Started on the 11th April 2011 - Blogging from a 20 year old Fashion Student

Saturday, 26 July 2014

ELEANOR KIRBY | 1GRANARY DEBUT!

I can't stop writing - here is my first article for 1Granary, the magazine founded by students of Central Saint Martins. While being by and about the students, 1Granary is for anyone interested in fashion and the new wave of ideas that come with the university.

I hope you like my debut!

READ ON...




More? 

TREND WATCH - I compared and contrasted three brands incorporating the trend "Cacti Desert", think succulents, cacti and fauna, chuck the chintzy peonies.

E x

Friday, 25 July 2014

Tinder Trends

We didn’t think dating could get any faster than speed dating, but with the introduction of apps like Grindr and Tinder, being single (and ready to mingle) was never so easy. For those of you who are unenthused by the notion of a dating app, or think you have no need for them, read on. They are more interesting than you think.

Self-described as a “location-based social discovery app that facilitates communication between mutually interested users”, Tinder is envisioned as being used by giggling girls huddled together in an office, or for men bored on their morning commute to work (and vice-versa). No one ever announced during the toasts at their wedding that they met through Tinder. We, power hungry and judgmental, just want to “like” or “lump” consciously posed profile pictures to pass the time spent sandwiched between the armpits of two sweaty businessmen on the way home.


As we all know, the internet is often slightly misleading, and we can all admit to honing the craft of taking a picture that advertises all of our (sometimes amplified) charms. As the saying goes ‘no one looks as bad as their passport photo, or as good as their profile picture’.

From quickly scrolling through Tinder there definitely seems to be a few popular trends amongst the sea of faces (there isn’t any other way to do it other than flicking frivolously through the swarm of men and women until someone catches your eye). It is hard to imagine that anyone could think a perfectly positioned mirror shot in ones toilet is alluring, but no judgment of course; it is the internet after all.

The first trend to be seen (probably first in welcoming you to the app) is the holiday snap; seen online as the modern equivalent to getting your friends over for a slideshow, yet similarly painfully executed. As with any online persona, we have the urge to show only the best of ourselves, who knows who might see it; a future partner or competitive colleague, perchance. It’s only too tempting to post pictures of you sunning it up while everyone else is wearing thermals and cradling a cuppa soup at work. Two words: show off. ‘Single male looking for female with beachy hair, slag tag or belly button piercing (both, preferred) and a desire to sleep with someone who takes any opportunity to flash their abs at a party’, the lonely hearts ad would read, if the art of putting pen to paper was more commonplace than using a block of electricity to convey ones utmost thoughts.

The second most noticeable trend is inextricably associated with the first, as the two are almost always interlinked. There is no point in going on holiday if you don’t have a hot bod to show in your skimpy swimwear. It completes the whole look. Never have we ever seen a holiday snap of someone sweltering in a ski jumpsuit to hide all their lumps and bumps, unless, like Nigella you don the burkini in an effort to preserve your porcelain skin, or modesty.
 Think of the pain, hard work and discipline of going to a legs, bums and tums class, as you mutter “strong not skinny!” to yourself. They have earned the right to show off, surely? No, these are the sort of people who shoot daggers at you across the road from Wholefoods as you sip on a full fat Frappuccino. Someone definitely in need of another “guilt tripper” to complete their circle of trust.

Bound to attract ardent approval on Tinder is the added prop of a
furry friend. Melt girls’ hearts with a picture of you cuddling a puppy. Or even better, offer to babysit a niece or nephew; show that you can rear children effortlessly while still maintaining your trout pout. The sort of person who vets possible dates according to whether or not their pet Chihuahua approves are advocators of this trend, alongside girls with cat faces drawn on, possibly surrounded by the odd emoticon. The epitome of kawaii, a Japanese term coined to describe the level of cuteness forcibly imposed on us. There is only one way to explain this trend and that is these girls clearly don’t have any pets at hand and so thought they’d make themselves irresistible by turning into a feline with the help of a kohl eyeliner pencil (or sharpie for those looking for a more permanent solution; no Tinder induced tattoos noted as of yet). Despite the only rational explanation one can provide, we still don’t get the appeal. Ownership of a micro pig or hello kitty backpack is essential when trying to woo in this situation.

