UK Government Minister Lynne Featherstone, and All Walks Beyond the Catwalk launched the Edinburgh College of Art and All Walks Beyond the Catwalk Diversity Network in June 2011 at Graduate Fashion Week.
The Edinburgh College of Art Fashion Programme was invited to partner All Walks Beyond the Catwalk to develop the network as an international educational hub for developing cutting edge academic projects relating to diversity.
The Network strives to work together with the fashion industry and education sectors to educate students, recognised as our future fashion designers and influencers, in the importance of developing a more responsible, diverse and emotionally considerate response to fashion design and fashion design communication.
The project leads an educational movement that recognises and challenges how the fashion design industry continues to play a significant role in shaping negative perceptions of body and beauty through fashion communication.
As a result of such experimental and innovative pedagogy, all design projects at Edinburgh College of Art now require the students to consider how their design work will address and celebrate the needs of a very wide customer base in terms of size, age, race and height. This 3-dimensional understanding and celebration of the human form beyond a standard catwalk model size and height, has allowed students to target and reach a much wider sales demographic for their designs.
The Diversity Network has received the University of Edinburgh Knowledge Exchange Funding to develop key industry partnerships.