A deeper look(book): Isoscles, September 2018

Isoscles’ lookbook reads like an inverted case of sharking, caught on the streets of Rome. There is an invited gaze – the woman is aware of herself as much as her vision. It almost reads as chapter five of John Berger’s ways of seeing: the self-awareness women profess and express. At the back of the SS19 imagery her friend and collaborator Cara Sheffler explores an experience of being up-skirted in New York, and the sensations she went through, parallel to how others perceived the act.

Taking ownership of how we are presented and how we present ourselves — not just to others but to ourselves — in a way requires us to objectify ourselves. The female gaze needs to supersede the male. 

Isosceles is a brand launched by Cicely Travers after a life of obsession for underwear, looking to create a label that gives pleasure to women in their own bodies. 

Currently supported by the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN scheme and in her fourth season, Cicely is illuminating the new frontier more brands are exploring- what we wear closest to our skin and how that comes to shape how we feel about ourselves for ourselves. 

Utilising sheer mesh, bright colours and unique panelling, Isosceles pulls the eye to her garments, and in turn the body itself. Through these bold combinations, it does not shy away, but it also does not define: it merely enhances what was there – a spirit, a mentality, a personality, a woman. 

As Cara Sheffler concludes on upskirting herself in order to explore her body and personal perception of it, If that isn’t self-possession, I cannot tell you what is. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What made you begin your brand Isosceles?

I started making knickers after I dropped out of art school – it was the only thing I was really motivated to do. After completing a degree in contour fashion and having little success in getting to the kinds of jobs I wanted,  I went for an internship with Jean Yu in New York. I was so inspired her work: its exquisitely beautiful couture silk lingerie, and her refusal to compromise her aesthetic. It was a form of art. It took me five years after that to build up the courage to start my brand but it happened in the simplest of ways- I found this fantastic fluorescent stretch mesh in Shepherds Bush and played around with cutting shapes and wrapping the body. It went from there. 

What was the inspiration behind your last collection? 

I always look to vintage lingerie, and sportswear for inspiration: for my September 2018 collection this was mixed with clubwear and harlequins. I’m inspired by the fabric I’m using and a lot of ideas come from draping on the stand. I feel there are constraints as to how creative I can be with my brand because Isosceles Lingerie is functional as well as innovative. I strive to push the boundary into what lingerie can be whilst acknowledging that lingerie is something that has to support and should be harmonious or complementary to your outer wear. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What did you want to explore in your September 2018 look book imagery? 

The photographer Amy Gwatkin and I were inspired by the photographer Roy Stuart who takes soft porn pics of ladies semi-exposed in public: we wanted to play with those themes of exhibitionist and voyeur. We made an early decision that the subject should always look in control and was taking pleasure from flashing, thus subverting the male gaze. I always try to ensure that models don’t look submissive in my imagery. It was also a fun opportunity to show how lingerie can amplify the enjoyment of wearing clothes. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What does sexy mean to you? 

Pure, guiltless pleasure. 

Do you think attitudes towards lingerie are changing? Is it made for the female gaze as much as the male gaze? 

From my perspective, I don’t think wearing nice lingerie has very much to do with the male gaze at all. It’s about feeling good in your skin, in your clothes, feeling beautiful and cherishing your body by wearing beautiful fabrics and colours next to your skin. Wearing a bra that fits you and improves your shape, changes your posture, puts a spring in your step: I enjoy the playfulness of it. I think we need to embrace these pleasures and love our bodies more. I would like to put a little more seduction into the everyday. 

I’m seeing a lot of great women run lingerie brands that are making lingerie directed to the female gaze and changing attitudes about the importance of lingerie. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What do you want your audience to take away from your brand? 

That they could see themselves wearing it and having fun with the bright colours. I hope that people see it as a brand with a conscience. 

If your brand was a song/album/book/film, what would it be?

If it were a book it would be Don’t Cry by Mary Gaitskill. It’s a collection of her short stories, one of my favourites is called “A dream of men”. It’s funny and insightful: she is such a compassionate writer and I think it’s important to be compassionate as a designer especially in this day and age.
If it were an album it would be The B52’s album of the same name because its irreverent, funny, and great to dance to and it was made in the year I was born. 

