Sinéad O’Dwyer’s new fashion vision

Sinead O’Dwyer’s RCA MA collection blended fashion and performance to offer a radical statement about diversity on a meaningful level in fashion. Using silicone (so often used to twist women’s bodies into a standard prescribed by patriarchal norms) and fibreglass, the young designer offered a bold new option for the industry: clothes that put the wearer’s body first rather than pushing the wearer to fit into punishing, shaming silhouettes.

Twin talks to Sinéad about breaking through the barriers in the new era.

Have you always been interested in the body as the starting point for clothes?
Not always, but I started studying fashion because I always seemed to want to relate my experiences and self expression back to my body and felt that fashion was an art in which the body and it’s exploration was central.

Sinead O’Dwyer RCA MA Show | credit: Dan Sims

Do you approach clothes with an idea of the shape that you want to create or is it always an organic process?
Observations of the body are my first port of call, and then it’s an organic process that is informed by these observations.
What about silicone and fibreglass were you drawn to when making work for your MA show?
Learning about mouldmaking and silicone has allowed me to translate the form and fragility of the body fluidly into my garments. I’m also drawn to the endless experiments you can make using such an industrial material as fiberglass for a mould.
How has your experience of growing up in Ireland informed your work?
I grew up in the countryside in a small town and had very little understanding for how the beauty and fashion industry operated, but still longed to be a part of it. However now after living in big cities I can see how these industries glorify themselves and the people they choose to represent and that knowledge combined with my experiences of how this can affect people’s perceptions of themselves is definitely something which fuels my work.

Sinead O’Dwyer RCA MA Show | credit: Dan Sims

What do you feel are the biggest challenges to changing how the body is perceived in fashion?
Old school fashion teaching and thinking: young designers want change but so many fashion schools still indirectly teach that a model has to be one shape and size by way of their choices of fit models and the block patterns they provide. In some cases, these arbitrary size restrictions are even enforced at show time. For example, the ITS competition rules state that garments must be size 8-10; upon enquiring if I could use a variety of sizes I was fed the usual excuse that models must be suitable for all to use.
This attitude, that it is not a priority to consider the bodies we are using to represent, and that everyone but ‘me’ wishes to use a size 8, is embedded in fashion culture. But it’s more often the case that a lot of designers have size 8 garments due to the resources pumped into paying for size 8 fit models, size 8 block patterns and also the stipulation in the ITS rules that garments MUST be size 8.
Where do you want to take your designs now?
I’ll continue pushing the process I’ve developed during these last two years.
Featured image credit: Sinead O’Dwyer RCA MA Show | credit: Dan Sims

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#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.

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#YSL17 PART I

This season Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello taps supermodel Kate Moss for the leading role of Part 1 of their Winter 2018 campaign. The campaign, shot by husband and wife duo Inez and VInoodh, features Moss on the shores of a beach, as she gives us a lesson in the modern art of seduction with sleek hair and plunging necklines. Vaccarello previously opted for the supermodel to face the YSL brand back in 2017 when he was freshly appointed as creative director so might we say that this campaign is well-deserved and definitely worth its wait.

Jacquemus man’s low key start

Earlier this year,  after a few weeks of teasing at the claim of having a “new job,” French designer Simone Porte Jacquemus announced the forthcoming launch of a menswear line. Three months later, the artisan revealed the details of his first menswear collection via instagram with a campaign/editorial shot with a robust model — French union international rugby player Yoann Maestri. The title – “ Les Gadje”—  which translates to a name given by men who are not of their world —  and the location was set for a popular beach in Marsielle, France — a delightful variation to the buzz of Paris which his audience had gotten used to.

Simone Jacquemus is the designer who has been rumoured to be one of the brightest stars amongst the alliance of new French designers. He has been giving facelifts to the imagery of female fashion and sexuality with the flair and personality of his last few collections. Le Souk, La Bomba, L’Amour D’un Gitan – all previous shows which embodied the liberated, unconstrained spirits of wanderers that were manifested in the forms of a rejuvenated version of the modern day woman. The aura of the brand itself has been described by many as fashion’s breath of fresh air. So when Simone declared the launch of menswear, the assumption by many was that the Jacquemus man would be a parallel personification of the liberal bohemian-like spirit used to inspire its female counterpart.

