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

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.










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.












‘Beauty by Design: Fashioning the Renaissance’ opens to the public


On the 15th November, the exciting Beauty by Design exhibition opened to the public at the Edinburgh Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Launched in September 2012, the project was devised by Mal Burkinshaw and Dr Jill Burke, a specialist in Italian Renaissance visual culture within the School of History of Art. It brings together experts from a variety of areas (History of Art and Costume, Fashion Design, History, Psychology, and Education), who were interested in considering how Renaissance art could be used to question contemporary notions of beauty and body image.

The beautiful bodies of the Renaissance – the fleshy women of Titian or Rubens or the androgynous forms of Michelangelo or Leonardo – are a long way away from today’s size zero model, yet both have been considered ideals of beauty in these diverse societies.

This project’s aim is to communicate the need for a global recognition and commitment to improve self-esteem through emotionally considerate design, marketing and branding. The project aims to promote and reinstate a healthier attitude towards diversity of body image and beauty. The research team will seek to unravel historical codes of beauty and innovate towards new fashion design and communication solutions.

The project underpins the activity of the Edinburgh College of Art and All Walks Beyond the Catwalk Diversity Network. 

Mal-Jacket - Esther Inglis (1)

Mal Burkinshaw, Silhouettes en Dentelle – Series 1. 2013-14. Sophie Hallette lace, hand-appliquéd onto tailored jackets in nylon netting. 



Claire Ferguson, Double Exposure, 2014. Pima cotton and monofilament with Sophie Hallette lace.



Sally-Ann Provan, Headpiece: Memento Flori. Laser-cut acrylic, gold-plated pins, glass pearls and crystals.

‘BODY Talks’

We are grateful to the following people who made this year’s first Diversity Network symposium such a success, and provided us with thought provoking and educational discussions:

Caryn Franklin and Debra Bourne from All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, Lauren Benton from BODY Charity, Anja Aronowsky Cronberg of Vestoj: The Journal of Sartorial Matters, Maude Lescroart from Sophie Hallette Lace, and Margareta van den Bosch, Beata Aurell, and Anna Sjodin; Creative Design Team at H&M.

And of course the event would not have been possible without the involvement of our students.

A big thank you to all those who attended. We look forward to seeing you at the next event!





Diversity Event

We are holding the Uk’s first educational focused symposium on the subject of Diversity within Fashion education at InSpace, Edinburgh University on April 26th. The event will be centered around engaging and informative discussions between key speakers from the industry.  These will take place before a small audience of interested parties from both industry and educational backgrounds.  We will consider an alternative approach to design and imagery and how this can be potentially beneficial in various capacities.

Following this event we will see an exciting showcase of 2nd year ‘Fashion and the Muse’ Design Project work in a live styling and photographic event, working with UCA Epsom fashion journalism students and Southampton Solent University photography and styling students.

The event will conclude with the annual Edinburgh College of Art Fashion Show 2013 at the McEwan Hall, Edinburgh.