Henrik Silvius

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Henrik Silivius outspoken stylist and fashion blogger from “where fashion is fashion is” shares his views on fashion and life.

Please describe your style and how it has evolved

My style is very personal and expressive. I think it’s very easy for the people around me to decipher my mood from what I’m wearing. I love colors, new or uncommon shapes of classic styles and I love to explore how far I can get away from normal menswear without looking too extravagant or girly. An outfit in my point of view is most successful when you match something very masculine and something very feminine, like a big pair of boots with diamond jewellery e. g. – a way to style for both men and women.

Over the years, I’ve tried to find my own sense of style. It has meant a lot of poor outfits including a lot of bad trends – like the 90’s ugly buffalos or the early 00’s neon explosion. Well, I’ve been a bit all over the places style wise, but now I think I’ve found myself and the style I like despite that I still love to explore.

 Where does your interest in fashion derive from?
Actually I don’t know. No one in my family has ever worked with fashion and I haven’t attended any fashion schools or so, but I’ve always loved to draw the world around me, especially clothes, and still love it. Well, clothes are all around us. After my first drawing of clothes I’ve never stopped.

 Have you seen any change in the way the fashion-industry represents and caters for people with disabilities?

I’m still just a child in this huge huge fashion world and I’ve just been attending the fashion week in Copenhagen for the last four years, so my answer has to be no, I haven’t yet seen any changes. That being said, however, I’ve always felt warmly welcomed!

Do you know of any designers that design wheelchair friendly clothing that at the same time is fashionable?

No. It’s a fact that people in wheelchairs are considered as having bad taste, or no taste, therefore the primary focus on such clothing would probably be functionality. At least I haven’t yet seen anything I would wear!

What do you believe is the reason for the mostly one dimensional models showcasing fashion?

I believe that the designers do have most of the say in this matter and I’m sorry to confess that I think they are choosing their models wisely. Because, fashion is about showing clothes, and it has to be shown in the best possible way. To be able to flip the feel for the clothes from basic functionality to an art form, the designers have to make the clothes unreachable, therefore choosing models with kind of inhuman proportions to be – in a way of expression – powerful, living hangers. Fashion’s main purpose is to give you that little extra in the weekdays.

Actually I’m bit tired of this never-ending discussion. Instead of bitchin’ about the size and weight of the models, I think people should look around themself and their environment, accept their own limitations, be creative and style up inspired by the catwalk!

What is the most common reaction you receive at fashion events?
As mentioned above, I’m always well received, but nothing extraordinary. Just as it should be. If I ever should be treated specially, I hope that it would be because of what I do and not how my body works. The seating at the shows is much better when you bring your own chair though – at least you have a seat!

Who are your role models?

In life, my mom and brother. Style wise, everybody. Or, not everybody, but it’s very easy for me to be inspired by nothing to everything. An atmosphere, noise and silence, people, architecture. Details in my everyday life.

What is the most common misconception you are faced with?

People who think I can’t talk. I can’t eat. I can’t party. I can’t have sex. I can’t understand. That I have no idea what I’m doing at the parade speaking with three meter tall drag queens. People who basically don’t think I’m a human being. But well, that’s not what bothers me the most. I’m more ashamed of how unknowing and prejudiced many people are.

What is your life motto?
Carpe Diem. I know that this is a worn out cliché – especially when tattooed on your body – but the person who first said this was a wise man! Due to my physical condition I have experienced and learned that you have to be present in every single second of your life to be able to get the most out of it.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In Ryan Goslings arms. Well, not really, but I wouldn’t turn down such an offer. I see myself, in five years time, working with fashion in every possible way. Hopefully I will have my own brand, showing the world what I have to give. That I am a man with a passion. Most important, that I’m still surrounded by all my beloved ones and of course still stuffing delicious food down my throat.

Please share three unusual/interesting facts about yourself.

– I love butter. It makes my world go round.

– New Balance sneakers are the invention of the devil and people wearing them should cut off their feet. I don’t care how comfortable they might be.

– Lazy people piss me off. Go do something. Anything.

You come across as very confident. Have you always been this confident?

Well, almost. As all others, I’ve also had my share of teenage crises, but generally yes, I’ve always been very confident. I had a perfect childhood and one of the best types of support at home. Bullies have never targeted me and I have always felt that I’ve been a part of my surroundings. As I’ve never been able to kick some ass physically, I early on learned to do it verbally. And therefore I’ve always felt that I am equally important as everybody else which have given me this confidence.

What do you love most about yourself?
Haha, good one. I’m for sure extremely narcissistic and I love a lot of things about myself. Actually everything and especially my own reflection.
But I’m not the center of the universe. I’m just the center of my own. Because if you are not the center of your own universe, then who?

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Copyrighted by Henrik Silvius: http://wfifi.blogspot.co.uk/

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Baby Steps

Looking at the history of disabled models one doesn’t have to venture far back. In 1999 Aimee Mullins was the first disabled model to appear on Mc Queen’s catwalk. She was dubbed the new disabled supermodel but preferred the term super ability. “Britain’s Missing Top Model” was broadcast nine years later. Debenhams has played a part in transforming the canon by choosing a diverse autumn winter campaign in 2010 and therefore becoming the first high-street retailer featuring disability. But this new and long overdue notion of all inclusive beauty has still not of yet become part of our Canon.

