​diversity now! the 2016 winning students announced

Hundreds of fashion students from across the UK submitted their vision of a fashion future that represents diversity and inclusivity to All Walks, and you voted for the very best...

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Jun 8 2016, 9:52am

The votes have been counted and the results are in! Hundreds of fashion students across the UK submitted Diversity NOW! entries to the award winning fashion diversity campaign All Walks, uploading their work to portfolio site Arts Thread to present their unique vision of a fashion future where diversity and individuality are celebrated. A panel of expert industry judges whittled the vast number of submissions down to just 15 exceptional finalists, who battled it out in a public vote live on i-D.

The national student competition is now in its fourth year, and the submissions just keep getting stronger and stronger, with fashion tutors reporting that students are increasingly engaged with the issue of diversity, and want to see their industry represent and celebrate a far more broad range of sizes, shapes, ages, ethnicities, genders and abilities on the catwalk and in fashion imagery.

Celebrating the cream of the crop, i-D can reveal the winners and runners up for both the People's Choice vote and the All Walks' Co-Founder's Choice…

People's Choice winner: Hollie Mccarten-Donnelly, Northumbria University
With a clear lead of more than 300 votes, Hollie's work is the definitive People's Choice winner. A BA Fashion Communications student at Northumbria University, Hollie submitted a styling and photography project featuring Chloe Jackson, whose curves are covered in spectacular tattoos and whose smile lit up the competition.

"My images focus on the creativity and narrative underneath the intricate designs of tattoos," Hollie says. "I wanted to show the contrast between the assumptions often made of those with tattoos, with the meanings behind them. Chloe Jackson featured in my photographs told me, 'I'm treated differently all the time because of my tattoos. People think I am less educated, or I'm a bit of a thug…'. Tattoos were once the distinguishing features of soldiers, sailors, bikers, punks and rockers. But now, tattoos belong to teachers, mothers and nurses. It is this shift in society that I think some people still struggle to accept."

@hollie_donnelly

People's Choice runner up: Beatrice Burns, Ravensbourne
A deserving runner up, Beatrice Burns is a BA Fashion Promotion student from Ravensbourne whose graphic poster, Colour Me In, illustrates revelations from black models that make-up artists are poorly prepared to work with them backstage at shows.

"Colour Me In is a response to comments made by black model Leomie Anderson during fashion week this year. Her statements brought to light the harsh reality of discrimination behind the scenes at the catwalk shows… how black girls are suffering from an insufficient amount of MUA and hair stylists."

Co Founder's Choice winner: Abiola Onabule, University of Westminster
Abiola Onabule is a BA Fashion Design student at the University of Westminster. Her design submission mixes African wax print cottons with denim in a genderless outfit to create "a meeting of soft and hard, African and Western, feminine and masculine". "Although my clothes are representations of my heritage and my personality, they are designed for anyone and everyone who wishes to wear them, so I chose a model with a look less often seen in clothes like these," Abiola explains, adding that, for her, "diversity isn't just about holding up a mirror to its audience. It's also a way of displaying and celebrating the differences. Difference is how we evolve and grow as humans, so to deny it is to regress."

All Walks co-founder and creative director Debra Bourne says, "I love the spirit and originality of Abiola Onabule's design. Diversity has been considered throughout her creative process, from conceptualisation to representation. These non-gender specific garments, reference a vibrant mix of cultures, beautifully demonstrated in their construction from African wax print cotton and western denim. Abiola illustrated her designs on a man's body, whilst photographing the finished garment on a non-standard sized female model. Frankly, I couldn't ask for more."

@abiolaonabule

Co Founder's Choice runner up: Marina Pamies, Istituto Marangoni London
Marina Pamies, a BA Fashion Styling student from Istituto Marangoni London, claims the Co-Founder's Choice runner up award with her editorial Comfort Zones, a collaboration with photographer Olesya Asanova that presents models who are a range of ages, ethnicities, genders and body shapes. "Being a fashion stylist student I'm usually told 'go out of your Comfort Zone', but my idea for Diversity NOW! was to explore the opposite," Marina explains. "Comfort Zones is an editorial that wanted to develop into how we all, in a different way, move and interact, but at the same time feel limited by our inner spaces. Age, race or size are issues drawn by each of us, and we realised that bodies have different needs to feel comfortable."

All Walks Debra Bourne comments that, "Marina delivers us style and content. This gracefully executed set of editorial images explores the 'unseen' spaces we individually need to feel emotionally secure. She puts body diversity at the centre of the her imagery, cleverly referencing da Vinci's famous drawing, the Vitruvian Man, to contextualise the models and their garments via the symbolic set design. Brilliant."

@marinapamies

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