AYA, Francesca Allen

When the British photographer met musician Aya in Tokyo the pair bonded immediately. “Even though our time together was brief, they remain some of my favourite photos I’ve taken” says Francesca Allen of this first encounter in 2016.

Two years later, these first photographs have informed a longer and more intimate project. Francesca Allen’s new book, ‘Aya’ invites viewers into their friendship and documents a month that the pair spent together in Tokyo.

Unable to speak the same language, Allen’s lens offers a poignant testament to connections that are forged beyond verbal exchange. She captures the unspoken chemistry and emotional bond between them, created over an intense month of sharing everything and spending all their time in each other’s company.

Aya is depicted in the studio but also in both domestic and outdoor locations throughout the city. The portraits, whether up close or more distanced, are constantly tender and thoughtful. In these images we can feel Allen behind the camera, creating space for the audience to see into their shared world.

Released this week, ‘Aya’ is an ode to friendship, celebrated in a beautiful new tome. Ahead of the launch we caught up with Francesca Allen to find out more. 

‘Aya’, Francesca Allen

What did you find most interesting about Aya when you met her?

It’s hard to pinpoint why you find someone interesting, but for me it’s all about a connection. Aya is enigmatic and quiet and funny and intriguing. I’m so happy I was able to get to know her more. 

How did you meet?

We were introduced through a mutual friend in 2016 when I first visited Tokyo. We hung out for a few hours taking photos and went to Aya’s label Big Love Records in Harajuku. Even though our time together was brief, they remain some of my favourite photos I’ve taken.

‘Aya’, Francesca Allen

How did documenting one person compare to doing editorials and campaigns?

To have the luxury of spending that much time with one person is so special and something I was very grateful to be able to do. 

What did you learn?

I learnt that this type of project is my dream project. I’m constantly looking for people to photograph and forge connections with, and to be let into someone’s life like this was amazing. 

Did the city of Tokyo inform or inspire the photographs?

Being in a new place is always so exciting, but I wasn’t there to make a book about Tokyo so I veered away from including anything too obvious. I wanted Aya to be the sole focus of the photographs. 

Was there anything that surprised you during the project?

I never tired of taking photos of Aya. We spent a lot of time together and went through so many rolls of film, yet it never felt stale. 

‘Aya’, Francesca Allen

There’s a mixture of studio portraits and natural environments in the book. How did the different settings inform your approach to image making in the context of such an intimate relationship with your subject?

I don’t feel like there is so much difference with shooting in a studio to being on location. The focus of my photos is so rarely about the location or the environment, and when you reach a certain level of intimacy with someone it doesn’t make too much difference where you are. 

‘Aya’, Francesca Allen

What about the book are you most excited about?

I received my first copy of the book the other day, and it felt amazing to hold it in my hands. We are all so used to seeing our photos on screens and social media, so to have the opportunity to make something tangible feels incredibly special. 

‘Aya’, Francesca Allen

‘Aya’ by Francesca Allen is out on Libraryman with a limited first edition of 500 copies, 4th September 2018. 

Tags:

Soft Criminal, Red Hook Labs

A new exhibition at Red Hook Labs this September looks to immerse audiences in an anarchic and imagined world.

Entitled ‘Soft Criminal’ the new exhibition brings together the work of three creatives: South African photographer Kristin-Lee Moolman, Sierra-Leonean designer Ibrahim Kamara and British designer Gareth Wrighton.

The collaboration between the three artists is set around an imagined story line about characters from the African diaspora. Soft Criminal centres around three families wrestling for power and explores the tension not only between individuals but between tradition and progress. In the story an old King is deposed by a “new money hacktivists” and an anarchic war lord.

The exhibition at Red Hook Labs will open with a live show featuring 22 hand-made designs alongside a display of photographs taken of the collection by Moolman in South Africa.

This exhibition at Red Hook Labs is the latest of an ongoing series of work between Moolman, Kamara and Wrighton. The group have also exhibited together at Somerset House and collaborated on a zine.

Poignant and evocative expected your imagination to be sparked and the impact of the trio’s vision to stay long after you leave the exhibition. 

Soft Criminal, Red Hook Labs, September 12th – 23rd, 2018.

Tags: , , , ,

A chat with designer-turned-Gucci-model Harris Reed

American-born Central Saint Martin third-year fashion design student Harris Reed has quickly became on of the most recent names to know in fashion.

With his natural appetite for androgyny fused with an impeccable taste in design, Reed has found himself gaining attention from celebrities such as Solange Knowles and Troye Sivan. He’s also designed collections exclusively for singer-songwriter Harry Styles. Only a few months ago , the designer was tapped by Gucci to take over their instagram stories during the Cruise 2019 show and to debut on the runway himself in Arles, France.

Twin contributor Jordan Anderson sits down with the creative to decipher the details of his whirlwind of success.

Harry Styles sporting one of Reed’s looks during a performance.

Jordan Anderson (JA) : First of all I have to ask, what were your exact thoughts walking down that aisle for Gucci in Arles?

Harris Reed (HR) : I remember the one thought going through my head was that this is it, this is the beginning of it all. With all the editors from all sorts of magazines that I’ve admired sitting in the audience, it was just kind of this overwhelming feeling knowing that I am one of the only designers that is being supported in this way by such huge brand. After all the hard work I put in, and am still putting in, this was like the best sort of graduation anyone could ever have.

JA: What’s an average day like in the life of Harris reed?

HR:  Lately it’s been waking up at 7am and attending to emails, running out to get coffee and starting to do research on different things happening around London. I usually visit the National Portrait Gallery and other art exhibitions around town where I often find inspiration for my work.

