What do you know about queer history? It’s not exactly on the school syllabus, which means we tend to be woefully uninformed.
That’s what Never Apart hopes to rectify with its LGBT Historic Colouring book, Colour by Icons, which celebrates some of queer history’s most colourful trailblazers: legends and heroic symbols of queer struggles, talents, and achievements.
The book costs $20, with 50% going to Rainbow Railroad and 50% to going directly into funding youth-focused programming at Never Apart. There are 25 iconic images found inside and bound in the 1980’s Colouring Book style.
It will be accompanied by an art exhibition at the Never Apart Gallery – its first – which will showcase works from a number of artists who took on the task of colouring a page in in the book. These will be auctioned off in aid of the same cause later in the year, and you will also be able to buy 3 different “Colour by Icons” t-shirts.
Never Apart is a non-profit organization in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, determined to bring about social change and spiritual awareness through programming with global reach and impact.
Never Apart seeks to educate on equality, the environment, and conscious living, while celebrating both established and emerging artists. The platform is geared towards igniting change through gatherings, music, art exhibitions, panel discussions, workshops, and special events.
What started as two design students connecting over their love of everything girly, and their dislike of the elitism and limits imposed by fashion school, led to the creation of Me and You—a fashion label with a cult following. Mayan Toledano and Julia Baylis are the best friends behind the label known for its beautifully simple underwear emblazoned with ‘feminist’ in pastel pink lettering, floaty tulle dresses, and fitted T-shirts covered in lipstick kisses.
Me and You began while Baylis and Toledano were studying at Parsons School of Design in New York. “We started collaborating on art pieces because we really liked the print studio at our school and it was a good getaway for us from regular class—because we hated it,” says Toledano. “It was very business oriented,” adds Baylis. “It was either become an assistant designer or become the next big thing, but we really wanted to design stuff that is accessible.”
“We always say that Me and You is about going to that place when you’re a young girl and you’re sitting in your room, where you feel safe and comfortable and creative.”
Snatching time between classes and assignments, their collaboration continued to develop. But it was the response they received on social media that really pushed the best friends to take it from escapist pastime to an actual business. “We didn’t sit down and decide to start a clothing label together, it was very organic,” says Baylis. “We began to print pieces and then our friend Petra [Collins] photographed some of our stuff, we put some of it on Instagram and people were commenting on our work and getting excited about it.”
The internet has been a critical space for the fourth wave of feminism, and Me and You has found a dedicated fanbase among young females who aren’t afraid to call themselves part of the movement. While some brands have tried to use feminism in cynical, attention-seeking ways at a time when it’s getting renewed interest, for Toledano and Baylis it is instinctive. “The idea of feminism was always so natural to me, I don’t even remember first becoming aware of the word,” says Baylis. “The perception of the word has changed so much, it has and morphed through each wave of feminism.” This is what lead the duo to incorporate the word ‘feminist’ into their designs in the way that they have. “We decided to take that word, which is so loaded, and use it in a fun, accessible way, in a pretty way, making it something that girls can relate to,” says Toledano.
Those tired of homogenous fashion imagery so far from a representation of themselves are turning to a new era of creatives unafraid to offer up a different vision—like Baylis, Toledano and their collaborators, who include Barbara Ferreira, Petra Collins, Arvida Byström. The imagery created for Me and You, which is as much a part of the brand as the clothing, stands out for the diversity of girls—and occasional boy—featured. “Who we photograph is never calculated, it’s just people we see in real life or on Instagram,” says Toledano, “We would never airbrush our images, we show cellulite and whatever.” They have no qualms about body hair either, but point out that they see shaving as just as valid—what’s important is knowing that it’s a choice.
‘The idea of feminism was always so natural to me, I don’t even remember first becoming aware of the word.”
With Me and You, Baylis and Toledano have created a world of comfort, vulnerability and the freedom that comes with having total support from a community of like-minded individuals. That is perfectly encompassed by how they describe their label: “We always say that Me and You is about going to that place when you’re a young girl and you’re sitting in your room, where you feel safe and comfortable and creative. We always reference that place because we think that exists within everyone. It’s that place where you feel uninhibited, you feel yourself.”