If you continue to seek approval, pictures of you in a dark nightclub clutching an oversized bottle of Belvedere on “Mahiki Monday” are surely going to make you the most eligible bachelor in all of Mayfair, if not London. This trend is reserved only for the very elite (or friends of whomever can afford a terribly undrinkable ten pints of vodka). Candidates who proudly sport a cleavage aided with a pair of chicken fillets, a foundation stripe across their jaw and own a wardrobe full of body-con dresses need only apply.

Sound appealing? Yes siree! Anyone willing to meet the dating requirements need only sign up. I am on tenterhooks awaiting the arrival of the first Tinder wedding invitations. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mile High Fashion

Ever since man has been able to travel, the secrets of the world have been unraveled, expressed commonly through design as foreign influences have satiated our inquisitive nature for centuries. Iconic design movements such as Rococo (of the 18th Century) and Japonisme (which reached the height of popularity in the late 19th Century) highlight the continuous authority of travel on discerning British works of art.

Globally speaking, fashion is an art form that no one is exempt from, whether you believe you follow the trends or not, you are liaising with the fashion industry every time you engage in buying constructed pieces of fabric to cover your modesty (to put it plainly). Unless you choose to run around naked, which would result you in undoubtedly being arrested and therefore forced to wear a ravishing orange jumpsuit (orange is the new black as we all know) or the old fashioned bold black and white stripes (Chanel was slightly late on the uptake with the Breton), heavily accessorised with the old ball and chain. Both equally chic and more fashionable than most.

The fact that it is becoming easier to travel year by year has only fuelled our quest to search for the unknown; the adventurer gene is brought out from within us as designers alike look to other cultures for inspiration. The introduction of mainstream air travel in the 1960s meant that people began to travel with great speed and the juxtaposition of fashions from other cultures, with references from our homeland, was conducted with ease.

Historical tourists echo modern equivalents: designers, students and those looking for something to fill a “gap-yah”, are no longer content with travelling to one country alone and so instead choose to globe-trot. The evolution of travel has out grown itself from necessity to emigration to frivolity and our perpetual need for new stimulation.
   The easy-jet generation, a term coined by it’s namesake (who else?), were deemed as ‘the early riser for the morning cab, last minute packing, full of excitement generation’, manipulating us into thinking that travelling economy-class is something to celebrate. And it is, inexpensive equals freedom, especially when it comes to travel, the world is your oyster (or jellied eel, the poundland equivalent). With the cheapest flight out of the country being under a tenner, London is providing more low-cost travel than anywhere else, making it ever more tempting to pull information, first hand, from all corners of the globe – with no better cause than to serve fashion.