Some days I’ll return home and do interviews all evening or some days I’ll stay up sewing until 4 a.m, but pretty much the bulk of my days involve emails, research and sewing.

JA: The title of your last collection was the “The Lost Romantic Boys of the Edwardian Summer Holiday.” What was the story behind it?

HR: The collection I did before this was a 13 look compilation for Harry Styles, which was what kind of led me to this project. That entire collection was inspired by the summers I spent down at the seaside in England with my grandparents. All the men in my family are kind of men of the sea and I’ve always felt kind of like the odd one out. It’s sort of a play on my interpretation of what I would look like if I was to ever be come one these characters.

A look from a previous collection of the designer.

JA: What’s your design process like?

HR: I always start with a very strong character. Then I create a narrative around this persona and from there I dive into the design process through collaging, which is where I create a silhouette. It’s always a constant back and forth between collaging and working with the physical pieces as feel is very important to me in the creation of these characters. I end up doing a lot of hands on work while doing my sketching and collaging at the same time.

JA: People often label your work as androgynous, but do you consider yourself a menswear or womenswear designer?

HR: Even though I’m thinking about gender constantly when it comes to the physical design process I try not to imagine my characters as gendered. I imagine them more as fluid beings, it’s more about the body,  the shapes,   forms and the personality traits rather than all the labels.

So no, I wouldn’t place myself in either of those categories.

Singer Troye Sivan in a Harris Reed look

JA: If you could use one movie, a song,  a poem or some type of media to define your work what would it be?

HR: It would surely be cross baby of the movies Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)  and Orlando (1992)  .

JA: When looking at your work, it’s noticeable that a lot of the pieces are quite similar to your personal style. Is your work a reflection of yourself?

HR: It’s quite funny because when I started designing, I noticed that the second I started making pieces that were for myself the response was much greater. I would definitely say that a lot of times my collections hold aspects of myself and my personality.

JA: Who is your work for?

HR: My work is for a very mixed group of people, from 16 year-old girls to 60 year old women. Everyone has a different perceptive on it: some people think it’s quite rock n roll, while some think it’s very tasteful and victorian like . It is for anyone who’s not afraid to dress up and understand that they’re going to spark conversation by wearing my pieces.

JA: I noticed when composing your look books and doing personal shoots that most of the models you use are black men. Was this intentional and why?

HR: I can never do anything for only the sake of being pretty or beautiful. I always have to be tackling issues that are important. For a short time in my life I did modelling and one of the things I noticed was the lack of diversity, so I always try to be  as inclusive as possible. Also for me it’s more about the people I meet and their personalities. I would rather meet someone, get to know them and shoot them for my collection rather than just picking a random model from an agency.

Artiste Solange Knowles in a full look by Harris Reed

JA: Is a college education important for one wanting to be a designer ?

HR: It’s interesting because I’m obviously  quite fortunate to have such great success before even completing university. However I’ve found CSM to be such an amazing experience. I look at the work I did a year ago and compare it to what I’m doing now and I see how I’ve experienced such enormous growth, and a lot of that was thanks to the professors and friends I’ve met here.  So I think it’s good for growth. However I think there are some people who make it work without schooling . It just depends on the person. I would say it’s not mandatory, but it’s 100% beneficial if it’s within your means.

JA: What are some of the challenges you experience being a student who’s already in the spotlight?

HR: Finding the time to do everything is difficult. I’m a ‘yes’ person, I love to collaborate so the biggest challenge is knowing when to say no and understanding my limits.

JA: Can you tell me about a time that was scary for you?

HR: Moving to London from America for me was like coming out of a cocoon. When I got to London I was welcomed with such an accepting energy that pushed me to being more fluent and embrace who I was. One of the scariest moments for me was physically opening up and wearing these extravagant things that better represent me.  Sporting these looks in public and worrying about what people will think. It was kinda just about that moment of physically coming out of a closet dressed in all these extravagant, decadent pieces.

JA: What would be the dream for your career ?

HR: I think it would be having a huge business that is completely gender fluid and which is giving back to the community. That’s successful in breaking down the fundamentals of the way fashion looks at gender and personally being a role model to people like myself.

Tags: , , ,

30 Days 30 Female Artists

British cinematographer/screenwriter Molly Manning Walker is a creative best known for using her work to speak up on prominent issues within society from a unique perspective. 

In 2015, Walker collaborated with director Billy Boyd Cape to create a powerful short film titled ‘More Hate Than Fear’ which gave insight on the experience of an unjustly imprisoned graffiti artist as he navigated the first months of his 3 year prison sentence.

Previously, Molly also teamed up with producer Joya Berrow to create the mini-documentary ‘Not With Fire, With Paint’ which explores the impact of the murder of Diego Felipe Beccera — a graphic artist shot in the back by police officers while painting in the streets of Bogota, Colombia during 2011.

Painting by Camilla Rose

The cinematographer is now turning her lens to the subject of rape and is currently working to produce a short film entitled ‘Dark Is Her Shadow’ which is set to explore the emotional, physical and mental traumas and stigmas surrounding sexual assault. “We follow Amy, who is a 16 year-old girl who is trying to resume life after being raped, the day after the incident, she struggles with being provided with little to no guidance while the ghost of her rapist returns to haunt her,” says Walker.

Once a victim of sexual assault herself, she explains that the intention of the film is: “to prevent people from losing eye contact when the word rape is brought up and counteract people from asking victims what we were wearing when we say we were raped.”

In order to raise funds for the film — set to be shot in London this November — Molly has brought together a team of 30 female artists for 30 days of an instagram auction.

