Fondazione Prada: The Black Image Corporation

05.10.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

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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Azaadi by Misha Japanwala

23.08.2018 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Pakistani designer and visual artist Misha Japanwala recently presented an uplifting collection entitled ‘azaadi’ — an Urdu word which means freedom — as her official debut as a New York based designer.

The Parsons School of Design graduate returned/revisited her hometown for inspiration where she sought to focus on a more positive narrative from the headlines she often read as a child about murders and brutal acts of violence against women.

“My collection was inspired by women like late Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch and other victims of honour killings who were murdered by family members that believed they had brought dishonour upon the family because of actions or decisions the victims may have made.

Japanwala used her platform as a designer to create a series of wearable sculptures of the female body moulded from her own body along with accessories from the hands of other Pakistani women.

“The female body was the perfect symbol to highlight the strength of the women who aren’t afraid to fight to live on their own terms, but also representative of the fragility that comes with being a woman in Pakistan.” Twin spoke with the designer about her process and inspirations behind this meaningful collection.

Azaadi by Misha Japanwala

How long did it take you to compose this entire collection and what were some of your challenges?

I worked on this collection for almost a year. I spent the first couple months deep in research about honour killings and reflecting upon experiences of Pakistani women from different backgrounds, including my own. The process of designing the looks in the collection was the most challenging aspect for me, because it took a long time to settle upon visual anchors that represent struggle, strength, and what it means to be a woman living in Pakistan. A few months in, I had a dream where all of the final looks in the collection were created using sculptures of the female body, and that’s when the process of experimenting with casting and different materials began. I had never sculpted or life-casted before, so the process of trying to figure it all out included a lot of trial and error and experimentation, which was a lot of fun for me as an artist.

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

How has the general feedback been since you’ve launched?

The reaction I’ve received from people, both during the process of creating my thesis as well as after completing it, has been really special. As an artist, the best I can hope for with any work I create is to make people feel something, and it’s been amazing to watch so many of them, especially Pakistani women, connect with the themes explored in this collection. However, I also knew that by highlighting taboo and controversial subjects, and by being an outspoken Pakistani women, I would face some amount of backlash. It has been important for me to expose myself to the negative opinions about my work, because I think it is always necessary to have an open dialogue, especially when it’s conversations surrounding honour killings, domestic violence and the societal pressures faced by women living in Pakistan. 

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

How did it feel to show your muses the finished products?

After completing the collection, I went back to Pakistan for a couple weeks and had the opportunity to show my work to some of the women that had inspired it, and the ones who allowed me to make moulds of their hands to create the accessories in my collection. It was really special to see them excited about the collection and wearing the accessories themselves. It resulted in us having an impromptu photoshoot and it’s one of my favourite moments associated with the collection. 

Image courtesy of Misha Japanwala

Where can one find these pieces to view/buy?

My collection can be viewed online – official photos of the lookbook are up on my website www.mishajapanwala.com, and I continue to share photos and images of my process on my instagram @misha_japanwala. Anyone interested in buying my work can contact me directly through those channels.

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on launching an online store in the next few weeks to sell accessories inspired by the themes I targeted in the collection. I want to use my platform and my art to help Pakistani women, and so a portion of all proceeds from the sales on my website will be donated to a women’s shelter in Karachi, Pakistan. Moving forward, my work will continue to explore the subjects I used with my first collection, because I still feel like there is so much to say. In Pakistan, now more than ever, it is so important to continue pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo, and I hope that my work can, in a small way, help change mindsets and open people to different perspectives. 

Image Courtesy of Misha Japanwala

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Posturing

14.04.2018 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Following the wildly successful exhibition last year, Holly Hay and Shonagh Marshall are releasing Posturing as a book this month.

The beautiful tome brings together 21 iconic image makers in contemporary fashion. These photographers explore, respond to and propose new ways of using the body as a tool in the way clothing is depicted. Viewers are invited to look beyond the clothes though, at the entire art of composition and structure of each photograph. The careful curation of images allows viewers to examine fashion photography in new ways. The book portrays the spectrum of the fashion canon, from hyper-sexualised to the hyper-abstracted body. It is a celebration of the new era of strangeness in fashion, and the photographers central to leading the way.

Read our interview with Shonagh Marshall about co-curating the exhibition with Twin contributor Holly Hay here.

Johnny Dufort for AnOther Magazine, ‘Go Fish’ Autumn:Winter 2017

Charlie Engman for AnOther Magazine, ‘A Nod And A Glance A Gesture For One Word’ Autumn:Winter 2015

Lena C Emery for The Gentlewoman, ‘Practise’ Spring:Summer 2014

Pascal Gambarte for Marfa Journal, ‘Being Michael Rothstein’ March 2017

Reto Schmid for Under the Influence Magazine, ‘Relative Transparency’ Spring:Summer 2016

‘Posturing’ is available to buy via SPBH Editions from April 23rd 2018. 

