Meet Xu Ruoxuan, one of six Asia-based models who shared with Tatler how they’re breaking boundaries and refusing to be limited by gender, race, sexuality, size, age, religion or ability
“Nothing is naturally beautiful,” says Ruoxin Xu—known professionally as Raw Xu—a recent graduate of Central Academy of Fine Arts in China and freelance model who has been seen on the cover of fashion magazines in the country and was included in a social media campaign for Scandinavian brand Ganni. The Zhejiang-born, Beijing-based creator promotes body positivity both in her art—her graduation work was an interactive installation titled Touch My Belly—and her modelling career.
While for years she couldn’t buy clothes that fit her from a mall, Xu says what is available both in stores and e-commerce in China is now more accommodating for people of different body shapes and sizes. “Regardless of the initial intention—whether it’s that businesses have found the gap or that consumers of larger sizes are seen—the results and changes are very optimistic,” she says. “The market now cares more about the cultural force behind the visual symbol of models.”
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Beauty is a perspective: a perspective of acceptance and inclusion
What is “beauty” to you?"
Nothing is naturally beautiful. But when we slow down and suddenly look up at the sky, we will find it quite beautiful at that moment. When we close our eyes and feel a breeze blowing past our faces, mixed with the smell of summer grass, we will feel that summer is also beautiful. So I think beauty is a perspective; it’s a way to let go of ego, and see, listen to and feel other things.
What do you think of using body as a canvas?
Physical build is the measure of everything: when we stand in a house, we feel that the house is big; and when we put an ant in the palm of our hand, we feel that the ant is small. The body, as a medium, is something everyone relates to.
I see the body as a “canvas” … Different bodies are like different metaphors when we write––how do we use metaphors in the right way? ... Any creation inspired by a body should never be a gimmick, but a complete reflection.
Is the Asian fashion industry diverse?
Asia is diverse and I think it will become more and more inclusive. For a force [that causes change] to become stronger, efforts need to be made to include more people’s voices—inclusion is an inevitable result.