A campaign in the Netherlands CAP48 (a non profit organization who promote the rights for handicapped people) made a spin off version of the infamous wonderbra campaign. The model Tanja Kiewitz who has an amputated arm is featured wearing lingerie. The caption: “Look me in the eyes…I said the eyes” -in this incidence- transforms into a double meaning. They want the public to see the person and not the disability. Momentarily some people are still struggling with that.

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Copyrighted by Benedicte Duval CAP48

The philosopher Maurice Merleau believes the reason for people finding it difficult to be exposed to disability lies therein that the viewer -on a subconscious level- identifies with the model through the visual aspects and then subconsciously feels the sensation of disability. But people accept what they are used to and the more disabled models get booked the quicker they will become part of the canon.

The ultimate goal is that the need for specialized websites or organizations to aid the inclusion of disabled people no longer exists. As of yet however raising awareness is the key to move forward. And as fashion is constantly re-defining the canon and is seen as aspirational they can become the main game changer.

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FashionAble

The saying if you dress good you feel good isn’t a cliché without good reason. This makes it even more surprising that designers still seem to have tunnel vision by only designing with sample sizes in mind. And this in a day and age when in Britain alone there are more than 16 million disabled people. Why aren’t designers embracing our unique bodies by celebrating them with beautiful and functional clothing!? The easy answer: money! It is currently more expensive to design for specific needs and shapes. The lack of adapted yet stylish clothing becomes overwhelmingly apparent whilst scouring the Internet. Interviewing Debbie van der Putten she said: ” I would love to challenge young designers to design for all types of bodies…”. She also mentioned IZ Adaptive who she said made some cool wheelchair friendly designs.

IZ was founded by Canadian designer Izzy Camilleri who has also designed for Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon . She was the first worldwide to design a line for seated clientele. Her designs are specifically  one of a kind making dressing as easy as possible and guaranteeing a quality product. Izzy is a true pioneer who deserves to be celebrated and surely will inspire new designers to follow in her footsteps!

The following videos showcase Izzy’s designs as she talks the viewer through the dressing process. She also offers invaluable advice on how to take measurements that comply with the seated user.

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IZ Adaptable Clothing

Introducing Carolyn

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Introducing Guddi

Adaptable 1
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How to take measurements

Copyrighted by: Director/Editor: Carson T. Foster

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Debbie Van Der Putten

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Debbie van der Putten Copyrighted by Brian Rolfe: http://www.brianrolfe.com

 

Debbie van der Putten gives us an insight into her life as a fashion model with a difference.

Have you seen any change in the way the fashion industry represents and caters for people with disabilities?

Not much, It has been 5 years since BBC three broadcasted “Britain’s Missing Top Model” and we’ve only seen the winner of that show in the high fashion magazines once, as part of her prize when she won. We haven’t seen much campaigns or catwalks including disability since, off course around the Paralympics disability was hot, but as quick as the games disappeared disability in advertising disappeared! Thank god there are amazing fashion diversity campaigns like “All walks beyond the catwalk” www.alkwalks.org and my own campaign IMperfect here to promote diversity in fashion.

Also I’ve been talking to loads off fashion students lately and they are very open minded, as they are the future I’m convinced the change is going on. Also I have an amazing agent Ben Barry that is specialized in diverse models think many other agents could learn from him!

What do you believe is the reason for the mostly one-dimensional models showcasing fashion?

I think the reason of lack on diversity in fashion is the fear of difference; they have been using the same body type for years now and its scary to change a “winning” concept. Also sample size are made on certain body types / sizes even if a casting director would like to cast plus size or petit models it would be very challenging to get them fitted

What is the most common reaction you receive at fashion events?

People don’t expect disability in fashion so sometimes its a bit shocking but everyone agrees that it is part of day to day life so they agree on the fact we should see more disability in fashion, advertising and beauty

 

What is your life motto?

You live, you learn…

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully I still get to model a little bit and travel the world, I think my boyfriend and me will live together in the UK and might have a little family! I’ll always be fighting for more diversity in fashion, its my passion and don’t think I’ll ever give up on that but having my own family is something I’ve always wanted so that has priority!

Please share three unusual/interesting facts about yourself.

I love shit looking tattoo’s I have cherry’s, a cupcake, a bow and Disney lettering on my body all very random but very me! I always read magazines from the back to the front, don’t why I do that but its just a random habit.

You come across as very confident. Have you always been this confident?

I think I’m very good in trying to look confident but underneath that all is a sometimes very insecure girl! Every time I have castings or a big shoot I get very nervous and friends and family have to big me up. Over the years it got a little better. When it comes to my disability I am totally confident, its something that happens and I can’t do nothing about it. I never had any prosthetic and will never use them as it doesn’t feel like me. It makes me feel very disabled while I’m able to do anything I want without!

What do you love most about yourself?

I think the thing I like the most about myself is that I’m a people pleaser I want everyone to be as happy as I am and I love to help other people, I’m a big believer that everything you give, will pay back in happiness. As long everyone around me is happy I’m happy!

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Images copyrighted by Debbie van der Putten : http://debbievanderputten.wordpress.com/3-portfolio/
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