All Walks Beyond the Catwalk is an initiative founded by Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin O’Connor working with influential catwalk designers, top industry creatives and fashion students and their colleges to challenge the fashion industry’s dependence on unachievable and limited body and beauty ideals by respecting diversity.

By highlighting the responsibility our industry has to recognise the psychological impact of its messaging upon the minds of young women and men, together with the unprecedented amount of imagery we receive via digital platforms, we believe we can encourage a shift towards a more enlightened position. 

We call for racial, age, size and body diversity in our imagery; Design training that accommodates all bodies and gender enlightened thinking that empowers young women and young men.

We believe that diversity in front of the lens and behind it – mindset and physical representation – is crucial for emotionally considerate practice. Fundamentally: Fashion can be a powerful carrier of messages towards shaping personal identity and self esteem. Respecting customer difference and individual need is evermore important in this global economy.

We are active through three main channels…

Consumer and Trade Facing Press Campaigns

We create press campaigns to highlight the impact of imagery and its far reaching effects. We have featured in national and international news and current affairs as well as lifestyle print journalism and TV.

See Campaigns here.

Advocacy

We contribute to a variety of parliamentarian campaigns and initiatives on how diversity and the beauty of individuality can make an impact in the wider culture and influence self-esteem and well-being. We are members of the government expert advisory committee on body confidence, chaired by former Govt. Minister for Equalities Lynne Featherstone  and now Jo Swinson, current Govt. Minister for Equalities.

We also work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on body image All Walks chaired by MP Caroline Nokes and co-created and co-produced the first Body Confidence Awards from Parliament  in April 2012. We are now lead ambassadors in the continued evolution of the Body Confidence Awards  at Parliament.  We have also advised int he creation of the new National Be Real Body Confidence Campaign with three strategic pillars in health education and diversity in media.

See Advocacy here.

Education

We created the Diversity Network which operates from the heart of Edinburgh College of Art and is lead by Director Mal Burkinshaw whose enlightened teaching practice has been leading the way in education.We lecture across the UK, empowering undergraduates to change practice within their chosen field by practicing the following strategies.

  • To help students understand the power they have within the fashion and image-making industries to communicate to women and men about their bodies in a positive way, shifting from an objectified relationship with the use of bust stands and models to a more empathic position built on a multi cultural society.
  • To see diversity as a starting point for creativity, not an obstacle to impede it.
  • To promote the business value and creative possibilities in the promotion of individuality and diversity.
  • To encourage emotionally considerate design and practice, image making and writing for bodies in recognition of the need for a wider variety of sizes, ages, skin tones and physical difference.
  • To introduce students to new academic research in the field of body-image, and the relationship between well-being and commerce and encouraging better understanding about the end user: the customer.

So far we have engaged with 33 different colleges and universities. 6 colleges have changed their curriculum to include Diversity as a module using our lecture and teaching aids. Edinburgh College of Art, The Arts University College Bournemouth, Nottingham and Trent University, Ravensbourne, Portsmouth University and Ryerson Institute in Toronto

All Walks Beyond the Catwalk is a voluntary organisation that recognises the power the fashion industry has to communicate positive messages to women and men about their bodies and acts. Small steps, big ideas. We are delighted to see that our position is influencing brands as diverse as Lanvin and M&S

Founders Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin O’Connor on set with Rankin at London fashion Week for the campaign SNAPPED. Photography by Alistair Guy.

You can see all our activities listed on Timeline.