Every week we will be sharing a story with you from one of our extraordinary team of models; first up is Kit Klaes who talks about dressing for yourself, not others, expectations. Kit is one of the most vibrant people in our diverse town, and her bright colours never fail to stand out amongst all this Scottish grey. She protests the idea that beauty or style is confined by size and shows that nothing is as attractive as expressing yourself on your own terms. Get excited to see Kit on the runway!
Somewhere between high school and now, I lost a piece of my self-assuredness. I exude confidence despite feeling insecure. At times I'm jealous of my past self. She wore what made her happy: nothing dimmer than neon, the brighter the better.
The summer after my junior year of high school I started to lose some weight. People congratulated me saying, "Wow, you're really looking good." I know they meant no harm, but I took it to mean that I now looked attractive and hadn't before.
This outlook changed things for me. I had now set a new standard for my ideal weight/body type and anything heavier made me ugly or unwanted. I became incredibly self-critical, afraid to upload photos where my face looked fat or arm flab hung. My clothes became less reflexive of my personality as I wore trendier items and adopted a darker, more subdued color pallet. Essentially I was blending in, which is something I had never previously tried to do or wanted.
It reached its worst point when my family started to notice. I realized my negativity was effecting others and making them sad. My mom couldn’t understand. She wondered where my happiness had gone. Things that previously came naturally were now difficult decisions: do I wear the black or almost imperceptibly navy shirt? Do I wear jeans in the Texas heat to avoid exposing my legs in shorts? Even at my lowest weight I wasn’t good enough. I was terrified of gaining anything back and becoming a worse person.
It didn't help that around this same time I was thrown into a new environment. Starting university is terrifying, no matter if you're 5 minutes from home or 16 hours. I just so happen to be the latter. Did I really want to start my new life as an obnoxious American wearing 50 shades of rainbow?
Yes. Yes, I did. So why couldn't I?
For a time, I was so concerned with that other people thought about me; that if I wasn't wearing the right clothes or saying the right thing, I'd immediately be rejected. Although, why would I want to be friends with anyone who wouldn't accept me for me?
Luckily as I've settled down here, I've settled down into myself. I've met friends that will love me and accept me in any state, whether I’m extremely put together or living my best life at Empire. As I've hit my stride, I've come to love myself again (which I know sounds like the cheesiest thing.) Loving yourself has become highly underrated. It’s essential for our wellbeing, at least in my opinion. I like to think that I’m a genuinely good person. I try to be, at least. I must remind myself that no matter what size, I will always be that good person.
I want people to love me for my personality not because of my size. 90 percent of the time I try to show my personality and express myself outwardly (please see my bright glasses or rap video for proof) 10 percent of the time, I struggle. That's okay though, as long as the 90 continues to increase bit by bit.
That's why I wanted to be part of Label. The people you surround yourself with really do have an impact on your own emotions. Label is a group of people with various backgrounds and identities that love themselves, or are trying to, which is equally impressive.
That's something important to remember. We won't always be perfect. We'll have setbacks. We’ll have good days and bad, but as long as we're trying, we're making the right steps forward.
This is the most personal thing I've ever written. It goes against my "fake it until you make it" confident mentality. While that's terrifying, I think it must be a leap forward.