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All Sorts of Things 12
Photography Michele Di Dio

5 models deconstruct the fashion industry’s definition of ‘normal’

Short film and editorial All Sorts of Things champions the experiences of models ranging in ages, ethnicities, body types, and identities by questioning what normal means to them

New editorial All Sort of Things is testament to the fashion industry’s growing understanding of what constitutes “normal”. Created by a Berlin-based team of creatives, including directors Alejandra Ruiz-Zorrilla and Rosa Lisa Di Natale, creator and stylist Ourania Marmara, photographer Michele Di Dio, producer Ronja Prinz, and casting director Julie Sinios, the project champions the experiences of eight models – of ranging ages, ethnicities, body types, and identities. 

Through the photo series, Marmara utilises different items of clothing to distort and enhance model’s body shapes. The resulting images question the established fashion norms we’re confronted with every day, with exaggerated ruffled bodices blowing up the body to XXL proportions, swirled shoulder pads, and sleek baby pink body armour turning their wearer into statuesque, imposing figures.

To complement the shoot, it was important to the team that they discuss ideas of ‘normalcy’, with each model eventually interviewed about their own experiences within fashion and beyond. However, besides learning from the models’ unique viewpoints, the team faced challenges navigating the industry’s own ideas of normalcy while working on the project – from getting dropped by magazines to dressing models that weren’t sample size, and sourcing diverse models to cast.

“I always wondered who sets (the) standards in terms of fashion and beauty. Who decides that a specific body type is worth showing and others not?” Mamara asks. “I was expecting fashion brands and PRs to happily support me in terms of getting the outfits for the story, but when I wrote (that) we were going to have a cast of eight models with diverse body types, everyone assumed that I was looking for bigger sizes, so half of the brands said they couldn’t support us.”

She continues: “I was shocked, I heard things like, ‘We are afraid that the model will not fit (the garments)’ or, ‘We need to make sure you won’t use male samples for female models,’ or, ‘We are only trying to avoid the model feeling uncomfortable.’ It really made me question where we stand here.” Nonetheless, the team showed no signs of slowing down – challenging these difficulties by ensuring that each model was styled and shot as any sample-sized model would be.

Below, we hear from some of the featured models about challenging society’s expectations and what ‘normal’ means to them. 


“People expect me to be many different things. My family wants me to be their good son and everyone else wants me to be a working part of our society. Normal is a dumb statement because nobody’s normal, everyone is a different person. Normal is based on your own imaginations, so no one really is normal.

When I see someone for the first time, I have a first impression, but most of the time it turns out that they’re someone totally different, so that’s why I don’t like having first impressions. In many situations I feel out of place, especially when I’m in big groups where I don’t know a lot of people and it’s sometimes a kind of rough start. I don’t really think in those kinds of boxes, but sometimes when I wear clothes that are made for women, I feel a little bit more feminine and I have the feeling that society is pushing me in that direction.”



“People expect me to be fabulous. Normal is… I have no idea what normal is. What’s normal? I feel special when I’m fabulous. I think ignorant people are so self-centred and have no empathy for what is going on around them – empathy is key to having healthy communication with yourself and with people around you.”



“People expect me to be all sorts of things, I mean depending on the context they want me to be normal, to be crazy, to be partying, to be calm. I can be everything at once. Normal is crazy. It’s not normal. Normal is not there, normal is not existent. Everyone is normal by existing, I think. But it’s so crazy, you always see normal as something that is made up out of the ordinary that most people do, but isn’t it normal to live a life that nobody expected you to do or expected you to be born with?”



“Normal is nothing. Nothing is normal. What could be normal to me doesn’t mean it’s normal too you – I had to learn that the hard way because I’m a very logical thinker, and I’m like, ‘This is logical to me,’ but someone else would be like, ‘Well I don't see it like that.’

I’ve felt out of place most of my life. Being Afro-Indigenous, being born in Columbia and moving to a different country, I felt out of place there because I didn’t look like everybody else. I also wasn’t seen how I am now, so sometimes I do feel out of place, but I think my community has helped me gather myself again so I try not to feel out of place and to make space for myself wherever I’m at.”



“Who sets what normal is? That could be in terms of how people see things. What does normal look like? What does art look like? There's not an answer. As long as you’re happy, that is your normal. You decide your normal. 

I feel special when I feel seen and represented. When I feel like I exist. When I see people that look like me out there, and that can be in any space – media, fashion, sports, or TV. I’d tell my younger self to appreciate his skin tone. Love himself. Respect himself – not only in the way I talk to myself in my own head or how hard I am on myself, but also the way that I allow others to treat me and what I accept and allow around me. Continue being creative, enjoy it. It’ll make you money eventually, and that comes after… and smile and be happy, and don’t let anyone take it from you.”


Check out All Sorts of Things in the gallery above.

CREDITS: Producer Sophie Maus, Make-up artist Linda Sigg, Hair stylist Rabea Richwien. 

CLOTHES: Michelle Bohnes, Aeyde, Juana Martin, Bruna Ingnatowska, Maryam Keyhani, Falke, Kimhekim, Marina Hoermanseder, William Fan, Nike, Jil Sander, Louis Vuitton, GmbH, ETR., Leandro Cano, Calid, Wandler, Rimowa, Roisin Pierce, Balenciaga, Marie-Louise Vogt, AMI via, Yannick Robey, Issey Miyake, Ottolinger, Essie Kramer