Isosceles Lingerie

Can underwear be a bonding mechanism for women? 

To me, yes. For example it was fascinating to do the shoot with a totally female team. We had a lot of fun and a lot of great talks about the way we feel about our bodies. You realise that everyone has body hang-ups, even people who seem confident. We all have complicated relationships with our bodies:  its liberating to strip off and strip away the facade. 

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PH Museum 2018 Women Photographers Grant Winners

Earlier this year the PH Museum announced the opening of their second annual women’s photography grant. The aim of the project geared towards female and non-binary photographers was to empower women from all sectors of photography from all corners of the world, regardless of age, colour and orientation. Recently, after great deliberation, the organization announced the winners of their 2018 grant.  With a jury composed of Aïda Muluneh (Photographer, Filmmaker and Curator), Alessandra Sanguinetti (Photographer), Karen McQuaid (Senior Curator, The Photographers’ Gallery) and Pamela Chen (Creative Lead, Instagram), the PH Museum awarded the first prize to the project “You Don’t Look Native To Me” by Romanian-born German photography Maria  Sturm who took the prize of £5,000 in cash along with additional opportunities for exposure.  “From all the submissions , it was not difficult for us to be drawn to the work of Maria Strum, capturing Native American youth and exploring the notion of identity in the American landscape. One of the key factors for selecting her work was not only based on her technical skills, but on her approach in capturing images that offer the viewer as a sympathetic and non-cliched insight into her subjects. In essence, her collection offers us a glimpse into a long term project that portrays a community at the crossroads of the past and future,” explained Aïda Muluneh.  The second prize of £2,000 was assigned to the work of  Australian photographer Sinead Kennedy, entitled Set Fire to The Sea, which was a project exploring the Australian Government’s policy of mandatory and indefinite detention for asylum seekers.  The third prize of £1,000 was claimed by Turkish photographer Sabiha Çimen whose work “KKK (Quran School For Girls)” documented the daily life of girls in attempt to memorise and practice the Quran in Instanbul, Turkey. “Sabiha leads us into the life of rituals and quiet rebellion in a strictly religious girls’ boarding school with a classic and disarmingly poetic approach. She presents the girls with gentleness and empathy while managing to capture the tension between the girls childlike, awkward play and the intense adult rules, expectations and limitations that are upon them,” explains Alessandra Sanguinetti. Additional prizes were also awarded to photographers whose works were too good to go unnoticed in the forms of honourable mentions, mini grants, Vogue Italia features and an opportunity for exhibition.

1st Prize | You Don’t Look Native To Me by Maria Sturm
2nd Prize | To Set Fire To The Sea by Sinead Kennedy
3rd Prize | KKK (Quran School For Girls) by Sabiha Çimen

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Rinse, Repeat.

Richard Malone debuts his first exhibition at NOW Gallery on the Greenwich Peninsula this week. Inside the space Malone, a star of the London womenswear scene, will explore the relationship between fashion, art and movement. Visitors can experience and explore the designer’s processes and inspirations in the tactile installation.

From flicking through Malone’s sketchbooks and listening to transcripts from private appointments, to trying on clothes by the designer, the experience is one that will forge new creative bonds between visitors and the designer. Meanwhile large scale images will help to further immerse visitors inside Malone’s architectural and imaginative world.

Richard Malone’s exhibition ‘Rinse, Repeat’ will be at NOW Gallery for free from 28th November 2018 to 27th February 2019.

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“The Amount of Love You Have to Give is More Than I Can Stand.”

Phoebe Collings-James’ first solo show in Cologne opens today. The new exhibition at the Ginerva Gambino gallery presents three wall-size pieces that create an overall frame, with smaller drawings and paintings displayed in between these works.

“In most of Collings-James’ work, violence and beauty coincide.” The gallery says of the new exhibition, noting the complexities and nuances of Collings-James’ work that have seen her reputation skyrocket in recent years. The exhibition addresses dualities and contrasts – “feelings of familiarity and distance. This cacophony relates to her exploration of identity. Her personal (being a queer, British-Jamaican woman) and the historical – the present day and the ancestral.”

