UWE Bristol student finalist in ID Magazine 'Diversity Now' competition

Issue date: 09 May 2013


nicole mccartney

A Fashion student from UWE Bristol has won a place in the finals of a prestigious competition run by ID Magazine called 'Diversity Now'.

Nicole McCartney created a fashion illustration using an amputee and a post-chemo woman. Talking about her rationale for the subject choice she said, “I wanted my illustration to celebrate the diverse notions of beauty. I did the illustration because women who embrace difference represent real beauty.”

The intricate drawings so accurately mirror the sultry looks of fashion models and the repetition of stripes on the clothing are cleverly presented and show how visible difference can be almost disguised or missed completely. The way the drawings have been presented draws attention to the clothing rather than the loss of limb or bald head of both models. The drawing does not try to hide the obvious visible difference but shows how preconceptions of beauty can be obliterated through images that are at one inclusive and insightful.

Nicole continues, “I was looking for an area of diversity not often represented in the fashion industry, there has been quite a lot of progress regarding plus size and ethnicity, so I decided to focus on models who have visible difference occurring through something that has happened to them in their life, in this case an accident resulting in amputation and the aftermath of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

“The drawings are presented in the same way as I would normally draw a fashion design in pencil and ink in monotone with the introduction of a single colour. I wanted to keep to my normal style. I have used stripes to draw the eye to different areas of womens' bodies, the waist and the neck line.

“I am just about to graduate and currently applying to work in design teams in London but I have already started to sell my designs through my website.”

Deborah Southerland, Senior Lecturer in Design at UWE Bristol, said, “This is a fantastic achievement for Nicole and demonstrates perfectly her commitment to professional development. Textile designer Nicole is already selling her silk scarves online and through the exclusive Copenhagen boutique MrLarkin.

“In addition to her textile design work Nicole is also brilliant fashion illustrator and it's for this that she has been short-listed as a finalist for the 'Diversity now' competition - it's brilliant news, we're really proud of her.”

Mandy Ure, Associate Head of Department, said, 'Nicole's success in this competition reflects the achievements of our Fashion programme in supporting creative practitioners who acknowledge the importance of diversity and sustainability throughout their portfolios and collections.

“Our ambitious programme attracts students of the highest calibre who work with industry professionals through live briefs, work placements and professional practice initiatives established by our similarly expert teaching staff. Our students enjoy great success in national competitions and many alumni now work with designers such as Matthew Williamson and Victoria Beckham and companies such as COS and Hobbs. Many congratulations to Nicole in this achievement.”

'All Walks Beyond the Catwalk' Competition: Diversity NOW! in association with i-D Magazine and sponsored by Succeed Foundation invited students to broaden the physical ideals promoted by the fashion industry by sending their illustrations and photographic celebrations of diverse bodies, along with clothing designs for all shapes and ages including disability. Paralympian glory along with All Walks campaigns inspired many of the submissions.

For more information about fashion courses and UWE Bristol see here

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