Over the span of these thirty days, the donated work of each of these artists will be auctioned off via Walker’s instagram to raise money for the film.

Big Titty Kitty by Netty Hurley

“The film is being funded through Kickstarter and the page will go live on August 29th. Each day we will have a different piece, an image of this piece will go out on instagram, facebook and twitter, the artist will self-evaluate this piece and that will be the starting price. When the image goes up, the followers will have until midnight to bid on each piece. At midnight, the winning bidder will donate to the Kickstarter page and the piece will be marked sold.”

The group of women include illustrator Alice Rosebery-Haynes , music photographer Natalie Wood, portrait photographer Charlotte Ellis, fashion designer Jazz Grant, along with several other poets, painters and talented creatives.

For more information and to get involved, tune in to Walker’s instagram.

Portrait by Charlotte Ellis

Tags: , , , ,

Good Trouble issue 22, issue 2

The second issue of Good Trouble issue 22, the zine produced by former Dazed & Confused editor Rod Stanley and designed by Richard Turley and Sophie Abady, is out this month.

Slightly confusing though the name of the magazine may be, the work included this issue is straightforwardly fantastic. The publication features original work by Wolfgang Tillmans, Sara Rahbar, Boychild, Scott King, Torbjørn Rødland, Helena Foster and others, curated by Francesca Gavin.

The broadsheet newspaper champions activism and resistance, bringing together a selection of creative and dynamic voices. This latest issue spans 32 pages and includes a pull out ‘Unmanifesto’ poster.

Get it here! 

Tags: , , , ,

Chad Moore, ‘A New Name For Everything’

New York based photographer Chad Moore today launches an exhibition entitled ‘A New Name For Everything’ at the Asama International Photo Festival in Miyota, Japan.

The American photographer is one who is known to accurately capture the beauties of human expression and emotion in ways which often uproots empathy in his audience. He mostly focuses on the themes of family , friendship, love and youth.

“In retrospect, the most beautiful periods of my life seem to have all been momentary events. In the snaps where the power of a photograph which confines the moment is demonstrated.”  

Moore will reveal 24 unseen photos from his archive in this exhibition which will run until September 30th.

Photograph by Chad Moore

Akemi’s 100 Kimonos, by Emily Stein

In a new series of images, photographer Emily Stein creates portraits of Akemi and her kimonos. A celebration of traditional clothing and heritage set in a modern British environments.

Emily Stein explains the story behind her bright and celebratory new series. 

Akemi has lived in the UK for twenty years, however her heart is truly rooted in her home country of Japan and this manifests itself in her extensive Kimono collection.  As I got to know her she explained to me how she came to London in search of a safer place for her and her young daughter. She explained how in Japan women are sexually harassed frequently and how she grew up being taught to obey men. She felt she had no voice or way of expressing herself.

Each Kimono has a story to tell about her past which she is emotionally connected to.

Her kimono collection is a way for Akemi to be close to certain parts of what she loves about her heritage. Her collection of 100 beautiful pieces feels like an extension of her.

She always dresses in Kimono’s. I felt like it would be a lovely story to tell.

© Emily Stein
© Emily Stein
© Emily Stein

© Emily Stein

Tags: , ,

The moralities of protest clothing

Four years ago, Nigerian author/activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie published a book length essay titled “We Should All Be Feminists.” In summary, the book is an outstanding revelation which aims to give a definition to modern day feminism and it’s relevance to society.

In 2013,  Adichie delivered a TEDx Talk on the subject which was sampled by Beyonce in her 2013 hit single ***Flawless. This boost of popularity as an author/activist introduced to pop culture was just in time for the book’s launch. 

In 2017, three years after the launch, for her debut as the first woman to take charge as creative director of french fashion house Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented her SS17 collection which included a t-shirt aptly-bearing the title of Chimamanda’s essay , “We Should All Be Feminists.”  Since then, the t-shirts have gained popularity and have been sported by celebrities and influencers such as Rihanna , Jennifer Lawrence, ASAP Rocky, Chiara Ferragni, etc. To say this trend was a success is a gross understatement.

And as we have witnessed time after time, messages being told through fashion tend to often have quite an effect: dating from as far as back as the 80’s when fashion designer Katharine Hamnett wore a T-shirt in protest against nuclear missiles in her meeting of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. More recently Black Lives Matter protesters marched through American streets bearing variations of the slogan across their chests after the Trayvon Martin injustice, and who can forget the jacket which read “I Really Don’t Care Do You?” worn by Melania Trump on her way to visit a migrant facility in Texas.

While these garments might carry notes that can contributive to a mass shift in society, as anything that involves the internet, there are pitfalls of going ‘too’ viral.

Two seasons ago a version of the We Should All Be Feminists t-shirt was seen on the Milanese runway for the budding menswear Sunnei – an innocent play on words, altered to “We should all be Sunnei”. One might argue that such an artless move could do no harm.

Sunnei FW18 | credit: Giacomo Cabrini

However, this is where the watering down of an important message begins. Now personalised versions of the book title can be spotted on influencers, fans etc. and although the intent might be innocent, the message is undoubtedly weakened.

It’s like playing Chinese whispers. In the end, you risk losing parts through transition, but in this case, its much more important than a game. When Black Lives Matter protesters created T-shirts with the slogan it was to emphasise the fact that black lives matter, not to leave room for “All Lives Matter” spin-offs which disregarded and disrupted the original message, or when Melania Trump wore the jacket that read “I Really Don’t Care, Do You?” some might say the First Lady was genuinely sending a message henceforth the internet’s effort to change the writing to something positive was besides the point.