Since she graduated from Goldsmiths in London in 2009, Phoebe Collings-James has become one of the most exciting new voices on the scene. Now Brooklyn-based, the artists has had major shows in London, New York and Antwerp. With such a capacity to produce works that make an impression, that are both intense and delicate, it’s easy to see why. The new exhibition is on until the end of January.

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Her Stories 2018

Want to know how to annoy the establishment? Mess around with grammar. Her Stories decision to name the female artist contributors to that charity auction as womxn created a furore earlier this month. But this is a total Daily Mail-style distraction from the main issue – an auction, party and ongoing charity supporting women. The focus this year is those seeking asylum and refuge in UK.

‘Fresh Flowers’, Gabriele Beveridge, 2018, Courtesy of the artist

Their annual auction is killer – almost a who’s who of emerging British artists (who happy to be female and/or non binary) including Florence Peake, Phoebe Collings-James, Elouise Hawser, Juno Calypso, Maisie Cousins and Gabriele Beveridge – alongside more established iconic names like Linder and Polly Morgan. The works go on view November 8 at Protein Space and go up for sale on the 13th, but you can view and bid them all online here.

Fantasy 1, Florence Peake, 2018, Courtesy the artist and Bosse & Baum, London

For those who haven’t got the budget to shout for a piece by Faye Wei Wei or Marianne Spurr, but want to support providing vital, underfunded services for women, there is a party Friday night with Boiler Room with music curated by CAMPerVAN at Protein Studios. You can get tickets here.

Find out more at Her Stories.

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UNHCR & Giles Duley: The Refugee Women of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violence against women has been particularly brutal since war broke in the Kasai region in March 2017.  Rape and sexual violence has continued to be used as weapons of war in a pool of conflict that has triggered internal displacement of some 1.4 million people — and the flight of over 35,00 refugees into Lunda Norte province in northeastern Angola. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) teamed up with renowned war photographer Giles Duley to tell the stories of the female survivors who have bore witnesses to these crimes in a photography series to pay tribute to their strength.  For more stories and information on how to help, visit UNHCR.

“To be honest, I am not that strong. I lost everything. I am not sure how to carry on.”

Sylvie Kapenga, 26, from Tchissengue feels broken by the violence she witnessed when armed groups attacked her fellow villagers, killing and raping indiscriminately. She has four children and says life in Lóvua settlement, Angola is tough with little food or clothes to give them. 

“They pointed a gun at my husband, but we managed to escape with our two children.”

Some of 42-year-old Bernardete Tchanda’s friends were raped and killed when armed men attacked Kamako, Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the past she has suffered domestic violence. She says she feels protected in the UNHCR settlement in Lóvua, Angola. 

“As a refugee it is harder as a woman, we have the responsibility for food and the children. But here the women have given me inspiration.”

Ani Tcheba, 19, fled her village on a Monday morning at 6am, heavily pregnant and helped along by her husband. In Lóvua settlement, Angola she says the women share food and other essentials, and help each other with the hardships. 

“They killed my uncle and his sons. We couldn’t even bury them. Sometimes I am very sad at all we have lost. Other times we let it go, we have our lives. I am never tired. I am so strong, my body is always moving, ready to work.”

Mimi Misenga, 45, escaped barefoot into the bush from Kamako, Democratic Republic of the Congo to Lóvua settlement, Angola. She says armed men forced her neighbour to rape his own daughter. 

“The militia would go to a house and I would see them carry out the woman. I knew what they were doing. I lived in fear.”

Chantal Kutumbuka, 45, fled the town of Kamako in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when armed militia men killed her husband. She abandoned all she owned and crossed the border to Lóvua settlement in Angola.

“I thought they would kill the baby inside me, that’s where I found my strength.”

Thérese Mandaka, 19, has not seen her husband since she fled across the border from Kamako in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Lóvua settlement, Angola. When the soldiers came he was out looking for work while Thérese was at home, pregnant and sick. He has not seen their child, Munduko, who is now four months old. 

