WE WILL BE FAMOUS
editorHollie Blundell deputy editorlucy ashley features editorsimone linney art directorlily stokes picture editornecole ball fashion directorjade atkinson advertising/deputy features editorjennifer bellis digital & Editorial editoremma mattingley Platfform HQ Cromwell House, 1-3 Fitzallan Place, Cardiff. CF24 0UJ www.platfform.org University of South Wales Fashion and Retail Design ATRiuM, Adam Street Cardiff. CF24 2FN www.southwales.ac.uk
Executive Producers - Tracy Pritchard, Tom Clulee and Ric Bower
Printed at Inka Colour Print Unit 15-20, Wernddu Court, Caerphilly. CF83 3SG All material in this issue is exclusive to [13 Platfform] All copyright remains with the contributors.
For more information contact: email@example.com
Contributors James Brown, Sarah Carter, Tom Clulee, Laura Watkins, Tom Bevan, Charlotte Kelloway, Huw Davies, Zack Kaye, David Reeves, India Morris, Robbie Gunn, Robyn Alexandra, Morgan Williams, Rosie Rix, Meredith Watt, Jayne Hicks, James Whiting, Dean Fortt, Fern Izo, Torunn Kjolberg, Donald Christie, Kate Ellery, Harriet Young, Those Pesky Dames, Jordan Lewis, Jordan Brennan, Cinzia Palladino, Bill Bryant, Juliet Price, Nia Grocott, Madeleine Taylor
TAKE YOUR MUFF TO TAMMY GIRL
11 JONATHON SIMKHAI 17 KIMBERLEY NIXON 27 FARRELL; JACK THE LAD 32 VICTORIAN WARS 35 SERIAL INTERNS 43 MASTERS OF DESIGN 51 BOUDICCA 55 THE OH F**K MOMENT 59 JULIA KASPER 63 ESAH 67 LEADER OF THE PACK 82 ANGELA GIDDEN 89 TOTES AMAZE 95 GUCCI GOT GAME
Editors Note Keeping to tradition of any group of girls thrown together in a room, multiple nicknames and inside jokes have been thrown about these past few months of production. My nickname, worryingly, came about rather too quickly – Miss Trunchbull. Hopefully by writing this you won’t picture a burly antagonist with a javelin and an animosity for fun leading this issue of Platfform Magazine. All you need to know is that if you keep flashing me pictures of cats in clothes, I’ll be happy. If not – well, then you’ll be sent to the chokey. Don’t get me wrong, creating this year’s edition has been #totesamaze, a phrase perhaps epitomising our long-term bouts of cabin fever. We have been declining calls from friends, standing up boyfriends and using them as emotional (and at times financial) doormats to make this edition the most exciting yet. Even though we have been ungroomed hermits for four straight months, we have never laughed or ate so much in our lives. In irony, the personification of Platfform is a social creature – this issue strives to search far and wide to meet today’s most innovative, intriguing and inspiring creatives. From interviewing morning-scotchdrinking illustrators in LA, to showcasing university graduates’ debut collections, the team has curated a charming bunch of artists worthy of dropping jaws and breaking necks. I am thrilled to announce that we have produced the magazines first ever glossy edition, with the aim to provide even more longevity and beautiful pages with each copy. We strongly believe that the union and collaboration of designers, photographers, actors and musicians will provide a year’s worth of inspiration. Hollie Blundell, Editor
would you rather
fight 1000 duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?
Neither. I like horses and ducks! -Rankin
A big old duck. -W Magazine
1000 duck-sized horses anyday. My Little Pony dream come to life -Wonderland Magazine Could never fight a horse, no matter how many hands. -Emma Elwick-Bates One huge duck I reckon. -Caroline Flack
We’d rather fight a single horse-sized duck. There’s strength in numbers, and only one Achilles’ [webbed] heel. -Oh Comely Magazine
I’d rather be on ‘Duck Dynasty A&E!! -Kelly Cutrone
Good question. One horse sized duck as I have a slight dislike for ants and that’s what the attack would feel like. -Charlotte de Carle
1000 duck sized horses, break one leg each, then sell ‘em to Tesco. -JME
One horse sized duck-it’s always better in life to deal with the big problem straight in front of you. -Alexis Knox
No comment, that is the most ridiculous question ever. -Siobhan Lyons Illustration by Jordan Brennan
Take Your Muff to Tammy Girl
“It’s DEFINITELY a pube! You’re growing up! You’re growing into a lady!”-Caitlin Moran Talking to a mildly aggressive beautician, probably due to the back, crack and sack client she just waved off. She informs me that they get girls as young as 13 coming in for Brazilian’s, Hollywood’s and whatever other tortures they deem aspirational. They are literally having their new found woman hood plucked from them. Unconsciously they are handing over a vital element of empowerment. Surely they should be spending what money they do have in Tammy girl? They simply come detached from the realistic view of woman hood. “Take your muff to Tammy Girl!” I say. A man would likely think, there’s a party next week. I probably should at least wash my face before I walk out the door. However, a woman will be mentally arranging her coming week around the cycle of her hair management. *Note to self always leave time for the disfiguring rash to die down. Women (with handfuls of Veet) do not aspire to look like Jordan or even Katie Price. They simply want to look normal. In this current social climate, “normal” is to have a bald vagina, a vagina that has a strong resemblance to one of the Mitchell brothers. Now isn’t that a beautiful image. But wait! what is that unruly racket. . . It’s the emerging trend of Fanuary. A trend created from the backlash of Movember. A month dedicated to growing out your usually tamed and pristine bush, giving it a months holiday to grow wild and free. This is all in the name of charity, or an excuse to give your bank balance a break.
Many men have broadcasted their plans for a monthly sex ban over FaceBook (always the best place to broadcast your sexual timetable). It’s unfair to blame men for being bone idle, or too lazy to look a little further for “hidden treasure”. If you stripped bare in front of a pack of lesbians and faced them with a bush circa 1970, they would more than likely run for the smoother side of the hill. We have not become lazy, we have created a war with our own bodies. And further yet created and bred a new generation with the obscene ideas of pube disapproval. Has this hairy craze been blown into a feminist frenzy? We spoke to BBC3’s Those Pesky Dames for their feminist input. People are still recognizing pubic hair as a bodily function or a ‘feature’ and think that it should be shaved off this instant. Yet women should decide for themselves what they want to do with their own bodies- if they wish to shave, then let them shave. If not, let them grow naturally. To desist from involving personal choices in a perception of how much people are empowered or not, will empower women. Its shocking in this economy that it’s essentially costing us to maintain a “socially acceptable” vagina. The upkeep price is astronomical. I challenge you to shave (obvious pun) the money you would spend on wax treatments, hair removal creams and god knows what else. Instead indulge in a Krispy Kreme session. Put down that wax strip, celebrate this Fanuary and look like a woman.