So I believe it’s safe to assume that when Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie penned this essay, it was for the purpose of speaking out against the heinous acts of sexism, and likewise Maria Grazia Chiuri when she incorporated the unaltered title as apart of her collection. So might we be reminded that protest t-shirts and whatever other forms of fashion used to send messages, are not for the purposes of individualisation or modification, regardless of innocent intentions, but for the sole motive of emphasising an important message using an art form which can be easily outspread.

WEAR: An Opera told through fashion about the end of the world

An immersive sci-fi fashion presentation at the wild, impossible edges of contemporary art music; an exploration of how objects are used to create our own truth; Waiting for Godot meets Lulu via fashion week for the post-truth era.

UU studios have created an opera entitled WEAR with keen hopes to traverse time, space and the audience’s impression of what the theatre can be.

The storyline? A designer prepares for their final show against the backdrop of the apocalypse. When a colleague arrives to interview them about the work on display, it sets in motion a series of recollections of their lives and the work that gave these meaning. In a series of creative re-imaginings the two reconnect and, in doing so, defy the end of the world.

The tale is merely a metaphor for a greater discussion being posed by the UU Studios founders: Gemma A. Williams and Alastair White. With a background of fashion curation and publications, alongside White’s work straddling politics, science and music, both White and Williams are here to utilise the stage as a sounding board for the collision of a lot of thoughts that are pounding through their heads. Opera is a field that is still shackled to its traditions, so it will be refreshing to see what WEAR unfolds in storyline, execution and intent.

The gumption of WEAR is ambitious – and anything that carries a cross-pollinating appetite should be celebrated for its need of a (creatively concerned) different speed. Twin contributor Isabella Davey talks to Williams and White about WEAR’s forthcoming debut and how an opera woven like fabric can stand for as a metaphor for identity, confusion and decay.

How did wear come about?

AW:  We met through a mutual friend and were instantly fascinated with one another’s work. At the time I was in the process of sketching ideas for an opera about time travel that could exploit art music’s ability to manipulate the listener’s experience of temporality. In one of many late night discussions with Gemma it struck us both how interesting it might be to set it in the world of fashion. Fashion – it seems to me, at least – is, like music, specifically concerned with time. On one hand, it is fleeting and ephemeral, a constant flow of changing trends with their momentary beauty made even more vivid by its impending obsolescence. On the other, clothes – great clothes, that is – have this magical power to almost freeze their wearers in time and protect them from the rot and decay of disintegrating life as though together they had become an artwork. I think, tentatively, it is in the contradiction and interplay between these opposing aspects that fashion derives a meaningful beauty. The desire to explore some of these ideas, and their philosophical implications in music, poetry and dance, was where WEAR began.

WEAR opera | image credit: Robert Rowland

What attracted you to opera?

GAW: I think opera has similar challenges to fashion in that people are often scared by it and therefore actually miss out on the beauty of it. On a very practical level, I think that increasingly exhibitions are becoming massive blockbusters; the curator has been overtaken by fashion brands using in-house teams to convey their own very controlled commercial message and this means that rather than allowing an external thinker into the process to extract a narrative they are becoming very set promotional events. There is very little room to experiment especially with budgets so when I met Alastair I thought this was a really exciting aspect to explore and develop. It’s also never actually been done before!

How do fashion and performance interact and relate to one another?

GAW: Well they are intrinsic. From our first understanding of performance it’s embedded in the visual – Bowie is a prime example and the very best, ground-breaking artists play with this. Also, for me it’s about emotion – something incredibly difficult to convey in an exhibition but immediately unlocked in music, performance or fashion.

Why I’m particularly excited about WEAR is that we haven’t simply dressed the models: fashion inspired the construction of the music so it’s an opera that’s been woven, like a fabric.

What do you hope the audience will take from wear?

AW: WEAR isn’t so much a story about time machines as it is about a world where they make true stories no longer possible. Multiple timelines are a contradiction in terms – they couldn’t exist side by side as the current Star Trek reboot and continuation have tried to imply. Rather, they would be experienced as a constant erasure and reworking of history. I hope it works as a metaphor for the modern world, where the past seems so distant from our amnesiac, ever-modernising present, and the fact that we can now use the contemporary excess of information to justify almost anything. I suppose I hope that people take that the only way forward from such a moment is not through the dull, methodical reconstruction of the past, but the possibility of something totally new, something utterly unexpected – that no one had thought possible before – that didn’t need to happen – that was, until now, in this shifting, tumbling present, impossible to imagine. It’s only in this that we can re-light radical politics and art towards their revolutionary efficacy.

What was the thought behind the name?

AW: A pun that fortunately combines a few of the opera’s themes – identity, confusion and decay.

GAW: Also, our company name is a pun, pronounced double u. We like puns. 

WHAT CAN OPERA LEARN FROM FASHION AND FASHION LEARN FROM OPERA

GAW: Fashion is adept at remaining relevant in how it pushes the boundaries of a vast array of different contexts. The most provocative designers build a mix of philosophy, performance and fine art into their garments and collections but in such a way that they are still commercial pieces that can be worn on the body.

AW; Opera, by contrast, is hamstrung by an industry built on museum-piece regurgitation of the past at the expense of new work. It survives by breaking out of the opera house and fighting its way back to the cut and thrust of the real world, full of all its confusing exhilaration and cheap, strange ugliness. The challenge is not to ignore these factors, but rather to reconcile them somehow with the beauty of art and, in this, the possibility of a better future.

What is next for UU Studios?

