A Hertfordshire designer showcased her couture fashion with models of all different shapes and sizes.

April Banbury, 30, from Kings Langley, showcased her bridal fashion at London Fashion Week this month.

Miss Banbury used a diverse range of models including women of different ethnicities and sizes. There was even a model with down-syndrome who wore Miss Banbury’s designs.

She said: “Showcasing my fashion with a diverse range of models can be so rewarding.

“There was such a positive reaction and the models involved were very grateful. Obviously, they shouldn’t have to be grateful because diversity should be considered normal.

"They should be represented in the fashion industry."

Watford Observer:

April Banbury (right) with one of her models at London Fashion Week. Photo: Joanna Mitroi

Miss Banbury believes social media portrays to young people the “perfect woman” and thinks an improvement in diversity can break stereotypical beauty standards.

She added: “Take social media for example, we always see perfect images online and young women aspire to look like them.

“But it is not natural they are most often edited, and it can affect the mental health of so many men and women because they are perceiving it as perfect.

“How you look naturally should be considered the perfect beauty standard.”

She now hopes that her use of diverse models at London Fashion Week can give her the voice to raise awareness for diversity in the fashion industry.

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April hopes the fashion industry can cater for a diverse range of women. Photo: Joanna Mitroi

She said: “I have always had a quiet passion for diversity but being able to showcase my designs at fashion week through diverse models showed my voice and allowed it to be heard.

“I now have the opportunity to use it more and hopefully people will start talking about it. People are already starting to post natural pictures online.

“Some beauty companies are starting to use more diverse models. We are slowly getting there, I’m proud to be apart of that and I hope it can be encouraged.

“I want to promote the use of diverse models as much as I can. It is 2019, there is no reason why we should be using the stereotype look. It is time to break the mould.”

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April has always had a "passion for diversity". Photo: Joanna Mitroi

This was the third time Miss Banbury was invited to London Fashion Week. She was previously a finalist of Britain's Top Designer and was invited back to this season's show to work with the diverse models.

She said: “I didn’t win but I was a finalist. To be able to go to London Fashion Week as a finalist made me feel really humble. It was amazing that they invited me to showcase.”

Miss Banbury’s passion for fashion began when she was a young girl, growing up she always dressed up and created her own designs.

She said: “My love for fashion began when I was much younger. People say they never knew what they wanted to do but I knew I always wanted to work in fashion.

“It was the creative aspect that interested me. I have always been inspired by a woman’s natural form and I love to create things which can emphasise her body in a beautiful way.”

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April has featured at London Fashion Week twice before. Photo: Joanna Mitroi

She then studied fashion in Oaklands College in St Albans and then went to the Arts University College at Bournemouth.

But her start in the industry began when she featured on television programme, The Bachelor on Channel Five back in 2011.

The show managed to give her some recognition and she later made her own brand, April Banbury, in 2015 focusing on occasion and bridal wear.

She added: “Bridal and occasion is what has inspired me the most. I have so much appreciation for the craft man ship and the in-depth detail.

“It takes hours and the result of is so beautiful. Creating wedding dresses for women is an honour because it is the most important item of clothing they are going to wear in their life.

“They are putting their trust in my hands, so it is really rewarding.”

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April launched her brand four years ago. Photo: Joanna Mitroi

When it comes to bridal and occasion wear Miss Banbury does not believe in following trends instead, she tries to tailor each dress to the individual.

She said: “I base my designs around the person, and I translate their personality into a garment.

“I aim to make them feel like they are the best version of themselves and to make them the most person they are in their own skin.

“I believe they should not be covering it up and hiding it under a huge dress, I want to emphasise their body in a good way.

“Brides always come to me and say they could never wear something like that – if it is a slimming dress and they are curvy for example – I try to make them something similar and most often they love it.”

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April focuses on occasion and bridal wear designs. Photo: Joanna Mitroi

Miss Banbury has also competed in the Miss Great Britain pageant more than two years and was awarded second place.

She said: “I personally didn’t think of doing pageants back in the day. When I was young I was shy and had no confidence and low self-esteem.

“I was approached and asked if I want to do beauty competitions and it brought me out of my shell.

“Every job I got was because of the interview skills I learned from the competitions. I learnt that they represented diversity as well. It was just a positive thing to be part of.

“The most important thing I learned from pageants was to love myself as I am.”

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April believes pageants were a positive influence for her. Photo: Joanna Mitroi

Other than the positives working in the fashion industry Miss Banbury admits there can be challenges.

She said: “There are difficulties like any industry. It can be competitive, and everyone wants to be recognised just like the next person.

“But you need to set yourself apart from the best. You must work hard. If you’re not willing to put in the hours you will not get the benefits.”

Miss Banbury also gave us her advice for people who were wanting to get in the fashion industry.

She said: “You need to be prepared to work. Nothing worth having comes easy.

“If you are passionate about it and put your whole heart into it then it will happen 100 per cent.”