University

New Beginnings: The Move To Manc

The summer celebrations are coming to an end. Among other important jobs like sobering up and trying to make an appropriately sized bowl of pasta, the last few weeks have consisted of preparing for the move to Manchester. Once all of the cardboard gets slung out the flat will be a cosy little Bohemia, with a bay window overlooking the local park and a few too many boxes of flavored tea scattered across the counter – exciting times ahead.

To add to this all new flower-child existence, I have finally fixed my sewing machine. After eventually recovering from the 2 year headache that fashion design brought upon me, this year’s work placement has given me the much needed opportunity to get back into the world of sewing. Truth be told, I’m really looking forward to rediscovering my passion – nothing beats the rewarding buzz you get from making something from scratch and seeing it being put to good use. Who knows, maybe this new fairy-like version of myself might be the final evolution.

Alongside the sewing aspect of the work placement, there is also the chance to use other creative mediums. Getting stuck into some painting and photography has been on my to-do list for a while, but other commitments have meant that it’s been months since I’ve even picked up a brush. Being able to explore a new city and find the time to be creative (whilst actually getting paid for it!) is the absolute dream.

So in the light of this brand new chapter, this blog will be re-purposed for a year. Instead of documenting my university progress and the occasional brain fart, its new function will be to record everything that happens to me whilst on my placement. I hope any readers will enjoy this journey as much as I’m going to – let the mini adventure begin!

Manchester

 

 

 

Tale of a TV Screen

God. If the reflections bouncing off of this blank TV screen were an actual show, I would have changed channels long ago. Staring at my expressionless, painfully average features against the white wall behind me, tinted grey against the cold black glass – it makes me realise how much editing must go into a shot before it is worthy of the big screen.

But then again, I’ve had a very similar reaction when I‘ve watched episodes of Geordie Shore or Big Brother. For me, it was a struggle to watch for more than a minute. Watching people go about their day to day business with almost obsessive interest, picking at the very fabric of their being like a starving vulture. Not really my cup of tea to be honest – I’ve got better things to do than watch So-and-So off of that reality TV program go for their morning poo.

But having said all of this, maybe there is something beautiful in studying the mundane? The more I stare at this reflection in the TV screen, I start to notice minuscule and interesting details: The way the light radiates gently from the florescent lights above, the fact that the wires holding them to the ceiling are invisible in the reflection, the way that all of the hues and colours of everyday life are transformed into an array of monochromatic shadows through the black glass. With no airbrushed augmented reality to compare it to, it looks kind of pretty.

Maybe it’s all right to turn off the TV and be okay with the image that is still sitting on the screen? It’s kind of sad that my first thought was that the unedited version of my face wasn’t good enough to be there. I bet people all over the world feel exactly the same way. Taking a million snaps and only putting 1 of them on social media is daily practice, because nobody will love us if we put that one up where we look like we’re trying too hard.

Also reflected in the TV screen is the window to my right. It’s pouring with rain outside, tinting the scenery grey, just like the black glass of the TV. I remember walking through the sleet this morning, agitated at the fact that my hood wouldn’t cover my entire head. My mood worsened when I finally reached shelter and had to wipe mascara from my cheeks, which I had so carefully applied an hour earlier.

Having taken the time to stare at this TV screen, I’ve made a promise to myself. I will walk home today with my hood down. I will jump in every puddle I see and let the icy wind blow my hair back into its natural, chaotic state. I’ll get home, pour a cup of tea and settle down to some rubbish TV. Only this time, I’ll remember to see the bigger picture – in full colour.

dress

The Revival of the Piguet Perfumery

Perfume can do a lot for a brand – the identity can be strengthened with a signature scent and it allows the consumer to get involved with a brand at a fraction of the usual cost.

In the 1940s Robert Piguet met perfumer Germaine Cellier, who created fragrances that coordinated with the brand’s signature elegance and glamour. The first scent to be released was Bandit in 1944. The fragrance had a heavy, dark scent and a name that conjures images of pirates and sea voyages, made for the daring women of the decade. It was released along with Piguet’s runway collection that featured women in masks, with toy guns and knives, conveying the image of the “femme fetale.” In 1948, Fracas was launched, referred to as ‘The Noir Perfume’ by Lizzie Ostrom, author of Perfume: A Century of Scents. This name pays homage to the 1940s noir temptress, portrayed best by Rita Hayworth as the terrifying seductive Gilda.

