The issue of diversity on the catwalk continues to provoke discussion and debate and it was the cause for a celebration on Friday night. The one-off event held at Londons National Portrait Gallery was curated by All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, the initiative founded by Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin OConnor. With the support of photographer Rankin and designers including Stella McCartney, Giles and Vivienne Westwood, nine specially commissioned portraits showcasing a wider range of models aged 18 to 80, in varying sizes and skin tones, went on display.
Thousands turned up for the free event and enjoyed a variety of activities including a master class by the London College of Fashion in life drawing and fashion illustration and a casting for a live portrait shoot. But the highlight of the evening was the debate about image-making in fashion featuring the Government Minister for Equalities, Lynne Fetherstone, Erin OConnor and ELLE editor in chief Lorraine Candy. Times are changing in the fashion world and there is a new and refreshing attitude to diversity on the catwalk, said Candy. From designers to editors and stylists to photographers, we are all more aware of the need for fashion to reflect a wider range of women. This is something ELLE has always done which is why we support All Walks and are proud to be part of this new debate.