Beds, Herts & Bucks

Body-positive fashion show created by Harlington Upper School pupils

Children pinning material on a mannequin
Image caption Pupils at Harlington Upper School have been working on the body-positive show for months

An entire school has helped create a body-positive fashion show to mark World Mental Health Day.

Pupils at Harlington Upper School, Bedfordshire, wore clothing with personally-written messages sewn on to it.

The event took place at the Harpur Centre, Bedford, on Thursday afternoon.

James, 17, the school's head boy, said the message of the show was: "It's great to be you and it would be boring if we were all the same."

He added: "It's not just girls who can suffer with not having enough self admiration for the body.

"Programmes on TV are all about people with six-packs; that's not the be-all and end-all."

Image caption Every pupil in the school was asked to write a note about body confidence on strips of fabric
Image caption Teachers' comments were also included

Leah, 15, said: "The younger generation are worrying about how others perceive them and they are trying to impress everyone else, rather than putting themselves first.

"Social media has a gigantic effect on mental health and body image, because everyone is trying to look like everyone else online when that is not always possible.

"It only matters what you think about yourself."

Isabella, 14, said she wanted to raise awareness of "self-acceptance and self-love."

The event's aim was to get more than 1,000 pupils and teachers to "think about what positive self-image means to them", said Hannah Brown, the Bedfordshire and Luton Recovery College peer, who led the show.

Georgie Billin, deputy head teacher, said school could be a very stressful environment, so she wanted to help students and teachers "develop strategies to help their own mental health."

Image caption The fashion show was specially planned to be held on World Mental Health Day
Image caption The fashion show took place at the Harpur Centre in Bedford

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