Words by Simone Linney
jonathon simkhai Born and raised in New York, Jonathan Simkhai has had his head and heart submerged in fashion from the get go. With his first collection launched in 2010, he is set to become one of the most admired and recognised faces in fashion. With his feet well and truly on the ground, Jonathan is also a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA); a programme designed to support the next generation of fashion designers by offering business and design mentoring. Jonathan tells us about his work, his inspiration and what he would advise aspiring designers.
You have been interested in fashion since a young age, what was it that first drew you into the fashion world? At 14 I started working for a clothing store assisting the buyer. Through this experience, I observed what was overdone, what the market was missing and what was selling on the floor. I loved watching how women reacted to putting something cool and flattering on and I decided I couldn’t pursue anything else but designing. You have had so much experience in all aspects of fashion, do you think that has aided you in the rest of your career? Absolutely. Understanding multiple facets of this industry has only made me a stronger designer. The business side is just as important as being creative and producing beautiful garments. You say that your designs are influenced by ‘gender lines blurring within the realms of fashion and sexuality’, how do you adapt these ideas into designs? Anything from drawstrings on silk pants, sporty
striped rib as the collar of coats, silk bias and knit piping to zig-zag stitch on feminine silhouettes - it’s all in the subtle details and combination of fabrics used. Do you think fashion is becoming focused on being ‘sexy’ as supposed to stylish? I don’t think there’s one way to answer this. To me, fashion is similar to art in that it’s all relative, and beauty is the in the eye of the beholder. Where does your design process start when creating a new collection? My design process can be somewhat of a whirlwind at times. I get extremely inspired by fabrics and colours. Usually I start the process with a gut feeling about a certain girl. I’ll develop these ideas by doing rough sketches of shapes that inspire me; my design process involves constant evolving ideas and a lot of spontaneous sketching. Your collections differ vastly from one season to the next. Where do you look for inspiration? I observe the women around me to see what they are gravitating towards and what they are wanting to buy. Does music have any influence on you when creating a new collection? Sometimes I like to work in silence, but other times I like to listen to music. This past collection was inspired by the ska music movement, so in preparation for the collection we played a lot of ska music in the office. Mainly The Beat and The Specials. How do you manage your time when it comes to new collections? I have an amazing team of people around me and I couldn’t do it all without them. You are part of the CFDA - can you explain more about how they help you as a budding fashion designer? Being part of the CFDA Incubator program has definitely changed my business by giving me more
confidence and structure. The CFDA offers so much guidance and valuable resources that it has allowed me to figure out what Iâ€™m doing right and what I can still improve on. Who would you love to see wearing your clothes? I love the cool girl attitude that comes easy to - Rooney Mara, Alexa Chung and Elle Fanning. What do you think you would be doing if you had never gone into fashion? I always say Iâ€™d be slitting coconuts on the beach serving people fresh Pina Coladas. How would you describe your own personal style? Black tee shirt, jeans with printed vans or Nike dunks. If three songs could be played in your design studio for the entire process of you designing a collection, what would they be? Elton John - Daniel Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana Fleetwood Mac - Dreams You have been in the same position as many aspiring fashion students, what advice would you give people wanting to follow in your footsteps? Take chances and look at every mistake as a lesson.
Words by Lucy Ashley
Born In The
Photography by Zack Kaye Words by Simone Linney
- It took 800,000 hours to complete Toy Story
- Independence day was the highest-grossing movie of 1996
- Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress was sold for £41,320
- Nintendo is a 124-year-old company
Meat Slabs, Geordie slang and flashing the nether-regions, Platfform speaks to actress Kimberley Nixon about her rise in TV comedy.
After graduating from drama college only six years ago, she has widely ventured into the world of theatre, TV and film, working alongside the likes of Colin Firth, Judi Dench, and Jessica Biel. Before I even begin to think of the endless questions to ask about the tales and insights into the lives of these Hollywood gods, I learn that Nixon’s personal highlight working with Biel was her parting gift from her: a muff etch-a-sketch. “Jess has a really great sense of humour we had a can-can scene together in ‘Easy Virtue’ where my character flashes her nether-regions, so the gift was pretty fitting!” After making her mark playing roles in various alternative coming-of-age movies, charming period dramas and retro musicals, Kim entered her first opportunity to play a lead comedy role ‘Josie’ in Fresh Meat, and later playing Sarah in Geordie sitcom ‘Hebburn’. She states: “I’ve really enjoyed my new comedic roles in fresh meat and Hebburn. I was never really seen as a comedic actress and they really changed that”.
Fresh Meat epitomises the psychological complexities of being thrown into a house full of strangers, all coping with their adolescent identity struggles. Each character tries to hide their qualities in order to feel accepted into the image of ‘cool’ in their freshman year - their intelligence, wealth, sexual innocence or not-so-innocence are covered with cringing lies and naive idiocy. This process of pretence is completed by everyone at the demise of our youth, during the time when we are convinced that our university life will sculpt our adult lives. This story of face-scrunching lies, drunken mistakes and aggressive masturbation sessions is told through a dynamite laugh-a-minute script, filled with brutally truthful situations. Nixon’s character Josie experiences the longest journey of emotions through series 2. From cringing at her endearing innocence, using the “what did you do for A-levels?” line as an initial ice breaker, to her frantic exclusion from university, we see in Josie’s face a whirlwind of scenarios. However Kim tells us how her how her student life differed
to that of her character: “I went to drama school, so it wasn’t a normal uni experience. But I can definitely relate to living with new people and trying new things. You always have parts of you in your character. With Josie, it’s her organisation and the need to boss everyone around.” The Fresh Meat team is formed by a range of new emerging actors including Charlotte Richie (Oregon) and Zawe Ashton, and well-known British comedians such as ‘Peep Show’ star Robert Webb and public-school boy Jack Whitehall. We asked how she kept a straight face working against these comedy gods: “Jack is very funny on set. He’s kind of like a little brother who likes to wind me up. So 12 hours a day for 3 months, I’m about ready to kill him! But he’s very sweet too.” In contrast to this brash and barbarous sitcom, Nixon has recently featured as newly wed Sarah in the sweetly sincere comedy ‘Hebburn’. Set in a small Geordie town, the series is a tribute to the hometown of writer Jason Cook. Kimberley
tells us how her experience on such a personal project to the creator “made the shoot even more special.” Away from her Welsh valleys roots, she had the opportunity to be welcomed into a new (culture, but another word...) “Hebburn was a gorgeous job. I made so many new friends and got to film in the north east, somewhere I knew nothing about. Geordie lingo? Mainly ‘alreet, pet’. My Geordie is pretty bad, but the Geordie actors trying welsh is much worse!” But the road to Kimberley Nixon’s success doesn’t end here. With a long line of future projects, including a role in the new Miss Marple series, she plans to continue to play a variety of characters in the future: “I would love to play Penny in the ‘Big Bang Theory’ or ‘Buttercup’ in the Princess Bride”.
