Jonnie Peacock and Stefanie Reid are world class Paralympians, helping to redefine the way we view disability, ahead of what looks set to be the most popular Paralympics ever in London 2012.
Both athletes have had a leg amputated above the knee, due to injury and illness, and use a carbon fibre blade for competition, in place of their missing limb. Spending a few hours in a room with Jonnie and Stefanie calls into question every preconception of what it means to be able bodied. Far from inducing discomfort or sympathy, the ingenuity and sleek simplicity of the blade is surprisingly compelling. While its hard technological aesthetic highlights and complements the fluid athleticism of their physiques. Watch the focus and power of sprinter Jonnie in full flight, or the burst of energy as Stef launches into a long jump and the first word that springs to mind isn’t disabled. Stef and Jonnie were the perfect pairing to showcase i-Sustain, a project running in collaboration with London’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion. i-Sustain aims to offer an eye-catching insight into the designers who combine intellect and aesthetic to look beyond the next season towards a better fashion future. Jonnie and Stef embody the potential for a complete cultural shift in attitudes to disability; while the clothes they’re wearing do the same for sustainable fashion. From established names such as Issey Miyake and Margiela, to emerging talents Christopher Raeburn and Matthew Miller, designers are seeing the possibility of fashion being used as a creative tool to encourage people to make better choices and to demonstrate meaningful industrial change. Some designers re-appropriate the waste from other industries, some rethink the pattern creation and construction process; others use innovative new materials or low impact printing and embellishment techniques. Whatever the approach, good design has been and always will be about solving a problem. Fashion should be inspiring, evocative and beautiful but this can exist hand in hand with a collective awareness of and respect for the wonderful diversity of the people and planet that surround us.
See the full i-Sustain project here.
Hair: Keiichiro Hirano at Debbie Walters Make-up Anita Keeling at Jed Root
Photography Assistance: Jonathan Leigh
Styling Assistance: Katrina Howley
Retouching: Russell Day at Daybreak Creative
Models: Stefanie Reid and Jonnie Peacock