Paddy Smyth, (who recently featured in GCN magazine)is the host of the new RTÉ fashion show The Fitting Room which premieres tonight 9.30pm on RTÉ2.The disability activist, who also memorably appeared on First Dates Ireland, hailed the decision, stating: “They’re letting me, a gay disabled person, present a show about fashion. That would have been unheard of before!”
In the show, professional Irish fashion designers are paired with members of the public to solve genuine clothing conundrums. While fashion is a fun way to express your inner self, personality and determine how the outside world sees you, the show asks: what if you have an unusual body shape, are gender non-conforming or live with a disability?
In an interview with GCN, Paddy explains: “The Fitting Room is all about inclusivity of everyone and shining a light on people who have amazing and compelling stories who society or the fashion world may have forgotten about. It’s about #Fashionforall.
Paddy has personal experience with accessing appropriate and fashionable clothing as a disabled person in Ireland.
“For me, changing rooms have always been difficult for me and it used to put me off trying things on in the store. In terms of fashion trends… I think the fashion world only have one type of person on their mind whilst designing clothes and that’s the ‘Instagram picture perfect image’ that we’ve all become accustomed to. Aren’t we sick of seeing the same type of people on our screens?”
Speaking about how he thinks ‘The Fitting Room’ will be received by a modern Irish audience, Smith says:
“There’s never been a show like this on Irish TV before. I’m so proud and happy to be a part of it. I think it’s fresh, it’s fun and will change people’s perception of how they view certain demographic groups. It’s all new. I think it’s going to really surprise people…”
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The Fitting Room season 1. Rte2 9.30pm. 15th of April. Every Monday for 6 weeks starting on the 15th of April….Put in your planner. Be watching!!! ?? Can't believe I can finally talk about it…. Im so excited for you all to see it and hope you love it as much as I do! I'm so proud to be presenting (pinch myself moment) and to be part of a series like this…. Its fresh, its fun, its inclusive of everyone and its tells you the viewer some compelling and interesting stories about people who wouldn't normally be included in today's fashion world.. Its about all walks life being included and allowing them to have thier moment… Thanks to @rte2 and production for taking a chance on us… This is seriously a dream come through for me.. and to the participants and my Co Stars…@ciaraodoherty @zoecarol @ruedimaguire Its been great to meet you and so fun and this is just the beginning..Let's hope its a hit!!!! ???❤️#FashionForAll
Paddy hopes the show will inspire Ireland’s differently abled community:
“For me, I hope it shows that no matter your disability… you can achieve what you want to achieve. I always dreamed of being a presenter but didn’t think it was possible because society told me so. I hope it shows that the Disabled community are heard and we are listened to and in this show, we are included in a positive way.”
The presenter had some feedback for the commercial fashion industry, saying that they currently lack “versatility and visibility of different types of people within the industry.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s slightly got better. But we have a long way to go… More inclusion, more versatility and to think of everyone whilst designing clothes. I’m bored to death of seeing the same people and models do campaign. I want real people.”
The Fitting Room is a 6-part series that will air every Monday at 9:30 pm from 15th April on RTÉ2.
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