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Friday, 15 November 2013

All Walks: Caryn Franklin Lecture at Ravensbourne

Image is a touchy subject when it comes to women and fashion, over the years we've had sickly thin, caucasian 5 foot 10 models shoved down our throats thanks to fashion imagery and runways all over the world. But do these images really illustrate the women who buy the clothes and what affect is it having on us and our perceptions of beauty.
All Walks Beyond the Catwalk is an initiative created by Caryn Franklin that challenges the industry and the idea of 'perfect' that it has inscribed on our brains. Today Caryn came and spoke to us (fashion promotion) to give us more information on All Walks and to help us all think a little more about the pressing subject.
Fashion or gang rape?
Caryn has worked within the industry for around thirty years working at style title iD magazine and on The Clothes Show on the BBC, which means she's seen first hand how much fashion has changed over recent years. All Walks aims to inspire those in industry to use a more diverse range of models, diverse in race, size and age, as the constant use of stick thin caucasian models seriously affects young minds and implies to them that that is perfect and they are not.
Its also the imagery that can affect our future generations, images that are overtly sexual or imply drug use can be found on the new stands daily.
Caryn pointed out that you can't just do one successful campaign and hope the message sticks, you must reinforce it as often as you can. For example All Walks had a very successful campaign which starred models of all ages and sizes which featured in iD and at London Fashion Week. The campaign was a huge success and Caryn has worked hard to keep All Walks going strong.
It has been proven that women are more likely to buy a product if its advertised on a life size model, the average dress size in the UK is a 16, so how can we constantly advertise to consumers on size 0 models? For example, the recent M&S campaign featuring stars such as Tracey Emin and Helen Mirren has been a hit and the dress worn by Helen Mirren sold out almost immediately, proving the point that if the target consumer sees the product on someone more like themselves it really does sell better.
It really struck a chord with me, when Caryn mentioned about air brushing in beauty products, how they make you feel guilty if the product doesn't have the same affect on you as it does on the model in the advert and I really related, plenty of times I've tried mascaras and creams that haven't made a bit of difference and assumed it was my eyelashes or skin that was the problem.
Rhianna: Role model to your children?
Its not just fashion that will have a lasting effect on girls everywhere look at the like of Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, these two are posed as role models for young girls everywhere. Both often talk about drugs and both promote being dominated and make it look like the only way to success is to act like a slut. The images we see daily show women like a 12 year old boys sexual fantasy, as though women are nothing more than cliché objects of lust or degredation. And with the likes of Terry Richardson, the known sex pest, contributing to magazines such as Vogue will it ever end? Heres a quote from Richardson himself that particularly disgusted me; "I was a shy kid," he has said, "and now I'm this powerful guy with a boner, dominating all these girls." Is this right? Should agencies allow models to have to go through this as the only way to have a successful career? Emotional blackmail at its seediest
Miley Cyrus by Terry Richardson
The talk from Caryn really opened my eyes to look more closely at fashion imagery and also going in to advertising and being a future creative we can really make a difference. I will be creating a short promotional film with The Gibson Diaries for All Walks in a week or two so keep your eyes peeled for more info!

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