Fashion icon to be special guest at South Essex College University Centre graduation ceremony

Former fashion editor and BBC broadcaster Caryn Franklin will present awards to South Essex College University Centre students at this year’s graduation ceremony.

Caryn, who has a rich career spanning 37 years in the fashion world, will be handing out degree awards and making the key note speech during the ceremony on Tuesday 15 October at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend.

The former fashion editor and co-editor of i-D Magazine and BBC broadcaster for 15 years on prime-time programmes such as The Clothes Show, Style Challenge and many others, has explored the politics of image and self-esteem extensively over her career. As a fashion activist, she has been vocal about unachievable body image ideals since the early 90s.

Her projects have involved working with refugees in battle zones, workers in free-trade-zone slums, mental health experts, MPs and government ministers as well as international design names, the fashion industry’s innovators and ordinary women in a personal styling capacity.

In 2013 her service to diversity in the fashion industry was recognised as she was made an MBE and she completed an MSc in Applied Psychology to become Professor of Diverse Selfhood at Kingston School of Art.

Students will graduate with a variety of higher education awards on the night and Caryn has some great future advice for them.

She said: “Today’s emerging creatives are multi-skilled and indigenous digital natives. They are also vocal and motivated about contemporary issues such as identity politics, diversity and inclusion as well as sustainability and ethics. I’m thrilled to think that amongst our graduates this year will be innovators able to influence change within their chosen field.

“To all graduates I say, ‘Your creativity is power and you are the future. Believe in yourself and your generation. Your unique voice counts. Celebrate your passion for what you do and take pride in your contribution to a new way of doing things for a more human-centred industry.’”

Colin Bladen-Kopacz, Dean of HE at South Essex College, said it was a great honour to be welcoming Caryn Franklin as this year’s guest speaker.

He said: “Caryn is an inspirational figure who is passionate about what she believes in which is exactly what we encourage our students to be.

“I’m sure Caryn’s story will encourage our students to build on the success of their degree programmes and push themselves to achieve in their chosen fields.”