Darlings and Diversity

Connect YMM Fort McMurray

A couple of weeks ago, I got to take part in a new initiative from the local clothing store Drop Dead Darlings and salon Orange Lily – an initiative aiming to show case not only their clothes and styling talent, but also to illustrate the diversity that permeates the community of Fort McMurray. I got to work with a great group of models, amazing styling team and two brilliant local photographers. The Connect even did a story on it! This is an ambition I stand by wholeheartedly; to feature not only the conventional type of look we see every day and everywhere, but to celebrate the differences and to highlight a positive approach to our exterior. I love this initiative – come one, come all!

However, there is a problem here, as you might have noticed when you read the article and looked at the picture. Do you see it? Even though all models in this picture comes from different walks of life; some are foreigners, some have children, others have tattoos and partially shaved heads, our modelling experience range from none to little to quite a lot – the problem is that the wide diversity of Fort McMurray isn’t represented here. We all fall under the same age bracket, the same skin color, we are all thin and conventionally pretty, cute or sexy. There is nothing wrong with either of these things, but these are the things most commonly featured in ads and media – while Fort McMurray has so much more to offer! So many different kinds of beauty and pride, style and strength. This needs to be portrayed in conventional media as well.

I consider this the first attempt; a starting point to get the word out, to get more women interested in doing this, to invite not only the ones who would jump on the opportunity in a heartbeat, but those who might not have been previously encouraged to do something like this. I say, let’s show off how diverse and interesting this community really is!

Just to be clear: this was an open casting call to actual Drop Dead Darling costumers and followers, and I encourage anyone who’s interested to keep their eyes open for the next one!

I’m off to a full day of rehearsal – I meant to write about the FGM process so far, and some interesting discoveries I’ve made along the way, but it will have to wait for another day.

One thought on “Darlings and Diversity

  1. Thank you Hanna.I guess when I see advertisements that don’t show a cross section of women it does make me wonder; Is it is all about the store’s image or their target for a select audience? It certainly wouldn’t stop me from going into any salon or retail store, however others may not feel as welcome if they assume the shop is only aiming at a distinct market. Their dialogue many be, ” I can’t shop there..it’s for young skinny types.” I have heard that phrase over and over again too many times. Having a representation of a cross section of women does help us all feel welcome in the fashion and style industry. Let’s face it, this is Fort McMurray and we need to prize and enjoy the stores that are homegrown with a unique slant. Local stores such as Helen Arong,Evonne Loren, Campus & Drop Dead Darlings offer something for everyone and in return we can support them so that our town maintains its unique qualities. At 52, I still love fashion and shop everywhere from Salvation Army to Holt Renfrew but also love being able to shop at our home grown fashion stores that accommodate; old,young, those with cultural callings, size, diversity, confidence levels and style. Perhaps in their next photo, those who speared this particular article, can be more inclusive and show a greater range of models to demonstrate that we are all not the same but all enjoy looking good, feeling good and welcomed with open arms in the fashion world.

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