As the daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler, Twin favourite Eliot Sumner has some serious music credentials. Despite being just age 24 (she turns 25 at the end of the month), she has an uncanny knack of creating music that gives you the chills, and her latest track, Firewood, is no exception. It’s out now on iTunes, and her hotly anticipated album is promised later this year – although details are being kept very hush hush. If you’re lucky, you can catch her tonight, playing at the Kings Head Club. Check out her website for more details.
The brilliant designer and Twin favourite Phoebe English debuts her book, Falling/ Floating/ Drowning/ Flying today to accompany the exhibition of the same name, on at Now Gallery on the Greenwich Peninsula.
English is known for her intricate, meticulous creations and the exhibition provides a fascinating insight into her design process, featuring sketches, photos and fragments from her previous collections.
With such painstaking attention to detail, the book is sure to be beautiful—but only 100 copies have been made, so make sure you get your hands on one.
We’ve already declared our love for Matt & Nat’s über chic, eco-friendly designs here on the Twin blog, but the brand is now going one step further and producing bags with a double dose of goodness.
100 % of the purchase price of its limited-edition Hope bag (£50, pictured) will go to a charity of your choice, although Matt & Nat has conveniently curated an extensive selection of environmental, humanitarian, and animal welfare organisations that it feels best represent its values of social responsibility, inclusiveness, integrity and love. Head to their website to find out more.
As ever, the bag is created from an entirely recycled, sustainable material that mimics leather. What’s not to like?
Twin favourites, Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow, known more commonly as MS MR, are soon to release their second LP How Does It Feel, the follow up to their 2013 debut Secondhand Rapture.
So far the new songs, such as Wrong Victory and Painted, have showcased a new sound from the Brooklyn duo, and their latest to be released, the titled track off the album, features an anthem-like chorus that begs to be sung at the top of your lungs. Could this be a step away from the melancholic crooning that caught our attention, when Hurricane came out?
How Does It Feel will be released on July 17 on Columbia Records. Pre order it here and receive the first three songs released as an immediate download.
22-year-old Tabea Weyrauch was born in Hamburg but moved to Northern Ireland at age 6 – she describes herself as slightly culturally confused. Scouted at 17, she appeared on ‘The Model Scouts’ TV show and has never looked back. Photography by Sophia Aerts.
My favourite place is Regent’s Park. But London has so many beautiful parks that it’s hard to choose! I prefer green spaces over concrete; I love how people change their behavior and relax in the presence of nature. I try to walk as much as possible, and will always try to detour through a park.
My style is sporadic. One day I’ll dress like a teenage boy, the next I’ll put on a classy dress. I just follow my mood. I have a beautiful silver ring that my mum gave me that I am never without. I’d feel naked! I usually head to vintage shops or Zara, but the big name designers that I admire the most are Nicolas Ghesquiere and Karl Lagerfeld.
For their AW15 campaign, Kenzo’s creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim called upon independent filmmaker, Gregg Araki, to take a nostalgic trip back to the teenage wastelands he created for his Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy, and the result is a short film entitled Here Now.
In a similar world of 1997’s Nowhere, this film is shot in the same style and frame of mind but features a new cast of young stars, such as Avan Jogia, Grace Victoria Cox, Jacob Artist, Jane Levy and Nicole LaLiberte. The costumes are all from Kenzo’s AW15 menswear and womenswear collections, of course, and are styled to enhance the characters and narrative of Araki’s short. All the signifiers we’ve come to expect from the director are present: overwrought teenage rebellion and angst, rampant sexuality, a nun and yes, the pre-requisite Shoegaze song.
In celebration of summer, Anglo-Swedish watch label, Larsson & Jennings have created four new styles that reinvent their best-selling Läder collection.
