50 shades of Denim is a campaign that aims to help young women feel more comfortable about their flaws and imperfections. The other main objective is to encourage mostly young black women and girls to embrace their flaws by sharing their stories with us and allowing us to capture them in their most happiest moments during the campaign shoot. We want them to be liberated from social beauty standards, because we believe that beauty is completely subjective. A LOT of young women have self-esteem issues due to their physical appearances which mostly involves their skin colours, body types, freckles, gap teeth and other distinctive facial features. Culture Club and the rest of the 50 shades of Denim team wants to remind you that it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to be plus-sized, it’s okay to be dark-skinned, it’s okay to have saggy breasts, It’s okay to embrace your acne-prone skin and it’s okay to be YOU!
Shades represents different forms, and that in our campaign represents the girls. Denim is global, everyone owns a pair of jeans or a denim jacket and we thought It’ll be best to let texture represent our campaign as a whole.
We had a couple of girls that have suffered from self-esteem that wanted to share their stories with you:
I have poor self-esteem, there are some things about me that I hate sometimes. I developed a weird skin pigmentation that I started noticing somewhere around 2017. I used to ask myself what it was, I still do actually cause it just came from nowhere, I started asking my family to check it out and tell me what they thought it was, I remember my mom saying it’s probably dirt and that Im not bathing properly, I was deeply hurt. It pains me alot when I’m sleeping over at a friends’ place I don’t want them to see my back cause I don’t want to be judged or hear hurtful comments. This has affected me really bad to a point were I started wearing oversized t-shirts.
I started realising my voluptuous self was the greatest thing I can depend on when I started with the journey of self love. Being overlooked, judged and having to witness a mean mug from the boy who “had” to kiss me during spin the bottle, seeing his disgust of hate because of my body made me shame myself numerous times but that didn’t stop me but make ME. My body developed faster than my peers in primary and I got teased having to also go home to a mother that never taught you how to appreciate yourself and skin because she was too busy bruising in my body got me in a headspace of YOU ONLY HAVE YOU TO LOVE AND CARE FOR, REMAIN GENTLE TO THIS BODY SINCE ALL IT KNOWS IS RAGE AND NOISE.
I am a super dark young woman, I was born that way and I grew up knowing but it wasn’t a big issue but when I was in grade 9 it suddenly affected me. I remember being discriminated in class and being told that I don’t fit to be a class representative because I was dark-skinned, the ‘popular’ guys in my class laughed and said I am too black to lead, the entire class laughed. I tried standing up for myself but I was defeated, their words broke my heart and crashed my self-confidence completely. From that day the word beautiful was erased from my dictionary.
The rest of the girls couldn’t make it to the shoot due to unforeseen circumstances.
My self esteem issues started when I was still in primary, grade 4. Boys at my school used to mock me, I was always overlooked and they made me feel like I was never going to be good enough. I was mostly bullied because of my ethnic group, I was the only Venda student at school and I was treated like I didn’t belong there. My insecurities grew until I got into my teenage years as well as my hatred for relationships and boys.
At first it was the way l looked, being teased about not fitting in with other girls because l looked ugly and didn’t have nice clothes.
For the longest time I’ve been insecure about my weight and my skin. I compared myself to other girs. They all looked gorgeous, had stunning figures and clear skin. I felt as though I was too fat in certain areas but too thin in others, for example, my breasts and bum are too small, and my tummy isn’t flat enough. With my skin I had issues with hormonal pimples and an uneven skin tone. But I’ve come to realize that I only feel that way when I’m upset or already feeling sad. If I look at myself without makeup and I’m happy, enjoying life etc. then I feel beautiful. And I think that I now see that beauty truly isn’t on the outside, it’s all about how you’re feeling and how you see yourself. So now if I’m feeling insecure, I try to make myself happy. Real beauty comes from within – when you’re filled with love and happiness, you’ll always be beautiful.
The creative team:
An 18-year-old creator that was born and bred in Soweto, she is a blogger/designer/sketcher/self-proclaimed creative director and an economics student soon to be a creative writing student. She believes that she was born to create and explore, She gets inspired by being in her township and the hustlers from her township.
Palesa Claire Ndlovu.
A 19-year-old writer and vlogger, after graduating from Television and screens arts she is currently pursuing creative writing and has also gone on to further writing newsletters and essays. She runs a blog and has a YouTube channel.
A 19-year-old female self-proclaimed writer, that is fueled by her belief in mother earth’s pleasures. Currently on her final lap to obtain a diploma in Journalism at Rosebank College. Enthused by every aspect of art, from what is visible to the naked eye and to the work behind the scenes. An active supporter and advocate of the power to create. In simple words, Tandaza is a creative being working her way up to the art realm.
Is a 19 year old that grew up in a household that made clothing a necessity, she became so familiar with fashion that she learnt to master the art of convincing her audience that the clothes on her back cost a fortune, as she is a huge fan of thrifting. She is also a make-up enthusiast, She does house calls and also makes opportunities for herself, related to make up.
If you would like to share your story, reply to this article or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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