Scotland to hold summit for ‘healthier culture’ in fashion industry

The world's oldest model, 89-year-old Daphne Selfe, and Kelly Knox, who has forged a modelling career despite being born with half an arm missing, will be taking part in the Fashion Forum: Design For Diversity summit at Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland. Picture: Jonathan Hordle/REX/Shutterstock
The world's oldest model, 89-year-old Daphne Selfe, and Kelly Knox, who has forged a modelling career despite being born with half an arm missing, will be taking part in the Fashion Forum: Design For Diversity summit at Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland. Picture: Jonathan Hordle/REX/Shutterstock
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The world’s oldest working supermodel and a model born with half an arm missing are to take centre stage in a major summit in Scotland aimed at ensuring the fashion industry is more diverse.

Talks, debates and film screenings tackling long-standing body, beauty and ageing ideals and attitudes within the industry will be staged during the week-long programme in Edinburgh.

Leading designers, commentators, models and campaigners will be taking part in the “Fashion Forum: Design For Diversity” series at the National Museum of Scotland.

It is hoped that the programme, which is being funded by the museum, the British Council and the National Museum, will help nurture a “healthier culture of communication” for the industry.

It is being staged at the attraction less than two years after it unveiled a brand new fashion and design gallery featuring designs by the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir, Bernat Klein and Alexander McQueen.

The summit has been devised by the Diversity Network, which was set up by Edinburgh College of Art and All Walks Beyond The Catwalk, a campaign group which aims to challenge the fashion industry’s “dependence on unachievable and unhealthy” ideals.

Special guests booked to appear at the summit include 89-year-old Daphne Selfe, who embarked on her modelling career in 1949 and insists she is “busier than ever.”

She will take part in a panel discussion with Kelly Knox, who was born without a left forearm and won the BBC reality show Britain’s Missing Top Model, which featured eight disabled contestants.

Stylist Ibrahim Kamara, photographer Campbell Addy, cinematographer Lina Plioplyte, Emmanuel de Lange, head of the models network at the Equity union, and Caryn Franklin, one of the founders of All Walks Beyond The Catwalk, will also be taking part in the programme, which runs from 2-9 February.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh College of Art said: “The Diversity Network was awarded prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh status to develop a programme of fashion related events exploring new inclusive approaches to fashion, focusing on design which enhances self-esteem and celebrates diversity.

“Partnering with the National Museum of Scotland, academics and students from key institutions including Edinburgh College of Art, Heriot-Watt University and Aberdeen Business School are collaborating with a range of charities and fashion industry sectors to host a series of public events and creative workshops, all with the goal of creating a healthier culture of communication for the fashion industries.”

Stephen Allen, head of learning and programmes at the museum, said: “We are delighted to be partnering for the first time with the Diversity Network on this exciting programme of events, which examines how the fashion industry can celebrate everyone and explore new, more inclusive approaches.

“The museum of Scotland will be a great backdrop for the events. Our internationally significant fashion and textiles collection is one of the largest in the UK. Our new fashion and style gallery is the largest permanent gallery in Scotland devoted entirely to fashion.”