Only a few days before the launch of his show the designer revealed that the inspiration for menswear  in an interview with American Vogue. It was based on the connection that he had built between himself and his now estranged/ex boyfriend Fashion Director Gordon Von Steiner.

“It was more a feeling.. I was obsessed with the way he was dressing. I think Gordon has a particular taste….really simple but particular.”

The day of the show, the designer set the tone. Preview shots of the location on his Instagram,  — the shores of the Calanque de Sormiou — a popular beach off the coast of  Marsielle,  lined with rows of beach towels as the seating arrangement. A few minutes later entered the beautiful bevy of “healthy men,” as he mentioned in his earlier interview with AV. They were not too skinny, not too muscular, just perfect. They were all of diverse complexions.

At first glance, the bright colours and well-casted handsome faces might have fooled one into believing it was a collection worth it’s ballyhoo, but after only a second glimpse, it was evident that these were pieces one could easily acquire at a thrift shop or even at a local Zara franchise. In fact in his interview with AV, he gives insight that the prices for this collection would be lowered, “We wont sell an 800 euros shirts, but one at 270 euros we will.”

For Jacquemus womens’ we were given oversized straw hats, asymmetrically draped skirts, plunging tops, uniquely proportioned low heels — pieces which defined and distinguished his brand in the brimful pool of french designers.

This first menswear collection lacked the dexterity and creativity we knew the designer possessed as a protégé of Rei Kawakubo.The “Jacquemus man” wore cargo shorts, knitted shirts and ties (from his collaboration with Woolmark), printed shirts and speedos. Just like any other man. Apart from the colour coded styling and the branded neck wallets, there was nothing special about this collection. It felt like a bit of a mockery of what he has proven to be naturally capable of.

This was only the designer’s first menswear collection. What’s clear is that the Jacquemus the designer has demonstrated his potential for development and growth, and he’ll surely turn this to his menswear line too.

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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

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Growing up as a goth in the British Midlands: Twin meets Supriya Lele

What does it mean to be British? This is one of the biggest questions facing British people in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. What does Britishness look like? It’s a difficult one to answer given the influx of immigrants, cultures, and customs in British society over the last forty years. It’s something Supriya Lele confronts with her work.

Supriya is a British fashion designer with Indian heritage. Her work is influenced by her British identity and Indian cultural heritage. The way she works with drapery recalls the sari. The colours she works with refer to her own background, growing up as a goth in the British Midlands. Her work is inspired by architecture and sculpture, which she believes are integral facets to fashion design. Her work caught the attention of Fashion East, Lulu Kennedy’s incubator program for emerging talents. With three seasons at London Fashion Week showing as part of Fashion East, the British Fashion Council awarded Supriya NEWGEN sponsorship. This September, she will debut her standalone show at London Fashion Week. Twin caught up with her to discuss identity, launching a brand and “growing up as a goth in the British Midlands.”

When did you know you were meant to be a fashion designer?

I wouldn’t necessarily say I always knew I was meant to be a fashion designer, I began by studying architecture, and then subsequently wanted to study sculpture before last minute changing to my undergraduate degree in fashion…I think these three areas are quite linked. I was always really interested in fashion and it has always been an important part of my life, and this has been a very natural process.

Surprise LeLe AW18 | © Chris Yates

There are also parts of your work which refer to your childhood “growing up as a goth in the British Midlands”. For you, is storytelling an integral part of your designs?

Haha, yes the “goth,” aspect or subversive aspect to my work is important. I have been exploring my cultural identity since I completed my Masters at the Royal College of Art- and that involves exploring different memories, or parts of my family history which have informed my personal viewpoint and design handwriting; I think storytelling is a big part of that.

Your work features contrast: masculinity and femininity; your Indian heritage and British cultural identity; lo-fi fabrics and the air of luxury– is your work defined by contrast or the balance between the contrasting elements?

