Mind The Fat

By Lauren Sweeney & Millie Cotton.

If you haven’t laid eyes on the controversial Protein World advert, where have you been hiding? And no, being balls deep in the #Euro2016 is no excuse either.

For those of you who haven't been hibernating under a rock for the past few weeks, we metaphorically high five you. For everyone else, here’s a recap:  Protein World has had a controversial advert across almost every TFL tube platform, meaning 8 million people and commuters have had to face a young model’s flawless hourglass figure, in a skimpy bikini with the slogan "Are you beach body ready" for the best part of a year. 

The advert has caused uproar, gaining more than 70,000 signatures on a petition for it to be removed, with the argument that the ad inspired body shaming. Last week those voices were heard and celebrations of victory ensued when top lad, Sadiq Khan announced the banning of the ads.

We’re progressing into a far healthier society; women of all shapes and sizes are applauded rather than shamed for being “too fat” or “too thin”. This movement promotes self-confidence, self-love and self-respect. Seeing real women being celebrated for their beauty is as refreshing and satisfying as a G&T at 5pm on a Friday. Or really anytime - it’s always 5pm somewhere, right? "Plus sized” models such as Ashley Graham and Georgina Burke have broken stereotypes and taken the fashion industry by storm - an achievement that cannot be ignored in an industry renowned for its often warped perception of #bodygoals.

However, it is incredibly important that we don't let the fact that these women are curvy overshadow the fact that they are healthy. These are women who eat their greens, who consciously turndown a two for Tuesday's and pull on their gym kit. These women may fall into the ‘plus-size’ category but they are fit, physically active and balanced. 

No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or shameful about their bodies but our celebration for Sadiq Khan’s body confidence victory felt surprisingly bittersweet.

Why? Well, the U.K. as a nation is currently in the middle of an obesity crisis. The majority of 16+ people in the UK are overweight or obese and this majority is on a steep incline. New figures show that 26% of England's population is obese (BMI of 30+) however, figures like these aren't hitting home. And why would it? The notion that our nation isn’t one of all super model skinny women and that we aren't raising an army of Angelina Jolie look-a-likes hardly cries Armageddon. For good reason, we shouldn't be crying into our pillows at night because we aren't clones of Kate Moss, but we should be taking seriously the fact that we are an overweight nation.

The obesity crisis is not a scare and it is not a drill - it is a very real and sobering fact. There’s so much more to it than just being overweight. Obesity leads to heart disease, strokes, osteoarthritis, some cancers and type 2 diabetes as well as many other complications. Sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets don’t just reduce your chance of walking for Chanel, they reduce your life expectancy - and significantly so.

Our quality and quantity of life are not the only things this excess weight of our nation is straining - the cost implications on the NHS are difficult to calculate unanimously. However, numerous studies suggest a pretty hefty charge of £15.2 billion in indirect costs. The Chief Executive on NHS England pleaded back in 2014 that as a nation we "get serious about obesity or bankrupt the NHS" - a plea which has gone ignored.

As the dust settles and we swagger around London’s tube lines, with a new found confidence of all our lumps, bumps and not so perfect humps - we raise our eyes to the sobering reality – a McDonald’s advert staring back at us with the same victorious grin. It is difficult to feel elated when the real super villians are still out there. Maybe it did leave a sour taste in most mouths and stirred discomfort but Protein World were encouraging people to be physically active. They were not luring us into an early grave. Why in the midst of an obesity crisis are we more concerned about hurting feelings than saving lives? 

The Unzipped Wall

Photographs by Toni Tran.

Topshop playsuit | Nike ID AM95s* (similar here) | Nixon watch (similar here) | Urban Outfitters choker.

Perspective is everything. Bjarke Ingels' installation at The Serpentine couldn't illustrate that mantra more clearly.

Formed of hundreds of stacked translucent boxes, viewed side-on, the pavilion is rectangular. From the front, the curved silhouette of the wall becomes visible and prominent. The wall is opaque from one angle but see-through from another. It's solid but it's also full of holes.

