IMMEDIATE RELEASE 24 May 2011

Britain’s first educational centre devoted to the promotion of diverse body shape launches at Graduate Fashion Week.

“We want student fashion designers to be introduced to a realistic range of body shapes during their training process. Diversity can enhance craftmanship not impede it.”

- All Walks, Co Founders Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin O’Connor.

Fresh from the success of SNAPPED at the National Portrait Gallery, All Walks’ Spring/Summer ’11, campaign involving nine major fashion designers from Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon to Stella McCartney, the award winning fashion diversity initiative, delivers on its’ pledge to inspire changes to Britain’s fashion curriculum.

Britain’s first ever, educational institution devoted to furthering the promotion and design requirements of diverse body shape to meet consumer demand, will be launched by All Walks Beyond the Catwalk with Edinburgh College of Art, at their 2nd annual All Walks Futures Forum at Graduate Fashion Week. The Forum takes place on June 7th 2011 and will be attended by Govt Minister for Equalities and Lib Dem Body Confidence Campaign founder Lynne Featherstone.

The All Walks founders believe that there’s a need to promote fashion as an inclusive and inspirational force in women’s lives by creating imagery that mirrors the diverse and individual beauty of women, and design that has been informed by knowledge of a realistic body shape not just a tailors dummy or a sample size model. Currently all fashion colleges train exclusively on dummies size 8/10.

The All Walks Centre of Diversity, headed by Course Leader of Fashion, Edinburgh College of Arts’, Mal Burkinshaw, will research and develop new approaches in fashion education to include more emotionally aware and considerate practice. Students will benefit from training on a specially commissioned set of UK sized 8 to 18, tailors dummies, donated by leading mannequin specialist, Proportion London. Skills might range from learning languaging to aid working on different body shapes, listening and understanding the needs of the consumer, as well as using diverse body shapes to inspire the form and design of garments.

”We support All Walks in agreeing that the fashion industry currently has a very narrow approach to diversity of image. It’s the responsibility of fashion educators to teach our future fashion practitioners from designers to image-makers to become more aware of the emotional impact of their design and messaging through creative and exciting educational methods.”

- says Burkinshaw, who has just implemented a project to introduce students to designing for ordinary bodies.

It makes a big difference working with a real human being, than training on an inanimate object. say Franklin, Bourne and O’Connor. Only when those in the fashion industry understand how powerful fashion imagery actually is, and how ordinary women feel about the limited physical ideals that are currently used as a learning template, will we see progress.

Bournemouth University and Southampton Solent University have also incorporated diversity of body-shape projects into the curriculum post the first Forum last June. More colleges are expected to follow.

“People constantly talk about the economics of emerging markets – Brazil, India and China. Surely it’s time to join the dots between commercial thinking and emotional understanding. We live in a diverse world. The fashion industry can send out a more conscious message, develop a more emotionally considerate practice in pursuit of a more lucrative business proposition. It all begins in education. We are indebted to June Barker, Managing Director of Graduate Fashion Week for recognising this.”

- conclude Co Founders, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk.

PHOTOCALL: 11.15AM JUNE 7TH 2011. VICTORIA ROOM, EARLS COURT 2, LONDON, SW5

Attended by Lynne Featherstone Govt. Minister for Equalites and co Founder Erin O’Connor and models, will take place after the announcement of the All Walks Centre.

All Walks Co Founders Caryn Franklin and Debra Bourne will both receive an Honorary Doctorate this June, in acknowledgment of their work in Industry and Education.

For further information contact: info@AllWalks.org (directly to founders Debra Bourne/Caryn Franklin) or Michael.Williamson@allwalks.org

NOTES TO EDITORS. INDUSTRY QUOTES

Govt. Minister Lynne Featherstone:

“Too many people feel pressurised to focus their energies on how they look. I want to shine a light on initiatives that celebrate a range of body images as diverse as the society we live in”.

“It’s been fantastic to be part of the launch of Centre for Diversity and to see in action the important part All Walks Beyond the Catwalk is playing in helping the fashion industry work with a more realistic range of body shapes.”

Professor Wendy Dagworthy, Head of School of Fashion and Textiles Royal College of Art. (commented on the initial launch of All Walks Forum) “Designers can lead the way in challenging cultural definitions of what is beautiful. Colleges or University can be the first opportunity for a student to process their ideas and challenge the status quo.”

Leading Psychotherapist Susie Orbach. “All Walks is not only a crucial but an exciting project. The Fashion Industry is capable of wondrous artistry and edginess and it is great to see the team bringing their considerable experience of the fashion world to the visual representation of Body Diversity.”

Rankin, Photographer:

“I wholly admire and support the endeavours of the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk campaign. As a photographer, I am constantly confronted by perceived ideals of beauty. The models, actors, musicians, and ‘real’ people who I see down my lens are all influenced by an oppressive world of unattainable physical goals. I always work hard to break through the artifice and capture something unique, original and beautiful in each of my subjects. Interest and creativity is not about perfection but quite the opposite; beauty comes from our idiosyncrasies.”

Deborah Milner, Designer (and Panel Member for All Walks selection Panel):

“Having spent many years making clothes for private clients, there is no better way for a designer to hone their cutting skills while gaining a greater appreciation of the human body in all its many variations. Contrary to the common perception that the limitations placed on a designer by working with different bodyshapes/age groups are a handicap to creativity, it can actually be quite liberating seeing your designs work in a different way through skilled use of proportion, texture and colour.”

Tanya Reynolds, Creative Director, proportion>london:

“We are delighted to get involved in this worthy initiative, which gives students the opportunity to work on a fully selection of bust forms sizes. It is important to us to that we contribute towards building a strong future fashion industry that is relevant to todays consumer needs. Well done All Walks for prompting such an action!”

All Walks acknowledges the power that the fashion industry has to communicate to women about their bodies and offers realistic and diverse fashion imagery.

All Walks expands on the imagery coming out of the heart of London Fashion Week to offer a more realistic range of women in high-end designer samples.

All Walks works in education to plant ideas at seed level with the next generation of designers.

All Walks is an unwaged campaign staffed by industry insiders

IMAGES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST.

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