The media offers us various mutations in reference to ways of imagining identities and groups, causing material effects on how people experience the world. There is a process of construction in terms of building up an image of national culture. As the diverse nature of the media grows rapidly alongside technological advances, more and more sources are providing us with their own thoughts on a culture or trend, which are being driven to extremities. This increasing “interconnectedness” influences us socially, culturally and economically; three main topics constantly interfacing with fashion. The total antithesis to how trends travelled country to country in the 18th Century where dolls were dressed in French and English royal houses, globally distributed, thus igniting a new style. Evidently more gourmet than our modern day fast food fashion binges, (literally represented by Moschino and their parodied romance with Macdonalds or Kaiser Karl’s throwaway Chanel supermarket).
Travel influences not only what we buy, but also what we are told to buy as voices are given to anyone and everyone with access to a computer and internet connection. Assaulting us with trends from all corners of the globe. Talking to fellow Womenswear students at LCF, it is clear that the juxtaposition of culture and concept assists the ability not only to consume, but to produce fashions that are inventive and progressive in terms of how we view popular culture. First year Ryan Sng commented that, as designers “we are attracted by things that are different because they are new and exciting. I do think it's a problem though, when designers are lazy and don't go beyond the surface of things”.
   While we see fashion as an ever-changing presence within the modern world, facile representations of the domains of others are constantly manufactured as costumes from other cultures, barely reinvented, producing superficial pseudo-stylistic designs. Most recently, Karl Lagerfeld lazily added only a few tweaks to his collection in Dallas, symptomatic of the common Cowboys vs. Indians stereotype. Hardly availing his creative license to convey the world as he sees it. Taking qualm with the quantity of cowboy inspired garments would be a crude undertaking, however, the depth and variety of changes within stereotypes cause them to become just that, stale stereotypes. Are designers utilising the world in which we live (and travelling to the capacity their wallets will allow) to the best of their abilities?
Globalisation can have a more positive dynamic on fashion (despite the clichés in circulation), creating a renewed sense of “local”, in particular, local craft. Dame Vivienne Westwood, who has previously voiced many outspoken opinions on globalisation and propaganda, was quoted in saying, ‘the one thing that globalisation has taught us, is we are all on this planet together and we can’t get off it, so we do have to have some shared values’. We are not appropriating enough praise to the countries that fuel our design. References should be made to these cultures, providing recognition worthy of their mastery. Promoting, not only the designer (belonging to a dominant society), but also the craft behind the costume.

Lets not forget our fashion capital, the rest of the world travels to London too of course. With the glitterati gravitating to London Fashion Week twice per annum, the works of 58 designers are showcased to over 5,000 people visiting England’s capital each season, amalgamating in the generation of at least £100m in sales, a vast cum indeed. The crème de la crème of journalists, stylists and celebrities travel to rub shoulders with one another to discuss and gaze upon what fashion has to offer this time around, only to circulate other fashion capitals the very next week.
   With LFW being an opportunity (and an honour) to represent ones country and boost the economy, why have designers like Victoria Beckham chosen to frequent other fashion weeks? I debated this topic with LCF student and ready-made designer in his own right, Christian Cowan-Sanluis, as he showed his level of understanding by discussing that although representing the country is necessary to boost economy, ‘designers are constantly aware of their business and can be swayed by more money or greater opportunities’. So perhaps their drive to progress is advantageous in representing Britain overseas, fuelling interest in the products of our small yet playfully creative island. Contrasting vaguely with the self-affirming high brow Paris fashion week, for example.
Aside from the cognitive advantages of modern air-travel towards fashion design, the postmodernist aspects of globalisation cause us to focus on our own thought processes. Being well travelled is one of the main ways in which people subconsciously learn new things. As I previously touched upon the notion of juxtaposition, the postmodern view on this is that by combining images from all over the globe, we create pastiches. Alluding to the fact that we may create fashions to parody and challenge garments of yester-year for comedic or profound effect. For example, garments for summer, inspired by a colder climate may challenge the value we put upon the four seasons.

The catalyst of changing seasons is the amalgamation of postmodernism and globalisation as we start to see the already ephemeral fashion industry speed up and morph into fast food fashion, a literal rendition of heroin chic as consumers the world over pine for their fashion fix. A glimpse of this can be seen with the introduction of “pre” and “resort” collections, to suppress our cravings just a little while longer; fashion pushers of the world teasing stylists, bloggers and purchasers alike. An inflation of this would be seasons to represent a spectrum of the world’s climate. If technology has allowed us to travel with ease, fashion must evolve alongside it by collapsing the confines of seasonal fashion. Travelling to warmer countries, avoiding the inevitable hibernation period brought by the British winter creates a need for clothing that corresponds with the forecast; particularly prevalent with those of us who make it their mission in life to out-trend everyone.

