As colleges gear up to show their latest collections at Graduate Fashion Week, we at All Walks can reveal that diversity is firmly on the agenda.

Students at Edinburgh College of Art have been working with All Walks on a project that replaces inanimate tailor’s dummies with real and opinionated women, who give the students crucial feedback about their designs.

After all, training on a lifeless dummy and a model who is paid to stay silent (both presenting only one body type, and without movement) is not a rounded training, we say!

The fact is that all women, apart from the odd catwalk model, have ordinary bodies and design students must understand the needs of ordinary women if they are to make a lucrative business; and as these great designs show, creativity is not compromised. Emotionally considerate design is possible, and working on a model with a realistic body shape is a necessity.

Why? Well, as Mal Burkinshaw – course leader at Edinburgh College of Art, who has created this project with us – says, it has made a huge impact on the learning of the students.

Mortwenna Darwel, one of the students, agrees, “I gained a much better understanding of the relationship between real women and fashion.”

Jennifer Alexander adds: “I feel I’ve learned a lot from fittings and communicating with my All Walks muse. From this project onwards, I will take into consideration who I design for and how my garment will make the person feel.”

We’d like to thank all of the tutors at Edinburgh who have worked hard to embrace diversity by introducing a range of bodies and ages into the training, in order to help students understand the true meaning of emotionally considerate design and practice.

Post by Caryn Franklin, All Walks co-founder

Credits: 1. Pam Craig wears blue dress by Shauni Douglas. 2. Eileen Reilly wears green dress by Isabella Lyginou. 3. Sarah Saunders wears red dress by Laura Jayne Nevis, and 4. Collette Nelson wears maroon and pink dress by Louis Anderson Bythell
Editor Charlotte Gush, on Twitter @CavaCharlotte