LIFESTYLE

Thickleeyonce And Friends Don't Care About Beauty Standards And It's Awesome

Who WOULDN'T want an "I am my own body goals" t-shirt?

23/01/2017 13:16 SAST | Updated 23/01/2017 15:18 SAST

Lee Bex // Supplied
A group shot of the women featured in the Lee Bex Summer '17 campaign

With a focus on promoting body positivity and a strong message of self-love and acceptance, Rebecca Garande and Thickleeyonce (real name Lesego Legobane), co-founders of fashion brand Lee Bex, have just released their latest campaign photos.

Photographer Thickleeyonce, who is known for her body positive work featuring plus sized women, released the first images of the campaign on her Twitter and Instagram accounts yesterday. The photos were met with an outpouring of support from fans on the social networks.

Myself and Bex (@lee_bex try to have these photoshoots as often as possible, to be surrounded with women that have been through the same struggles I've encountered...to see them be so comfortable in their skin and forget that society tells them that they're flawed, some of them wearing short stuff and revealing parts of their bodies they've been taught to hide all their lives. I always feel so much more beautiful after being with girls I can relate to, they remind me that I am absolutely perfect as I am. Thank you to these 5 amazing ladies for joining me yesterday, I pray that the shoot empowered you and reminded you how beautiful you are. Show them some love by following @lee_bex as I'll be sharing each woman's story there ❤

A photo posted by snapchat: Thickleeyonce1 (@thickleeyonce) on

"We want to encourage women of all sized to love themselves," Garande told The Huffington Post South Africa. "Everybody deserves that". She says that the brand sent out a call to action on their Instagram feed, asking curvy women to apply to be part of their next shoot. "We got over 150 entries and made the final selection based on the different body shapes we were looking for," Garande explains. The images of the shoot released so far feature the women wearing t-shirts with the slogan "I am my own body goals".

The Lee Bex Instagram account has and will continue to feature portraits of the women in the shoot, sharing their stories about their relationships with their bodies.

‪Meet Gugu (@MsGeeGumede), growing up, she was always surrounded by petite women and that made her think there was something wrong with her, so she was always on diets, to the point whereby she even carried slim shakes for lunch in high school. A lot of people assume that eating disorders are only for skinny people, but even we big people go through eating disorders and obsessing over starving ourselves to shrink down to couple of sizes. "I remember how much I used to hate shopping because I would constantly have to experience that young moment of shame when walking out of a shop without getting my size," she says. For the sake of being at peace and happy, at the age of 16, Gugu decided to stop being cruel to herself & accepted herself as she was, and since then, she fell in love with her own body.‬ ‪The most memorable thing about Gugu, from the photo shoot, is her sassy attitude and how she just feels herself, it's difficult not to notice her because she is definitely "Tyra Banks" , always smizing and doing the damn modeling thing 😂❤ ! Thank you for being an inspiration, your confidence is contagious! ❤‬

A photo posted by PLUS SIZE FASHION (38-46) (@lee_bex) on

"The world tells curvy women that there is only one way to be beautiful," Garande said, emphasising why shoots like this are important. "When women tell their stories, others can see that they have the same struggles and feel that they are not alone. It can help and motivate women to love themselves the way they are."

The summer '17 collection shoot was a celebration of women of diverse body shapes and sizes and the "I am my own body goals" t-shirts will be on sale as part of the collection to continue the conversation around body acceptance and self-love.