GAW: For now we want to concentrate on touring WEAR globally, potentially programming it into fashion weeks and events. Our aim is to collaborate with a different designer in each different city, making it incredibly special each time and visually different. Alongside this we have a lot of really cool ideas so it’s pretty exciting. We are writing a crime-horror opera based in a coastal town which has hilariously ended up with the working-title of ‘The Fish Opera’.

Tags: ,

Rosetta Getty and Hayden Dunham’s Tribeca Collaboration

Clothing designer Rosetta Getty has teamed up with artist Hayden Dunham, to create an installation in her Tribeca studio space, also incorporating Dunham-inspired elements into into her own Resort 2019 collection. Each season, Getty selects a young female artist to collaborate with in this way. In the recent past these have included acclaimed artists Alicja Kwade and Analia Saban.

Dunham’s work investigates the relationship between the hard and soft architectures of building and body, embodying ideas of transformation and the process of facilitation. By working closely with Dunham, Getty began to record and understand her approach to sculptural processes, which is scientific and methodical. In response to this, Rosetta has created Resort 2019 in much the same way, working with unusual fabrics like laminated water repellent cotton to create a truly unique collection.

Twin contributor Sarah Roberts spoke to both Getty and Dunham about their artistic exchange.

Rosetta

How did the collaboration between you and Hayden come into fruition?

I have been interested in Hayden’s work since first seeing her exhibition at Red Bull Arts in 2016. I later visited Hayden’s studio in LA and was fascinated by all of the different materials she gathers for her work, such as silicone, resin, glass, porcelain, silk, and charcoal. I related to this strongly with my own process as a designer. For Resort 2019, I started searching for the most unique fabrics I could find.

Each season, I work with an artist to create a unique installation reflecting my collection. I asked Hayden if she could create a site-specific installation that would provide context to the clothes, and the process was very organic.

Rosetta G interior | image Jonathan Hokklo courtesy of Zoe Communications

What first drew you to Hayden’s work?

I was drawn to Hayden’s approach of using natural elements and synthetic materials together in her sculptures. I began to think about my own approach for designing clothes, and it felt very much the same. It has encouraged me to further my own exploration of fabrics and I discovered some incredible synthetic materials for this collection.

How is the Resort 2019 collection different from those you’ve created in the past?

Resort 2019 continues our minimalist aesthetic even further, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about the purpose and functionality of every piece. The collection arrives during a time of year when you need an ever-changing wardrobe, so I’m pleased we can offer lots of different options with this collection.

What aspects of the collection are directly inspired by Hayden’s work?

The fabrics, which we developed ourselves, are directly inspired by Hayden’s process of manipulating materials. We found carpet cushioning at a hardware store, which is very industrial, and transferred it to a print on silk georgette and it turned out very soft and elegant.

In the end, it was made into a very subtle cape panel gown, with flowing separates. Another example is the laminated water repellent cotton which we used in the outerwear. The laminated finish on one side and cardboard colour give it an industrial characteristic, but once worn, it’s light, casual and unassuming. The colour palette is also very much directly inspired by Hayden’s work; soft tones of peach, meadow, shell, and sky.

Rosetta G interior | image Jonathan Hokklo courtesy of Zoe Communications

How do you and Hayden similarly approach sustainability?

We both feel strongly about the responsibility of putting things into the world as creators. My team continues speaking every season with our fabric mills and looking into their practices, discussing the impact on human health and the environment. I’m glad to see that most of the mills we work with use sustainable methods to produce their textiles.

Hayden

How do you use sculpture to investigate the relationship between the architecture of the human body, and the chemical matter with which it interacts?

There is a very clear relationship between material bodies and human bodies. We are in a constant dialog with the environments we live inside. This conversation is reflected physically through the materials present in our bodies.

How does this installation depart from, or tie into, your previous work?

I am obsessed with water and structures that support water. Specifically, large-scale circulation systems that move bodies of liquid around. Human bodies are one of these systems. A fountain is another structure that hosts these exchanges.

When I visited Rosetta in Siena, she pointed out the fountain in the piazza, which is a gathering spot for the community. The water has a very special and specific mineral composition and feeling to it.

LAIL, 2016, Hayden Dunham | © Andrea Rosen Gallery

What drew you to Rosetta’s work?

There is this deep calmness and clarity in Rosetta’s presence, and she is both grounded and expansive. I see her work and process as an extension of this energy. I am also really impressed with her team and the level of intentionality and thoughtfulness in their practice.

What challenges did you face while creating this installation?

The presence of these pieces is so expansive and wild that they wanted to be incorporated into every system inside the space. They were particularly tempted to go inside the floors and electrical outlets. My role in the install was making boundaries with the work, which is constantly expanding and contracting. For me, the garments operate in a similar way. They are containers, and they provide a boundary to be held by.

Tags:

#MyFLV winners announced

Earlier this year, the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV) – an art museum and cultural centre sponsored by LVMH and its subsidies – in celebration of its fourth anniversary launched an architecture photographer contest inspired by the Parisian building’s exceptional construction and design. The museum, which was inspired by abstract structures of glass was designed by renowned Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.
The competition, titled #MyFLV, launched on May 3rd and welcomed photographers of all calibre, both amateur and professional who were required to post original photographs of the buildings to their Instagram accounts accompanied by the respective hashtag and Fondation account tag.
After concluding on June 5th, the FLV gathers several representatives from its board along with French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand who formed a jury to select the top 7 photographs. Their picks were announced earlier this week which included a mix of photographers from several corners of the world. Namely Pierre Châtel-Innocenti, Mathieu Collart, Roseline Diemer, Yi-Hsien Lee, Boshiang Lin,  Jean-Guy Perlès & Jérémy Thomas.

