We all know that the runway is a platform a lot of brands use to send messages and pledge their support to varying issues. It’s a public place, attended by high profile individuals with a lot of surrounding media.
Prabal Gurung for example, had models wearing tee’s with phrases such as “the future is female ‘ & ‘we will not be silenced’ down the runway in support of female empowerment just as Dolce & Gabbana celebrated motherhood selecting pregnant models, mothers and children to showcase their range and Public School protested Donald Trump by creating red hats with “Make America New York’ and sweatshirts with ‘We Need Leaders’ printed on the back.
Fashion is becoming increasingly political, covering a multitude of topics ranging from health, diversity, race and social injustice and it does help the cause. It raises awareness and promotes movement and change.
On the topic of female empowerment and the celebration of motherhood – I’m all for it – we aim to cover this topic a lot at AMFAM. I feel the entire breastfeeding in public spaces debate is a non-issue. It’s a natural practise taken between mother and child that should be able to take place whenever and wherever.
I’m talking about, model and mother Mara Martin who walked the Sports Illustrated show at Miami Swim Week while breastfeeding.
And I have to say, I’m on the fence with where I stand on this.
On one hand, I’m all for it – the purpose of the Sports Illustrated runway show was to showcase the finalists of their model search and I’m impressed by the level of diversity. They had women of all different shapes and sizes, backgrounds and age; including Mara Martin, plus size model and mother.
And we know that the decision to let her walk whilst feeding wasn’t planned for the sake of garnering media attention.
‘It was very spontaneous” SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day explained “When I was talking with the girls backstage prior to the show beginning, I saw that Mara’s baby was sleeping and peacefully nursing. I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse.
She said ‘Oh my gosh, yes! Really? Are you sure?’, and I said absolutely! I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are. For me, I nursed two babies myself, so I find it to be one of the most powerful things the female body can do. It was the easiest decision I have had to make in months.”
Although… I have to say, I’m not too sure on runway with flashing camera’s literally, for the whole world to see is really that appropriate and/or necessary?
Some might argue that it’s the same as Nicole Trunfio breastfeeding on the cover of ELLE Australia – but I disagree. The point of a cover is to represent the theme or message within the magazine – the point of a runway is to showcase a new range of apparel and the theme associated.
In a post to IG Mara wrote ‘to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see.’
But the story of being a mother and feeding while walking isn’t just that. It’s not a normal circumstance of which mothers breastfeed, perhaps if you’re walking through a park, or on the way to an appointment, sure – but not on a runway.
And of course there are a lot more deserving headlines that our world should see, and I’m glad she took her position to shed light on them. However it’s naive to suggest that no one in the Sports Illustrated team, including herself thought that there wouldn’t be headlines as a result of that decision….
But you know what, perhaps that spontaneous decision might just be the catalyst for change and social acceptance toward breastfeeding in public, who knows?