London Fashion Week: Sept 2009 for Spring/Summer 2010. Kayt Jones for i-D Magazine

CUTTING-EDGE DESIGN NEED NOT OBSERVE ANY RESTRICTIONS OR BOUNDARIES

London has always been a hotbed for ideas and innovation so it is entirely appropriate that a new initiative involving fashion design and body image starts here. We are All Walks Beyond the Catwalk and we’re calling our first campaign ‘Size Me Up!’

The traditional ready-to-wear method of design, with the model added at the end of the process, makes it hard to accommodate individuality in shape and size. This project operated a bespoke approach by giving each designer the opportunity to collaborate with the woman who would model the garment at London Fashion Week. Empathy for the wearer and the creation of a design informed by the needs of the end user can help us to expand upon the expectations for ready-to-wear imagery.

Eight new designers including William Tempest, Hannah Marshall, David Koma, Alexandra Groover, Avsh Alom Gur, Cooperative Designs, Mark Fast and Georgia Hardinge, were selected by a panel of industry experts based on their next generation credentials and a genuine willingness to engage with ideas of diversity in the creation of a look representative of their Spring/Summer 2010 collections.

We set ourselves the task of casting a broader range of body and beauty ideals than we currently see in our fashion media because we believe that fashion can and does influence self-esteem and perceptions of femininity. Our models ranged from ages 18 to 68 and were sizes 8-16. We used professionals in order to create high-production values throughout and to suggest that this could be a working process that others could investigate where appropriate.

Shot by award winning photographer Kayt Jones, and featured in the Pre-fall 09 issue of i-D magazine, these images also provided the context for the prestigious All Walks Beyond the Catwalk launch party at Somerset House, sponsored by M&S, on the opening night of London Fashion Week. This event even attracted the Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown.

Huge thanks to Kayt Jones below who like everyone involved donated her time for free…but not only that – she flew herself from L.A where she is based with her film maker husband Jay Rodan to make this contribution to All Walks and positive body image. She talks about her involvement with us and her reason for creating these images in the film below.

“Three of my favourite subjects have been very diverse fashion icons: Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johansson, and Beyonce. None would fit into a sample size or the catwalk model mould and, most importantly, none would care to! I really see this project as a chance not just for a series of portraits on a more diverse group of models, but as a fashion story that is a celebration of diversity. One in which the industry can look at itself and say, “yes we can” promote a body type that is healthy and beautiful.”

 

See ‘Size Me Up,’ film shot by Jay Rodan here


 

 

London Fashion Week Launch

With Kayt’s images featured in i-D Magazine we then went on to make a group image with the help of Nick Knight and Erin our co-founder (who was actually behind the camera for this one!) at his SHOWstudio pop up space at London Fashion Week.

This photograph above captures most of our models as a group (poor Cecelia Chancellor was stuck at and airport so we are grateful for help in representing the 40 plus woman by Erin’s modelling friend Kate who holds letter M). Anyhow! The message is clear we think…a range of bodies in different ages, shape and skin tone serves fashion just as well. We have never been against standard models, we think that if healthy, they are beautiful too. We just believe that a range of body types offering a spectrum of beauty is more inclusive and less prescriptive. We know how influential our industry is and believe this endeavour is worth debate.

To make an impact on the night at our London Fashion Week event, we created wood panels that were seven feet-high to display our images so that we could iconise EVERY WOMAN: the curvy with the slender; the old with the young; the light with the dark. We suggest the clothes are just as effectively shown on bodies that are more individual, more diverse. We believe that to offer a spectrum of beauty ideals serves not just the women who engage with fashion as consumers, but indeed it serves the industry too.

 

 

When we started we could not have known how the brand of All Walks would grow and take shape. In fact we had no idea we would be working in education, parliament and even within consumer facing events. But as the rest of our campaigns show…a good idea goes a long way!

See ‘Launch Party,’ film here

See fashion industry support here

See designer and model support here