A WOKINGHAM woman is taking her charity fashion show to London after its success last year — but she needs help.
Caroline Cassels launched a fashion show to raise awareness about eating disorders and body confidence.
The first event — in April 2019 — raised £2,500 for Beat, a UK charity supporting those affected by eating disorders.
“I suffered with anorexia from the age of 17. I’m now 26 and want to help those battling with their body image,” said Ms Cassels.
“After coming through an eating disorder, I’ve always wanted to put on a show for women who have been in my position.
“We had the first event at Royal Holloway, with 32 models of all ages, shapes and sizes. We had four categories, evening wear, everyday wear, swimwear and lingerie. I only expected about 70 people to show up, but we had 150 guests.”
One of the models from the show shared her experience. Kirsten said: “I dieted from the age of 12, from a throwaway comment my Dad made. And that’s where it began.
“I was obsessed with losing weight and by my 20s I started using appetite suppressants. I soon discovered it was a lot cheaper and effective to take a drug. So that’s what I did for years. At one point I took it every day for four years.
“I lost a lot of weight but I certainly wasn’t happy. My weight fluctuated for years. I hated what I looked like whatever size I was. It took me a lot of time to accept me.
“I’m now 46 and don’t ever want to be overwhelmed with those feelings ever again. So that’s when I decided to sign up for the show.
“Being around everyone and listening to their stories made me sad that so many beautiful women have such low self-esteem, but also so empowered by how amazing we all were.
“It’s something I will never forget, an amazing experience to treasure for life.”
Ms Cassels is now hoping to increase awareness of eating disorders on a larger scale.
“Now, I would absolutely love to do it on a bigger scale,” she said. “I want to do the show in London — ideally in September during fashion week — to put it on a much larger scale.
“I want to target more people, and gain the attention of some high-profile guests.
Ms Cassels also hopes to invite some high-profile celebrity guests to speak at the event, and work with fashion designers to create bespoke pieces for the runway.
“But it’s extraordinarily expensive. Venue hire alone is about £10,000 and that’s where I’m struggling.” she said. “The show I organised last year was completely off my own back and money I received from my work bonus the year before.
“Once that bit is sorted everything else is ready to go.”
She is currently looking for venues who may be able to offer a discounted rate, and businesses that can support her in the event costs.
Anyone interested in helping Ms Cassels with her show can email her on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Bebbington / https://instagram.com/bebsography?igshid=14ax49b2fv2dv