Jeffrey Campbell, the global footwear choice for followers of edgy fashion, recently announced he was collaborating with Steward, on a range meant for everyBODY. And the credit is due to the body activist.
Steward, who Instagram followers will recognise as @luhshawny, told online magazine GirlBoss, that she’d: “… loved Jeffrey Campbell since I was in middle school but I never could afford his shoes, so I’m really excited.”
Her friend, Sanam Sindh, is the creative director of Jeffrey Campbell. She says the two were having a discussion about the portrayal of larger women of colour.
In an interview with Refinery21. Steward said: “I was telling her how a lot of the boots don’t fit thicker legs, and as my friend – who knows how the fashion world doesn’t celebrate fat brown women enough – she saw this as an opportunity for me, an under-appreciated curve model.”
The 21-year-old from South Carolina first gained attention last year after a photo she posted to social media became the subject of a cruel meme. She decided to use the online bullying to her advantage, and over a year later is now boasting almost 71,000 Instagram followers; a collaboration with a global footwear brand; and is refusing to slow down anytime soon.
“I just want to show girls that they can do it. A lot of [girls my size] want to be models, and they’re constantly told they’re too fat or they’re too short. But I’m not going to give up, because it’s something I have to do,” she said.
Over 65 per cent of women in Australia are larger than a size 16, yet are sorely under-represented in the fashion community. Steward wants this to become a non-issue and is continuing to fight for body diversity in the modelling industry and size inclusivity in fashion brands.
“[I want to see] girls who actually look like me in high-fashion and walking the runways,” she said.
“Representation is so important. So many models are glamazons who are 5’7″ [173cms] or taller. They have small waists and perfect thighs. [For plus-size models, they’re] a size 16 at the biggest. And these are the women ‘representing’ all fat women. I’m 5’3″ [161cms] and bigger, [and I] also deserve the spotlight!”
Steward’s mission: “Always fighting for under 5’6, over a size 18+ brown girls to have a spot in the high end modeling and fashion world too.”