Two women who were badly scarred when they had acid thrown at them will be taking to the catwalk this week at a charity gala event in the lead-up to London fashion week.
Adele Bellis, 24, from Lowestoft in Suffolk, and Laxmi, 26, from Delhi, will be joining models on the catwalk for a show run by the British Asian Trust and a charity, GMSP, which helps the victims of sexual violence.
Bellis had sulphuric acid dropped on her head in August 2014 while waiting at a bus stop in an attack orchestrated by her ex-boyfriend. The attack caused her to lose an ear and resulted in scarring to one side of her face. Bellis’s ex-boyfriend was sentenced to life in prison for the attack.
Laxmi, who is one of India’s most prominent anti-acid attack campaigners was the victim of an attack when she was 15 after she rejected the advances of a 32-year-old man. She has spoken about how after the attack she was forced to stay indoors and was rejected by her family, while her attacker went unpunished and got married. She was a key voice in the campaign to regulate sales of acid in India.
The women, as well as about a dozen models, will be modelling designs by British Asian designer Raishma and shoe designer Lucy Choi and as they walk will be holding signs saying “resilience”, “respect” and “honour”. The aim, says Sonal Sachdev Patel, CEO of GMSP, is to remind people about the global problem of violence against women and to honour the women who survive it.