Opinions on postmodern fashion stretch far beyond trend, towards the ease of judgment when creating fashion to shock and mesmerise. Atypically, we are not meant to understand fully the meaning behind a collection, iconic representations of a culture, such as combining a kimono with your Prada pencil skirt, are all very well, but influences are often mistakable; as voiced by fashion critic, Rebecca Lowthorpe, “we are not meant to understand. We are meant to feel. Like great art – ancient or modern – the pieces [presented to us] are charged with feeling, sometimes confrontationally”. Dissecting banal global uniforms in favour of challenging the conventional image. Postmodernism down to a “T”.

Assimilating ourselves with the themes discussed does not make globalisation seem any less perplexing. It is rife with polarising opinions as to whether travel really is beneficial to everyone or lucidly uses global commodity to permit ongoing homogeneity. We are no longer confined to the restrictions of class, country or traditions, yet neither is anyone else.

   “Everything has been done before”, a phrase often muttered at the design table, to which I highly disagree. If we continue to marry and challenge diverse cultures we surely can’t have exhausted all sources of stimulus issued to us. The allure of fashion is multi-faceted and thrives on freedom and fantasy.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Digital Revolution: Lost in the Pipeline

‘Digital Revolution’, the words have been passed back and forth from mouth to mouth in many different formats. It seems as though technology is on the brink of promise, especially when it comes to integrating it with fashion. Brands such as Apple have enlisted figures from the fashion industry to make the technology seem even more needed. But it seems like technological fashion is going backwards instead of forwards.

Ashish X Topshop

Ashish X Topshop, another collaboration for the popular clothing brand, now an empire of clothing, accessories and make up, reduced to a gimmick with one fell swoop of the Ashish collection. Led lights lined shoes and nestled themselves within the seams of PVC backpacks, dragging me back kicking and screaming to the days when see-through rucksacks had pockets of vibrantly coloured liquid and my trainers lit up when I ran, pressing down with extra force to make sure they definitely did work. I’m all for a 90s revival, don’t get me wrong, but when something is hailed as revolutionary, I expect something a little more up to date.

iWatch

Trying to compete with the Google Glass, Apple is retracing their footsteps and poaching yet another fashion executive, enlisted to make sure we reach for the plastic come release. Less than a year after it announced the appointment of former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, Apple got greedy and lured LVMH executive Patrick Pruniaux (Vice President of sales at Tag Heuer) into their lair lined with convergence boards and floating pixels. Strapping a phone to your arm is hardly high fashion though (gym fanatics have been doing that since the noughties, purely functional). Can we expect an Apple Resort collection anytime soon? Perhaps not, but that would be an idea if anyone is going to take this digital uprising seriously, it’s hardly comparable to any historical revolution, unless the Queen gets a bit over-zealous with iPad accessories and pulls a Marie Antoinette.

"Digital Revolution" @ the Barbican

The future of tech fashion has to go beyond LED lights, transcending the desirability of catwalks and couture, and coalesce with our ever-evolving need to be so current that the fashions of yesterday are already ancient. A jejune representation of this could be taking pictures or screen grabbing an image from a catwalk and hooking it up to fibre thin screens woven into fabrics. But with this loss of texture, the designs would seem flat and lifeless – much like a sad fake handbag. With this element of literally lifting from the runway and copying designs, snobbery could be taken to the extreme. The real garment, hand crafted, versus the cyberspace equivalent.

This flat electronic fashion, much like the Paper Op Art dresses of the 60s would be an elementary way of customising, the elitist equivalent of iron on diamante or patches of appliqué. Contemporary fashion has surpassed plain textures and silhouettes, so how could this digital structure really contend with today’s treadmill of maturing designs? A malleable material perhaps? This is what’s holding the revolution back. Photoshop creations will never be as good as impasto art, just as a digital representation of intricate embroidery and heavily structured silhouette could never contend with the textures and negative space of the real thing. We may just be too impatient to find the golden combination of wearable tech.

the Twitter dress

With no sign of wearable tech found in the collections at Central Saint Martins, the students at one of the most forward thinking universities around have ditched modernism in favour of referencing historical movements and hand crafting couture collections, regressing back to the days of intricate textiles. Why this incessant need to electrify one of the most luxurious analogue art forms we have left?