Words by Hollie Blundell Illustration by Jordan Lewis
WELCOME TO THE
Photography - Ric Bower Photography Assistant - Morgan Ellis Williams Model - Madeleine Taylor Model wears outfit by Rhiannon Reynolds for REY
Model wears Paneled Dress by Amy Morgan
Model wears Grown Crystal Shoes by Bethany Creech
Model wears outfit by Hannah Sanderson
Model wears outfit and accessories by Tara Tarapetian (Opposite) Model wears outfit by Hannah Sanderson
jack the lad
Interview by Jennifer Bellis Words by Lucy Ashley Images- Farrell
Ben Dickens, Design Director of Farrell takes time out of his day to talk to Lucy Ashley and Jennifer Bellis about working with Robbie Williams, leaving Burberry and the passion he has for the ethos of the brand. The owner of the brand is my good mate Robbie Williams. The initial starting point for the brand was focused on Jack Farrell (Robbie’s granddad) Jack was a big figure in Rob’s life when he was younger, his Granddad was a bit concerned that he would grown up a bit soft living in a house full of girls. He would try to man him up by teaching him how to box and making him jump on his bed to strengthen his legs up. That was where we started, Jack was (and I subsequently learnt this) a typical Stoke man who worked in the pits, yet he would come up at the weekends and would never fail to take pride in his appearance. He was a proper old fashioned gent. He didn’t have two pennies to rub together but always made sure that his shirt was ironed, his suit was pressed and his shoes were shined. When we all think of our Grandparents and how much they mean to us it is clear how much this means to people. I didn’t have any Grandparents from the age of four but when I see early images of them, I remember seeing my Granddad coming through the war perfectly put together with his boots shined. It was about taking pride in your appearance and making the most of what you have. As a brand we want to create clothes for every man and price points for every guy, even if they have to save up a couple of weeks wages to invest in a piece they really want. It is the idea of creating quality, to make pieces that are built to last. They are classic, they are timeless but have the sensibility not just the fact that they are super super simple. This transcends from fabrics to the way the garments are made. The garments are crafted to look good from that initial moment of contact, when that guy is standing in front of the rail in the shop or wearing
something he has purchased for the first time. These clothes will last you, they will be the hand me downs you give in the future. As we go from season to season the story doesn’t change, it is a real genuine thread that runs through the collection and you kind of tweak it, twist it to fit the season. We’ve got SS13 which is in stores at the moment. When you think of a theme for a season we dont think “This season we’re about cropped jumpers or pointy shoes” its about trying to progress it and evolve it. For spring summer we think about what a guy wants to do with a bank holiday off? With this promotional campaign we’ve got two fellas with a chance to escape the city. Lads going down to Margate for the weekend (even though we shot it in Bournemouth because margate didn’t look too great) We thought about what those lads get up to and what will they need to look good and feel good. Whether they are just strutting down the promenade, trying to chat up a few girls or sitting about having a few pints. Being peacocks.
“A great british bank holiday, what would that fella wanna wear?” I started working with Robbie purely by chance and by luck I guess. I was working at Burberry as design director of menswear for just under five year. It is a great company, with great info structure, making lots of money and using their budgets to present great research. I was very happy working there. Then through a friend of a friend of a friend
S**t I’m going to meet a mega star, what am I going to do? Am I going to fall to pieces?
I met with Rob’s management who were working on putting a brand together. They were half way into the first half of the collection and I just met them to chat, once I had heard more about the ideas and ethos behind the clothes I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Hearing about Jack Farrells working class roots really struck a cord with me in terms of where I come from and my background, he was the representation of what I aspired to be. Three weeks later I met Robbie at his mums flat in London, strangely her flat was about 500 yards across the river from my own place. I turned up a bit nervous, like when you’re at a job interview. I was thinking “S**t I’m going to meet a mega star, what am I going to do? Am I going to fall to pieces?” I walked in and Rob was sat there, sweat pants and polo shirt on, he stood up, introduced himself and from then on he was a sweetheart. Right from the off. He is just the most courteous, well mannered, lovely guy. What was suppose to be a fifteen minute meeting turned into a two and a half hour conversation about hem lines and shoes, to football (which I don’t follow so we don’t fall out) and girls. We bonded from the off. I shook his hand, gave him a cuddle and said I couldn’t wait to work with him. The brand as a whole has come a long way since then. We started, two of us sat in the office together trying to beg, borrow and steel to get material together and getting people to make things. We are sat in the same small office now but it is crammed with a lot more stuff. We have a little library that we are building for ourselves. We are already gathering inspiration for next season. We are only a small start up brand but we are already planning the next ten years. Yes the brand is owned by a mega famous pop star but that doesn’t mean you have oodles of cash
but that doesn’t mean you have oodles of cash to spend everywhere, at the end of the day if the clothes aren’t good, no matter who is fronting the brand, nobody will buy it.
We have just been taken on by Bloomingdales in America too. What we found is that going outside of the UK really works for a British brand. When you look at brands like Ralph Lauren who trade off Britishness they are successful because people genuinely love Britishness. The idea of Britishness, they love the obvious union jack prints and tartan patterns. We know that there is more than that, the brits have a staunch way of looking at life but also have a great sense of humour.
As a small family brand from Shepherds Bush, when we got the call that we would be sat alongside Burberry and Paul Smith in Bloomingdales we were shocked. The store is creating an advertising campaign that shows a British invasion, pushing us into the spotlight of strong British brands. Hopefully we will get swept along in the wave. In a nut shell, people seem to be into Britishness – whatever that means. All we really do is represent our idea of what being British is. It is a very sincere and heartfelt point of view that will hopefully make people smile. Trying to make ourselves into a leading global brand is hard work, it’s bloody hard work but since this process began with all the work and graft, we have never looked back. It is very satisfying.
