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..”

cece5

cece2

ceceillustration

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