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Not many students studying fashion would describe themselves as a tomboy, but Chippenham teenager Jasmin Barber is keen to challenge stereotypes.
 
Jasmin, 19, has just finished studying fashion at Bath College and chose to create a series of shoes examining gender perceptions for her final major project.
 
As a female football player, who came as a bisexual this year, the project was a deeply personal one for Jasmin.
 
Her shoes, which went on display at the college’s end of year show, were modelled on shoes worn by both men and women – brogues, football boots, Doc Martins and Converse.
 
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The laces, made with the help of an electronic embroidery machine, featured words from songs referencing sexuality, sexism and homophobia.
 
Jasmin, who plays for FC Chippenham Ladies, said: “I’ve been playing football ever since I was small in a boys’ team, but when I couldn’t play with the boys I joined the ladies.
 
“I met some football friends last year who helped me discover who I am and now I feel so content in myself. This year I went to Bristol Pride for the first time.
 
“The project is about identity. You look at peoples’ shoes and you make an assessment about them.
 
“I made the shoes using masking tape – which is a neutral colour. There’s still that stereotype that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, but I was very much a tomboy growing up.
 
“When I was younger I wanted to play professionally, but it’s hard work (physically and financially). It’s sad that top quality female footballers have to have more than one job to survive financially.
 
“What they earn in comparison to men is insignificant. In that respect we still have a way to go to make progress.”
 
In September, Jasmin starts at Brighton University studying for a degree in fashion and communication.
 
Her project was filmed for Bath College’s annual fashion show, giving her the chance to explain her thoughts to people in the audience.
 
She said: “My friend was in audience when the film was playing. I didn’t know what the reaction would be, but she looked round and saw people nodding their heads, so they understood it.
 
“I want to learn about the business side of fashion. I’m interested in communicating ideas and concepts, which I think I explored in this project.
 
“I’ve found what I want to do, going from school to college and onto further education. I really like all my tutors. They helped encourage my work and my ideas.”
 

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