Monday, 30 November 2009

Bah Humbug

Christmas is upon us.  Apparently.  My email inbox has been bombarded with reminders of Christmas from gift ideas to alerting me to the fact there are only a certain number of shopping/posting/work days left.  Well all it's doing is panicking me.

I have so far brough one present and that present is for my five year old sister Holly, who is the easiest person to buy for in the world.  She wants things.  Lots of them.  Anything with her favourite Disney characters will do perfectly and currently those are Tinkerbell and Ariel.  Therefore, on Christmas day she will be dressed as Tinkerbell courtesy of moi...complete with twinkling lights on her chest.

I have trawled over the internet, with little to NO time left to go shopping by the time I've caught up on random chores/visits/events on weekends.  The internet is not being helpful.  I would like to turn back time.  By 4/5 months would do...I see myself lying in the sun in south France laughing at the boys I was travelling with and worrying about getting sun stroke again.  Now I'm worrying about the fact that someone at work has informed me "Jack Frost will be visiting for the first time tonight".  This tells me I'll be freezing on the walk home.

Some may say I've outgrown Christmas, that I'm bitter, that I'm silly, that I'm the Grinch...I say I'm just a fan of summer, it's when I'm happiest, and I can't wait for it to come back.  Oh...and Christmas isn't the same when at you have been putting out the presents yourself for almost 10 years.  Santa has officially gone my friends.  Bah humbug.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Peter Ruis of John Lewis. What a guy.

London's calling according to Peter Ruis, who I met yesterday.  I always presumed that the way to crack the fashion industry was through resilience...carry on applying for things and keeping up to date and one day luck will come my way.  Apparently it won't.  If I'm not in London that in the capital brings a whole new set of options.

As I sat in John Lewis' waiting room he rushed past me and out into the street.  The lovely lady at reception looked at me and mouthed "that's him."  My response: "I know but he's going the wrong way."  She laughed, "he probably needs a coffee first."

She was wrong.  He came back and apologised, he hadn't been told I was here, and we went to the coffee shop together.  He had a smoothie, no caffiene insight, whilst I gulped down a mug of steaming tea.  Thank you for that Mr Ruis, it was just what I needed.  We chatted over his lunch (though we met just after 3:30) and you'd never have guessed that I was sat chatting to the fashion buying director of a massive company.  "I like to get out of the office whenever possible," he said.

I fully believe it's hard to know exactly what you want to do without experiencing it.  You can definitely have ideas but when you get there reality is always different so I was honest.  It's a toss up between buying and marketing.  For similar reasons.  A love of fashion, consumer insight and effects everything not just fashion believe it or not.

So we came to a conclusion.  Or Peter Ruis came to a conclusion.  Living in a sleepy Staffordshire village isn't going to get me anywhere.  I need to move to London.  By February at the latest, as that's when corporations look into recruiting apparently.  His parting words: "I look forward to your email.  I can help get you sorted.  I promise."

It's pretty amazing to think someone so important is so helpful.  And absolutely lovely too.  Scary stuff though, packing my bags to maybe just work in a shop?  I could do that somewhere that it's cheaper to live surely?  It's not about that though is's about being where I need to be if I want to really get anywhere.  Big decision but think it may be time to take  aleap.  I have three months to work it out.  That'll fly by...but ssshh, let's just get Christmas out the way first eh?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Garance Doré: Illustrator and Blogger

Garance Doré's blog is one of my favourites.  She meets the people I want to meet, goes to all the important fashion events, swans around with 'The Sartorialist' for meet and greets with fans and lives in Paris.  She is French so I can accept that she can speak French and I can't but I would very much like to do the things she does.

Her blog is now three years old and it seems fans are happy to listen to whatever she has to say pretty much.  I agree.  She makes me laugh.  I always atempt to read what she has to say in French but always fail beyond my basic rusty GCSE knowledge and switch to English.  I love the little illustrations she throws in amongst her street style shots.

However....silly as I've been reading for months...I didn't realise that illustration was the start to it all.  I was happy to hear that as I prefer the illustrations to the photography, there's something so natural and easy to them.  I wish I could pick up a pencil and draw how she does.  I find myself stressing over what other ppl will think and believing they aren't good enough then throw them away.  Maybe I should follow Garance's lead and just go for it.  Because they are beautiful.

One female character appears again and again.  It reminds me of my friend Katie, whose own female character has a name, characteristics and a definite personality.  I wonder whether Garance's character is herself or is indeed, as Katie's, more a collection of her favourite things about people in general.  Her sisters hands, her best friends sense of humour, a celebrities hair....who knows?  All I know is that I love her.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Denise Boomkens: Escape to a cartoon world

In an effort to escape the gloom of winter I turned to photography and in doing so Denise Boomkens managed to make me smile.