The winners will have their photos used in an upcoming digital and print poster campaign, a boost of publicity via the foundation’s social account, a Collector’s Pass for FLV valid for one year, along with a chèque of 2,000 euros.

Tags:

Coco Capitán: Is it tomorrow yet?

Twin contributor, Gucci collaborator and renowned photographer and artist Coco Capitán opens a new solo exhibition at the Daelim Museum in Seoul this summer.

This is the first time the artist will be shown in Asia and the exhibition offers a broad introduction to Coco’s world. The show will encompass 150 works across painting, photography, handwriting, video and installation.

The show’s title ‘Is it Tomorrow Yet?, reflects Coco Capitán’s interest in being attuned to the present, staying in the moment and not focussing on the unknown that tomorrow brings. It’s a theme that marks an evolution from her previous work which includes the now iconic statement she put out with Gucci: ‘What are we going to do with all this future?’

Her scrawling notes and manifestos may be amongst the most Instagrammed parts of her work, but this major exhibition offers a chance for viewers to engage with the full scope of her canon. Interrogative, thoughtful, provocative and existential: just a glimpse of what’s on offer confirms what we already knew. Coco Capitán is one of the most exciting artists of her time.

All Cars are Conditioned | Coco Capitán

framed prayer for new stars | Coco Capitán

Swimmer portrait | Coco Capitán

 

Cum on car | Coco Capitán

Tags: , ,

The People vs Virgil

Twin contributor Jordan Anderson considers the impact of Virgil Abloh’s first collection for Louis Vuitton.
Earlier today, Ghanian-American fashion designer Virgil Abloh presented his first collection as creative director of Louis Vuitton Menswear in the gardens of the Palais Royale for Paris Fashion Week.
Since his appointment in March, the news of a black man at the helm of one of fashion’s most prestigious French houses has of course caused some stir and split opinions between fans and fashion critics. This was not just any black man, but specifically Virgil Abloh.
I, particularly as man of colour, was on the fence about the decision. Only two men of colour had ever held such positions, Ozwald Boateng at Givenchy and Olivier Rousteing at Balmain. On one BLACK hand, I was overflown with joy, and completely elated that another man that looked like me had finally landed such a position. The story of an immigrant, arriving to the US, starting his journey in fashion and being so successful in his efforts to the point where he now sits at the head table of one oldest fashion labels in history is undeniably inspiring. This would be a monumental moment, not just for black people, but for anyone of colour who has ever felt excluded from a conversation in the walls of fashion as a result of skin colour, culture or heritage.
On  the other hand, as a  detester of the ranks of fashion as a popularity contest, I was torn. Abloh and his label Off-White for me and many represent a millennial-friendly fast-selling branch of fashion which often sacrifice quality and ingenuity for mass sales/trendiness. Prior to this appointment, Virgil to me was but a DJ and a businessman. I assumed his label was a business he would pick up every season to use his influence to create a few stirs among millennials to make some extra bucks. Which in this case would be fine. We’re all hustlers, and you definitely don’t have to go to fashion school to be a designer. However where was I to be left when I found out that one of fashion’s “influencers” was taking over an historic French fashion house. Was this like Kendall Jenner becoming photo editor for Vogue?

 I had no idea what to expect. As I tuned in to Louis Vuitton’s live Instagram stream and got a glimpse of the location, goose bumps grew on my skin. I was excited. My heart started racing as I witnessed an army of computed men in white, opening the multi-coloured runway. This was Virgil’s moment:  it was his peak, and I was extremely excited for the masterpiece which he seemed to have created. LVMH may have hired him for his savvy business approach but regardless, I saw this as a win for us.
After the emotions faded and the show ended I then went back and had a look at the collection. The hints of his brand Off-White were evident. There was not much innovation but it was better than I expected. This was a luxury version of his own brand and a deconstructed version of the Louis Vuitton we had been used to. It was relatively safe ground: double breasted blazers, two pleated trousers  paired with holsters and harnesses. Nothing too new for fashion, but definitely new for the French fashion house.
LVMH were certainly ahead of the curve hiring a designer that brings streetwear to the luxury space. Virgil Abloh might not be an innovator, or to some, not even a designer, but he sure is a hell of a showman.
Feature image via Louis Vuitton Instagram. 

Tags: ,

Bruce Lee and the Outlaw

Joost Vandebrug’s debut documentary racked up huge hype when it premiered at Sheffield Film Festival this year, and rightly so.

The Dutch photographer and Twin contributor has a knack for telling stories. His documentary style of photography has often focussed on the hidden human element of lives across Europe. He spent years taking photographs in Bucharest, exploring, to coin his own words, the generation that time forgot in a post-communist era. He also documented the lives of ‘lost boys’ in Transylvania. His photographs observe without judging, portraits devoid of propaganda or manipulation.

In Bruce Lee & The Outlaw the theme of loss and abandonment is present in a compelling documentary film. A rich narrative about the children of Bucharest centres on the story of Nicu, a homeless street child, who is adopted by the notorious Lord of the Underworld ‘Bruce Lee’ and brought up in the subterranean tunnels of Bucharest. The story was filmed over six years, a testament to Vandebrug’s patience and dedication to telling the most honest story he can.

Having been compared to both Larry Clark and Louis Theroux, there’s no doubt that more compelling documentaries are to come.

Watch a trailer for Bruce Lee and the Outlaw below.

 

Labs New Artists II

A new exhibition at Red Hook Labs celebrates the work of 25 international emerging photographers. Each creative is currently un-represented though by the end of this show we have no doubt that will have changed: the talent is impressive. 

