What does Diversity mean to you? All Walks beyond the Catwalk in association with i-D launch a nationwide student competition to get the next generation fashion industry thinking for themselves about beauty and body image. The brief is open, the lines are open, all you have to do is open your mind and express an opinion. You students are meant to be the creative ones…
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All Walks founders Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin O’Connor are making way for change. They’ve been making way for change since 2009, working with i-D, Nick Knight, Rankin, Vivienne Westwood, Mark Fast, the National Portrait Gallery, Graduate Fashion Week and a line of equally impressive others, to open up the definition of beauty that currently dominates the fashion industry. To make the not necessarily size 6, 5’10″ person feel accepted and represented and to change how fashion is taught in Universities. ‘Diversity NOW’ is All Walks’ new platform for this creative conversation; a competition for students across the fashion disciplines, asking them to submit their vision of fashion’s future and really think about how we can make positive change to an industry that is totally inspiring and fun and important, but can be narrow-minded when it comes to the people we use to promote those things.
Categories for submission are: Womenswear, Menswear, Fashion Film, Zines, Photography, Journalism and Illustration. Use your strengths to your advantage. The deadline is 15th February 2013, via ArtsThread so there’s time to think, and for category by category information just download the brief. The winning student will have their work published on i-D online, All Walks Online and Arts Thread, with selected work potentially featured in a future All Walks Campaign. There’s also a cash prize of £500 up for grabs and the offer for design students to work with Own Label and see their designs made. Own Label will also donate a % of sales to the Centre of Diversity and award £250 per design student. The winning entries will be shown at Graduate Fashion Week 2013.
Caryn, Debra and Erin put it like this: “The Olympics and Paralympics inspired a generation by showing a range of bodies and abilities to set new standards. We expect our National Competition: Diversity NOW! to show how fashion can be just as inspiring, by celebrating the range of beauty and physicality there is. As an organisation, we have always believed Body and Beauty Diversity can enhance Creativity not impede it. Like the multitude of silhouettes our industry creates, beauty is also individual. It’s not restricted by age, shape, skin tone or size.”
Alexander McQueen called Paralympian and double amputee Aimee Mullins his muse, and one of Nick Knight’s most famous shoots was using models with “disabilities”, saying “…my aim was to push back the boundaries of what is and isn’t beautiful”. After all, style is about being different isn’t it? Standing out not blending in. That’s the irony, the people who run the fashion business all look different and have different interests and hair and some have really weird dress sense but that’s why everyone adores them, because they’re characters, individuals, and that’s why they’ve made it. But for some reason, the people they choose to represent them in fashion imagery are often of the size 6, 5’10″ breed and not representative of any of the above. i-D Founder and Editor in Chief Terry Jones comments: “All Walks is relevant today because it brings back the importance of personal i-Dentity.” That’s what i-D is about, that’s what All Walks is about, now tell us what you’re about.
With thanks to succeedfoundation.org, one of the leading charities in the fight against the increase of eating disorders.
Text: Sarah Raphael
Images (1-6): Kayt Jones for The P.Y.T Issue, Pre-Fall 2009, for the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk British Designers at London Fashion Week Collaboration.
Images (7-8): Left, Emma-Lily Mosley BA Hons Southampton Solent. Right, Maggie Ibiam BA Hons University of the Arts Epsom. Photography NK ABani.
Images (9-12): Rankin for the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk British Designers at London Fashion Week Collaboration.