I first encountered her 'Donald' work, where Donald Duck participates in a 1950's beach spread.  Based in Amsterdam Boomkens focuses entirely on fashion and beauty photography, all of which seems to have a comical aspect to it.  And by comical I don't mean humorous, although it is light hearted most of the time, I mean it uses/takes inspiration from cartoons/cartool style art.  Pop art for instance.

The bold, bright styling and use of colour and location couldn't fail to make me smile.  Until I looked out of the window at the blackness that has completely taken over.  She's had clients from many different magazines so clearly I'm not the only one she pleases.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wonderful, knowledgable, fashionable people

I had another GFW day of meetings yesterday.  I met with Erin Mullaney, Buying Director at Browns, along with Jemma Dyas, Buyer for Browns Focus and then moved on to a meeting with Fred Uribe at Burberry.

When I left I was feeling very poorly (I have been rather ill and that has damaged my spirit slightly....I didn't even think I'd make it to London) and unsure about myself.  I even went as far to tell a friend I was having an identity crisis.  An Identity Crisis.  Slightly dramatic?  Me?  No!  Never!  Well future career is between buying and marketing.  I keep swinging to buying because that's more accessible in terms of graduate schemes.  Essentially though marketing was the reason I went to university.  I went in order to learn how to promote brands.  Hence getting a BA in Fashion and Brand Promotion.

Erin and Jemma wooed me with stories of emotional catwalk shows, this emotional response you get to clothes, amazing parties, people, models, designers...general amazing things that happen if you do well within buying.  Fred on the otherhand blew me away with knowledge.  He appealed to my logical side, the side that loves brands and how they tick...the side that strategically plans every detail of what could make a business good from a martketing point of view.

From branding to digital media he chatted away and I just sat there and soaked it all in.  In fact, I desperately clutched my diary and a pen to make notes whilst all the others just sat and looked at him.  Call me silly, an overachiever, whatever...but I didn't want to forget anything I might need in the future.  They could, of course, have just been blown away with his charm.  The man could charm the arse off anyone I'm pretty sure of that.  We all walked out and said: "Wow."

Needless to say, marketing is at the forefront of my mind once more and so I am desperately trying to find local businesses that will give me work experience.  As much as I would love to swan off to London, stay in a hotel and do an unpaid placement it's just not going to happen.  I will find my place though.  Eventually.  In the meantime I dream of having Fred's job in ten years time and referring to the next Christopher Bailey by their first name only.  "Well Chris came in and pretty much designed the way the interior of Horseferry House would work..."

Oh and Horseferry House, Burberry's London HQ, is amazing!!  Seven floors of pure, unquestionable amazement.  I really wish I'd been there when it was raining to hear it bang of the dual ceiling and watch it from the open central area.  "I think this building was once an MI5 building."  Oh really  Again.  Wow.

Burberry's Horseferry House

Friday, 13 November 2009

Absence does not make the heart grow fonder...

Absence does not make the heart grow fact I'm pretty convinced it just pisses it off.  The concept sounds all romantic and lovely but actually for any relationship...apart maybe from your's just inpractical.

During the summer my friends and I were discussing one particular rather disasterous 21st (not mine) and decided to redo it.  I suggested us all redoing our 21st's and disregarding the fact we will actually be turning 22 in this next academic year.  My theory behind this was that everyone had problems regarding time/money/distance that prevented proper celebrations. 

I was shunned by one particular friend who said "well you didn't bother coming home for anyones 21st.  Considering I worked 24/7 (it paid off I got a first!) and had no money really I think this is a ridiculous thing to be annoyed by.  It just makes me think bollocks, I won't be making an effort on your 22nd.  Now I find my relationships with uni friends rather lacklustre and it's sad.

I recall my relationship with one particular man (though it's odd calling him that as he was a boy when I met him four years ago) that struggled ridiculously.  Now we're apart, I'm single and we speak more than ever.  When we see each other it means even more.  We're doing it not out of duty but because we care and we want to.  Some days I wonder maybe we'll ever get the chance to give it another go.  Then he tells me he's going glacier skiing for a month during his meager six week summer break.

Some things just aren't meant to work out.  Absence inevitably just leaves you pining.  I live in hope one day someone will prove worthy enough and we will close the gap.  Live within the same city.  Or even the same county.  More than anything I hope my lovely Prestonian friends will still be my friends when I next see them despite weeks/months/years of time apart.

