A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student’s vision to include more diverse models in fashion has earned her a place in the finals of a national fashion competition.
Powerful illustration by competition finalist, Naichelle Davis
Diversity NOW! challenges students across the UK to explore the industry's narrow definition of beauty, celebrating a broader range of body shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities, abilities and genders in fashion.
Naichelle Davis, an MA Fashion and Textiles student at DMU, submitted a powerful illustration highlighting race and size issues in the fashion industry, making it into the 15 finalists chosen by a judging panel of fashion industry experts.
She beat entries from 37 UK fashion colleges and universities, all responding to the brief set by All Walks, the industry-insider campaign to promote diversity in fashion.
The 24-year-old from from Newark, New Jersey, said: “I really wasn’t expecting to make it this far. Entering the competition was part of a module, so I did my best and thought nothing of it.”
Naichelle challenges the industry’s lack of diversity when it comes to models’ size and race, saying: “In 2016 there is still shaming of plus-size models and women of colour who don’t match up to European standards of beauty.”
The Diversity NOW! People’s Choice Award will be determined by a public vote, closing this Saturday, and announced at Graduate Fashion Week next week.
Shortlisted Nkasi Onyesoh's illustration celebrates imperfections
Two other DMU students were also shortlisted in the competition for their fashion-forward thinking: Nkasi Onyesoh and Eleanor Stanley.
Final year Fashion Design student, Nkasi, celebrates imperfections, saying: “Our imperfections are proof of things we have gone through in life. They affirm new life, growth, longevity, survival, uniqueness. For me, they’ve made me confident about who I am and as a designer.
“Having my work noticed and the effort I put into it recognised, feels like a really good achievement.”
Eleanor Stanley embraces vitiligo through her shortlisted illustration
Bespoke Footwear Biomechanics MA student, Eleanor, submitted an illustration exploring vitiligo, a chronic skin condition characterised by loss of pigment.
She said: “I was inspired by Canadian model, Winnie Harlow, who not only embraces her condition, but who also speaks out about it and raises awareness.
“Personally, I think vitiligo is stunning and the patterns it makes on people’s skin are beautiful.”
Paul McNicoll, Programme Leader for MA Fashion and Textiles and Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design at DMU, said: “It is really exciting to have three students shortlisted and then for Naichelle to go through to the final 15. Congratulations to our talented three and everyone, PLEASE vote for Naichelle!’
Posted on Wednesday 1st June 2016