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The Beauty by Design project was launched in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in September 2012 with experts from a variety of areas (eg History of Art and Costume, Fashion Design, History, Psychology, and Education), who were interested in considering how Renaissance art could be used to question contemporary notions of beauty and body image.
The beautiful bodies of the Renaissance – the fleshy women of Titian or Rubens or the androgynous forms of Michelangelo or Leonardo - are a long way away from today’s size zero model, yet both have been considered ideals of beauty in these diverse societies. The current “thin ideal”, as propagated by a range of media sources, has been criticised for causing psychological damage, particularly to girls and young women, whose internalisation of these messages can mean they view their own bodies with disgust.
This project's aim is to communicate the need for a global recognition and commitment to improve self-esteem through emotionally considerate design, marketing and branding. The project aims to promote and reinstate a healthier attitude towards diversity of body image and beauty. The research team will seek to unravel historical codes of beauty and innovate towards new fashion design and communication solutions. The results of this collaborative research will be shown in our exhibition, running at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery from November 2014 to May 2015.
The project will underpin the activity of the Edinburgh College of Art and All Walks Beyond the Catwalk Diversity Network. The Network strives to educate students, our future fashion designers and influencers, on the importance of developing a more responsible, diverse and emotionally considerate response to design and design communication. The Network holds responsibility for creating Knowledge Exchange and best practice across the UK and international fashion institutions.
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Looking at paintings in the Scottish National Gallery during our meeting of September 2012.