I may be a bit shit with contact but that doesn't mean I don't just means that one particular man has meant I now have no free text messages left.  Bugger.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

L Filipe dos Santos: See. Saw

Portugease native L Filipe dos Santos (aka Corcoise), now based in Madrid, has captured my imagination...his sketches build on ink/paint spreads that every nursery gets children doing.  Drop the paint/ink on one side of the paper, fold it over and voila...a butterfly!

Or not.  His See. Saw portfolio shows another way of seeing things.  Look at the original splodges (for lack fo a better term) and what do you see?  Now look at what he sees....illustrated with the sketches he's built on top.  There's one in particular where I definitely see some form of monster/animal but no...there are some people.

Fascinating....see for yourself on his portfolio page.  I must say my favourites are the ones where the originals take up more of the page...where Corcoise builds on very little shapes and colour the sketches the amazement is not quite so great, though the resulting sketches are still wonderful.  What I love is the way he sees order in chaotic colours.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Cool TV: Be Involved

The most on-the-pulse site I know...The Cool set to launch their own weekly TV show, based initially in London, New York and Sydney/Melbourne before spreading to other continents.  They need creative, inspirational, interested presenters...who can write and present with their own, natural style.

Get creative and send your credentials to them before they snap up some other lucky fellow.  Send The Cool Hunter a picture, specifics and what you could do for TCH TV.  You could be interviewing scientists, architects, name it.  You could be "roaming the UK and the globe so (others) are in the know..." Innovation at it's purist streamed straight to the nation...thanks to you.  Sounds like an amazing job...maybe I'll apply...

Thursday, 5 November 2009

For the love of God STOP HIDING VOGUE

Living at home, as I may have mentioned, is not all that wonderful.  My main problem is the fact someone keeps hiding my monthly pleasure...Vogue.  Anyone that lived with me at university knows full well that when that magazine drops outside my door I am always ecstatic.

It is not that fashion is my life...though I must admit that style often leads over practicality when it comes to my attire, for instance by beloved Asteria's have no grip and so I almost fall over is the beauty that is Vogue.  I just found this months shoved haphazardly behind the knife rack.  The month before it was hidden on the sideboard, the month before that it was under the Daily Mail (God help me!) and the month before that they sent my copy to someone else as it was supposedly "undelivered".

It appears Vogue is just not meant to reach me, but I did my best and uncovered each and every copy...including shouting at someone and making them find the "undelivered" copy that was supposedly not available, they were all gone.  I don't know how they did it, I like to think they printed one just for me.

Stop it.  Stop it.  Stop it.  Let me relive the joy of university when each month I'd hear a tap on my door. Hello Mr Postman (Post-girl...also known as Nicola...Vogue came through the flat letterbox and she usually delivered it to my room!) how lovely that cover is.  It's the cover that always does it.

This month is the yearly glamour issue.  "Wonderful".  Check out the cover...

Damn you knife rack for hiding this from me.  I'll be having words with my father.  I'll move out just for this reason if it continues.

Nadia Flower: Fragile yet Striking

Nadia Flower's is, without doubt, an amazing illustrator. I discovered her a few years back whilst in my second year of university and keep coming back to her time and time again. I must admit to often being drawn to solely computerised illustration, possibly because that's the kind I do more than any other, however this makes me want to take out my pencil again.

The drawings are fluid, delicate, almost fragile...but there is something so striking about them. I think it's the way they are confident, strong in graphic style and absolutely wonderful in general.

See her portfolio at the Illustration website...where I first discovered her.

Missing: Culture. If found please post me a ticket to its location

I am feeling rather cornered of late.  I have lost all motivation to do anything.  In fact, you're lucky I'm writing anything at the moment.  I have, thankfully, discovered what I'm missing: culture.  I need the lights, the people, the sounds and the sights in particular that come with cultured society.

Where I live people say hello to everyone they pass.  This may sound lovely but this incessant need to greet strangers becomes rather annoying when I have escaped into my music and therefore look like an ignorant arse hole.  On a good day I can be found smiling as I hurry along to work, grinning at any randomer that passes me or even looks vaguely in my direction.  The woman from the flower shop often suffers this annoying person....this city girl masquerading as a villager.

The thing is I wouldn't say I'm entirely happy with the lack of galleries and intellectual conversation.  The Simpsons every evening with my sister, who is eleven, is not stimulating my mind.  The library is bored of seeing me.  I read more books than they can get their hands on (it's pretty small) and I get annoyed with their meager opening times...needless to say I have turned to friends and family to fuel my need for literature.  However, it usually turns out to be rather unfulfilling.  Girl meets boy, girl and boy fall in love, overcome obstacles and then get married.

High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby, is currently fueling my imagination...thank you to a kind friend...and is currently doing an alright job.  Laura, the ex in the story, has a beautiful name of course...this alone is a reason to love it.  It is not art though is it?