The four new colourways were designed with summer wardrobes in mind: the classic 40mm watch face has been teamed with a smooth dove grey, cyan blue, racing green and a grained black strap – all handmade from leather sourced from the Anglo-Swedish brand’s tanneries in Somerset and Sweden’s Tärsnjö – and finished with a gold or silver casing and a white dial.
The new Läder styles are available online or in store at their London location.
1947 was a bleak year for post-war Europe: a lack of adequate housing and poverty were daily struggles. Yet that all changed thanks to Christian Dior. His iconic New Look featured fuller silhouettes, the abundance of material rebelling against the austere, masculine narrow skirts forced by rationing. The collection carried a spirit of rebirth and renewal, and heralded a return to normality.
In a new exhibition running until 1 November, the esteemed fashion house will be showcasing this sartorial revolution. Featuring a selection of haute couture pieces dating from 1947-2015, photographs, documents, memorabilia, manuscripts, original drawings, miniatures of the Barsuit, New Look dolls, patterns and toiles, along with a tribute to the legendary Miss Dior perfume, it will serve as a genealogy of Dior style.
Musée Christian Dior, 1 Rue d’Estouteville 50400 Granville, France
Perhaps one of the most hotly anticipated exhibitions of the year opened at the Phillips gallery in New York a few weeks ago: “Complicities”, by Brigitte Lacombe.
Famed for her photojournalistic approach to cinema, this is the first time in her 40-year career that she has exhibited her work in the Big Apple.
Lacombe is best known for her portraits and reportage in both black and white and colour, capturing private moments on set. These include large format prints of Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Andy Warhol, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Moss, amongst others.
The late, great, Richard Avedon used to regard her work with envy – a true compliment indeed.
Adding to the occasion is the opportunity to buy some of Lacombe’s original prints, so get yourself down there before it finishes on 30 July.
The contemporary Berlin concept store, Voo, has teamed up with Swedish sunglass label Monokel Eyewear to create a limited edition pair of sunglasses, and together they have collaborated with artist Axel Wannberg on a accompanying art installation.
The all-white frames feature silver mirrored lenses, handcrafted in premium acetate with lenses from Carl Zeiss Vision. Wannberg has taken the pair as inspiration to create a mirrored sculpture built on basic geometric shapes to reflect the sunglasses perfectly. The art piece aspect of the project explores the concept of modern narcissism and the idea of self-image in a digital and hyper social society, that utilises the symbolic meaning of mirrors, used in both art and literature.
“The project begun with a discussion between us and Voo about narcissism and how digital tools and social media enables us to fine-tune and present this curated ideal image of ourselves,” states Robert Sandgren, creative director of Monokel Eyewear. ”And it seems as if mirrors depict reality, but they rarely do.”
Twin favourites, Kate Boy, have announced the release of their latest track, Midnight Sun. Following on from singles, Self Control and Higher, the new song was written and recorded by the trio in Stockholm last December, drawing inspiration from the endless days of sunlight during Swedish summers: “Midnight Sun is about summer days that never end and also a metaphor for meeting in the middle and accepting each other for who we are,” states the band themselves.
After spending time touring the likes of festivals such as SXSW Festival, Secret Garden Party and The Great Escape, they also played headline shows at Koko, XOYO and The Lexington in London last year. Now, however, the band are focusing on their debut album, One, set for release in November.
To get in the summer mood, the NYC Young Feminist Giving Circle (NYFem) are hosting a festive evening celebrate their patron feminist, Frida Kahlo, at the New York Botanical Garden.
You’ll be able to stroll through Kahlo’s beloved Casa Azul reimagined in the Conservatory, see rare works in the Art Gallery and enjoy live music and performance art, all while enjoying a complimentary Modelo Especial draft beer or a Jose Cuervo Tradicional margarita.
After a self-guided tour, bask under the stars to learn more about NYC Young Feminist Giving Circle and the work they do to fund feminist-led human rights work.
Prada has been instrumental in helping wooden eyewear break free of its formerly dowdy image. The fashion powerhouse’s new line, Prada Raw, features sought-after smooth curves and top quality, light weight materials, while the grain makes each product unique. The trend reached new heights when Prada stitched leather uppers to its specs for the SS15 catwalk.
