I first became aware of Teatum Jones when they appeared on the line-up for London Fashion Week Festival in February, so getting to watch their LFW show beforehand was a real treat.
Teatum Jones is a fashion brand driven by a love of the human body and its narrative. Through a unique and artisanal approach, Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones are successful in creating designs that are modern, polished and bold with refined shapes that speak to a smart, confident and creative woman.
Their AW17 collection, titled 'The Body' featured a dominant dark palette of navy and black, with splashes of deep reds, blues and yellows. Chunky knits and exaggerated coat shapes with tailored dresses provided a sense of comfort and accessibility, and what made this show even more amazing was that they cast two disabled models to walk, highlighting a very important overriding message - we are all the same.
Celebrating diversity through disability on the fashion catwalks of the capital, as far as I'm aware, is not a regular occurrence. You could say that by acknowledging disability on a catwalk you are acknowledging that we are all different and emphasising this difference. Being different is a wonderful thing, and it got me thinking – why should celebrating diversity and disability on a catwalk be deemed a revelation – a story – surely this should be common practice? Surely any unspoken standard of not including diverse models, disabled models, in the industry should be swiftly eradicated?
But what is normal practice? These days designers are pushing the boundaries of the 'norm' and being more ingenious and diverse than ever – you could therefore say it is not necessarily about an unspoken standard but about creativity, choice and balance. Teatum Jones decided on their inspiration, the title of the collection and their models and the show was wonderful. And it should be wonderful because of the collection and what they were showcasing – not because of the models – because we are all human, and we are all wonderful. Another designer's show with a completely different theme, setting, model, would have been wonderful in it's own way, too, and I think that's the beauty. Being able to celebrate everyone and everything.
The message is loud and clear, fashion is for all, to be enjoyed by all, so diversity on a catwalk should be a normal thing, and Teatum Jones really bought this to attention.