Piguet worked until his retirement in 1951. Although this signified the end of Piguet’s fashion house, his brand continued to launch fragrances right up until the 1960s. The brand is now owned by Fashion Fragrances & Cosmetics, who have made Piguet’s original scents available for purchase once again, updating them slightly with modern formulas.

All of Piguet’s scents come in the same classic bottle design, all of them black, elegant and timeless. The price also catapults Piguet’s perfumes into the higher end of the market, ranging from £135-£160 for 100ml. The combination of design and price helps to develop Piguet’s luxurious and sophisticated profile, finding itself on the same shelves as Miss Dior and Chanel N◦5.

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The brand image of both Dior and Chanel has been shaped by their fragrances – Chanel N◦5 has developed into an indisputable icon over the decades, using its versatility to move on from its beginning in 1921 and adapt to the current cultural climate. Dior has released various fragrances, but Miss Dior is particularly poignant. It was launched in 1947, to symbolise hope and regeneration after the war. This was launched alongside Christian Dior’s iconic ‘New Look,’ so the Miss Dior fragrance is a very powerful symbol. It represents where Dior came from and all that it stands for, the perfect way of paying tribute to the brand’s origins in 2016.

Some other brands that have released iconic fragrances are Moschino and Viktor & Rolf. Bon Bon is a caramel scent, which comes in a bottle resembling a pink candy wrapper. This is in line with Viktor & Rolf’s abstract and artistic brand image, playing with the ideas of fantasy and femininity. Moschino’s surreal and witty character is renewed with the ironic Fresh fragrance, sold in a bottle resembling a household cleaning product.

instagram-perfumes

 

I Refuse to be a Part of Barbaric Journalism

​It is often said that to be a successful journalist, you have to be hard nosed – in short, be as sneaky, rude or manipulative as you need to be to get to the juicy bits. Instead of wrapping up this topic in a nice hearty fuck you, I aim to start as I mean to go on and explain why respect is the most important thing in any job, especially journalism. 

Now, I understand that in areas of journalism, the whole point is to get to the truth. I wholeheartedly think that this is a good thing. It is an important role that provides a voice for topics that wouldn’t have otherwise been brought into the public eye. What I have an issue with is the industry’s attitude towards going about this business. I would love to be a journalist and I am working extremely hard to get there, but one thing I don’t agree with is the compromising of integrity and asking inappropriate questions just for the sake of media attention.

“Take a nap and get a red bull” – are you kidding me??

Last year’s Good Morning Sacramento interview with Cara Delevingne is a perfect example of the point I am trying to make. The anchors questioned how hard she had worked for the Paper Towns movie, and even went as far as to ask if she had even had time to read the book. Rude. 

In the wise words of Rik Mayall: “We are all equal so nobody can ever be your genuine superior.” If you feel that somebody is being disrespectful, you have every single goddamn right to stand up and walk out. You don’t owe anything to anybody, least of all your time. It’s a precious thing and you don’t have to waste it trying to please people who don’t appreciate it.

Summary – it all boils down to respect. It is so easily forgotten when the going gets tough. But I strongly believe that if you treat people in the way you would like to be treated, you can’t go far wrong. 

The Fact is: Fashion is Going Stale

I said it. Coming from a Fashion student, I suppose I should explain myself.

Making clothes and the idea of fashion are totally different ball games. Clothes made for the sole purpose of making profit shouldn’t be called fashion at all. If you ask me, that’s an insult to the designs that can express parts of the human experience that are sometimes hard to put into words. Fashion that can enlighten, evolve and devastate and have a story told with each stitch.

Some examples of fast fashion. It’s lifeless. You can smell the dispassion in the rushed craftsmanship, churned out with no real love or thought put into it. Fashion can be beautiful and expressive and a useful tool within society to say who we are without words – what are these clothes saying about us? It’s cheap and accessible,  but at what real price? Underpaid and exploited workers, tonnes of textile landfill and an ‘I want it now’ culture that acts before it thinks.