Prada continues its innovation with the launch of Prada Raw Avenue this Friday, a virtual catwalk where shoppers can experience Prada’s sunglasses through the eyes of six illustrations. Users can interact with the site in real-time through the different illustrations as they walk the virtual runway.
The artists from around the globe include Carly Kuhn, Megan Hess, Blair Breitenstein (whose illustration features above), Judith van den Hoek, Wong Ping and Vida Vega.
Francesca Belmonte’s sound is sultry, distinctive and unique, blending RnB, soul, club and electronica with an avant-garde twist. Having worked in the industry for years with trip-hop icon Tricky, Belmonte perfected her talent and is now going out on her own. Her recently released debut, Anima, gives us insight into her world with sombre vocals that are broken up by beats, synths and electronica.
Twin caught up with the singer/songwriter to talk melancholia, favourite lyrics and how it all began.
So how did you end up in Music?
As a teenager I had a few friends with bedroom studios who were always looking for singers. I started writing poems from a young age but this was the first time I’d laid down vocals and ideas properly and I loved it. We would play gigs around London for fun and I realised very quickly it was what I wanted to do. I started working with more producers, experimenting and developing ideas. Then in 2008 when I met Tricky and my life changed. Within a week of knowing him I was on a two month European tour and then a month or so after that we were touring America. He invited me to sing and write in the studio which we’ve been doing ever since; and six years later he produced my record. I am interested in other things and I’d like to go back to school one day but music has always been priortity.
Why did you decide to go it alone after working with Tricky for so long?
Because I began to get too comfortable. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started with Trick. I knew I was good enough and that I deserved to be there but I was a novice with a lot to learn. The skills and lessons I’ve learned along the way both professionally and personally have been invaluable but six years is a long time and I began to get restless. It would have been very easy to just stay there, stay on his tour, in his studio. It’s an addictive cycle; make an album tour it and start all over again and being his singer this cycle was provided for me over and over again and all I had to do was show up. It’s been an enriching experience but I needed to feel scared again, I needed a new challenge.
What would you say is the most important lesson you learnt from working with Trick?
To leave your insecurities at the door. I learned this lesson the hard way and I’ll never forget it. Very early on we were writing on the tour bus in Estonia. It was a good vibe and he suggested I tried this particular idea over a piece of music we were listening to. I was apprehensive and said ‘No I don’t think thats going to work’. And the session just stopped, it was like I’d just murdered a member of his family or something, I completely killed the vibe and there was no coming back from it. That doubt I had was an insecurity that had no place in that creative environment and I totally got it. Later on he wrote me a poem to explain why he was so upset about it which is the opening verse of a song I wrote called I Could. He says often, even now ‘You have to try, you have nothing if you dont try.’
Tell us a little about the name of the album, Anima. What does it mean to you?
I came across the word while reading about Carl Jung and firstly it jumped out at me because it looked so beautiful written down and sounded so strong and elegant. Then the more I read into it, the more it resonated with me. It means soul in Italian and being half Neapolitan I liked that nod to my heritage. In Jungian psychology it is the female element of the male psyche which was fitting having been Trickys singer, the voice behind a man for such a long time. There is also an ancient meaning my guitarist told me about a few weeks ago which is the idea that everything is living and connected from a human being to a rock at the top of a mountain. To me the word Anima is about femininity, strength and the two existing harmoniously together. To be a woman is to know your power and to excercise it while retaining that feminine strength and vulnerability which can be challenging in the world we are living in today. There’s too much pressure put on women of all ages to be sexy and fuckable and not enough encouragement to develop ones skills and unique abilities.
Your music has melancholic undertones. What draws you to this style? It’s not something I think about, it just comes out that way. The album is often quite uptempo and dancey, but you’re right there are strong sad elements even in those seemingly more upbeat tracks like Lying on the Moon. I like sad songs, always have done so perhaps its just a cultivation of listening to a style of music which ultimately influences your art.
How would you describe your sound?