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NOMA : Lina I. Viktor, A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred

For her most recent body of work, London raised Liberian multi-media artist Lina Iris Viktor partnered with the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) to present an exhibition which explores the factual and fantastical narratives surrounding America’s involvement in the founding of the West African nation of Liberia. The nation was founded by the American Colonization Society in 1817, and was used as a conduit of resettlement upon and throughout the abolition of slavery. Through the exhibition which is titled “A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred,” the artist reimagines Liberia’s colonial past through the eyes of the  ‘Libyan Sibyl’ which is an ancient prophetic priestess who was said to predict ill-fated futures and would later re-emerge as a common motif in American art and literature. For the exhibition, which began on October 5, 2018,  Viktor uses paintings, paper works and installations to connect these references to modern and traditional West African textile culture and evocation figurative imagery.  “Liberia appears in Lina’s re-imagining as a kind of paradise lost, and as a cautionary tale,” said Allison Young, Andrew. Mellon Fellow of Contemporary Art. “ At the same time her work transcends this narrative, revealing how examples of visual culture — from Dutch Wax fabrics to national emblems to gestures in the history of portraiture—exists as remnants of these colonial histories.”  The exhibition runs until January 6, 2019 in the Great Hall of the  New Orleans Museum of Arts.

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Twin Issue XIX

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Twin issue XIX is all about not following the expected path – you could say the heroes and heroines of this issue are are rebels, but more importantly they’re pioneers. Leading with energy, humour and fearlessness that knocks you sideways. A celebration of speaking up and standing out. 

The contributors to this new issue of Twin are all united by their insanely individual talent. Cass Bird celebrates the mesmeric Mette Towley, star of Rihanna and N.E.R.D’s smash hit Lemon, on a low-tempo day while Fanny Latour Lambert brings the strange and surreal home. Actress Indira Varma talks about women’s power in the post #metoo movement.

Stefanie Moshammer heads to Mühlviertel for energetic family frolicks while Charlotte James and Sebastian Bruno let loose inside Merthyr’s famous social club. You’ll be thrown into a swashbuckling tribute to Shakespearian England courtesy of Scott Trindle’s epic imagination. 

The history and contemporary importance of afro hair salons in South London is explored by Sophie Green and Lynda Cowell while Emma Tempest creates contrasts with Veronique Didry against a striking natural landscapes. Lara Johnson-Wheeler chats to Niall O’Brien about documenting the unseen world within a world at Lourdes, while Agnes Lloyd-Platt makes you double take with her striking vivid shots around San Roque, Cadiz. It’s a knock out.

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Saint Hoax: MonuMental 2018

Saint Hoax is one of instagram’s latest front runner accounts known for it’s well-edited controversial and often accurately curated memes and photos which make light of socio-political issues in fun spirits. The pseudonymous artist behind the account is not only a humorous composer of memes and images, but also a creator of what is described as POPlitical Art — an art form which repurposed political and popular ethos as a commentary on the briefness of adulation. This is displayed through the artist’s oil paintings, lenticular prints and installations.

Saint Hoax’s latest venture is an exhibition titled ‘MonuMental’ set to debut tomorrow in Beirut, Lebanon following the artist’s last two exhibitions which showed in Bangkok and New York ‘MonuMental is an iconographic study of the pathos lurking beneath the immaculate facades of idols.’ It features version of the artist’s work in exaggerated dimensions which represent a reflection of the icons’ magnified personas in comparison to the vulnerability of the souls behind them. The exhibition is scheduled to take place in one of Beirut’s most historical buildings called The Egg. This is a cinema built in the 1950’s that was destroyed during the Lebanese civil war which throughout decades has experienced several stages of political and physical deteriorations and renovations. The exhibition  is curated by Plastik Gallery and will open to the public on October 11 until October 14.

Saint Hoax, Killer Queen, 2018
Saint Hoax, God Save The Queens, 2018
Saint Hoax via Instagram

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Fondazione Prada: The Black Image Corporation

For their latest venture , Fondazione Prada presents a collaborative effort of American publishing house Johnson Publishing Company and installation artist Theaster Gates in their latest exhibition titled “The Black Image Corporation”.

