Co-founder of All Walks Beyond The Catwalk [with Erin O’Connor and Debra Redbourne] and broadcaster, writer, director, editor and general fashion commentator, Caryn Franklin is our first interviewee for our brand new Socialise from the world of fashion…
Caryn’s achievements in the world of fashion are too numerous to mention, but we applaud her role as a fashion activist having co-chaired Fashion Targets Breast Cancer for the past 15 years that helped to create Britain’s first ever Breast Cancer Research Centre, and now in her role as co-founder of All Walks, she is lecturing up and down the country to help studetns understand the need for emotionally considerate design and messaging.
All Walks Beyond The Catwalk and Illamasqua have collaborated in the past, at London Fashion Week, to create a series of photographs promoting real and diverse beauty ideals with top photographers such as Rankin and Nick Knight.
1. Your Current Life: What are you up to at the moment? What are your future plans?
I’m lecturing up and down the country from Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow to Leeds, Nottingham and Plymouth to Southampton Bournemouth and LCF…these are a few of the colleges I’ve visited recently to promote All Walks Beyond the Catwalk. We feel that by investing in today’s students…tomorrows big hitters, we are spreading the importance of individuality. The feedback we have had from students has been spectacular… you can see this on our site.
2. Your Favourite Image: Whats the most iconic image to you? What does it say to you/ represent for you?
There are loads and I’d have to include some of our shots with the LFW designers. William Tempest’s dress for special K model Laura Caterall shot by Kayt Jones for i-D, shows that curvy women can look very high fashion, or Rankin’s shot of Valerie Pain in Berardi [right] shows that pensioners can look hot. We are all about working with a more inclusive and realistic model to showcase fashion. All Walks believes in promoting a wider range of body and beauty ideals.
We know from our work with eminent mental health experts and educationalists of young women that all women need to see more realistic role models, because too many are torturing themselves with unkind diets to try and look like runway models.I’m loving the photo shoot by Chen Man in i-D Magazine…seeing a whole story devoted to oriental beauty with incredible styling has made a welcome change. i-D portrays a wider beauty ideal and this is why after 30 years of working with them, I still rate their editorial stance.
3. Illamasqua Favourite: What is your favourite piece from the Illamasqua collection and why?
4. Your Personal Self: What are you most proud of?
Proposing the LCF’s centre of Sustainability a few years ago and seeing it become a force for ethical behaviour was wonderful.
Driving round in trucks in the dead of night with headlights turned off to avoid snipers in Bosnia about 15 years ago to deliver clothing to refugees, felt like a more real connection with the power of clothes. There were teenage boys who had no shoes and no change of clothes because the army had appropriated theirs.
Launching our All Walks Centre of Diversity in Edinburgh with Govt minister Lynne Featherstone to promote emotionally considerate design. Collecting an honorary fellowship from Bournemouth University recently in recognition of the work we are doing at All Walks, these things have felt like an important acknowledgement of the work we are trying to achieve.
But normal family stuff means just as much too. It’s important for me to be a good daughter, sister, mother, friend, wife etc. Long after I have finished my career, family and friends will be where I return…I’m very lucky to have authentic people around me. I’m very proud of that
5. Your Alter Ego: If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why? Sigourney Weaver in Alien.