Friday, 18 July 2014

THIS WEEK | Rooms Magazine | 14/07/2014

Catch up with all my articles from this past week ~

Calling all hoarders! The first law of Kipple is to donate, care of Dan Tobin Smith, who is collating a chromatic display of our junk as a comment on how humans use, store and waste resources. 

E x

Sunday, 13 July 2014

THIS WEEK | Rooms Magazine | 07/07/2014

A week of interviews and articles for me with Rooms Magazine! Catch up below ~

I spoke to Shroomstudio’s co-founder, Christos Hatjoullis, about the creative process and the future of animation.

Is animation more than simply an art form encased by a computer screen? I spoke to Richard Barnett of Trunk Animation to discuss the multi-faceted industry. 

E x



Sunday, 6 July 2014

THIS WEEK | Rooms Magazine | 30/06/2014

Catch up on all the articles I wrote for Rooms Magazine this week ~

Scaled by surrounding mountains, the Manfredas produced a track with snippets of post-punk influences - The Doors' "This is the End" comes to mind


As the tennis season is in full swing, I wrote a short comedic piece on Ralph Lauren X Wimbledon


I interviewed Nikoline Liv Andersen, a Fashion designer who toys with the idea of beauty, contrasting her elegant garments with a twist of the grotesque, eerie romanticism.

E x


Sunday, 29 June 2014

THIS WEEK | Rooms Magazine | 23/06/2014

Hello all! Here are the articles written for Rooms Magazine this week ~

Confined [ ] Space pop up store puts a time limit on the license to purchase - at the Hackney Shop

Band, Safe Barracks, launch their new single this July in Hoxton

CSM Professor Wendy Meakin collaborates with her student to emit the message of "Love not War" by creating artwork inspired by Japanese emblems of love, and tattoo art to lacquer the shell of a 1960s missile

Add a little spice to your festival ensemble with Levi's Festival personas - be the envy of Kate Moss with their Muddy Mary outfit, or find your Portaloo Prince amongst the crowd...


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Review: Maleficent / GUISE Magazine

Maleficent, a prequel to the infamous Sleeping Beauty, is in many ways a retelling of our favourite fairytale. Angelina Jolie's soft dewy features are transformed into something austere - but was Maleficent always an evil Queen? I reviewed the film's costumes for Guise Magazine…


E x

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Interview | Christian Cowan Sanluis | Fashion Designer

Fashion designer and Womenswear student at LCF, Christian Cowan Sanluis is also a friend of mine who’s designs have been featured in countless magazines and favoured by Lady Gaga who wore an outfit deemed ‘the glitter tux’, immortalised forever through illustrations and articles.

Constantly perplexing me by effortlessly juggling student life with creating his own collections, I interviewed Christian to see just how he does it…

E: What was the motive for setting up your brand so early on, before graduating as most fashion students and designers do?

Christian: I'm too impatient, I just wanted to do it now, so I decided to just begin. I felt a head start would help. 

E: Designing at home or in a classroom is totally different to putting your ideas out there in magazines or press days, why take such a huge step into the unknown?

C: I always find university themes really constricting, so it's nice to do your own work. You call the shots and say what is right and what's not. So I started because I'm a control freak with my designs; I don't like being told what I think looks great isn't going to get me the marks!

E: Inspiration is found through many different areas of life, something ever changing and evolving. Do you have one driving force spurring you on?

C: I really enjoy working (so that helps). When I was younger I was heavily influenced by nature shows, (David Attenborough!!) and I always gravitated towards insects and the weirder animals. So I think that was my first influence, since then I've just wanted to create fun fashion that makes people feel empowered. 

E: How do you handle your success? Are you getting used to some things more than others?

