Rankin shoots The Portrait Positive with Steven Tai to break down beauty boundaries

This London Fashion Week, Rankin teamed up with the designer to break the beauty status quo.

Conceived by event organiser Stephen Bell and teaming up with Steven Tai, The Portrait Positive project focuses on challenging perceptions of beauty by photographing sixteen incredible women who have visible facial and bodily differences. The pair worked with our very own photographic master, Rankin, to shoot the women in Steven Tai’s latest collection, as a collaboration with the charity Changing Faces.

Bluebird, London UK. 16th September 2018. Steventai shows Spring Summer 2019 designs at catwalk show. © Chris Yates


Rankin explained: “Living with a visible difference you are literally judged by your appearance and compared to what I think is a fake idea of what it is to be beautiful or even ‘normal’. The only way to shift this perception is to talk about it and face it head on. Our amazing subjects are dealing with these issues with grace, dignity and strength. It was an absolute honour to work with them and try to create a discussion around what it is to be beautiful. To me they are all unique.”

The collaborators have collated these iconic new images into a book of the same name, The Portrait Positive, which will launch on 25th September, and where the proceeds will go to support Changing Faces’ work across the UK. The leading charity for 1.3 million children, young people and adults in the UK who have a medical condition, mark or scar that makes them look different, they aim to break stigma and represent all people. Approximately one in 111 people in the UK have a significant visible facial difference, despite being largely absent from representations in fashion and the media. 

Click through the gallery below to see part of the Portrait Positive shoot, and click here to learn more about Changing Faces charity

  • words Kitty Robson photography

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