Mark Fast with Jessica Bumpus of Vogue.co.uk (Image by Sam Atkinson)

As one of our earliest designer-collaborators, we were thrilled to present Mark Fast with the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk Fashion Visionary award at the inaugural Body Confidence Awards at Parliament last April.  The Canadian-born, Central Saint Martins trained knitwear designer has shown the high-fashion industry the path towards a diverse fashion future by regularly casting models in a range of dress sizes for his catwalk shows at London Fashion Week. So we were very excited to learn that Mark would be interviewed at trendy fashion business club The Industry and went along to get the latest…

 

Hayley Morley on the runway at Mark Fast SS10

Having worked with curvy model Hayley Morley as part of our Size Me Up campaign, Fast then booked her to open his Spring Summer 2010 show. At the Industry event the designer explained that many fittings were required for the show, as the dresses were personalised precisely to the models’ body shapes. He described the experience as “emotional on an individual level” to connect with the women and to have models ‘with character’ on his catwalk.

Mark has dressed some of the most talented, beautiful and diverse women in show business, including Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, Rita Ora and Julia Restoin Roitfeld. When asked for his highlight, he told the audience of industry insiders how thrilled he was to see the ‘amazing’ Tilda Swinton wearing one of his dresses on the cover of Another magazine.  His non-celebrity customers are just as diverse he explained, from hip hip heads in LA to glamorous oligarchs in Russia.

Asked whether he will continue to use plus size models on his runway, the designer said that yes, he would, of course, but that the key was casting and, after his headline-grabbing 2010 show, he wasn’t able to book his favourite girls, as they were all off ‘shooting in Milan’!

Mark has been instrumental in magnifying demand in the wider industry for a more diverse range of models and, although we are thrilled that they are being booked across the international catwalks, we can’t wait to see them back on the runway in London!

***
Words by Charlotte Gush
***

Charlotte Gush is a fashion writer and editor, working at London College of Fashion as Web Coordinator and as the Online Editor for All Walks.

She initially joined All Walks on a 6 month internship as a social media, marketing and production intern.

Charlotte has a website CAVACOMA.com and can be found on Twitter @CavaCharlotte