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Raise The Barre

19.03.2018 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

The new season demands poise, precision and passion in order to do it justice. Watch the new fashion film from Agnes Llyod-Platt made especially for Twin magazine. Read the full story in the latest issue, out now.

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Dangerous and completely magical: Twin meets Mimi Wade

19.12.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Mimi Wade is one of the most exciting designers to have come out of London in the last few seasons. With her hyper feminine, seductive and playful designs she has created a new space for women to enjoy dressing up, and in doing so invites women to enjoy their bodies and the power they hold.

A Central Saint Martins graduate who came through the Fashion East platform, you can expect exciting things to come from Wade in the seasons to follow. Twin caught up with Mimi to talk about her grandmother, Hollywood and carving a new fashion structure.

Your last collection was inspired by your Grandmother’s Hollywood home, can you tell us a bit more about what the place was like?

Her house is slap bang in the middle of Hollywood, movie posters and lobby cards adorn every inch of wall space, mixed in with numerous photographs of herself , portraits by different artists and ex-boyfriends (including Cecil Beaton, and one by Matisse -not actually of her but one which bears a very striking resemblance) film stills – it’s all very ‘Sunset Boulevard’ !

Hollywood is infinitely seductive, why do you think that is?

The possibility in the air, that’s very seductive. People flock from all over the world to the city to pursue their dreams. In the same way that movies promote fantasy and detach us from reality, so does Hollywood. It is both trashy, dangerous and completely magical.

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You embrace femininity and sexuality in your designs – what about that kind of aesthetic interests you?

There have been times where I’ve felt undervalued for embracing and embodying my femininity and it only made me want to continue to push further. Women are too often underestimated, especially beautiful women who embrace their femininity and sexuality. My grandmother had a boob reduction, died her hair an unflattering colour and tried to rid herself of her stereotypical bombshell looks in an attempt to get more fulfilling roles in the movies – it’s frightening how often women are put in a box because of the way they look. Take Hedy Lamarr for example- she is responsible for inventing wifi and yet she is often merely remembered for being beautiful. Things need to change and I want to be part of it.

Aside from personal experience, who or what do you draw aesthetic inspiration from when you’re building a collection?

I watch a lot of films, I collect packaging and movie memorabilia, I take pictures and draw a lot, I look at vintage clothes.

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You graduated from CSM and then did Fashion East, what were the biggest challenges of launching a label in London? What were your biggest learning curves?

I’m still learning a lot, mostly from my mistakes!

What are your favourite materials to work with?

I have had an ongoing sponsorship from Sophie Hallette since St Martins, they make the most exquisite lace in Paris which is a joy to work with. I also love painting on leather.

When did you have the most fun designing?

My graduate collection at St Martins, having the freedom to design something with no commercial constraints whatsoever was pure joy.

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All you want for Christmas is….?

A lilac Birman kitten.

Where do you want to take the brand in 2018?

I’m restructuring the way I show collections, I’m not going to be a slave to the schedule anymore. In 2018 I’m doing things on my own terms. I’m launching my website and e-store in the new year too which I’m really excited about.

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Customisation station: Topshop SS18

19.09.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Whether it’s phone cases, patches, berets or bags, customisation is the trans-seasonal trend that we can’t get enough off. Hot off the Topshop SS18 catwalk, customised tees from the runway show are available to make your own at Topshop’s customisation pop-up in their Oxford Street store.

Head over over any time this week to tap into that fierce, independent attitude: because while wearing your heart on your sleeve is good, your name on your chest is better.

 

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Setting a new agenda: Women In Fashion

06.05.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

With ample experience in the industry,  Lily More and Daisy Walker decided that it was time to address the issues around gender equality in the fashion industry. The aim is to empower women through community, creating a strong network for women and men to learn from, inspire and create a stronger industry together. Twin caught up with co-founder of Women in Fashion Daisy Walker to discuss issues around the male gaze, street casting and launching a dynamic new platform.

How did you two get to know each other, and what drove you to start ‘Women in Fashion’?

We met through a mutual friend when we were 19, far before either of us had any idea we’d end up in this industry.

Lily is a researcher for David Sims, and I am a photographer. Coming from very different sides of the industry we quickly found through conversations that we were already having that a lot of our experiences were similar, but that there were multi layered experiences that were specific to each part of the industry as well. We wanted to create a space that would allow these layers to be explored and shared with the aim of changing the negative aspects of an industry we love.

Yurie Nagashima, Untitled, 2001

What is the aim of the platform?