Alternative blues, experimental pop. Always a tough question.
You have said in previously interviews that you are very proud of your lyrics. Do you have a favourite line that resonates?
It’s hard to pick one favourite line. I want to write more songs like Your Sons, ‘Your sorrow, your sons a hero, but what for? I’m not sure. Your young ones get called and march on, but what for? I’m not sure’. I like the Brothers and Sisters lyrics too , ‘He’ll be waiting round the corner, he’ll be standing up straight, you may notice some affliction. Can you see him whats he wearing? Were his wings beneath the coat? Did he talk of revolution? Did he sing of every note?’ I want to write more songs like that, focusing on strong imagery and mysterious stories. I’m most proud of the Stole lyrics though, they poured out of me and it was like a purging.
Francesca Belmonte’s debut album Anima is out now on False Idols. Buy here.
Christopher Shannon, the Central St Martins MA graduate, started his eponymous line with menswear, but after winning the inaugural BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund in June 2014, it wasn’t long before he ventured out and debuted womenswear for SS15. Now, however, it’s time for a second.
Twin caught up with the rising talent to find out more about his pre-fall line, inspired by Young British Artist Henry Bond.
With this being your second, tell us a little about your decision to start a womenswear collection?
It happened as weirdly as we had a little space in the schedule at the studio. For years I had drawn up women’s ideas and then decided it was the wrong time. Suddenly it seemed like the right time, or just the time when it was actually do able.
What was it about YBA Henry Bond’s work that caught your attention? His book ‘The Cult Of The Street’ has been a fave of mine for years, I think I picked it up in a charity shop. It just really captures a time. I don’t really know much about his other work.
The plastic bag motif has been carried over from the menswear line. Will all future collections be reflective of the men’s? I think it’s always nice to move ideas back and forth, just the context of seeing men’s pieces on women starts you thinking of them in a different way. My work is kind of unisex I suppose, it’s never really going to look that draggy.
Do you design with a certain type of woman in mind? I think that’s a little bit simplistic, I think I know that it definitely isn’t a certain type of woman, but that again is quite limiting. I always think of women I know or work with and what they would wear. I think I’m really working on offering an alternative to dressy or pretentiously ugly.
In a way, you fuse luxury with streetwear to create modern and unique pieces. What are you favourites from the collection? I love the shortened knit and the tracksuit with the ruffles, they just have a modernity and an ease.
Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street is known for it’s creative spirit and undeniable sense of style. The latest addition to the now infamous strip of road is The Basics Store, a concept curated by London based designer Marina Guergova.
As well as this, the store will also play host to a series of summer events and talks from the likes of The Pressery and Qnola, and you’ll also find music during their Acoustic Bench Sessions, when musicians will busk on the beach out front.
The current timetable looks as follows…
Saturday, 20th June - Qnola (healthy popped quinoa granola) talk & event - 10.45am Thursday, 2nd July - Poke (Hawaiian raw health bowls) evening food event - 5pm-8.30pm Saturday, 4th July - The Pressery (almond milks) talk & event - 10.30am Friday, 10th July - SPOON (natural granola) talk & event - 10.30am Saturday, 11th July - The Hardihood (raw, superfood confectionery) talk & event - 10.45am
The Basic Store is open daily until July 13th at 30a Redchurch Street, London, E1 6JL.
Run It Out is a documentary that tells one woman’s story of following your dreams; of not allowing the past to ruin your present or your future.
Directed by Tara Darby, the film follows Robin Arzon, a street athlete and former lawyer, as she sets out on one of the toughest challenges of her life - to run five marathons in five days in the challenging terrain of the Utah desert to raise money for MS research. As it unfolds we learn the reasons behind Robin’s motivation and why she feels the need to run such long distances, pushing herself way past her own limits. Running is her meditation, her release, her therapy.
The film is a celebration of strong women, love, life and running. It is yet to be completed, and those involved are looking to raise £20k to get the documentary finished and submitted to film festivals in Europe and NYC.
To find out how to get involved and help this story be told, head here.