diversity now! the winning students are...
You’ve been voting in the thousands, and now we can reveal the winners of the i-D People’s Choice award and the All Walks Co-founders Choice.
With hundreds of entries from students up and down the UK eager to present their vision of a diverse and inclusive fashion future, and thousands of you voting for your favourite in i-D's People's Choice, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk's student competition is sending the industry a clear message: the next generation want #DiversityNOW! Fashion lecturers have reported that their students found the brief an emotional and personal one, with some likening the process to therapy. All Walks Co-founder and Creative Director Debra Bourne says, "Diversity is such an enriching subject, because next to its empathic core and inclusive respect for others, lies our own self acceptance too."
A huge variety of creative work was submitted to profile site ARTS THREAD, presenting inventive and individual fashion styles and ideas on models who represent a gloriously diverse range of body shapes, sizes, ethnicities, genders, abilities, ages and personalities. Since the finalists were announced two weeks ago, over 3,000 of you have voted for the i-D People's Choice award winner, and the All Walks Co-founders have been deliberating over their selection. Here we present the winner and runner up in each category, and discover a little more about their vision. United in their diversity, they each embody the All Walks mantra: Fashion is boring when everybody looks the same!
People's Choice winner: Nathalie Ballout, London College of Fashion
Nathalie Ballout is a textiles designer who uses modern techniques to create striking, embroidery. For the competition she created a garment "installation" for her muse, sculptor John Somerville, saying, "Apart from his striking appearance, he is someone that has integrity, and it shows in his work and in his daily struggle to make beautiful complex sculptures. Even though he is limited by left-side paralysis and with only the use of one hand he continues to create, not for the public plaudits, but purely for the beauty of creation."
Hundreds of i-D readers voted Nathalie the 2015 People's Choice award winner. Here's what she has to say: "The fashion industry influences almost everyone in the world, directly or indirectly. I think that promoting diversity and individuality is important because, if I did not, then I would be justifying monotony, conformity and uniformity. It's a world where we all wear school uniforms until we die, and where creativity is a sin. It's a place of inequality and insecurity. That's not a world I want to live in." Ballout adds that, "All fashion influencers should feel responsible for the content that they put out into the world. We should all embrace and celebrate diversity."
People's Choice runner up: Amy Hewitt, Liverpool John Moores
Amy Hewitt's simple but powerful gender-blending graphic, using photography by Cál Fox, caught the imagination of hundreds of voters. As the British government and public institutions begin to accept the gender-neutral Mx prefix, as an alternative to the narrow, binary male / female options, Amy's work has struck a chord with i-D voters.
Co-founders Choice winner: Dara Udom, Instituto Marangoni
Stylist Dara Udom wanted to capture, "That moment when you hear your favourite song and just let go," in her energetic and colourful editorial, Dance To Your Own Beat. "We asked our models to pick their favourite song and quite literally dance like no ones watching," Udom explains, adding that, "The power of music to not only set us apart from one another, but also bring us together is why we chose this theme. The editorial shows that diversity is what makes us all so interesting and it is something that should be embraced."
All Walks Co-founder Debra Bourne says, "Caryn and I were united on this year's Co-founders Choice winner. Dara's series of editorial images are wonderfully exuberant, spirited and fun, with great casting and styling. Diversity is celebrated without feeling overly earnest. It's a pleasure to see her individual subjects photographed unabashed and immersed in their own enjoyment rather than looking to the camera, for attention or approval."
Co-founders Choice runner up: Nina Cutler, Edinburgh College of Art
Nina Cutler 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."