C: Ha ha! I don't feel like much is different to be honest, but I have noticed more people are up for working together which is great, I love to collaborate and work with someone who has a different skill set.

E: Do you celebrate each milestone? How?

C: I get really excited for like 5 minutes and then feel unsatisfied, ha!

E: Always looking to the next project! Your collections really do seem effortless, you're so calm and almost secretive during term time, there must be a lot more to it than meets the eye - to you get any help with sourcing fabrics etc or is it more of a one man "band"?

C: I wish I had some bit team! But apart from help from my friends when they are round, (I use them as slaves) I do most of the work. Of course when it comes to the look book, video & presentation, there's tonnes of people involved. Which is nice.

E: Do you use the same processes as we do at LCF? Research - initial designs - samples - developed… or it is a totally different ball park?

C: No not really, I collect images I love on my phone, write notes of ideas, lots of scribbles and then draw them up. From there I devise a story to base the collection from.

E: What do you work towards?

C: I want to create a collection that feels young, energetic, fresh and fun! I want it to make people smile and laugh (in a nice way).

E: Do you really follow things like fashion week and go to exhibitions or do you think there are more ways to be in touch with the industry?

C: I always see what's happening through Instagram etc. I go to exhibitions when I can but I don't really attempt the LFW shows, although I do go to the parties that are around as its nice to see everyone - and get a free drink. 

E: Personally, I think that fashion, music, art, films etc can all be integrated, do films/music inspire you? What's your favourite film?

C: Yes, definitely! Music probably influences me the most. I grew up glued to the TV, watching music videos. The internet is a main source of inspiration and video games, so that's definitely where I feel at home.

E: The digital age! Would you ever consider designing for a film as many designers have done in the past (e.g. Gaultier for "Fifth Element")?

C: I'd love to! I just need someone to ask me!


E: What do you think is your greatest extravagance/indulgence?

C: Food. I have the worst diet ever, a lot of snacks come through my front door.

E: Too tempting to pass up, ha! So what's next for you and your brand?

C: I'm just trying to improve on what I do and get my work out there. I'd love to build up my stockists and have a great team onboard.

E: An empire in the making! Your designs are always immaculate, name something you think has been horrifically overdone in fashion?

C: Those Rottweiler t-shirts, they need to stop.

E: And something that needs more 'representation' in fashion?

C: I must say living in London I feel like everything is on show, we can't really complain.

E: Lastly, where's your go to place away from the fashion industry? Be it a place of tranquility or just somewhere a little different/exciting.

C: My mum's house near Cambridge, it's on a farm and her dogs are awesome so when it all gets a bit much I hide up there.

E: Thank you Christian! It was great to chat, good luck with all your future collections, we can't wait to see everything!


Follow Christian on Instagram (@christiancs94) and Twitter (@ChristianCXMCS) for updates on his new collections.


Want to intern for Christian? Get in touch! "Know any sassy people who would be up for helping with my SS15 collection and some extra projects? Send them my way!"

E x

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Return of the Rudeboy @ Somerset House

In a society where it seems as though subculture is a mere whisper of the past, the anarchy of Punk is slipping away as a memory while everyone is pacified by hands fused to their iPhones.

The upcoming Rudeboy exhibition at Somerset House is the injection of gritty subculture London needs. Curated and created by film and music’s Dean Chalkley and fashion’s favourite Harris Elliott, the duo have chosen to represent (and introduce some of us) to the sartorial subculture known for painting the town with urban style and swagger.

Mohair, pork pie hats and a sharp buzz cut were flooded with American Jazz and R&B – British dandy meets gangster, and infusion of notoriety and high society. Saville Row meets Shoreditch.

With a heavy emphasis on Bespoke British and soulful music, a tale of two cultures is realised, ballasted by visuals, portraits and playlists, within the unsuspecting neoclassical walls of Somerset House. A fitting exhibition space as if cast into the foundations.







Return of the Rudeboy exhibited at Somerset House is open to the public on the 13th June until 25th August 2014. Free Admission.