Release 16.09.11

New research, to be released later this month by Judge Business School, Cambridge University, reinforces the assertion from the award winning fashion initiative All Walks, Beyond the Catwalk, that when fashion imagery features a range of women in size and age, it’s good for business.

“It’s official! Diversity can positively contribute to business,“ say All Walks, co founders Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin O’Connor who launched their campaign All Walks Beyond the Catwalk in 2009, to introduce high-end designers and image makers to models of all shapes, ages and skin tones, to promote achievable and realistic beauty ideals from the heart of the fashion industry.

All Walks founders assert:

“We know that since women of all ages are influenced by what they see on the catwalk and in fashion magazines, our industry could be vital in the promotion of healthy ideals and consumer well being. This news gives creatives and retailers concrete evidence to act.”

“In my research, featuring 3,000 women in Canada, US and UK equally segmented between 14-65 years of age, over 90% of women between 40-65 years old increased purchase intentions for fashion products when the advertisement featured models reflecting their age and size,” confirms Ben Barry, PhD student, Judge Business School, Cambridge University. “Women over 40 years old possess more overall spending power than any other age group, and they spend more on women’s apparel than younger market segments. Moreover, research demonstrates that aging does not reduce fashion interest among individuals.”

This is something All Walks alerted educational bodies to last year, and brought about change within the University curriculum. “Training on a range of body shapes could foster successful business practice for UK graduates who travel all over the world,” say Franklin and Bourne.

“Newly appointed Director of the All Walks Centre of Diversity, Mal Burkinshaw, of Edinburgh College of Art, agrees. ‘We must prepare students to take an informed and progressive approach into industry. Bodies change shape as they age and students, whilst carrying out their training on tailors dummies and transferring the finished product to a professional catwalk model, must also explore and understand the realities of designing for ordinary women.”

Picture credit: Photography by Jacqueline Boulton. Model: Valerie Pain, aged 67 at Close Models.

Caption: Graduate Johanna Wulf from the Arts College, University of Bournemouth, was inspired to create her final year collection for older women after All Walks gave a seminar at her college.

Press interviews and contacts: info@allwalks.org office 0207 289 6230

Debra Bourne 07973 358070 / Debra.Bourne@allwalks.org

Notes to editors:

The All Walks Centre of Diversity was launched in June 2011 by Govt Minister Lynne Featherstone at Graduate Fashion Week.

* This London Fashion Week – Designers and All Walks supporters Debbie Huntley and Alexandra Groover have both chosen to work with larger models to pursue a more diverse message to consumers.

Mark Fast was one of the early All Walks supporters to put curvy All Walks model Hayley Morley on his catwalk back in Sept 2009

Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and House of Fraser with Mary Portas have created niche activity for the 40 plus market this year.

Director of All Walks Centre of Diversity Mal Burkinshaw says…

“We are entering an era where emotion and experience are increasingly important in both personal and professional development… people are looking for diversity, meaning and integrity in what they do and what they buy. We will look at how psychological issues related to identity and well-being, can be fused into fashion to comfort the consumer. The idea of Emotional Engagement could revolutionize both the way we teach our design students and how businesses market their products globally.”

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