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Design.Fashion: Can fashion futures be inclusive?

6 December 2021 | 4pm – 5.30pm


Part of the Design.Different Season organised by The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design.

Design.Fashion: One of the hard-to-reach places for inclusive design has traditionally been fashion. The fashion industry has built its reputation on being ‘exclusive’. So how can these worlds meet? When inclusive design threads its way into fashion, it is typically on the fringes, making minor overtures towards older and disabled people.

But fashion is more than ideas that are simply tactile or textile. Fashion can be the first outer expression of yourself, presenting in, on, and even around the body. It is a signal of your self and an expression of you. This session asks how fashion can expand its definition and open its arms to the new futures we see around us that demand inclusivity of all humans. It looks at how fashion and technology can bring its rich history of artistry and innovation to help describe different tomorrows.


Rama Gheerawo – Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design

Zowie Broach – Head of our MA Fashion

Dame Zandra Rhodes – Fashion Designer

Dame Zandra Rhodes has been a notorious figurehead of the UK fashion industry for five decades, celebrating her 50th year in fashion in September 2019 with a retrospective exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum – founded by Zandra – entitled Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous and a retrospective book published by Yale. Her notoriety as a print designer combined with an affinity for fine fabrics and colour has resulted in a signature aesthetic that is undeniably unique and continues to stand the test of time.

An eponymous pioneer of the British and international fashion scene since the late 60’s, Zandra’s career has seen her collaborate with brands such as Valentino, Topshop and Mac Cosmetics. Continuing to collaborate with brands that inspire her, 2021 will see the launch of Zandra Rhodes x IKEA amongst many other exciting partnerships and projects.

Stella McCartney – Fashion Designer

Stella McCartney was born in London to a family of creators who were legendary in public, but ordinary at home. Raised in both the city and the English countryside, she was kept grounded by her late mother and muse Linda – a photographer, vegetarian and animal rights activist whose values and innate appreciation for beauty continue to inspire her today.

In 2001, Stella McCartney launched her eponymous luxury fashion house and showed her first collection in Paris that October. A lifelong vegetarian, she has never used leather, feathers, skin or fur in any of her designs since day one – a revolutionary stance, then and now. Since those first seeds were planted, the brand has continued to grow its sustainability thought leadership through material and supply chain innovation, partnerships and more.

Harris Elliott – Artist, Curator and Academic

Harris Elliott is a Multi Disciplinary Artist, Cultural Curator and Academic with an extensive portfolio working in fashion, music and art. ‘Culture without compromise’ is his studio mantra, a statement of intent refined through 20 years of inspired global working with heavy emphasis and inspiration from Japanese and Jamaican cultural references. Elliott is renowned for his international, cultural, socio-style exhibition Return of the Rudeboy at Somerset House in 2014, with collaborator Dean Chalkley. Harris is a part time Senior lecturer in Fashion at the Royal College of Art and Race and Transcultural Studies at Central Saint Martins.

Sue Timney – MA RCA Fellow

The designer Sue Timney has worked in Britain, Europe and Japan for over thirty years creating interior projects celebrating her own brand of exotic classicism under the TIMNEY FOWLER and SUE_TIMNEY banners. The work ranges from commercial and residential interior architecture to product design for interiors and fashion. She was made a Visiting Professor and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 2007, holds the Textile Institute's Design Medal and nominated for the Prince Philip Designer's Prize by the Royal College of Art. From 2012 - 2014 Sue was President of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) and is she is currently a director of BIID. In 2002 alongside the TIMNEY FOWLER brand - the SUE_ TIMNEY design practice was set up to work on specialist interior and product projects. A retrospective of Timney's work was held in 2010 at The Fashion and Textile Museum in London together with the launch of her book Making Marks - a design biography. The House of Fraser launched the TIMNEY brand for Home and Fashion in 2011 and her work was exhibited in the Postmodern ism: Style & Subversion 1970-1990 exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Sue's designs in 2012 were exhibited in the V&A's 'British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age' and '175 years at the Royal College of Art'. Her work was also exhibited in the powerful 'Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the Eighties' show at the V&A Museum in 2013.


Laura Salisbury – RCA Research Fellow

Laura is a current Research Fellow at the RCA, and founder of KnitRegen Ltd. KnitRegen is a wearable MedTech company, creating the next generation smart garments and technology for neurological recovery, specifically, enabling stroke survivors to regain lost movement by simply wearing a garment. The garment incorporates patent-pending smart textiles that focus on improving strength training to transform muscle performance and boost recovery.

Angelica Ellis – Multidisciplinary Artist

Angelica Ellis is a multidisciplinary artist who specialises in fashion design and hand embroidery. Ellis graduated from central saint martins in 2021. She often focuses her subject matter on her cultural roots and perceptions of her identity. During placement year at CSM, Ellis had the opportunity to work in Paris where she interned at Chanel metiers d'art: Maison Lemarié. At Lemarié she intensely learned the art of hand embroidery and design. Currently Ellis is doing her masters at Royal college art where she is exploring how to combine the functionality of Adaptive wear with the beauty of artisanal handcrafted techniques.

Ellen Fowles – Adaptivewear Designer

Ellen Fowles is an adaptivewear designer based in London. She makes clothing that supports wearers both during receipt of medical care and in everyday use, providing comfort and destigmatising the experience of being a patient. She practices under a collaborative, human-centred design methodology, achieved through intergenerational co-design and ethnographic research. Ellen offers accessibility by providing wearers with different functional and dressing options, with a considered aesthetic that prioritises wearers' dignity. Her aim is to create garments that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. She is currently a Research Assistant at Goldsmiths University and an Associate Lecturer at London College of Fashion.

Shanti Bell – Multidisciplinary Artist

Shanti Bell is a Multi-Disciplinary Artist with a specialism in Menswear, Carpentry and Furniture Making. After graduating from Central Saint Martins where she studied Fashion: Print, she is now undertaking her masters in Fashion at the Royal College of Art. Over the past years, her practice has expanded and includes exploration and experimentation in the creative fields of sculpture, film, motion and set design. Shanti constantly seeks to push the boundaries of these fields and allows the concept to define the creative medium. Authentic expression is at the heart of the work she is producing with themes being rooted in exploring the burdens of masculinity, father and son relationships and simplifying complexities from that of a female perspective.

Sissel Kärneskog – Humanwear Designer

Sissel Kärneskog is a multidisciplinary humanwear designer and a Royal College of Art alumni as of 2020, currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. Their practice has an Auto-ethnographical core and aims to dispute, disrupt and deconstruct our current binary norms. Their work includes a variety of formats, such as fashion, photo, illustration and film in order to communicate and narrate their point of view.  It is a visual argument from one perspective that aims to open up and move forward a discussion in regards to how the view of gender identity needs to evolve, as action makes for change.