Mark Fast is known for his uber bod-con knitted dresses so when he sent plus size models down the runway at his S/S10 show back in 2009, he had everyone talking. This week his efforts were celebrated at the first Body Confidence Awards in London. At the event, which was organised by Debra Bourne, Caryn Franklin and Erin O'Conner, the designer was awarded with the fashion prize.
'As a designer I care about the women that wear my clothes ... it is very important to deliver the technical aspects a look and a quality of make — I don't really understand this? — but I also want to make each wearer of my clothes feel empowered and affirmed. I want to celebrate women and make them feel good in my clothes,' he said.
Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin O'Connor set up their All Walks Beyond The Catwalk initiative with the intention of "[acknowledging] the positive power that fashion can have, when communicating to women about their bodies", Franklin explains. So on Saturday, the fashion scheme met with a nationwide consortium of UK educationalists to consider how the future generations of fashion designers and image makers can approach individuality and inclusiveness within the curriculum.
Professor Wendy Dagworthy, Head of School of Fashion and Textiles at the Royal College of Art agrees that educationalists can make a difference, particularly in collaboration with the All Walks Beyond The Catwalk Forum, which launched on Sunday. "Designers can lead the way in challenging cultural definitions of what is beautiful. College or university can be the first opportunity for a student to process their ideas and challenge the status quo."