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Centre for Diversity raises shape issues

Fashion diversity initiative All Walks Beyond the Catwalk has launched a Centre for Diversity aimed at encouraging designers to produce clothing for a broader range of body shapes.

The centre, based at Edinburgh College of Art, hopes to highlight to the industry that it should broaden its message and focus on a wider variety of ethnicities, ages and sizes.

The centre will be headed up by course leader of fashion at Edinburgh College of Art Mal Burkinshaw, who will research and develop new approaches in education to encourage students to work with a range of different body shapes.

Students will be trained on tailors dummies in sizes eight to 18 and will be taught skills including using diverse body shapes to inspire garment design.

Writer and broadcaster Caryn Franklin co-founded All Walks Beyond the Catwalk in 2009 to challenge the fashion industry’s predisposition to use one type of model. The initiative has led to three universities - Edinburgh College of Art, The Arts College University Bournemouth and Southampton Solent - changing their courses to incorporate a wider perspective on body shapes and size.

Another 12 colleges have agreed to view a presentation from the centre. Franklin said: “We want students to be introduced to a realistic range of body shapes during their training.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Angela Marshall

    Great news, so many of my clients find it hard to get what really suits them and the older you are the worse it sems to be. Too many of the large stores forget there are classic body shapes out there of all ages.

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  • It's important also for students to understand that women's bodies are diverse and not conveniently shaped like models or dummies. When the human connection is part of the design process, we will have more accomplished graduates who can then create a business.

    Caryn Franklin

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