I always enjoy the tension between high and low and I like to play with that in my work. I would probably say that the balance between the contrasting elements is what I enjoy- finding that middle space or exploring that tension is what is exciting.

Surprise LeLe AW18 | © Chris Yates

It was reported that your first presentation with Fashion East came at a time when you hadn’t yet worked out how to sell the collection. Is this true?

My first presentation with Fashion East was when I showed parts of my Masters Collection from the Royal College of Art- most of this had been created on the course without sales in mind; so it was more that the actual collection was not ready for sales. It was more an aim to present my ideas and vision in that context, and introduce myself to the industry.

You worked with Fashion East for three seasons, what was the best advice you received?

I received a lot of good advice from Fashion East so this is a tough question! I think it was not to worry too much and to be confident in my own abilities.

You’ve been afforded NEWGEN sponsorship for the upcoming season. How does it feel to join the ranks alongside your peers Matty Bovan, Bianca Saunders, as well as previous winners such as J.W. Anderson and Simone Rocha?

It feels really exciting to have my own slot on schedule at LFW, I am really looking forward to it. NEWGEN has an amazing list of alumni, but also the current designers are so strong it’s really great to be a part of it!

What is next for the brand?

To keep pushing my vision forward and to grow my business and brand organically with the support I have.

 

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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. 

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N21’s Anti Streetwear

For his SS19 collection, N.21 designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua,  opted to turn his head away from the fast-selling streetwear direction of the industry and focus on a more sensual side of the brand.

“I’m over streetwear and sportswear at the moment. I started from a desire for light and warmth, to rediscover the body’s natural physicality.” 

Sneakers were thrown in for socks and sandals, t-shirts for button ups. There were also raincoats, the brands signature photo inserted shirts, nylon pouch bags and totes. 

The collection had a familiar simplicity accompanied by a whiff of femininity which made you want to ask for more. It was a celebration of the sensual man. Was this the brand’s official proclamation towards a more permanent  formal aesthetic? And if so, will he then give up the shorts for tailored trousers next season?

Whatever direction chosen the brand should look to exaggerate their inspiration. At times their signature simplicity might be mistaken for indolence and repetition. 

N.21 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin magazine

N.21 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin magazine

N.21 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin magazine

N.21 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin magazine

N.21 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin magazine

N.21 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin magazine

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MSGM RIMINI VS MILAN

For MSGM’s SS19 collection designer Massimo Giorgetti incorporated the spirits of the two most important cities in his life: Rimini and Milan.

“Rimini” the designer commented, “is the city where I grew up, it was about the beach, the club, the tourists and the energy while Milan is where I made my home, started my label and made my career. I would like to play with the two and bring them together.”

Giorgetti envisioned both cities to be on the opposite sides of a volleyball net, inviting guests to a high school basketball gym for the show.

The brand’s streetwear aesthetic merged perfectly with the sporty reference. The collection was packed with acid colours, silk shirts printed like multivitamin one-a-day packaging, volleyball tops, track suits, bombers and oversized tees.

Images of famous Japanese volleyball players were also imposed on the garments along with patterns influenced by the works of American photographer Roger Minick, widely known for his photography series documenting tourists. 

Giorgetti’s intentions, though presented as a Spring Summer collection, gave strong hints of resort wear which allows for the flexibility to freely dabble between collections.

The show then concluded similarly to last season’s with a series of multi-patterned printed shirts and matching shorts during the final walk. Although a fairly young Milanese brand, the inspiration that Milan gives the designer has become a recurrent theme. Is it time for something new, or is this still a part of setting his signature in stone? 

MSGM SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

MSGM SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

MSGM SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

MSGM SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

MSGM SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

MSGM SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

MSGM SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

MSGM SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

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M.1992 Rides Polluted Waves

Designer Dorian Stefano Tarantini took polluted seas as the inspiration for the M1992 SS19 Menswear collection.

