Fashion & BDD panel discussion

hosted by Alex Light joined by panellists Nicholas Mazzei, Jennifer Savin, Tilly Kaye and Prof David Veale

An explorative and insightful panel talk that will delve into the relationship between Fashion and BDD. Panellists discuss whether the way we market and sell fashion plays a role in the increasing prevalence of body dissatisfaction, with a conversation around the connections between consumerism, body image, and mental health. With insights around how clothing can sometimes become an unhelpful safety behaviour in BDD. We’ll hear from those with lived experience, to understand the reality of clothing related safety behaviours, and explore approaches which may help shift your relationship with fashion into a more empowering tool. With so much dialogue around the impact of filtered imagery in the current media, we’ll be exploring how this affects our mental health, and how filters might shape our self-perception. Crucially, we’ll be considering ways the fashion industry can be a catalyst for change, and the role of diversity and inclusion in reshaping the industry’s standards.

Alex Light is a body acceptance advocate, journalist, chart-topping podcast host and founder of Light LDN. After battling with eating disorders in her earlier life, Alex has successfully created a platform that encourages body acceptance and champions women’s unfiltered bodies. Her Sunday Times Bestseller ‘You Are Not A Before Picture’ has empowered women across the globe to talk about their struggles with body image whilst also encouraging self-love. Brands such as Gillette Venus, Dove and Ann Summers have joined Alex in her quest to tackle weight stigma and body acceptance. Alex’s journalism background and online profile have enabled her to raise awareness of body image’s impact on physical and mental health; in March 2022, she gave evidence at the House of Commons to improve NHS services for eating disorders. More recently, Alex co-hosts chart-topping podcast Should I Delete That, inviting experts to explore social media’s polarising daily conversations.

Nicholas Mazzei is an experienced social responsibility and sustainability leader, having worked in senior roles at BT, Rothschild and Co, Zalando and ASOS. Nicholas lives in East London, and focuses on helping make companies more responsible and purposeful actors, ensuring they develop policies and strategies which help them improve the communities and environments they operate in. Nicholas has a passion for physical wellbeing which is deeply connected to mental and emotional wellbeing. He’s worked with young offenders in London, helping them rebuild their lives and develop exciting careers.

Jennifer Savin is Cosmopolitan UK’s multiple award-winning Features Editor, who specialises in writing about issues most important to young women and investigative reports. She also heads up the Body content on the Cosmopolitan UK website, which includes mental health, body image, nutrition, fitness, pregnancy and more. Jennifer is an author, women’s rights campaigner and documentary consultant, most recently working on – and appearing in – BBC Three’s ‘Deepfake Porn: Could You Be Next?’.

Tilly Kaye is an East London based clothes maker for her own fledgling brand Fine Tilth, she has many years lived experience of BDD. Having dreamt of being a ‘fashion designer’ since she was a child, she started out her career in the mainstream fashion sector but was quickly disillusioned with the realities of the industry. After a few years she stepped back to explore an alternative route less at odds with her environmental concerns and worsening BDD. Alongside developing her own brand she works freelance with ethically driven organisations such as Fibreshed, Dirt, Katherine Hamnet, One Essentials and many others. She’s worked closely with All Walks Beyond the Catwalk during its time campaigning for more diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry, having grown up feeling extremely underrepresented in her own dream industry as a bi-racial child. Tilly recalls feelings of disgust and shame about her appearance as far back as her early teens. Diagnosed age 27 she has since worked hard to loosen its grip on her life, including a 16 week course of CBT for BDD, the 20 week Overcoming BDD programme with the BDDF as well as facilitating the most recent cycle of that programme. She has spoken in depth about her experiences on the BBC podcast Room 5 and more recently on the BDDF podcast Beating BDD.

Professor David Veale is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, where he directs a national specialist service for people with BDD & The Nightingale Hospital London in Marylebone. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. He has co-authored a self-help book on Overcoming Body Image Problems including BDD and a treatment manual for BDD for professionals. He was a member of the World Health Organisation’s International Advisory group for writing the new diagnostic criteria for OCD and related disorders such as BDD. He has been researching BDD for nearly 30 years and has published about 40 scientific and teaching articles in BDD. He was motivated to improve the care of people with BDD after the suicide of one of his in-patients with BDD in 1991.

More stories from the community

The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Charity no. 1153753.