I decided to follow a career in fashion to make a difference. But it can be a lonely world sometimes. A world that is shallow and out for itself – occasionally it carries me back to my school days, where being at the top of the social food chain is all that mattered. What’s the point of wearing something if you don’t know where it came from, who made it and what it represents? If you don’t know any of these things, how could it possibly be self expression at all?

We can’t all afford the better quality clothes. But there are much better alternatives than fast fashion. Making your own, buying second hand, buying with the intention of making it last. I would love to see clothes treated as investments, not quick fixes.

Trend-following is not fashion. If you do that, where are you? Who are you? It can be hard to tune out the background noise and listen to what you want to be. Saturated advertising can numb our reactions to fashion, so it can be difficult to keep a clear head. 

But what is clear is that we need to bring the passion back into clothes – ask the questions. Because they do matter in the real world, they matter a whole lot.

Sheffield Hallam Graduate Fashion Show 2015

GFW 2015

Last night Sheffield Hallam University hosted their graduate fashion show, showcasing all of their Fashion Design BA (Hons) and Fashions Design MDes students’ completed look books, portfolios and  garments. The event was accommodated by Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery and was broadcasted on a live stream via Sheffield Hallam’s website for the first time ever – I watched the live stream and I was kept intrigued from start to finish. The footage is available if you want to sample Hallam’s talent for yourself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0quTkZBwaWw) or you can follow what everybody had to say about the event via twitter #IamSIA

Jess Eccleston's MDes collection

Jess Eccleston’s MDes collection

It was evident that all of the students had invested time and expertise into their work, treating the audience to a shower of diverse materials, fabric manipulation, cuts, colour palettes and embellishments. Each collection was accompanied by a unique soundtrack and accessories that perfectly portrayed the individual themes and stories. MDes student Suzie Whall captured the essence of flora, seeds and pollen with the creative use of garment shapes, print, a fresh spring colour palette and floral, cased accessories.

Suzie Whall's MDes collection

Suzie Whall’s MDes collection

Fashion course leader David Morrish brought the show to a close and ‘Made In Chelsea’ star Oliver Proudlock chose and announced this year’s winner and runner-up. I won’t give away the results, for anybody who still has yet to watch the video!

The show was a great success, with a lot of effort put into making it happen. First year Fashion Design students, models, photographers, makeup artists and stylists all worked together with the graduates to make sure the show was the best it could possibly be – and I have to say all of their hard work definitely paid off.

A Year of Fashion Design

LineupI began university last year to complete a degree in Fashion Design. I had very little knowledge of anything I should have known, but I figured what the hell, if I was wanting to learn I was in the best place for it. I have recently decided to start a different fashion course – nevertheless, learn is certainly what I did throughout this year! The aim of today’s blog is to outline the life lessons I have taken from my year of Fashion Design – and I hope it might reassure some readers out there that are worrying about their futures.

I only had very basic sewing skills when the year began. During my first semester, I felt like a goldfish that had strayed from its safe and familiar fish bowl, into a huge savage ocean – I felt like I had no chance of making it in the industry and I was wasting time and money. Leaving any comfort zone in search of greater plains can be a gut wrenching thought, it’s a perfect example of a leap of faith. But trying to better yourself is never a bad thing and fear stops us from doing it all too often. By the end of the course I had made a waistcoat with silk lining and a customised shirt, something I could never have done when I began. Trusting yourself enough to take the leap can lead you down lots of new and interesting paths!

A lesson I feel I really need to express is it never hurts to be prepared. CAD software was a big part of the year and I’m a bit of a technophobe so I literally knew zilch about it when I began. Grabbing the problem by the horns was my most successful strategy – don’t be afraid, have fun with it and remember that everything you learn can be used again, so its infinitely rewarding!

I think the most important lesson I have taken away from this year is to take things as they come. I know a lot more about myself than when I started and although my career plan has changed, I feel I had to take the Fashion Design route to reach where I am now. I have learnt lots of important emotional and practical skills and I feel that completing this year has better equipped me for the future. My final tip for anyone in a similar position is not to worry! Life may not go according to the way you first planned, but there are no instructions and finding your own way through it all is a crucial and fulfilling part of the journey.