As he noted: “Sea pollution is the beginning of a creative process that draws from the ocean and its post-modern iconography marked by plastic, viscous, black and metallic materials, offshore rigs and oil spills. “ 

The runway opened with a full black look with the word ‘oil’ printed over a flame. Everything else that followed was an ode to abandoned beaches. Each model’s hair was covered in black liquid, reminiscent of petroleum. Deconstructed tuxedos, shiny gold printed crocodile fabrics and tie-dye tuxes were all part of the designer’s vision.

Hues of red and flashes of denim (produced by the brand’s collaboration with denim production company ISKO) were also added on a separate note which referenced the 90s ready-to-wear influence of Giorgio Armani & Donatella Girombelli.

Details that evoked vines and branches were also added around necklines and trousers were bedazzled by Swarovski crystals. The show closed with an actual functioning diving suit. A different kind of solution should the consequences of marine pollution make themselves further known.

M1992 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

M1992 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

M1992 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

M1992 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

M1992 SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

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Marni’s Olympics

For SS19 Creative Director of Marni Francesco Risso unleashed his imagination into a fantasy of athletics.

Risso welcomed guests to the underground parking lot of Torre Velasca, a residential brutalist tower built in the late ‘50s in Milan’s centre with a seating arrangement of Swiss balls. This was the first introduction to what he referred to as his “Imaginary Olympics.” 

“All are admitted to this game: the thin and the chubby, the tall and the short; fatty ultra men and skinny supermen; mini superheroes and maxi anti-heroes; anyone who loves and knows thy body.”  Commented the designer, giving insight into his casting which was a mixture of both professional street-casted models of all ages and sizes.  

He added that “each team creates its uniform for the game by reassembling all the uniforms of all the sporting events which we have forgotten.”  Out came all the team members dressed in pieces that were inspired by an accumulation of vintage sportswear. Each ensemble told an individual story of its wearer/player. High waisted drawstring pants, double T-shirts, windbreakers, tailored sports coats, skater pants, prints blown up from German artist Florian Hetz combined with wrestling robes and sleeping bags made into voluminous bombers and paired with bed slippers. There were references to uniforms pulled from sports such as cricket, football, tennis and swimming.

But Marni’s imaginary olympics was a game of vulnerability, no machos allowed: no mouth guards, no shin guards, no foul play. The silhouettes were soft and clean, creating revised hi-tech versions to sportswear while paying homage to their vintage references. 

Marni SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

Marni SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

Marni SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

Marni SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

Marni SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

Marni SS19 | Jordan Anderson for Twin online

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Suitcase seduction: FENDI x RIMOWA

A suitcase is one of those adult investments that often alludes us. So many flights are spent shoehorning a tattered carry-on bag into the overhead lockers. But this new collection from FENDI and RIMOWA offers a masterclass in modern, elegant suitcase seduction. It’s time to embrace the luxury of luggage again.

Ahead of the summer season, the collaboration sees its second drop. The new additions in blue and red join the black and yellow model that was introduced in November last year. FENDI brings luxurious leather details to RIMOWA’s classic craftsmanship. The trolley’s also feature the iconic double ‘F’ logo and neoprene black interiors offer a contemporary, energetic feel. Customised options ensure the final unique touches.

Before you begin to think about what to pack, make sure you’ve invested in the only summer essential you’ll need this season.

Fendi x Rimowa

Available online and in selected stores worldwide from 18th June 2018. 

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In London’s menswear scene, women lead

This season women were behind the most impactful designs at London Fashion Week Men’s. Such a reputation isn’t new: a fresh generation of women designers have been reshaping the London menswear scene for some seasons. In offering a streetwear, high fashion hybrid that is both romantic and wearable these designers set a precedent for a different kind of maleness. And beyond the clothes, these women have rooted their designs in a sense of community. They offer new menswear tribes that discard archaic notions of masculinity and propose a more complex and engaging modern man. Twin spotlights on the women shaping the London menswear scene.

Bianca Saunders

Bianca Saunders SS19 had everybody talking. This season the designer focussed her attention around the theme ‘Gestures’, exploring poses and body language. Her clothes played with the idea of awkwardness in your own clothes, with in-built creases reflecting the process of wearing in and becoming familiar with your clothes. Using materials such as nylon and cotton the silhouettes were tight and intimate, the tension between the known and the awkward at play here too. This was no doubt a pivotal collection for Saunders but the success was expected too, given the hype the Kingston and Royal College of Art graduate has been garnering since she first showed at Graduate Fashion Week in 2015 . Her exploration of masculine identity, inspired by London and her West-Indian heritage, is necessary and relevant.

