Here's some refreshing beauty news that totally proves "flawmore" is the "flawless." In the age of airbrushing and Photoshopping, Topshop has a new line of flash tattoos of freckles and scars that celebrates individuality and so-called "imperfections." The line was created by Central Saint Martins student Lucie Davis, who came up with the designs for the brand's Freedom at Topshop contest. The theme of the contest was, fittingly, "Women and Power."
"Living in the age of Photoshop and airbrushing tools, skin is always under pressure to be ‘perfect,’" according to the brand's press release. "Lucie’s designs aim to leave a lasting impression by ultimately encouraging a greater appreciation and ownership of ourselves; highlighting imperfections and celebrating adversity."
Design-wise, the tattoos are actually modeled after IRL freckles "It all started with me tracing over my own freckles and then forming layers upon layers to create a freckle-faceted pattern," Davis tells Bustle. "I also found myself looking at celebrities too – those signature looks we know oh-so well: Morgan Freeman’s freckles, Cindy Crawford’s infamous mole, even Harry Potter’s scar – all these marks which are so positively distinguishable to them and make them part of who they are."
Despite the feel-good vibes of the collection, some have criticized the tattoos, including Taylor Bryant from Refinery 29. "It seems that women who have said features wouldn't wear the tattoos, because they'd just be covering them up — and isn't that the opposite of flaunting your 'imperfections?'" she writes.
But Davis doesn't see the tatts as a cover-up: "I have soooo many freckles and I'm so excited for my tattoos to join my freckle party!"
Plus, the tattoos are gold, so they will catch light and radiate sparkle, thus highlighting those details and sparking up a conversation, even if the jewelry effectively covers the original mark on the wearer's skin. (I do, however, agree with Bryant's assertion that "the 'women and power' message would be stronger if the models actually had freckles and scars — instead of wearing products that re-create them.")
So how does Davis respond to criticism? Perfectly, if you ask me. She's using it to reinforce her message or acceptance and tolerance.
"Reading the criticism, and with this being a project very close to my heart, I reminded myself again of the original and simple message behind the collection (which the criticism actually only reinforced for me). It's remembering that you can either shrink from negativity, or seize it as an opportunity, turn a certain trial that you might face into one of triumph. So let’s keep positive about something that is different – I am!"
In fact, positivity has always been Davis' M.O. The second-year student at the prestigious London-based design school celebrated her victory on Instagram, where she released a statement reflecting on her win, and how she hopes it will change the way people view beauty.
Now that it's really happening I can't help but reflect and think of how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to reach out to a wider audience in new and surprising ways... I really hope the collection will encourage people to see differently... To question the notion of jewellery and that of beauty. Diversity is a great thing and I can't wait to see how you will all decide to wear/style it - I hope you have as much fun with it as I have! Enjoy everyone!
She finished the post with a few hashtags, including some pretty solid advice: #embraceyourtraits. In a photo from Topshop, Davis' own freckles are on full display, showing that this is a cause close to her heart.
"You can see in this photo of me standing next to the models that my face is completely seasoned in freckles," Davis tells Bustle. "I was always teased about them from a very young age- just like my mother!" Davis thinks that overly-photoshopped images in the media could be to blame. "People will pick on anything – especially in today’s society, living in the age of Photoshop and airbrushing tools," she says. "And also having attended an all girls school."
Being teased does have an upside though - Davis is now totally comfortable in her skin, and is sharing that message of confidence. "We are now able to celebrate these differences although it does take time to appreciate and accept them as being part of who we actually are."
Although the tatts are modeled by women on Topshop's website, Davis pointed out on another post on Instagram that boys can wear them too.
In the vein of diversity, as mentioned above, it would have been in keeping with the theme of the collection if Topshop had selected models with (visible) freckles or scars themselves, or showcased how beautiful the gold color would look on different skin tones.
The tattoos are sold in packets for $15 each. I can't wait to see how these look in the real world; I'm anticipating a ton of great IRL snaps on social media, and I think these will become fixtures in street style and festival-style for a long time.