The Centre for Diversity has been created by All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, an initiative founded by Erin O’Connor, Caryn Franklin and Debra Bourne, that works with influential catwalk designers and top industry creatives to celebrate diversity within the fashion industry.
Speaking at the launch, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk co-founder Caryn Franklin said: ‘We want student fashion designers to be introduced to a realistic range of body shapes during their training process.
‘Diversity can enhance craftsmanship not impede it.’
The All Walks Beyond the Catwalk founders sit on the government advisory group on body confidence convened last year, working with equalities minister Lynne Featherstone and other experts to identify ways the issue can be tackled effectively.
Shining a light
Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said: ‘Negative body image cannot be tackled through legislative action. We cannot pin point the blame on one organisation or a particular industry, and with the swift wave of Parliament’s magic wand make the problem disappear.
‘I want to shine a light on initiatives, like the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk Centre for Diversity, that celebrate a range of body images as diverse as the society we live in.’