Bianca Saunders SS19

Martine Rose

Martine Rose has been revered for her menswear designs since she began in 2007. Her concise vision marries the power of streetwear and logo mania with expert tailoring, the result was to create an aesthetic based on the power of family and clan. There’s not one explicit Martine Rose look but instead a recognisable signature: exaggerated silhouettes, structured tailoring, perfectly off-kilter styling. The everyday twisted just enough to take you by surprise. The sense of community has also been fostered by Rose through the use of off-catwalk shows. These include a market in Tottenham and this season, a catwalk along a street in Camden, complete with overexcited neighbours taking pictures from their front yards. The result: a clear connection between fashion as a medium and fashion as the clothes that people wear in everyday life, without compromising on beauty, romance or vision.

Bethany Williams

Welsh designer Bethany Williams brings activism and community to the heart of her designs. Collections are based around a zero-waste approach, with sustainable fabrics created in collaboration with partners including Tesco and the San Patrignano drug rehabilitation community in Italy. She also works with TIH modelling agency, a platform which supports young people in London affected by homelessness. In short, her approach is near unparalleled in the London fashion industry – and she’s only just getting started. As Bethany told Twin: “It always starts with the charity or community that I am working with, then it goes to the waste materials that I want to use, then it goes to the fabric and then from the fabric I work out the form: it is initially inspired by the charity I choose to work with from the start.”

Bethany Williams

Grace Wales Bonner

Wales Bonner didn’t show at LFWM this season but her impact on the menswear scene is evident nonetheless. The winner of the 2016 LVMH Prize first made waves with her first collection “Afrique” in 2014 where she was awarded the L’Oréal Professional Talent Award. In this rapid rise to fashion’s heights, Wales Bonner’s vision has always been clear. Her collections draw inspiration both from contemporary life and works by writers such as James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Marlon Riggs. Her romantic, 70’s-esque silhouettes are richly rendered with beautiful use of fabric and colour. Her intimate and considered approach has also been reflected in her approach to shows, where historically the designer has opted for smaller, chair-less presentations, shown to perfect soundtracks and accompanied by reading lists to keep editors on their toes.

A post shared by Wales Bonner (@walesbonner) on

Astrid Andersen

Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010, Astrid Andersen quickly rose through the fashion ranks. She was a member of Fashion East and was awarded NEWGEN sponsorship, developing her idiosyncratic signature that marries sportswear and luxury. In doing so Andersen set a dynamic precedent for menswear in which boundaries are blurred and style is freely interpreted.

Paria Farzaneh

A relatively new addition to the London menswear scene, Paria Farzaneh is a Yorkshire-born, London-based Iranian designer whose collections are inspired by her heritage. Designs offer a combination of Iranian materials and silhouettes threaded through contemporary London style. The result is streetwear printed with traditional patterns, t-shirts and polo shirts printed with ‘Iran’ and adorned with textiles as well as classic suit tailoring. Addressing mis-representation of the Middle East and specifically Iran in the West Farzaneh offers a modern and relevant vision for maleness. A distinct aesthetic which celebrates unique identity and fuses traditional lad culture with delicacy and ornate detail.

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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.”

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

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How to build an independent fashion brand

This weekend sees The Bridge Co. host ‘How to build an independent fashion brand?’ A series of events designed to enable young creatives in fashion to work savvily and negotiate the intimidating business of fashion.

With speakers from Harvey Nichols, i-D, SHOWstudio as well portfolio reviews and speed mentoring, this is a dream opportunity to get free, helpful advice from industry experts.

The Bridge Co. is well versed at launching new designers onto the international stage, with clients that include Roberta Einer, Teatum Jones, HAVVA, Oshadi, CMMN SWDN, Ergon Mykonos, and Katrine Hanna, to name a few.