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Terry Fan is an illustrator from Canada, whose work has been used by clients such as Urban Outfitters, Design Milk, and Art Pickings. Through a mix of traditional and digital tools, he expresses his unique imagination with great detail and intricacy. His skill in creating vivid textures and animated characters within his work allows him to be a fantastic story teller with a sense a humour. Platfform asks him about work habits, sci-fi, and scotch in the mornings. Words by Hollie Blundell
What are your key influences on your work? That’s a tough one, because there are so many awesome artists that I really admire and am influenced by, too many to even mention. However very early on I would say artists like Maurice Sendak and Charles M. Schultz had a big influence. What are your main materials and tools? I start with pen and ink, pencil, or sometimes water colour when I work on the illustration. Then, in Adobe Photoshop I add all the colour, additional shading, textures, and lighting effects. This is the most labour-intensive part of the process, because I tend to endlessly tweak and experiment with different colour palettes and effects.
“I am an embarrassingly huge Star Wars fan”
Where did you study? I studied at OCAD University in Canada. I worked in traditional media, design, film, sculpture, photography and even stage design at one point. Anyway, I’m grateful I was exposed to so many different things and it’s really given me lot to draw from. How did you find your style? It was more like my style finding me, because it wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part; it kind of evolved organically over the years. However, one thing that heavily influenced my style was sticking to more traditional methods. Part of my process is digital, but I always start with an illustration done in pen-and-ink or graphite. This gives my work an organic quality, which is very much part of my style.
Tell us more about ‘Victorian Wars’, are you a hardcore Star Wars fan? I am an embarrassingly huge Star Wars fan and a big fan of sci-fi in general. When I was a teenager and the first Star Wars came out, it had a big impact on me, along with films like “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Alien” and “Bladerunner”. The Victorian Star Wars series came about from combining two things which Im very fond of - Star Wars and the Victorian era. Re-imagining these characters in Victorian garb was just a lot of silly fun and I had a blast doing them. Do you have any current projects at the moment? I have a few of them - the biggest one being a book cover and series of chapter illustrations for an upcoming book entitled “Rooftoppers”, written by Katherine Rundell and to be published by Simon & Schuster later this year. I’m about half-way through the illustrations and so far, so good. It’s a wonderful story so I really hope I can do it justice.
serial INTER Young and Naïve (Doing the dirty work for free) Doing the Extra to get ahead in a cutthroat industry
“I was the devil, but I couldn’t afford Prada” Words by Laura Watkins Illustration by Jordan Lewis
With the current economic crisis and high unemployment rate, the number of students who are willing to work for less than the cost of a Freddo chocolate bar (20p?!) is overwhelming. Unfortunately, in an industry that is as cutthroat as ‘Sweeney Todd’, it seems completing an internship or two, becoming what they call a serial intern (not to be mistaken for cereal intern – one who must live on smart price cornflakes) has become vital in order to bag a job. But how much of the dirty work are we willing to do for free? If characters in movies depict a true representation of how it is in industry, it would have anyone shaking in their Choos. Meryl Streep’s
character in ‘The Devil wears Prada’ allegedly mirrors Vogue US Editor Anna Wintour, whose behaviour is as razor sharp as her bob haircut. Tales of Wintour’s imperious behaviour have grown over the years to form a mythology around her. There are a number of unwritten rules for office etiquette which interns at Wintours 10th floor Manhattan office pledge to never break. One must never share a lift with the Devil, One must never converse with the Devil, One must obey the Devil at all times. Such rules enough to turn anyone into the Devil although, of course, as an intern one cannot afford Prada! Is this representation of characters in such movies a true representation or a misconception of the tales told by bitter interns? An online campaign ‘Graduate Fog’ shows young people emerging in industry voicing out about their role and responsibilities. Most, describing their responsibilities as unrealistic and impossible, describing how they were working harder than paid employees for zilch! Although it seems preposterous that interns are apparently being exploited for free work - illegal or not - it is a necessary evil, a path most emerging creative minds must take to progress in an industry as fierce as fashion. It is ‘who you know, not what you know’ after all! The long hours worked will pay off when you get to see a design you assisted on come to life on a catwalk, or a feature in a magazine you helped to piece. The contacts made through such experiences will become an archive you shall treasure. Someone once told me “you will never learn as much as you will watching someone do their job.” It’s the little things you don’t learn from books, how someone might choose to finish a stitch or design the lighting for a shoot. All experience is good experience, and with a portfolio bursting at the seams with internship experience someone, somewhere just might hire you.
Rns “Work as much as you can for the right people, but not long term placements for free. Always pay your interns! We do. X” - Miette L. Johnson, Art Director at ELLE UK
“My internship at Look magazine started with the basic fashion cupboard duties but I did also get the opportunity to help out on the photo shoots for the high street style section of the magazine. I did my four week placement and luckily ended up being offered temporary paid employment. I was in education at that point too so I had to turn it down but it was reassuring to know that employment can come from a short placement.” Kirsty Jones - Magazine Intern
“Can you just go and sit in the cupboard? We are trying to have a model casting. . . Sitting in a cupboard crammed with heavy wools and fleeces on a sweltering day in the height of summer. Sharing the bin that my fellow ‘interner’ and I had flipped upside down to sit on, One hour on. One hour off, was not the best four hours I have spent. I guess it was when the lights went off and the office door slammed that we realised we had been forgotten about and locked in.” Simone Linney - Magazine Intern
BAUHAUS THE BUSINESS OF PLAY bau·haus A school of design established by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, known for it’s designs of objects based on functionality and simplicity. This series of photographs are a collaborative project with Urban Outfitters, exhibited in the Cardiff Store in March 2013.
Photography - Meredith Watt Model - Sean Probert
(Both) Photography - Rosie Rix Model - Bill Bryant
(Both) Photography - Jennifer Bellis Model - Nia Grocott
Masters of design
My collection is inspired by shapes and lines in architecture. From looking into architecture I decided to make a mechanism that transforms the shape and style of my garments. Being able to play around with the structure of garments allows them to constantly change.
