set a reminder, if they choose.

Taku Mukiwa, African Health Promotion Specialist for Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “In the vast majority of cases, HIV is passed on by someone who doesn’t yet know they have the virus. So if everyone tested, we could start to see new infections fall among our communities. Getting diagnosed also means you can access free medication to stay well. There is no reason not to know your status, so we want the whole community to get behind National HIV Testing Week, spread the word and really raise the roof on testing. This is one thing you can do, right now, to help halt the spread of HIV.”

In the UK, Africans remain one of the groups most at risk of HIV. Currently, one in four Africans with HIV is undiagnosed and therefore more likely to pass the virus on than someone who has tested and is on treatment. HIV Prevention England’s It Starts With Me campaign focuses on curbing new infections by reducing the level of undiagnosed HIV .

National HIV Testing Week runs from Friday 22nd – Friday 29th November, and will coincide with the first ever European HIV Testing Week. The week is supported by major public health bodies, including Public Health England, the British HIV Association (BHIVA), and the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH).

Please visit www.startswithme.org.uk to pledge your support for National HIV Testing Week.

Ends

For press enquiries, please contact Jenny Cameron on (020) 7812 1625, or email jenny.cameron@tht.org.uk.

Notes to Editor

1. HIV Prevention England is funded by the Department of Health and co-ordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust in partnership with Black Health Agency for Equality, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, MBARC, NAM Publications, and Yorkshire MESMAC.

2. Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity with centres across England, Scotland and Wales. We’re here to provide information and advice about HIV and sexual health and offer a range of services including sexual health checks, counselling and support groups. We campaign for a world where people with HIV live healthy lives, free from prejudice and discrimination, and we promote good sexual health as a right and reality for all.

Visit www.myhiv.org.uk, our new site for everyone living with HIV in the UK, for accredited information, self management tools, interactive web services and community forums. Terrence Higgins Trust relies on donations to deliver a wide range of services. To make a donation, or to find out about everything that we do visit www.tht.org.uk

Who represents you in the industry? We all have designers we love and shoes we crave but are we being represented on the catwalk? If you are over 35 why are you too old to model? If you are 5’5 why are you to short to model? If you are black… Where are all the models?

lfw
Models of Diversity are challenging the fashion industry (Picture: Shane Finn Visual Devotion and http://www.modelsofdiversity.org)

 

The discussion about racism on the catwalk has reared its ugly head again. Supermodels Iman, Naomi Campbell and Bethann Hardison have spoken out and challenged the issue and as The Diversity Coalition, they are out to raise awareness about designers who use all white models.

 

In the UK, another group who are creating waves in the industry are Models of Diversity. Their London Fashion Week warm up show Catwalk4Change featured models of all ages sizes and abilities, setting the precedent for a new wave of fashion thinking.

 

I hope this season LFW shows its support for diversity.

 

The aim of the show was to promote diversity on the catwalk –  black, white, Asian, petite, plus-sized and mature models all made a presence on the runway accompanied by paralympian Stefanie Reid and the striking transgender model Nicole Gibson. The show was a huge success and has been applauded by those within the industry as well as the fashionista celebrities who attended the show.

 

In order to make voices heard and to pave the way for changing ideas, the belief that catwalk shows can only be aesthetically pleasing if you conform to one type of look needs to change. They are outdated, damaging and prove that the art of creating a show and forming ideas has been lost on lazy designers. The beauty of fashion has turned ugly – all style and no substance.

 

But the call for change doesn’t just lie at the door of designers, until the fashion press start hailing this much needed change then, and only then, can the ripples of our discontent start to seep through to those who create the shows, thus proving you don’t have to be 6′ foot, size 0 and white.

 

Models of Diversity is a hugely respected organisation who have even bigger and better plans for the future. If you have the talent, you can model – regardless of your size or colour.  Challenging someone’s perception of fashion isn’t an easy one, so Kudos to those supporting the need for change and those designers who do represent us all.

 

I hope this season LFW shows its support for diversity. Should I hold my breath?

http://metro.co.uk