Rothko as seen in the Tate Modern
(...looking rather more purple than it should)

The first time I went to the Tate Modern I walked into their Mark Rothko room and was stunning.  The combination of his large scale paintings and lighting overcame me and I just sat and stared whilst my friend Katie mumbled "I don't like it, I don't like it."  When I went to London this February I was absolutely mortified to find their latest Mark Rothko exhibition had closed leaving me with the same work I had seen previously.  This is what I want.  Art, architecture, people, music, drama, feel absolutely lost if I miss it but to vow wholeheartedly I won't miss it again.  I want culture that will overwhelm me, and Katie...that way we can discuss it after.  I want to laugh and cry and smile and ramble incessantly about how wonderful something is.

I don't want to be pompus and try to convince people I'm cool and know more than them.  Culture is just what I need.  That and maybe some flirtation...because who doesn't like attention?  Suggestions are most welcome...for culture that is, not flirtation.  This is not that kind of site.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Selk: A Campers' Dream..

I spend the summer camping in Europe, which was hot unlike what was happening at the time in England.  Needless to say I really wouldn't have needed one of these but part of me would just LOVE one...

It completely stops the problems I have had with camping in the past where I have moved, shuffled out and got freezing of the reasons I don't like to camp, Europe was most definitely an exception and only because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity...who could say no?

The Selk sleeping bag looks a bit like a spacesuit, it must be great fun to play around in and practical too.  No more freezing cold nights shuffling out of a sleeping bag, interrupting fellow campers, attempting to find a coat and then running as fast as possible to the toilets...oh no.

It's been cleverly thought out: ties, adjustment belts, padding and layered inserts for a snug fit, warmth and comfort on hard surfaces.  The Cool Hunter have said that "even the ugliest camper can look positively cute once wrapped in the Selk'bag" and I think they might be right.  Get your ver own from £69 at the Selk'Bag website.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Kazuki Takamatsu: Ghostly Graphics

Kazuki Takamatsu takes ghostly to a new level with these beautiful, elegant graphics.  Ethereal and enticing they remind me of ice sculptures, perfectly formed and enticing.  According to Today and Tomorrow they are painted with gouache but other sites from Popwhore to Trendhunter don't seem to understand how exactly they've been done.  Guess Takamatsu won't be sharing any time soon if it's got all these people talking...

Tim Burton Brilliance

I can't take credit for finding I am not an avid Harper's Bazaar fact I must hand over the credit to the lovely photographer Daniela Restaino.  US Harper's Bazaar have the most amazingly magical shoot.  "In anticipation of his retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art, filmmaker Tim Burton reimagines the season's dark delights."  Tim Walker's photographs capture the moment perfectly.

This is what I love about fashion.  Fashion is more than just clothes and in my mind the models, styling, location and theme of a fashion editorial thrive most when the imagination is allowed to run riot.  I don't want to see what other people are wearing in a magazine...I want to see how brilliant clothes can be, how they can be artistic and characteristic...that's what inspires me.  Wish I'd seen this before Halloween, I'd definitely have taken some styling tips for a more other worldly outfit.

Uniqlo's new Heat Tech clothing: Not such a new concept

Techological fabrics have been around for YEARS but when I saw Uniqlo's advertisements that they had managed to use them for something fashionable. As it is they do simple tops and jumpers that are pretty standard to be honest...just your basic winter clothes.  Ok so rather than the expensive price tags you usually get in outdoor shops (where you'll find the best fabric technologically because outdoor pursuit's actually require it) prices start at just £7.99.

Part of me is screaming that it must then be rubbish!  I don't really know because I haven't actually given any of it a go.  What I do know is that the lovely jackets and trousers you see on the adverts are not Heat Tech...they're just clothes.  I think I might save £10 and just put on a proper coat.  After all, winter's all about finding the perfect winter coat.

Tree Life

As I have already mentioned I won an award at Graduate Fashion Week for my project Eden Village.  Revolving around sustainable tree houses the idea was that consumers could experience truely sustainable living to see how easy they could adapt.  From simply planting your own vegetables to designing an entirely sustainable house.

It was inspired by The Cool Hunter's Tree Life exhibit...and it's coming soon.  They first announced it in 2008 and have given 2010 as the kick off date...which, in case you haven't realised, is not too far away.  I'm still waiting for them to tell me which city will host Tree Life's launch but I have my fingers crossed for London.

"This event will showcase innovative and creative sustainable architecture, and illustrate that green can co-exist with urban city life." ...pretty much the essence of my entire project.  The biggest names in architecture, design and art will come together to showcase cutting edge eco-design.  Marvellous.