Words by Lucy Ashley Photography - Zack Kaye, India Morris and Robbie Gunn
The Royal College of Art (RCA) in London has the international reputation as being the UK’s most prestigious post graduate art college. With the equipment used and techniques taught being amongst the best of their kind, supporting new creatives and challenging boundaries of fashion design is key in the growth of students that study here. Lucy Ashley talks to six of the college’s most innovative menswear and womenswear MA students, and delves into the inspirations and ideas behind their final collections as well as uncovering some embarrassing and entertaining tales along the way.
I think as a man I have a better idea of what women should wear. Women will always know what other women should wear but it is different when it comes to what women should be seen in. I want my collection to be created from a man’s perspective. I never work with a particular muse in mind. Maybe in the future if I design more commercial clothes I will imagine a woman. At the moment my woman is strong and stubborn - she never listens to other people when it comes to style. She will reflect my personality and will always want to change herself. I always break the rules when it comes to Asian culture. Fashion is so drastic in London that I always want to use techniques that
break Asian rules. I like using the methods that Asian people use, because I don’t like simply putting patterns onto a figure. I can never tell the difference between Asian and Western design, but it is always re-assuring here when our tutors notice my techniques. They analyse my work and I realise that I really need to cherish my heritage. My advice in this industry would be to always keep your confidence. You must always be unique. People sometimes think that I am cold hearted, I seem like I don’t pay attention to other people or their work. However I love it when I get zoned into my work and focus on what I am creating. Once my collection is finished I will open myself up to people around me. I want my final show to be a success, I would love positive feedback. After that I can begin to create my life and career here in London.
HANCHUL LEE My final collection is inspired by Hannibal Lecter and how he was such an intelligent yet brutal man. I wanted to capture the obscure beauty seen by people in Korea who choose to cover their tattoos by wearing fine suits. Occasionally you will see people who cut sleeves off their tuxedo jackets to reveal their tattooed skin - it’s that sense of elegance and savage beauty combined.
it is quite a drastic difference. I wanted to design a womenswear collection for men, capturing that classic beauty. What is also a little creepy is that a woman will confidently carry an alligator bag and not think about where the material came from, that always makes me laugh.
I am intrigued by the new trend for scarification, this is how I began to create the details and print on my own garments. In the same way that scars are skin being cut open and stitched back together, I cut holes and shapes in my garments and stitched them to form the pattern. It’s the way in which scarring can cause the skin to distort, the same amount of movement and change can be seen in the detail of my designs.
There is only one customer in the world - me. I feel that as long as I like my designs, other men would too. I worked in womenswear for two years, and when I would take my designs to my boss, she would ask “do you like this?” There was no excuse for me not to like the designs; I only knew what I wanted women to wear, not what looked good. I always liked the garments I designed at the time although I felt as though I was in a dark room with no light. Now I feel happy and confident to be here designing menswear.
I think it is really weird that women want to look beautiful even if it is just for five minutes. They will wear any garment that they look and feel great in. However, when it comes to men, they will always wear a tuxedo,
The men I want to see in my clothes need to have mature bodies. I just prefer the mature figure. Skinny bodies do not flatter my clothes, I like men to have a belly, it is just more attractive.
The music I listen to whilst I’m working is quite embarrassing. Even though Hannibal’s killings inspired my collection, I actually listen to catchy pop music at the same time. I am researching scarification whilst listening to Taylor Swift. I have never been interviewed for a magazine before; this is definitely my most fashionable moment. The three things I want to achieve by next year? I want to have a proper job, even if it is not my own business. I would also love to have my own studio. Outside of fashion, I want to find a girlfriend.
My collection is inspired by the girl I want to wear my clothes. It is about what she would throw on when she gets up in the morning. It is all about being slouchy. I have a technique I have been using where I cut away at my leather garments until they begin to slouch and fall apart. Having a muse is something that they really push us to do here, to think about who would wear our clothes and who our customer is. Starting off with that in mind helps to direct you and your ideas. I had never considered studying menswear. I don’t generally wear a lot of dresses or anything particularly feminine. I don’t have much of a personal style; I just know that I want to be comfortable but still look well put together. The idea of functionality and comfort is key. When I was a teenager I didn’t know anything about fashion and I was never even interested in it. I was the only girl in my last year of school that did not own a pair of Adidas popper jogging bottoms. I was still in floral leggings until I left school.
Colour is the first thing I notice when I look at other people’s outfits. Nobody wears colour anymore. Everybody I see wears a base colour or black or grey and seems scared to add colour. I haven’t put a base colour in my collection, it does make it more difficult to build the collection but it is just something I prefer. My mum would always tell me never to wear nav y and black or pink and orange. I break those rules all of the time. She would also say not to wear white shoes with black tights, although does anybody do that anyway? “Learn to edit” is by far the best piece of advice I have received. It is so important within what we do. By this time next year I want a job –Please somebody pay me to do this! I would love a lie in that is later than 7 O’clock too. The main one, however, is to move back to Paris. I don’t like London and I am desperate to get back.
I always start my collections with a photograph of a lady. I like images that have a strong atmosphere - once I have this, I start making 3-D shapes out of material and attaching them on to the bust, and I get an idea the of how the garments and shapes will sit.
I never have a muse. I like fashion because nobody really wears everyday clothes anymore. Everybody takes a different view and approach to how they dress. Some people stay within limitations, and others can take it further. Im not very good at menswear, I had a project on menswear and it was horrible. It was the hardest time for me. Before I came here I worked in accessories it was just all so difficult. I feel that with womenswear it is easier to create the atmosphere that I am so eager to engage with. I studied in Korea before I moved to New York to study at Parsons. When I graduated I worked for 6 months in different internships but I felt like I wanted to work towards creating my own line.
I also wanted to experience European life, thatâ€™s why I decided to move to London. When I am looking for my inspiration I tend to just visit shops. Not necessarily to look at the clothes that are being sold but to see the people around. I look at what they are wearing and how they are wearing it. That is the most important thing about the woman that I want to wear my clothes - I want her to be the kind of person who will wear a Topshop t-shirt, but style and accessorise it in a completely different way to anybody else. Here in London my garments are not new and unique - that is why I would like to take them to Paris. Over there my designs would be new and something that people havenâ€™t seen before.
It is really hard to think about what I want to achieve by next year. First I want to finish this collection and finish it well. Then I want to experience Northern and Eastern Europe for a month. . .I guess then I would need to come back and find a job.
I have ideas of decadence that I want to push and subvert in my collections.This collection is called training class, and it is focused on being two fingers up to a wrong’un democracy. I looked into London sub-cultures and was really intrigued by how their environment and division of class in neighbourhoods seemed to distinguish their dress codes. I wanted men to feel like they are dressing up yet feel confident in pushing the boundaries - it’s all about creating aspirational dress in my mind. The wearer needs to feel ‘blokish’, but still hold the credibility of other men wanting to put the clothes on.