Selected by an extensive panel of renowened jurors these rising stars will also receive mentorship from one the jurors for the next. In a fiercely competive world that kind of support is invaluable when starting out.

The photographers exhibiting are truly global hailing from South Africa, Germany, Canada, Australia, the UK and America. Works range from candid portraits to more stylised imagery, with each photographer bringin a unique eye to the exhibition.

Jubilant, pensive, provocative and soulful all at once these are the lenses of the future, and we’re already excited by what they see.

This exhibition follows on from the recent New African Photography III, an event which marked the launch of dynamic new print publication Nataal. These exhibitions and more have established Red Hook Labs as a must-visit gallery in Brooklyn, offering a diverse, inclusive and forward-facing programme that never fails to spark the imagination.

Daniel Jack Lyons

Luis Alberto Rodriguez

Tyler Mitchell

Chris Smith

Antone Dolezal

Labs New Artists II is on until June 24th, 2018 at Red Hook Labs. 

Featured image credit: John Francis Peters, ‘California Winter’ courtesy of Red Hook Labs

Tags: ,

Print! Tearing it up at Somerset House

A new exhibition at Somerset House in London celebrates the power of print magazines. Through talks and events, as well as the exhibition itself the new show charts the impact of print publications on British culture over the last century.

The expert curation by writer Paul Gorman and Somerset House’s Senior Curator Claire Catterall guides audiences through the evolution of the magazine as a medium for provocation, commentary and satire. Starting with Blast! in 1914 the exhibition takes in the start of the satirical Private Eye in the 1930s, the radical feminist magazines of the 1970s and onto present day, where DIY zines from the likes of Orlando and Mushpit have harnessed the medium and re-energised print culture.

On Monday 25th June ‘Practitioners and Provocateurs’ brings together a dynamic panel of women including Dr Althea Greenan Special Collections and Archive Curator at Goldsmith’s Women’s Art Library, Shaz Madani Designer and Art Director of Riposte magazine, Sofia Niazi resident Artist at Somerset House Studios and Editor of OOMK Zine, and Teal Triggs Professor of Graphic Design and Associate Dean of Royal College of Arts School of Communication. The discussion focus on the role each woman has had in regenerating ideas, identities and opportunities for and with their communities and is chaired by Ruth Jamieson, author of Print is Dead Long Live Print. 

Print! Tearing it up is on at Somerset House until 22nd August 2018.

Tags: , , ,

Ireland Repeals the 8th Amendment, Analysing Fashion’s Contribution

On May 25, 2018, the Irish people voted to end the constitutional ban on abortion. The final result was 66.4% Yes and 33.6% No. The vast majority of constituencies across the nation were in favour of removing the amendment from the constitution. In essence, it envisions a modern Ireland but the campaign wasn’t won by itself.

Fashion played an instrumental role in initiating conversations surrounding the Repeal the 8th campaign. Designers living in Ireland and abroad banded together to help shape the modern Ireland they’d like to see. Activists launched their own operations in the campaign’s nascency to voice their opinions. There were Anna Cosgrave’s Repeal Project sweaters; badges from the Abortion Rights Campaign and Together for Yes; housewares, clothing, and accessories from Repealist. Collectively, they inspired political awareness and instigated dialogues that were once left unspoken. “Don’t talk about politics,” it’s taught. Fashion turned that on its head.

“Both my apparel and jewellery were designed with the specific aim of making Repeal about celebrating the beauty and colours of autonomy,” said Shubhangi Karmakar, the founder of Repealist. “From my experience of making each piece by hand, the possibility of having customised jewellery to support Repeal fostered a sense of individuals identifying more closely and affiliating with the movement.”

The Hunreal Issues ‘Fashion is Repealing’ event was another important aspect of the campaign. Organised by Andrea Horan, founder of Dublin-based nail bar Tropical Popical, The Hunreal Issues provides information about abortion rights. The event connected with a voting population through fashion as a means of diluting the seriousness of politics in order to drive social change.

© Repealist

The event was a fundraiser-cum-fashion show in Dublin. It “added another layer to the tone of conversation around Repeal.” Horan assembled a dozen Irish designers to create one-of-a-kind pieces for the fashion show and fifty more affordable, collectible t-shirts and accessories for sale on The Hunreal Issues’ website. After the event, The Hunreal Issues made a donation of €25,000 to Together For Yes, the abortion rights campaign group.

The primary aim of Horan’s campaign was to inspire young people to participate in politics and to highlight women’s rights issues as red line issues. “Fashion allows people to engage and interact with it on their on time, in their own way and interpret the messages found within it into their own language.  For me, this is what is missing in politics – how can you get frustrated and wonder why there aren’t more young people caring about politics if nothing you do targets or engages them,” she said.

The campaign stages were pivotal. Abortions rights in Ireland has been an ongoing battle since 1983 when the country first went to the polls to debate abortion. The Catholic Church and the Irish government have long been bedfellows, but the deep-seated attitudes that once dogged the country are slowly diminishing.

It felt good to have a very small part in this momentous and long overdue change to how women are treated in Ireland. It doesn’t make up for the years and years where women have died, have felt hurt, guilt, conflict, judgement and shame but it is the start of acknowledgement and change. I am proud at how people have come together and supported and fought for this,” said Natalie B. Coleman, a designer from County Monaghan whose work blends the personal and the political with an intent on developing “a strong feministic spirit behind our collections.”

