All Walks is spreading Diversity NOW! This week we are at At Ryerson University, Toronto as we continue our UK Wide and now international lectures to explore the importance of a broader range of body and beauty ideals in fashion!
At the invitation of Dr Ben Barry and Ryerson University, I experienced a first in my 32 years of lecturing…Doing it in a Cinema. That’s one secret ambition sorted then!
It was great to share ideas with Dr Barry, Assistant Professor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Fashion and the creator of the only business research on the importance of diversity in fashion, as well as with Dr. Lu Ann Lafrenz, MA Fashion Program Director and Associate Professor. They have co-lead the creation and implementation of the new diversity-focused curriculum for first year students at the School of Fashion.
The diversity curriculum is dedicated to “empowering our students to be fashion’s change-makers by using fashion to celebrate human diversity,” says Barry. “We have been supporters of All Walks since the beginning and strongly believe that by working with creatives and business, we shift the current thinking and create an inclusive fashion industry. Diversity is a guiding principle of our school; it impacts every area that we teach, including in our fashion illustration where we draw diverse bodies.”
We have been fortunate to work with many enlightened practitioners and as a result we can all share in new ways forward. Ryerson may be the first university to create fashion illustrations treat the body as a complex set of variables not a cartoonish 2D sketch and I’m looking forward to sharing those with you all.
Edinburgh College of Art are also pathfinders in their field with Lauren Smith, winner of the GFW Gold award acknowledging her in depth process work as important, benefiting from the mentorship of our Diversity Network director Mal Burkinshaw.
171 students were surveyed after the All Walks lecture in 2012 here’s what they said….
“I learned a lot and I am inspired to encourage and promote diversity in my future career”
“The lecture was very informative and really got me questioning the lack of diversity. It got me talking about it with peers ann family, raising their awareness.”
“It’s great to put the ideas about the debate in schools so that younger generations can understand it and change fashion in the future.
“If fashion is a form of entertainment, you should be happy when looking through a magazine; not sad or left out. That doesn’t add up.”
Statistics show students overwhelmingly want more balance in their media. The say…
- 71% — Given the choice, I would select a topic that explores diversity in fashion over one that does not for a class assignment.
- 85% — I would like to study more about diversity in fashion in my courses.
- 87% — The lecture encouraged me to question the lack of diversity in the fashion industry.
- 82% — The lecture inspired me to help create a diverse fashion industry.
- 87% — In my career, I will hire models who reflect a variety of sizes, ages and other diversity traits over models who only reflect one type of beauty.
- 85% I would challenge a colleague who only wants to hire models who reflect the Western beauty ideal.
Former fashion editor and co-editor of i-D Magazine for 6 years in the early eighties, Caryn Franklin has been a fashion commentator for 31 years. She presented the BBC’s Clothes Show for 12 years and BBC’s Style Challenge for 3 years as well as producing and presenting numerous documentaries for ITV on designers including Vivienne Westwood, Philip Treacy and Matthew Williamson.
Working in education throughout her career as external assessor and lecturer in colleges like Central St Martins, London College of fashion and Royal College of Art, she is also an ardent fashion activist and has co-chaired the award winning Fashion Targets Breast Cancer for 17 years and proposed the London College of Fashion Centre of Sustainability and is its ambassador.
Follow Caryn on Twitter: @Caryn_franklin