I went to Epsom UCA to do my BA and my lecturer there had been a student at RCA in the 80s, he was such a great inspiration. I think lecturers naturally push you in the right direction when they see something in you. Studying at RCA allows your confidence to build naturally through your work. On a BA (hons) degree, you are constantly challenged and questioned about what you are doing to prove that your opinion is worth something, whereas here you gain respect and learn to grow. I didn’t have any training in
menswear but I slowly started to learn from really strong lecturers. During my time at Epsom I was doing so many different things, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. It was only after I did a menswear internship that I thought, “This is where I want to go with my designs.” I don’t know if it was my style of drawing or the fact that I am more interested in illustrating men and the male figure that drew me into menswear more. I love the transition from womenswear to menswear. . .I’m also a little masculine myself so I think that transfers into my designs. Elton John in his tracksuits is one of my major style icons. George Michael too. Andre Leon Talley is the one though, he is amazing. Andre is my muse - obviously I love my casuals, but in my head when I am designing I picture Andre. He’s always entering my mind. I went to his talk in Oxford and I just wanted to sit and listen to him talk all day. He was wearing a big gown, and as soon as I saw him I knew I wanted him to wear my clothes. His styling being quite ‘out there’ also helps me justify my work, because I think “If he wears it, then I know there are men out there that enjoy these things.” It is a comforting
re-assurance of my work. I like a larger guy. I am holding castings now for the final show and I just want a guy who has inner confidence, whether he is big or has imperfections. I just want him to have the honesty within himself to be confident in my clothes. A proper bloke. Every man should have a skirt in his wardrobe. I’m a little obsessed with men’s skirts after I made a kilt for my first collection. I really love the silhouettes of skirts on men. I was covered in black resin for Lady GaGa. At my internship at Alexander McQueen, I was given the job of casting roses in resin to make a head piece for Lady GaGa. Having to be pristine to work at Liberty, turning up covered head to toe in resin didn’t go down very well. It didn’t come off for two and a half weeks. The three things I want to have achieved by this time next year are clear to me. Most importantly I want to find a job (It’s about bloody time). I want to graduate and I want to be happy. Just being in a place where I feel happy and challenged would be perfect.
Liam Hodges My primary research for my collection was a video where I got my friends to act like the man I want to be wearing my clothes. I wanted them to show how he would act and what he would get up to. I was inspired by Morris dancers and English folk rituals, so I thought this would be the best way to put across my ideas. I also collected a lot of James Pierson Howes books that look into areas of folk rituals. When I combined this with ideas of hiphop and vintage military dress, they all came together to form my designs. I found that when I illustrated my designs they looked completely different once they were made. So to get a better idea of scale and size of the clothes I started to paint life size versions of the illustrations in my room. I use a load of different processes, which are extremely time consuming. I have been working with nylon using graffiti pens filled with dye, I just colour the fabric in and get the prints that I want. I also like using sheepskin; I patchwork the pieces of material together and paint the other side with black house hold paint. It gives a great effect and is fun to do at the same time. I also went
came back with fox skins that I wanted to use - I just sat at home and used hair dye on them to get the colour that I wanted. For one of my garments for precollection I was interest in using found materials. Although finding a lot of material proved to be a struggle, instead I got a shop banner printed and used that as my main fabric for my coat. It was effective because the sign had been heat sealed around the edge, which looked really good. The man I can envision in my clothes needs to have a lot of attitude and confidence. He would need that to pull off the clothes by having a big personality. I don’t really design for anyone in particular, but I guess people who are in the right context would suit the collection. It’s the people who are drawn in by my designs that are the best people to wear them. I don’t like dresses, I don’t understand them. But I would have thought menswear is just an obvious choice for any man? If I were to design a womenswear collection now it would look the same as all of my designs for men. It would consist of work wear and bomber jackets.
My friend turned round to me in the pub and told me I dress like Big Busman from WWF. I realised that I do. Now he is my style icon. I love everything about society and how people interact with each other. It has always been the foundation to my research and designs. Steve Oakley and Ken Loach films are a great source if inspiration, I like those kind of stories. I saw the film Fish Tank the other week, which was really interesting. The Actress was not actually trained, making the film natural and raw and simply documented her life. I don’t know what I want to do when I finish. If I had the chance to start my own label I would love to, but going to college has taken all of my money! As long as I am remembered as a designer who worked to try and change things in fashion and push forward a new aesthetic with design, I’ll be happy.
Amanda williams SouthWales students Amanda Williams and Tara Tarapetian also talk us through their inspirations and design ideas.
My inspiration came from a sculpture, a sphere that was covered in pipes. This gave me the idea to create an entire sphere for a man to act as a cocoon. I wanted to make the sphere full bodied and covered in straws, it turned out that it would have been impossible to make in my short time frame, so I focused that idea into my accessory designs. Three main themes come through in my collection. The use of straws to create 3-D shape, the application of geometric prints and my drawings of city skylines and buildings that I replicate in the patterns on the shirt I created. The idea of making 2-D objects 3-D plays a big part in my accessories. I saw a designer who had made a 2-D circle that became 3-D when it was pulled. This idea was replicated in my bag design, the idea was the more you put in the bag, the more the shape will change and expand. I knew I wanted to design menswear as soon as we did a menswear module in second
year. I didn’t think that there was enough avant garde design out there for men, I want to create something new. When I watched Perks of being a Wall flower I realised how much I love clothes being represented in film. They’re so cultural. I always have a customer in mind when I design. He has to be eccentric and confident in wearing bold prints and strong colours. I want my model for the final show to have a specific look, tattoos, dark hair and blue eyes. Jude Law springs to mind as somebody I would like to see in my clothes, I don’t know why. Interning at Kanye West was awful. We had to work 14 hours a day 7 days a week. When he came to the studio on the first day we were there everything had to be immaculate. When you have to travel an hour there and back you never really get to sleep. I am applying for a masters at RCA, I would love to study there. I also want to try really hard to get another internship. . and of course a job. Im pretty sure that later in life I will look back and think that my whole uni life would be a big fashion faux pas. I will never regret anything that I have worn though, not even skirts over trousers.