Natalie B Coleman AW17 | © Natalie B Coleman

“I think social media is what pushed young voters to get out and vote. I don’t think young voters related with the posters hanging around the city,” said Louise Kavanagh, an Irish fashion designer who participated in ‘Fashion is Repealing.’ “Social media was a great platform to see all information about the Repeal Project, which provided all factual information. It also gave the platform to promote events based on the campaign. I think these really related to young voters because at the end of the day we are the future and it’s us who the vote effects.”

May 25 was historic: The victory marks a new dawn for women’s rights, christens a more compassionate, caring, and considerate Ireland, and propels the country into modernity. There is work still to be done: implementing education, rewriting the constitution, and opening dialogues surrounding these subjects.

But in the run-up to the referendum date, many were cynical about the fashion industry’s reach, questioning its ability to galvanise a large audience into voting. Their reasoning was rooted in previous liberal failures in both the United Kingdom and the United States. In June 2016, despite the idealism, hope and slogan t-shirts, the UK voted to leave the European Union, in a shock victory. This newfound solidarity among right-wing voters strengthened in November 2016, when the US elected Donald J Trump as president. Despite the fashion industry’s best efforts, support from publications, designers, and influencers, wasn’t enough.

“I don’t think people were educated on Brexit. With the Hillary campaign, they pumped a lot of money into the merchandise but nobody was buying this stuff, they were giving it away for free,” said Margaret O’Connor, an Irish milliner. “In Ireland, people reached into their pockets and bought [Repeal merchandise]. It was a union between the people who were tired of Catholic guilt and shame. For me, I was compelled to involve myself not from a fashion standpoint but as a human rights issue. As a conceptual artist and designer, this was my way of expressing myself.”

It’s really easy to brush off fashion as an influencing factor when it’s not your world.  When your day-to-day is politics, it’s easy to see fashion as some frivolous interest or pastime.  However, as has been proven time and time again, fashion is powerful,” said Horan.

Richard Malone AW18 for Twin magazine | Amber Pinkerton

For Richard Malone, a fashion designer from County Wexford and prominent activist, the referendum was about actively involving himself in the campaign stages. He used his platform as an educator in fashion colleges, he engaged in discussions about it with “anyone that will listen about it,” and he staged an event in the window of Selfridge’s with journalist Una Mullally.  “It’s excellent news. I couldn’t have been quiet on [the referendum],” he said about the result when contacted via email. “I’m super proud of everyone involved. We mobilised and made it happen and there’s a lot to be learned from the young people in Ireland, politics matter and we need to get involved.”

It remains to be seen whether fashion designers will reflect this monumental occasion for women’s rights in their work. Malone maintains he will continue to reflect the “strong, bold, independent women” he surrounds himself with. “[The vote] is more of a celebration of them and I’ve always aimed to celebrate women in my work.”

It’s Nice That SS18, Printed Pages

Our friends over at It’s Nice That have just launched their SS18 issue, Printed Pages, and it’s a dream summer read.

This issue’s cover star features Cuban-born illustrator Edel Rodriguez who has created some of the most iconic protest imagery against Trump over the last few years. Alongside the Rodriguez interview are graphic design duo Sagmeister & Walsh, the artists Gilbert and George, pioneer of street photography Joel Meyerowitz, the artist Eddie Peake and New Yorker cartoonist Joost Swarte – amongst others.

Importanly this latest It’s Nice That issue also features an interview with four leading women illustrators who discuss their experience of the creative industries. These are Malika Favre, the French illustrator who has created work for Maison Margiela, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair; Ram Han, whose distinct and colourful illustrations have amassed a loyal following;  Martina Paukova, the Berlin-based illustrator who contributed to the likes of the Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine and Google; and Miranda Tacchia, the artist and animator whose client list includes Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

 

 

I don’t have time for this

This month sees a new exhibition of Hattie Stewart‘s work open at NOW gallery. The London-based artist and illustrator has garnered hype with her ‘doodle bombing’ technique, bringing a a sense of humour and play to a range of magazine covers such as Vogue, i:D and Playboy.

Alongside these re-imagined covers Stewart’s punchy illustrations are cheeky and playful, using bold colours to offer stand out prints. And she has also created work for clients including  MTV, Hunter, House of Holland, Nike, Apple Music, Marc by Marc Jacobs and MAC Cosmetics.

The cultural world is no stranger to Stewart’s maverick approach, which makes the new work on show at this exhibition especially exciting. These new pieces include a large scale, floor-based artwork where visitors can fully escape into Stewart’s world.

This new exhibition at NOW gallery is part of the gallery’s young artist scheme, designed to foster and give a platform to emerging talent with a distinctive aesthetic.

I don’t have time for this by Hattie Stewart is open at NOW Gallery until 25th June 2018.

Tags: ,

Fashion East x Galeria Melissa

In keeping with Galeria Melissa’s reputation for hosting maverick collaborations and guests, the space’s next takeover brings Fashion East’s merry band of designers to the Covent Garden space.

The Fashion East womenswear designers, which includes Supriya Lele, Charlotte Knowles and Asai interpreted Galeria Melissa’s  OPEN VIBES AW18 collection. The video that will preview this evening is the first to be created between Galeria Melissa and Fashion East. Shot with a home video aesthetic, the video offers a low-fi feel that blends the fantasy of fashion with the reality of its process.

This latest collaboration with Fashion East follows Juno Calypso’s unnerving takeover earlier in the year. Expect weird, wacky and wonderful things.

Imagery by Dexter Lander

Imagery by Dexter Lander

Tags: ,

Join the mailing list

Search

  • Identifying a comfortable and trendy dog cloth is turning out to be difficult, as more and more cute dog clothes are venturing in the global market on regular basis.