Sunday, 13 March 2011

Monday 14th March: The W Project - All Walks

To close the week of The W Project's celebration in exhibition and events, the final night transformed The Russian Club Gallery into "The Sit Down Affair" supper club. Tables were laid with beautiful batik print cloth and Josephine Chime had been up all night preparing the menu of 12 dishes including an expertly named "Spring into Summer rolls".
Elisha, Kim and I kicked off the evening of entertainment by screening our four fashion films and discussing our work process. A Q&A session was opened up for the guests to delve into the depths of our all female collaborative process......... whilst forks tucked into octopus salad.
To follow our part in the proceedings, Caryn Franklin and Debra Bourne from "All Walks" took centre stage to explain the message of their enterprise and how they are reaching out to spread the word. Having been instrumental in setting the style scene in the 80's when Caryn was a founding member of i-D Magazine the industry was a relaxed environment, rich in self expression. In these pioneering days of D.I.Y dressing, individuals had freedom to express themselves in an intuitive way. In the 20 years since, Caryn and Debra have witnessed the shift in celebrity centred culture and the homogeneous dictatorship of strict expectation in the ideal beauty portrayed. The promoted image of a young Caucasian waif only relates to a slim sector of society yet it is the goal presented as the ideal to achieve. Ironically we are in a situation where women are undergoing surgery to imitate 2D airbrushed representations of an unreal body.
Caryn and Debra want to redirect this perpetuating plague of social pressure before it is irreversibly damaging to the emerging generation. To tackle the nation of girls bombarded with this warped message, they are communicating directly with the age group by going into colleges. By re-educating future designers, the charity are effectively aiming to plant the seed of change in demonstrating individual choice. As an incentive to demonstrate the positivity in this process, industry leaders have come on board to illustrate the practicalities of applying it to their practise. Erin O'Connor, Rankin and a host of designers including Vivienne Westwood, Hussein Chalayan and Giles Deacon have taken part. By designing for a muse that is any age, any race, any size is ultimately a limitless and exciting creative prospect to tailor outside the bracket of the straight up and down size 8 mannequin.
Interestingly the most powerful message of the evening was to start making a change to culture as a whole by focusing firstly on yourself. Caryn made the point that by looking the mirror and accepting your own individual beauty will be the ground breaking step to altering perception of both yourself and others around you. If we individually carry a torch of empowerment in our unique inner beauty it will touch whoever we come into contact with and ignite a message to take hold and hopefully uplift the nation. As Elisha also stated......... the less energy, emotion and time invested in anxiety spent in altering your appearance could be better applied creating prolific beautiful work............

Lets each agree to try and radicalise this state of non-independence and switch up the style stakes!!! Go to the All Walks site to see how to get involved.

Thanks to Larry for his photos from the night.

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