Ariane Bingham is a sparkly pink-haired unicorn of a human being, and a woman who is fully aligned with her purpose. She is a passionate vegetarian, not-for-profit board member, facilitator, and the designer & creatress of two independent clothing labels, Ariane Bingham Sparkles and The Lioness and Her Unicorns.
She feels most at home when swiftly working through her very long to-do list, because she is so 'on purpose' in her work. Recently her brand was featured in a Meghan Markle-inspired Yahoo Lifestyle article showcasing brands with clothing made from recycled plastic. Some of her other recent big wins include; designing and making clothing for an entire wedding party last month AND creating an exceptional Brownlow dress for Natalie Sady.
She is loudly and proudly body positive, and a champion of so many others, and through her work she actively supports women of all body types, shapes and sizes. She deeply desires those who wear her clothing to have an extra infusion of permission to do anything and be anything with confidence.
Ariane is an inspiration to me and so many others, she really walks her talk, and shares so honestly and authentically about her body love and body connection journey.
How have societal body standards impacted you?
I used to buy ALL the magazines, and flick through them - partially for the fashion, but also to see what was ‘hot or not’.
I don't feel like I used to pay too much attention to the models, but I must have. These things leak into our brains and condition our ways of feeling.
I remember going into Top Shop and Miss Selfridge back in the UK with my friends at the weekend and never finding clothing that fit. I used to get so excited when something did, that I didn't really pay attention to if I liked it or if it suited me... I'd won the shop jackpot by finding something in the snowstorm of garments that I could actually get onto my body and that became the days ‘must buy’. Though having said that I definitely used to come home with more shoes and handbags than I needed due to not really finding things I wanted to spend my money on clothing wise.
It took me a long time to discover my own personal style and brands that worked for me.
I'm really glad that Facebook launched after I'd finished university - I've a lot of respect for people going through school with Facebook nowadays. It would be like carrying your own copy of Cosmopolitan magazine around with you constantly - I can only imagine how that would have been for me at 14!
How has your relationship with your body evolved over your life so far?
I've always been the curvier of my friends, growing my bust young. I went from being flat chested to a 12DD overnight, or so my memory makes me remember. I enjoyed that, always loving my bust. But my bum on the other hand, that's taken more time and I’d say its only really this year that her and I have become friends.
I remember going to Miami for my 18th birthday, a place i'd craved to go for so long.
When I got there my experience was ruined because I could see were the 'body beautiful', and I felt worthless, constantly comparing myself to the others at the beach.
I've had such an interesting adventure with my body. I'm exceptionally lucky that I haven't had any major illnesses or injuries - so the changes and fluctuations in my body are generally to do with living a sedentary or active life, and diet.
The ONE thing that changed the way I related to my body was…
It happened in 2016 after I’d been made redundant for the second time and I needed to do something for myself.
In hindsight I was fairly lost and confused, and booked myself to do 3 photoshoots in the space of a week (something I'd NEVER considered doing before). They were all in different types of locations - my home, a studio and a hired airbnb.
These three shoots together changed my entire perspective of how I viewed myself and how I felt others viewed me, and I found my tribe.
My business supports women of all bodies by…
I was recently asked what size my clothing is available up to - my response was 'human'.
Too many brands offer restrictive sizing. Either clothing is being classed as for fuller figures and starting at size 12/14 or being 'regular' and finishing at a 14/16.
My stock garments are available in the sizes that are requested the most often, however the beauty of manufacturing in Melbourne (as opposed to overseas) means that I'm able to react to my clients requests and cater for their needs.
I'm currently working on Swimwear for maternity - both during pregnancy and postpartum, and this week I had the honour of being asked to create one of my swimsuits for a transgender lady, along with a size 22 lady.
Our body size should not inhibit our ability to feel good in the clothing we wear.
The ways I connect to my body are...
I quite often forget I have a body.
I mean, I dash from place to place, project to project and it gets to the point where I'll stop and look and need a reset.
When I do I love to have a bath with a bubble bath bomb and candles, get my nails painted, refresh my pink hair or thread my eyebrows.
Deeper than that though is my love of my tattoos. Each one has a different meaning to me and represents a different time in my life.
I love taking a moment on a hectic day to give them a little stroke and think of the friend I was with when I got it, or the symbolism they represent to me. Another way I connect to my body is to continue the adventure of seeing it through a camera lens - be it through another photoshoot or selfie mode with a timer set. I've gone from someone who would never do photoshoots to looking forward to them and always having the next one planned.
What are your words of wisdom for people who feel like they can’t ever love their bodies?
Aspiring to love our bodies can feel like such a massive mountain to climb, so it’s helpful to break it down into the bits you are comfortable with and show them off.
From there you can spend a little attention on the areas you aren't so comfortable with.
I'm a pretty out there person, so even if I was ever not happy with something it wouldn't stop me from going out or experiencing new things.
Learning to say yes to things that scared me was liberating. So long as I knew I was going to be safe I was happy to give something new a go.
What unexpected gifts have you received from loving your body and yourself?
I feel from learning to love my own body I've been able to work with others in a more genuine manner.
It’s an ongoing adventure to learn to love our bodies, we all have good days and bad. I feel incredibly honoured by some of the vulnerability and openness my clients share with me. I know some don't let their partners see them naked favouring turning out the lights and others won't be touched.
I'm incredibly lucky to be trusted and allowed to work so closely and I feel that I can do that with authenticity due to the journey I've been on myself.
What is your definition of a Body Love Babe?
To me a body love babe is the girl that walks into the room and everyone smiles when they see her. She is comfortable in her own skin and not afraid to stand out from the crowd. She's living her true life for herself and has given up worrying about what other people think. To her, life is not a competition, it's about everyone rising together
Ariane Bingham can be found on her personal Instagram @thelionesssparkles
For more on Ariane Bingham Sparkles (festival, performer and stand out from the crowd outfits)
and, for more onThe Lioness and Her Unicorns (eco swimwear, lace lingerie and evening gowns)