Royal Society of Edinburgh Supports the Diversity Network

We are excited to share that The Diversity Network has recently been awarded the Royal Society of Edinburgh Network Funding to undertake a two-year project working towards a series of events. These events will culminate in a pioneering ‘Diversity Network Fashion Forum’ in 2018.

Our aim is to unite expertise from the wealth of Scottish higher education institutions, fashion industries, government, and charity sectors to consider and demonstrate the positive ways fashion can be used to enhance public self esteem. We will hold a series of workshops over the next 12 months to explore how best we can collaborate together for a week of public events for the Fashion Forum 2018.

We kicked off this series of events with our first inaugural Workshop in May of this year. The workshop united key academic members, as well as government and charity figures. We couldn’t have asked for a more engaging and encouraging start to our project! The following attendees’ contribution resulted in a thoroughly inspiring day which centered around thought provoking discussion and brainstorming;

  • Mary Hanlon – Phd Student and founder of Social Alteration; School of Social & Political Sciences, Edinburgh University
  • Nikki Kilburn – Learning & Development Facilitator, Penumbra
  • Emily Newman – Lecturer – Research in disordered eating styles and behaviors, Edinburgh University
  • Emily Ford-Halliday – Fashion Lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art
  • Dr Alison Bancroft – Fashion & Culture Analyst
  • Dennis Robertson – former MSP
  • Frances Johnstone – Parliamentary Assistant
  • Clare Hill – Process Oriented Psychotherapist and Facilitator
  • Ariana Zane – Saheliya

Special thanks to the following members who we are delighted to announce will form the Diversity Network Steering Panel;

  • Debra Bourne- Founder and Director, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk
  • Linda Shearer – Senior Lecturer, Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Karen Cross – Course Leader, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
  • Marlies Kustatscher – Co-Director of the Center for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland, Edinburgh University
  • Dr Sue Thomas – Director of Studies Msc Ethics in Fashion, Heriot Watt University

And not forgetting our Fashion students; Rhys McKenna, Alice Firman, Jan Lucocq, and Alanna Hilton, who’s presentations on their personal practice of ’emotionally considerate design’ were both moving and inspiring.

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Diversity showcased at the National Museum of Scotland

We are delighted to be part of the National Museum of Scotlands’ new Fashion Design gallery. On behalf of the Museum, video production company Yoho Media came to visit our Fashion department last year to speak to students and staff about their work. The result is a poignant short film which demonstrates the importance of diversity as embedded in our programme. The film also includes many industry figures voicing their views on the subject. The new gallery is one of 10 new galleries unveiled in the museum this summer and tells the story of fashion from 18th century court dresses to contemporary catwalk. The film will be part of the exhibit indefinitely; visit and be inspired.

image credit www.nms.ac.uk

image credit www.nms.ac.uk

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Diversity NOW! 2016 Edinburgh College of Art Shortlisters

image credit allwalks.org

image credit allwalks.org

3 Edinburgh College of Art students have been nominated as runners up in this years All Walks Beyond the Catwalk competition, in association with I-D on line. Graduate student Rhys McKenna’s dynamic menswear design won him a nomination for the Garment Design category. Rhys’ collection went onto win second place for the Technology Award at Graduate Fashion Week.

Also in the Garment Design category is 2nd year student Marta Kazmierczak. Marta’s design was inspired by her muse, Cece, and reflects her identity and cultural heritage. Marta states her thoughts behind the importance of diversity; “There is a standard in the fashion industry and in the media. The stereotype of a model is white, blonde and 6 ft tall. Many people are made to feel uncomfortable in who they are, because the society tends to put people into categories. Fashion campaigns, advertisements and magazines often fail to equally represent people of various ethnicities. Everyone should celebrate their uniqueness and all the things that make them different from other people..”

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Alanna Hilton, also a second year student, was shortlisted in the Graphic Design category for her powerful poster which responds to the idea of ‘expiry dates’ that is placed on women within fashion and the media. Here is an extract of an interview Alanna gave to DiversityNOW blog Editor, Ellir;

What was the concept behind your Best Before project?

Women are often seen to have an ‘expiration date’. The above images are a dystopian depiction of this. ‘Use by’, ‘Best before’ and ‘Expired’; phrases taken from perishable goods packaging, are plastered over the women’s lips. This comparison turned the women into a metaphor. Much like packaged goods, consumers are unable to see the contents within and instead get caught up in labels. The women were painted white, to standardise them, likening them to mannequins, a replaceable commodity devoid of any personal identity.

What is important to you about the value of diversity?

It values people for their difference, not in spite of it. ‘Just be yourself’ is a piece of advice we’ve all heard countless times from well meaning relatives and garishly coloured magazine columns. The easiest thing to say, yet one of the hardest to actually do. We all want to fit in, paradoxically we have a need to be recognised as an individual. When people write eulogies they speak fondly of strange habits and quirks, it was difference that made this person irreplaceable.

Your imagery plays on the idea of seen but not heard, what should we be saying?

My imagery reflects the ugly underbelly of consumer culture, ageism and gender inequality onto the faces of my characters. It is vocalising what is so often left unsaid. Alternatively I feel we should be saying your difference is your value. Not your trapping.

alanna poster