Tara tarapetian My collection is a named “Nomanic” the name was inspired by a muse that I had in mind from the start. I was inspired by J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher and the Rye and wanted to focus my design on a woman who was strong and empowered. My designs reflect the idea that the wearer is constantly moving around and travelling and that she can keep her life and belongings within her clothes. It is the idea of giving protection. My brand is not trend driven. Self preservation is key. I used natural fabrics, cottons and leathers in my designs. I also sourced ethically cultivated amazon fish leather which I used in some parts of my garments. I also went to PV to source some of my fabrics, it really opened my eyes walking around and seeing how much was out there, going from stall to stall and being surrounded by beautiful fabrics. As a woman, I feel better designing clothes for other women. I wanted to design a
collection that empowers a woman and does not objectify what they are wearing. My designs are de-sexualised so that the wearer feels comfortable and strong. I design to reflect what I would like to be. I have an idea of a concept for my store. I watched a programme that George Clark did where he renovates old caravans into beautiful homes. I want my shop to be an old caravan that I can decorate. This way I can up-sticks and move around from country to country. The concept reflects the freedom and nomadic feel of my brand. I want it to reflect the rebellious side of my muse. The best piece of advice I have received is to always follow your gut and don’t let yourself get swayed by other peoples opinions. I feel that sometimes the more opinions you get the more chance there is for you to make a mistake. I really hated my collection once I had finished it. I was ready to
never see it again. Once I had three weeks away from it, I came back and thought ‘Wow I’ve actually made a collection’ I would strongly recommend taking a year out. After second year I didn’t feel ready to create my final collection. I wanted to be as skilled and as confident as I could be and felt that a year out was the best way. I worked as Jayne Pierson’s design assistant and I was really inspired to see one woman with a family build up a brand independently. Three things I would like to achieve by this time next year are to get a paid job in design whilst building on my personal brand. I also want to travel, I’m hoping to go to San Francisco.
boud â€œWe see our clothing as an on-going
‘Anti-mass’ is a great attitude to have in the fashion industry today, but is it hard to maintain this attitude in a fast fashion culture? I believe that how you are established and what you become is controlled not by strategy or planning, but by instinctive values. It is naturally maintained by honest values; but even if you listen to them, it does not mean that the process itself is not hard. How do you go about creating a new collection? What is the process from idea to finished garment? There is no linear process at this point. We have been amidst in a world of BOUDICCA for nearly fifteen years, and although we are a young company in the bigger picture of our corporate world, we have been trying to design a language for a long time. Therefore the process is overlapping, a mixture of times and dimensions, a fusion of ideas with adapting thoughts and gelling with projects that fill time in and round a collection. Naming each individual garment makes them more personal. Where do you find the inspiration for the names? We name everything after a piece of research or after the immediate world we were in at that given point. The ‘Jean Peters’ trouser was after the name of Howard Hughes first wife, and the ‘Oscillate Wildly’ skirt was from a Smiths track.
What is the story behind Platform 13? The story of Platform 13 is a myth. It tells the whereabouts of Queen BOUDICCA’s remains - it suggests that an archeological dig some day under platform 13 at St Pancreas may lead to answers. But some say Hampstead Heath and some say platform 6. Yet, we really have no idea as there has been no evidence to confirm anything. In fact, so little is known of Boudicca herself, the Romans only documented a few sparse facts. But the fact that so little is known about her is why we are both drawn to her myth. We live in a culture of statement and fact, and the idea that the myth of Boudicca allows the imagination to paint the picture of who she was and what she even looked like is intriguing. It is the very nature of this ambiguity that we decided to take her name as our brand.
There is an interesting duality that exists between the factual and the mythical. The reality and the dream… You maintain a strong involvement in the Arts, regularly giving talks in the Tate Modern and V&A museum. Is it important to you to pass on your fashion knowledge? We have given talks at both the Tate and the V&A and most recently in Tel Aviv and Chicago where we were installing exhibitions. I think exchange is essential for us all - everyone has a story to tell, and those key moments of choices can be integral to the next person’s journey. Your decision to not show at London and Paris fashion week due to wanting longer to design collections, this allows you to engage in other projects, is this where the heart of BOUDICCA lies? Yes right now, we are Fellows at The Stanley Picker Gallery in Kingston, London. We are actually about to have a week where we will multi project over a room - an emersion into signs, and codes of our thoughts, less about concluded work and more a sketch of something. This is a great opportunity to be experimental and ‘play’ with some amazing facilities and so yes this feels right and makes sense to both of us. The commercial world of fashion is a great industry but at this
point it needs to be played with a powerful hand of cards and probably someone else’s funding. And like all industries right now, it is being deeply challenged and the winning steps seem to be plenty of capital, big powerful PR and a celebrity name is always helpful! Whereas for us right now, a project where you can experiment with a sense of not knowing what you are doing or going to create is way more powerful and feels appropriate to our times. What are your current plans for collaborations and collections? I think we are at our best when we question, search and ask openly in our work. Do we make with clay or record with Kinect? How do we fund a virtual adventure where the identity of the gamer is fully integrated to the rhizomic links of literature; and this I know is what excites us. So if we can survive and find those that further support, this is where we will stay for a while.
Words by Jennifer Bellis
moment â€œF**king up is the funniest, yet most terrifying moment you can experience.â€?
