Winning Poster Design

The Diversity Network Fashion Forum 2018 Poster Design

Congratulations to Heriot Watt University, year 2 Graphic Design student Sophie Irving, who won our student competition for the Diversity Network Fashion Forum 2018 final poster artwork. We are absolutely delighted with the design! The poster will now be distributed to promote our upcoming roster of events. We are excited to announce the following participants in the series of talks which will be held as part of the weeks’ activities;

Caryn Franklin; Fashion Expert and Professor of Diversity

Teatum Jones; pioneering London Design Duo and advocators of diversity within fashion

Haute Baso; Rwandan ethical fashion collective

The British Council

Lina Plioplyte; Director of ‘Advanced Style’ fashion docufilm

Campbell Addy; Fashion Photographer

Ib Kamara; Fashion Stylist

Debra Bourne; Founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk

Daphne Selfe; ‘the world’s oldest supermodel’

Kelly Knox; Fashion model and passionate advocate for diversity and disability in fashion

Emmanuel de Lange; Head of Models Network at Equity

The British Fashion Colleges Council

Diversity Network Fashion Forum 2018 at the National Museum of Scotland.

It’s been an exciting few months for The Diversity Network. We recently announced our successful funding bid with The Royal Society of Edinburgh towards an ongoing project which will culminate in a week long Fashion Forum in 2018. Following our preliminary workshop, we subsequently held another 2 workshops to discuss our initiatives and ideas on how the Forum will take form. These workshops brought together an esteemed and varied panel of industry, charity and education representatives. Each workshop has placed student voices’ at its core. Students have presented poignant demonstrations of how they have developed their design work in response to diversity and inclusion, underlining the importance of our initiatives.

Thanks to these workshops, we have gathered much valuable feedback for which we are extremely grateful. The Forum will be made up of a series of pioneering creative workshops, panel discussions, and exhibits. These will showcase cross-collaboration between students, industry, and both specific and non-specific public audiences. The Forum will explore new methods of communication for Fashion and Diversity, with a focus on positive impact.

We are delighted to announce that The National Museum of Scotland will be hosting the Forum within the Museum. With such an amazing setting, we are off to a good start!

We would like to thank the following attendees for their input during these workshops:

  • Alyson Walsh, Fashion Journalist and Author.
  • Rebekah Roy, Stylist & Creative Director, Disorder Magazine.
  • Emmanuel De Lange, Industrial Organiser, Equity.
  • Lynne McCrossan, Fashion Writer and Designer.
  • Eunice Olumide, Fashion Model and Presenter.
  • Ion Crawford, Fashion/Interior Designer.
  • Robert Newman, emerging Fashion Designer.
  • Kevin Stewart, Press and Marketing Manager, Harvey Nichols Edinburgh.
  • Emily Ford-Halliday, Fashion Lecturer, Edinburgh College of Art.
  • Joan Smith, Painter and Print-maker, Edinburgh College of Art School of Art.
  • Dr Felicity Mehendale, Consultant Cleft and Plastic Surgeon & Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh.
  • Nikki Kilburn, Learning & Development Facilitator, Penumbra Charity.
  • Mo Colvin, Youth Engagement Officer, RNIB Scotland.
  • Paul Cummings, Childline Supervisor, Childline Scotland. Rob Murray, Scotland Manager of Changing Faces Charity. 
  • Rob Murray, Scotland Manager of Changing Faces Charity. 
  • Dr Billy Lee, Lecturer in Emotional Communication and Identity, University of Edinburgh.
  • Lee McCulley, Adult Learning Officer, National Museum of Scotland.
  • Geogina Ripley, Fashion & Textiles Curator, National Museum of Scotland.
  • Lisa Mason, Assistant Curator, National Museum of Scotland.
  • Emily Taylor, Assistant Curator, National Museum of Scotland.
  • Rhys McKenna, BA Graduate and MA student, Edinburgh College of Art.
  • Alanna Hilton, year 3 Fashion student, Edinburgh College of Art.
  • Alanna Hilton, Year 3 Fashion student, Edinburgh College of Art.
  • Pauline Noel, Year 3 Fashion student, Edinburgh College of Art.
  • Katherine Flemming, Year 2 Fashion student, Heriot Watt University – with thanks to Demi Yuille for modelling Katherine’s design.


Alyson Walsh, Fashion Journalist and Author discusses her views on Diversity in relation to ageism. Workshop 2.

Anna Pierce and Pauline Noel, year 3 ECA Fashion students, presenting their design projects in response to visual impairement.

Linda Shearer presents outcomes of discussions. Linda is member of the Diversity Network steering panel and Senior Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Background illustration taken from ‘Style Forever’ by Alyson Walsh.

Our thanks to the National Museum of Scotland for their insightful tour of the new Fashion Gallery as part of our third workshop.

Special thanks to Georgina Ripley, Fashion Curator, for sharing her knowledge of the curated garments spanning the last 150 years.

Year 2 student at Heriot Watt University, Katherine Fleming discusses her functional design work created for wheelchair users.