For any London-based emerging designers, this is an essential Saturday activity. Find out more here.

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Prada Pre-Fall 2018 explores Industreality

For their Pre-Fall 2018 campaign, Prada enlisted photographer Willy Vanderperre to capture models inside of the fictitious Prada Warehouse.

The fantasy environment is full of contrasts which embody the modern Prada woman. Models pose against textured, industrial backgrounds that are emblazoned with Prada logos and signs. The colour palette is high-octane, marrying bold, bright hues with futuristic and feminine clothing design. These combinations create an immersive Prada world: rich and unexpected, as the brand is apt to do. Anok Yai, Kris Grikaite and Fran Summers are the perfect models to anchor fantasy of the Prada Warehouse to reality.

Motifs such as the flaming shoes, Prada triangle and dinosaur evoke Prada’s traditional visual language while simultaneously offering a new one. It’s the sense of transition embodied within these logos that plays a part in the continued energy of brand. References speak a both to Prada’s long and innovative history, while also offering a modern twist that looks to the future.

Clothes do the same, with nylon and digitised florals ensuring traditional feminine design is re-imagined for the modern woman. While the Prada Warehouse might remain in another dimension, there’s no doubt Prada Pre-Fall will bring ‘Industreality’ to the every day.

 

 

 

 

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Fantasy florals: summer scents to capture your imagination

Spritz and escape: these floral-laced scents are your passport to summer. Who cares about the weather when you’re carrying orange blossom and lavender notes wherever you go. These spring and summer season scents are all about embracing the fantasy, helping you to shake off the winter blues and reach for the sky.

19-69 Capri

19-69 Capri Eau de Parfum at Goodhood Store

Comme 3 Eau de Toilette

Comme 3 Eau de Toilette at Dover Street Market

Ex Nihilo Viper Green

Ex Nihilo Viper Green at Harvey Nichols

Le Labo Neroli 36

Le Labo Neroli 36 Eau de Parfum at LN-CC

Prada Pink Flamingos

Prada Pink Flamingos at Selfridges

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Crushing on Kravitz, Saint Laurent Fall 2018

Zoe Kravitz is Saint Laurent’s latest campaign star, and we can’t get enough. Following on from the last video which spotlighted on the delightful Betty Catroux, the latest Saint Laurent video is a celebration of Kravitz’s dynamic, mesmeric presence.

The campaign video features a cropped-haired Kravitz dancing to the Velvet Underground’s iconic song ‘Venus in Fur’. Fifteen seconds is more than enough to convey the sultry, confident atmosphere evoked by a monochrome film of the compelling star. Dancing to the laconic melody, Zoe wears a military-inspired jacket with brocade detail, high-rise leather shorts adorned with stars and platform leopard print boots. If you needed another reason to crush on Kravitz, this outfit would be it.

Watch the Saint Laurent Fall 18 video featuring Zoe Kratiz below.

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New African Photography III

Following the success of previous collaborations between Nataal and Red Hook Labs, Nataal curates an exhibition of some of most exciting image-makers documenting modern Africa in a new exhibition. New African Photography III opens at the Brooklyn space in May.

The new exhibition will showcase the work of six female artists: Fatoumata Diabaté (Mali), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Keyezua (Angola), Alice Mann (South Africa), Ronan McKenzie (UK) and Ruth Ossai (UK/Nigeria).

Together these works celebrate female identity and diversity, offering an empowered and positive vision. A sense of energy is conveyed through the celebration of movement and the use of powerful juxtapositions – both in terms of colour and of form.

The event also coincides with the launch of Nataal’s first print issue. The website and magazine work as a platform to champion creativity and culture in Africa. You can find out more here.

Alice Mann, Dr Van Der Ross Drummies, Delft, South Africa, 2017, from the series Drummies

Ruth Ossai X Mowalao

Fatoumata Diabaté, Kara et ses oreilles, 2012, from the series L_homme en Animal

Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman, 2017, from the series Fortia

Nataal: New African Photography III, 4th – 13th May, Red Hook Labs, 133 Imlay St, Brooklyn, New York. Opening times: 10am-6pm daily. 

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