This project which is on display at the foundation’s Osservatorio venue in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan explores the historic visual evolution of the contemporary African American identity. The exhibition includes the archives of the Johnson Publishing Company which feature more than 4 million images that have been captured throughout decades by photographers Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton. The publishing house was founded by John Johnson in 1942 and was also the mother of the two landmark publications Ebony and Jet magazines, which both celebrated black culture.

With the work of the publishing house’s two photographers, Theaster Gates has curated an exhibition which honours the culture in an a way which speaks to beauty and black female power, “for this show I hope to tease out the creation of female iconic moments created by Sleet and Sutton and also offer small forays into the lives of everyday people through never-before-seen images of the Johnson Collection. Today it seems to me a good times to dig into the visual lexicon of the American book and show images that are rarely seen outside of my community. I wanted to celebrate women of all kinds and especially black women.”

At the exhibition, while most frames contain developed images, some will show the reverse of photographs which will include the date, time and photographer. The audience is invited to freely interact and explore with these images which will be kept in various cabinets of the exhibition. On the first level of the Osservatorio, the artist has also installed original furnishing and interior design elements mimicking the publishing house’s downtown Chicago offices. Within this area, spectators will be allowed to browse and read copies of Ebony and Jet magazines while viewing Avenue In Full Bloom (2018) , which is a short film shot by gates documenting the actual office space in Chicago.  The exhibition is on display from September 20, 2018 to January 14, 2019.

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Ready, set, Frieze: at Dover Street Market

The excitement in the air as Frieze comes to London is palpable and everyone is looking to get involved. Conserve your energy and make the most of the good vibes: for a super condensed shot of fashion and art related events, Dover Street Market is the place to be.

Serving as the wheatgrass in the cultural smoothie that Frieze has become, Dover Street Market’s locus of activities offers everything we thought we needed, and a whole lot more. The series is launching in store tomorrow and you may want to bring your camping gear – there’s a lot to get through.

Luncheon magazine at Dover Street Market

Highlights include Isabella Burley’s joyful new book, ‘Sisters’ by Jim Britt, which features the brace-clad duo who starred in the AW88 CDG campaign; Charles Jeffrey’s zine launch; Simone Rocha x A Magazine launch; Luncheon magazine’s installation with Rottingdean Bazaar; Loewe’s celebration of classical literature; and much more.

Isabella Burley, UK book launch: ‘Sisters’ by Jim Britt

For the Luncheon installation, Rottingdean Bazaar are re-decorating the Luncheon ‘Kiosk’ which sits the DSM and will be offering some custom playful product with every copy of the magazine – ‘spoontacles.’ These are, as they sound, spoons made into glasses… expect to see London’s most fashion forward coveting the maverick brand’s latest invention in the season ahead.

Luncheon magazine at Dover Street Market

Spoontacles or no spoontacles, you’ll find there’s plenty to dive into at Dover Street Market tomorrow. See you in the queue.

Loewe classic books
Charles Jeffrey Zine
JW Anderson, Your Picture Our Future Publication

Dover Street Market Open House, October 4th 2018, 6-8 pm.

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Kota Okuda: Dismantle Capitalism, But Make It Fashion

One of the most recent visual floods on social media has been caused by Japanese designer Kota Okuda who made his debut during NYFW at the Parsons MFA show 2018. His collection shared a sultry yet rather interesting message.

“I’m fascinated with the obsession there is surrounding the United States currency, and through this I wanted to deconstruct the meaning of it’s value in relation to humans.” Okuda drew inspiration from German philosopher, economist and revolutionary social Karl Marx’s book ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy,’ which references the themes of conceptualism and pop aesthetics. The designer also described his collection as a way of redefining the American currency by commodifying its value in an alchemistic system of dress, which he surely did accomplish. He  sent models down the runway strutting giant US Dollar bills, giant wallets and accessories reminiscent of cash. Following this collection, the designer hopes to continue to use fashion to tackle important issues and his currently working alongside New York based labels Telfar and Sea NY to design jewellery.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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! 

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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

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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.

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