We see things how we want to see them and the unzipped wall is a wonderful exploration of that.

I 'Inspo-Shopped' So You Don't Have To

Finding a good phone network is the same as finding a good foundation. Once you finally discover one that works, you’ll stick with it for life. While I haven’t yet found my for-life foundation, I switched over to EE last month and it looks like I’m in it for the long haul. Where my phone used to drop out of signal, EE’s network wows me with full bars, and with the job that I do, that sort of thing makes all of the difference. 

Speaking of work, I’ve been a little dry on blog post inspiration as of late. As much as I love a good Pinterest board, for me, it can never replace some good old IRL inspiration. The majority of my best fashion posts have been written after a day spent trawling through shops, taking in their visual merchandising and new season clothing, pinpointing what I think works and what doesn’t, and then rendering bits and pieces of it into my own work. It isn’t just limited to introducing new styles I've never tried but I regularly use songs I've heard in-store for DJ sets. 

You never know where inspiration might turn up. Being prepared for these snap judgments is easier said then done though - it's not like I have my DSLR to hand everywhere I go. I love walking through London and discovering new places, but it’s a nightmare if I see something incredible that I ‘d want to share with you but can’t because it’s the the one sodding day I don’t have a decent camera on me. Those worries are long gone though – thanks to the Huawei P9 and its dual-lens camera that has been co-created with Leica.

To get my creative clock ticking again, I decided to head down to all of my favourite Shoreditch shopping haunts and snap what I found inspiring. EE’s incredibly fast network meant all of those #changingroomselfies got to my friend’s that much quicker for their opinion too - another very important reason why we all need great signal, obviously. 

As you can see below, the results were phenomenal. Basically, I went 'inspo-shopping' so you don't have to...

The Basics Store, 30a Redchurch Street

This was the second time I've stumbled across The Basics Store, a pop up on Redchurch Street that first opened its doors last Summer - only a few doors down, in fact.

The store is a curated concept store. Every thing has a place and a reason for being there. This store could provide you content for the 'gram for days on end. You can find brands such as MARINA London - a silk specialist designer, who's material on the hands is like Ludovico Einaudi to the ear. Another favourite is Baserange - Calvin Klein who, yeah? The pop up store is only open until 15th July though so, best to head down sooner then later.

Aesop, Redchurch Street

I'll admit it - I'm an Aesop addict. From the smell to the minimal branding to the easy on the eye store layout, I've been hooked for years now. You name the beauty product and if Aesop do it, I've got it. Well, almost.

Every store has a different design. Essentially, they're all the same but very different in ways which are barely noticeable. Never have I ever been in to an Aesop store I didn't feel inclined to photograph.

NikeLab 1948, 477 Bateman Row

NikeLab 1948 is the epitome of a store fusing sport and fashion. NikeLab is everything that Nike does but ten times better. Pallets within the store tend to be muted. Apparel is both for the street and for the gym - although, in all honestly, there's very little chance I'd ever let anything I've bought in NikeLab get soaked through with gym sweat. 

Installations created for current collections, which are always visually stunning, are a regular feature in store too.

Kit And Ace, 29 Redchurch Street

Kit and Ace are new kids on the block but what they lack in time, they more than make up for in style. In a dream world, all of my hangers and railings would be copper, on clean white walls too. A marble coffee bar in the kitchen wouldn't go a miss either.

Goodhood, 151 Curtain Road

It's fair to say that Goodhood isn't the easiest store to navigate. It's a little crampt but the treasure stocked inside is worth the hunt for. Saying that, almost every piece is treasure anyway. Goodhood is great for some IRL #outfitinspo. They stock pieces that lay far out of my comfort boundaries, and everyone needs those pushed from time to time.

The lower floor contains everything I didn't know that I needed for my house, leaving me dreaming of the day I can afford it all.

Until then, Ikea dupes? Me? Never...

This post was written in partnership with EE, the 4G Network that’s 50% faster than O2, Vodafone and Three.


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