Leader comment: Challenging old-fashioned attitudes

Model Daphne Selfe, age 89, will be one of the special guests at the Design For Diversity events at the Natonal Museum of Scotland next month.
Model Daphne Selfe, age 89, will be one of the special guests at the Design For Diversity events at the Natonal Museum of Scotland next month.
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The nature of an elite in any walk of life is to highlight the very highest achievers and, by definition, set them apart from the rest. It happens in sport, perhaps the ultimate demonstration of difference, where only the fittest and most skilful will reach the top. But that kind of hierarchy also exists in just about every other walk of life where abilities are rated.

One of the most exclusive sectors of all is the fashion world, and in particular, the models who are used to sell the latest brands and designs. The elite are not just models; these ‘supermodels’ may as well be a different breed. Lesser mortals need not apply.

Then there are the clothes that supermodels showcase; garments which possibly fit or suit 0.1 per cent of the population, yet that is the image we are told to aspire to. This message can have damaging effects.

A summit in Edinburgh next month, aimed at embracing diversity, is a welcome bid to challenge dominant attitudes. There will always be a place for daring and ground-breaking design, but that should not be at the expense of whose who live in the real world.