From Catwalk Crusader to Industry Watchdog: Felicity Hayward's Decade of Disruption

From Catwalk Crusader to Industry Watchdog: Felicity Hayward’s Decade of Disruption

Felicity Hayward…

In 2011, a 20-something Felicity Hayward stumbled onto a photo shoot that would change her life.

Little did she know, posing as the iconic Anna Nicole Smith wouldn’t just be a “15 minutes of fame,” it would catapult her into the role of a pioneer for a revolution in the fashion industry: plus-size representation.

Back then, the UK fashion scene was not as inclusive of curvy women. Magazines, campaigns, and advertising spaces seldom held any reflection of their vibrant reality. Hayward, however, refused to accept this exclusion. What began as a single photoshoot morphed into a decade-long dedication to challenging the status quo and advocating for body inclusivity.

The journey wasn’t smooth sailing. Hayward witnessed the fleeting “golden age” of body positivity (2016-2019) where inclusive campaigns and self-love slogans were all the rage.

But the euphoria was short-lived. High fashion remained a fortress, stubbornly clinging to its narrow beauty standards.

Frustrated by the industry’s regressive tendencies, Hayward refused to be silenced. She launched the #IncludingTheCurve movement, a powerful statement against tokenism and a call for genuine inclusivity on runways and beyond. Her actions spoke louder than words: she boycotted London Fashion Week and the British Fashion Awards, refusing to endorse brands that failed to cater to diverse body types.

But Hayward isn’t just a crusader; she’s an industry watchdog. In the age of buzzwords like “diversity,” where brands often use them as mere marketing tactics, Hayward’s #IncludingTheCurve reports provide crucial transparency. These reports meticulously document the number of plus-size models used in fashion weeks, holding brands accountable for their actions and highlighting the ones truly embracing inclusivity.

“Last season Milan came third place with 45 plus models, but 30 of those models came from one designer Karoline Vitto who had a full curve show in partnership with Dolce and Gabbana, this season Dolce was in partnership with designer Feben, who is inclusive, but this season used one single plus model, Ashely Graham. So without Karoline Vitto, I believe Milan will go back to last place once again.

These reports are so important to me to showcase who is doing it right for us, who is using plus size models as a fad, and who simply doesn’t care.” – Felicity Hayward

Felicity Hayward’s story isn’t just about personal success.

It’s a testament to the unwavering power of challenging the norm and demanding change. As she continues to champion inclusivity, her journey serves as a beacon of hope, not just for the plus-size community, but for anyone seeking to break down barriers and create a more equitable world.

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Cover Photographer, Jamie Abbott
IG @jamescharlesabbott

Feature Photos, Mary Benson
Dress by @marybensonlondon
Photography by @davidnyanzi

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