Thank you to Debra Bourne for her insightful presentation on Fashion & Diversity. Debra is Founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, and a member of the Diversity Network steering panel.

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.

workshop 1

workshop 2

workshop 3

workshop 4

workshop 5

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

image credit


Diversity NOW! 2016 Edinburgh College of Art Shortlisters

image credit

image credit

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..”




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


SHOW 2016 – Designing for Diversity

This years’ diversity project saw students from Fashion and Graphic Design bring their specialisms together to create a collection of statement making garments. Students used innovative construction methods to incorporate typography into their designs.

The models were cast individually by the students; specifically chosen for their individuality and confidence. The models’ identities and opinions directly underpinned the design process, and the garments reflect their unique character.  The diversity project is  a powerful segment of the Show which challenges our preconceived ideas of the standard catwalk model.










Nina Cutler is Co-Founders Choice runner up in I-D Online Diversity NOW! competition

Work by Nina Cutler

Work by Nina Cutler

Congratulations to Nina who wanted to challenge gender and race “box ticking” with her Diversity NOW! entry. “Society has a tendency to place people into rigid categories but as we progress further into the 21st century, perhaps this is an archaic way of thinking. Gender and race are the most common boxes that one must tick and yet identities are neither static nor fixed, in fact are in constant flux.” Cutler’s vision, “utilises the method where marginalised groups (such as young black males) use oversized clothing to exert control over spaces that are usually denied.”

All Walks’ Debra Bourne says, “We loved Nina’s ideology and approach. Taking references from Pre-Raphaelite depictions of femininity and juxtaposing them with influences from 90s male, hip hop fashion, her gender-conscious garments are beautifully crafted, resplendent in gold leather and full of sassy swagger.”

Fashion Programme tops list of The Guardian’s league table

Collection by Melissa Villevielle, Graduate Fashion Week 2015

Collection by Melissa Villevielle, Graduate Fashion Week 2015

Edinburgh College of Art has been named as the top placed institution in Scotland for the undergraduate study of design, art, music and architecture in the Guardian University League Table 2016. Within the undergraduate subject areas, we top the UK table for Fashion & Textiles and Film Production & Photography.

Compiled by Intelligent Metrix, the Guardian University League Table is based on eight statistical measures relating to both input (for example, expenditure by the university on its students) and output (e.g. a graduate’s probability of finding a graduate-level job). The measures are knitted together to provide an overall score, against which institutions are ranked, and the 2016 table was published by the Guardian newspaper in May 2015.

“Staff and students at Edinburgh College of Art are thrilled to find so many of our programmes in Architecture, Art, Design, History of Art and Music ranked highest in Scotland and within the top fifteen of all UK institutions. Special congratulations to Fashion, Textiles, Film and Photography for ranking overall first in their fields. It is a credit to our community and the quality of our work.”

Professor Chris Breward, ECA Principal.

SHOW 2015: Celebrating Diversity on the Catwalk

All photography courtesy of Gareth Easton

All photography courtesy of Gareth Easton


For this project, students cast a group of inspiring and diverse fashion muses to wear their garments for the show. These models were chosen to represent strength, individuality and unique beauty – students strongly considered the emotional connection between clothing and the wearer, ultimately celebrating the spectrum of diversity of the fashion consumer.












Dr Martens competition winner: Brand Identity and Diversity

Edinburgh Store Manager Jenni Birrell, alongside Alex Irons-Young and his winning outfit. With Fashion Tutor Coline Henault.

Edinburgh Store Manager Jenni Birrell, alongside Alex Irons-Young and his winning outfit. With Fashion Tutor Coline Henault.

Three students from Year 2 Fashion have been selected to have their work on display at the Dr. Martens store on Princes Street for two weeks in May. Alex Irons-Young was named the winner of a creative brief set by the British footwear brand, alongside runners up Juliane Rumpf and Rachael Weir. All of their designs will be showcased in the Dr. Martens store until Sunday 31 May.

Last year, Dr. Martens tasked second year Fashion students to design an outfit that reflects the brand’s current #STANDFORSOMETHING campaign, while taking inspiration from the musical and cultural history of Scotland’s festival capital. Sketches and mood boards were presented to the Dr. Martens team for judging earlier this year and once Alex was chosen as the winner, he set to work translating his design into a wearable garment.

Dr. Martens UK Marketing Manager Daniel Freeland said: “We were really impressed by the quality and depth of detail that all of the students put into the live project. However, we felt Alex had really considered #STANDFORSOMETHING on a local level.

Edinburgh College of Art’s Coline Henault said: “The students have really enjoyed getting the chance to put their own stamp onto a brand that they are familiar with and could be a bit more rebellious in their design decisions. Our ‘Diversity Network’ requires students to consider their customer, taking into account age, shape, race and character, and the project really allowed them to peel back the layers of their muse in the same way as Dr. Martens #STANDFORSOMETHING.”

The Dr. Martens #STANDFORSOMETHING campaign features authentic characters of different ages, backgrounds, occupations and personalities. They all have one thing in common – they wear Dr. Martens boots and shoes with pride and passion.