To provoke change through conversation and to make the industry accountable for it’s ways of working.

wWhat do you enjoy about street casting?

Street casting came out of necessity for me. I was looking at other fashion images and saw nothing of myself in them. These girls literally didn’t look like me or the people I knew. By using models from agencies I felt like I was contributing to a warped view on age, size and diversity that the whole industry was feeding into, which lead me instead to start street casting.

When you’re casting from agencies you’re casting a professional to turn up and act and behave a certain way. When casting someone you literally found on the street, or is a friend of a friend, there is no formal set up for how the day should go. There’s a level of closeness and trust you have to build very quickly with that person, and it’s that interaction, that honesty and that connection that I love.

Much like Women in Fashion, I’ve made lasting friendships through my casting and and it’s that drive for inclusivity and level of intimacy that drives me to continually cast outside of the agency system.

More than ever, with Instagram etc, image is central to how fashion is portrayed. How do you see photography shaping the conversation within the industry?

For me photography is a window into the concepts and ideas behind artists, and I think fashion photography is the only tangible and visible way that the industry can change perceptions and give a voice to niche experiences. It’s great to see that brands are reverting back somewhat to hiring photographers with a clear voice and message and the more those experiences are given a visual representation within the industry, the more space there is for that conversation to continue and evolve.

Do you think a women’s relationship with the camera has changed permanently now? How do you think men can navigate the stigma of the ‘male gaze’ while embracing a feminist narrative?

I don’t believe that anything is ever permanent, nor do I think we’ve necessarily reached any kind of goal in terms of the female gaze. The female experience is incredibly diverse, and ever evolving and the social landscape morphs, as well as our means of communication within it. What I do hope is that this wave of the female gaze continues to grow and move forward.

I think there’s huge scope for men to reappropriate the male gaze and offer new and fresh perspectives and continually strive to create work that is feminist. As fourth-wave feminism has opened up to the mainstream, perspectives are more readily available for feminist men to absorb and learn from. It’s the reason that Women in Fashion is not open to only women. We are open to all iterations of gender, specifically because we think that it is open conversation that allows better understanding, which leads to us all becoming better feminists and better allies.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, 2014, Director Ana Lily Amirpour

Thinking more generally about the industry, what are the biggest challenges that you perceive for ensuring greater diversity in the industry? How can we overcome them?

Often i find that diversity is hindered by sales. Clients and magazines are certainly becoming more aware of the need for diverse casting but at times are wary because they often experience a drop in sales. It’s an extremely painful truth, but one that lies in a history of brainwashing women to believe that white, tall and thin is the definition of beauty. The only way to overcome that is to push to saturate the industry with images that prove that is not the case.

Years of oppression can not be overturned overnight, but it’s important to remember that the images we put out today are the ones the next generation will be growing up with. And if they can learn the importance and beauty in diversity now; then they’ll be the next generation to buy into it.

Who are the women you most admire and who inspire you in fashion, and in culture more generally?

I’m a huge admirer of Vivienne Westwood. She was my first ever client and set the tone for me, personally. She came from humble beginnings and fought her way to success in an industry very much owned by men at the time. The industry is still run by men, and she still endures. She is ever evolving, always looking forward and always focused on exploring the role of gender.

Outside of the fashion world I am very inspired by Patti Smith and Arlene Grottfried. Their portrayal of relationships, in their own very distrinct ways, is lusty and ardent and far removed from the perfection often synonymous with that theme.

Louise Dahl-Wolfe 3

What other female collectives do you admire, and who do you think is exciting in the industry?

Gal- Dem! We were interviewed alongside Liv recently and loved everything about her and what she’s doing!

In terms of individuals were excited about in the industry; Fern Bain Smith, Emma Hope Allwood, Sara McAlpine. These are all people who are working in the industry on their own terms and have a lust for questioning norms, for change and for promoting women. Really the greatest hope for a safer and more responsible industry is inclusivity and passion, and these girls are brimming over with it. They are all also Women in Fashion members!

Twin asked Women in Fashion to curate their favourite images as part of their Twin Instagram takeover. Check them out on our feed and below. 

Rebecca Horn 2, 1974

Rebecca Horn, 1974

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Silueta Series, Mexico), 1976

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Silueta Series, Mexico), 1976

Barbara Crane 7

Barbara Crane

Dana Lixenberg 2

Dana Lixenberg

Dayanita Singh 1

Dayanita Singh

Deborah Willis. Hank Pending, 2008

Deborah Willis. Hank Pending, 2008

Francesca Woodman 13

Francesca Woodman

Janet Delaney 3

Janet Delaney

Martine Franck 2

Mi Vida Loca, 1993, Director Allison Anders

GayCouples 045

Zanele Muholi 3

Zanele Muholi

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