LCF student Nathalie Ballout has won the Diversity Now! People’s Choice award, beating student entries from 37 universities and art schools across the UK. Founded in 2009 by All Walks Beyond the Catwalk and run in partnership with i-D Magazine, Diversity Now! is a competition that challenges students to ‘explode… narrow definition of beauty, their work represents and celebrates a much broader range of body shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities, abilities and genders in a fashion context’.
Nathalie used modern embroidery techniques to create an ‘installation’ for her entry. Her muse was sculptor John Somerville and she told i-D:
‘Apart from his striking appearance, he is someone that has integrity, and it shows in his work and in his daily struggle to make beautiful complex sculptures. Even though he is limited by left-side paralysis and with only the use of one hand he continues to create, not for the public plaudits, but purely for the beauty of creation’.
After being short-listed alongside 14 other entries, Nathalie was voted winner by the reader’s of i-D. Discussing her win with the magazine, Nathalie said:
‘The fashion industry influences almost everyone in the world, directly or indirectly. I think that promoting diversity and individuality is important because, if I did not, then I would be justifying monotony, conformity and uniformity. It’s a world where we all wear school uniforms until we die, and where creativity is a sin. It’s a place of inequality and insecurity. That’s not a world I want to live in. All fashion influencers should feel responsible for the content that they put out into the world. We should all embrace and celebrate diversity.’
Congratulations to Nathalie and all of the other entrants who took part in such a worthwhile competition.