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 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.

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Diversity NOW! 2016 Edinburgh College of Art Shortlisters

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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


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.

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.

Debating Diversity


Year 2 Fashion students engaging in debates questioning the lack of diversity in today’s media.


As part of their Year 2 Design Collaboration project ‘Constructs of Identity’,  Fashion and Interior Design students undertook a number of ‘Diversity Debates’.

Students were asked to develop a body of research exploring the lack of diversity within fashion design. Through these debating sessions students worked in their teams to debate contemporary issues relating to diversity, defending and supporting conflicting views on diversity in the fashion industry. Questions were raised on the emotional impact that Fashion media has on its consumers.

The project brief tasked students with building an awareness of an emotionally considerate response to design practice and design communication.


Teaching Award Shortlisting for Mal Burkinshaw

MalMal Burkinshaw, Programme Director for Fashion at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), has been shortlisted for a Staff Recognition Award within the College of Humanities and Social Science (CHSS) at the University of Edinburgh. The shortlisting is in the Best Teaching Quality Enhancement Initiative category of the inaugural awards, celebrating Mal’s outstanding contribution to challenging unachievable and unhealthy body ideals through his leadership of the Diversity Network.

Diversity NOW! Success for ECA Students

Alice F DN!


Alice was also nominated in the Clothing Design category, joining her fellow Edinburgh College of Art students, Rhys McKenna and Isabella McLeod, who were nominated in this category as well.

The work Alice submitted focuses on the topics of Gender Blindness and Gender Identity. She says of the work, “I feel that the fashion world still uses androgyny’s concept as a trend instead of it being a consistent idea. Androgynous and transgender models are still seen as “freak shows”. I would like to see a fashion world where gender issues are neutralized. To me, we are all humans, without distinctions”.

Designing Diversity with H&M


Year 2 fashion students present their designs to the H&M creative team.

The brief required students to design a contemporary capsule collection for H&M+ autumn/winter 2014. The project was developed from the departments work on researching, challenging and improving the lack of diversity within the fashion industry. Together with MA students, undergraduates from years 2 and 3 were invited to work on the high-profile design collaboration, developing an awareness of, and celebratory approach to, size diversity within fashion design. Their work was exhibited at ECA on 28th November, where H&M chose winning collections from Bella MacLeod, Megan Mitchell and Som Kerdsiri.

Anna Sjodin, Head of Employer Branding at H&M said “It was wonderful to see the students be inspired to take on this project without prejudice. They used their creativity and designed for all women- not for an elusive ideal. A fantastic collaboration that was inspiring for all involved”.

4th year Winner, Bella MacLeod, said “It was a really inspiring project; designing for a range of women’s’ sizes is an important part of designing considerately. H&M’s way of looking at a ‘plus’ sized women as being just as important as any other women is a realistic and sensitive outlook on design.”

2nd Year Winner, Megan Mitchell, commented “I am honored just to have been a part of this project and winning has given me a great confidence boost in my work. Society is evolving and people are beginning to celebrate diversity of body size, I love that H&M is taking the time to make these woman feel as important as they really are and show them that they are not just an afterthought”

2nd Year Winner, Som Kerdsiri, said “The H&M+ project was really challenging and it pushed all of us to think more creatively while still being commercial. I’m really happy and extremely surprised to have won this award!”

Mal Burkinshaw, Programme Director of Fashion commented “I am delighted that H&M have collaborated with us on this project. I truly believe that a designer for tomorrow’s market needs to understand how to design and celebrate a range of diverse types of beauty. H&M have helped us to evolve our teaching methods for diversity and have inspired a new approach to how we think about size within fashion education.”