We all know the sensation. That stomach wrenching feeling when one thing goes agonizingly wrong and everything else falls into insignificance. When intense panic takes over, ‘Oh F**k’ is often all that comes to mind. And mouth. The Oh F**k Moment is the most recent collaboration from poet Hannah Jane Walker and theatre maker Chris Thorpe. Their second project as a duo, the show invites a small group of people to share and examine an array of human mess-ups with a cuppa, a post-it and a pen. Through a dynamic mix of edgy spoken word, engaging storytelling and optional audience participation, we move through moments that have embarrassed, amused, damaged, haunted and, in some cases, even proven fatal. Words by Tom Bevan Photography - David Reeves
It’s a grey, April afternoon after the opening night of The OFM at Cardiff’s Millennium Centre and Hannah and Chris are in good spirits. We meet on set; not within a performance space but around an office table in a third floor conference room. Strewn with almost 5,000 post-it notes noting oh f**k memories from previous audiences, this is no usual team briefing - and no usual show. “If you’re standing on stage in a conventional way then it seems like you’re trying to teach the audience” Hannah explains, “when actually this is something universal. We don’t own this topic.” And even if, as Hannah adds, “some people get freaked out for the first thirty seconds”, this lack of staging instantly creates a sense of unison between performer and audience. “Most of the theatre I do is not about acting. . .” Chris continues. “ It’s
about coming into a room where there are other human beings and sharing something directly with them. . . as opposed to pretending that they’re not there. If they want to, people can have a genuine conversation with us.” This desire for an intimate connection turns the audience into active players in the hourlong experience. “It’s quite fun doing this show, as you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen” Hannah chuckles, but admits that the idea would have once seemed daunting. “I used to hide my work from people,” she reveals. It took an ex-boyfriend to hack her computer and send her poems to literary magazines for her life as a poet to really kick off. After a “baptism of fire, but in a good way” at Latitude Festival, she “learnt how to self-edit” and that she wanted “to avoid simply thinking ‘oh, this is good because it means something to me’”. This desire became especially important when work with Chris began. In his words, a key objective of performance should be to balance the “difference between saying something in public simply because it’s useful for you and the idea that what you’ve constructed can make other people think about their own lives.” There are personal elements to The OFM, such as Chris’ detailed account of missing his father’s last moments, yet they help to draw us towards the pair who, in both performance and interview, are as genuine as it gets. When I ask how they would describe their style? “Just don’t say immersive theatre. . .it sounds far too wanky.” The participatory and poetic content of the piece have in
fact caused a few marketing confusions (“we were scheduled as comedy once”), but it is its title which triggers the anecdotes. “In our first performance at the Lowry centre in Salford, we coincided with the final main house show of The Gruffallo. . . so there’s a lobby filled with five hundred children and we needed to direct our audience. . . well, there was a little bit of panic on the tannoy,” Hannah continues, “And then one time, we were asked to call it ‘The Oh Rude Word Moment’ in a radio interview. . .” But the title doesn’t aim to provoke; just to honestly capture a recognisable reaction. As Chris argues: “We are extremely hypocritical as people about the words we use. To not admit in public that you, and everyone else you know, doesn’t say f**k is ridiculous. People aren’t offended by bad language; they’re just embarrassed by it.” While Hannah isn’t entirely convinced about Chris’ swearing philosophy, when asked if she’d had any more oh f**k moments since writing the show, there was no uncertainty. “Oh yes. I recently went on a residency to Ireland and on the way back I got to the airport five hours early, so began reading a book in the bookshop. . . . and finished it. . .and subsequently missed my flight! I spent the night in the departure lounge with hungover people who had stayed over for St Patrick’s Day and stank of booze, and paid two hundred quid for another ticket. When I got home, I remembered that I had left the set for the show in London so had to get down there to get it for our next performance, in Glasgow. Whilst on the train, I then realised that I had left my plane tickets for
Glasgow back at home. . .” Her giggles are contagious. “It was literally as if I had forgotten how to be a human being.” And, I ask Chris, what about fashion mistakes? “This jumper was a Christmas present. . . I’m pretty sure the trousers are from Primark, and the boots are army surplus. There you go.” Hannah shoots him a look. “That’s not an answer, you just said what you’re wearing.” Chris pauses. “But isn’t that what fashion is? Every article I see about fashion is just a picture of someone with a list of what they’ve got on. . .” While two of Hannah’s buttons once popped off pre-performance (“I was paranoid about the audience seeing my bra”), it is actually Chris who has the most memorable wardrobe malfunction. “I was an eighteen year old in my first term of university and sitting in a drama workshop. For various reasons me and a mate hadn’t got it together to do our laundry so I wasn’t wearing any underwear. . . and during one of the seminars, I looked down to see that one of my testicles had come out of a hole in the crotch of my jeans, and was just gently resting on the seat.” Hannah’s giggles return. As two artists who have successfully operated outside of London, both are adamant that an important lesson for any creative type in Britain is that “London doesn’t decide what is culturally valuable.” As a teenager Hannah thought she’d “end up in fashion curation”, but turned down her place at the London College of Fashion to pursue creative writing. She now thinks that the city just wouldn’t work for her as a poet. “I don’t like that you can’t really know the people in your
community and get really angry on the tube. Those little things just add up and put me in a really bad mood so that I don’t actually want to write.” Chris, whose charismatic Mancunian drawl reveals his origins, recently moved to the capital for “non-professional reasons” but states plainly that “even if for things like theatre, poetry and fashion London seems more creative than others, there’s no reason that it should. It’s wrong to think that London is some huge artistic melting pot, when actually there is plenty going on elsewhere.” It is here that we reluctantly leave the duo to prepare for their next show in the Welsh capital. Sharp, honest and innovative, Hannah and Chris are at the height of their artistic powers and have created something we can all share. Thought provocation at its most entertaining, this particular OFM is one to savour.
As Julia Kasper enters the Nordic Bakery, a modern Scandinavian cafe, nestled into a Soho side street, she smiles brightly and waves. Julia works as the Assistant Travel and Arts Editor at WGSN, the world’s leading fashion forecasting company. A big part of her job is to predict and gather information about future trends, which WGSN then sell to leading high street names, including the likes of M&S, Target and Topman. Julia looks every bit the part as, dressed in a chambray dress, studded leather jacket and matching studded creepers, she orders lunch and takes a seat at the back of the cafe. “We look at what’s in stores right now, what’s on catwalks right now and then we combine that with bigger thinking ideas like current art exhibitions, which might influence designers in years to come,” says Julia, cradling her cup of coffee between peach painted nails. After graduating from Glamorgan University with a first in Fashion Design, Julia interned for WGSN
asper being a magpie Imagine getting paid to forecast trends, attend fashion weeks and socialise with artists. That’s exactly what Julia Kasper from WGSN does for a living. Platfform chats to her about her enviable job...
and later landed a job as an Assistant Editor with them, after also working as a Design Assistant for Kayne West. Her work in the Travel and Arts department means Julia regularly attends art exhibitions, such as the influential David Bowie show in the V&A. “We’re the first people to see a new exhibition and we get to go in our work time and chat to the artists and curators and I just think ‘how am I doing this!?’ That’s really nice,” smiles the 25-year-old. Her travel portfolio also means Julia compiles city guides for fashion-week-hosting cities, tailoring the guides to industry professionals wanting to know the best hotels, cafes and stores to visit during fashion week. However, she admits it’s not as glamorous as it sounds, with her often walking the streets of a city on foot, manually noting down every store and its location. “That’s probably the hardest bit; when you’re working on a big website and it’s still pen and paper and on foot,” she sighs and recalls visiting Paris before fashion week and trudging the streets in the cold and rain. Nevertheless, that’s a small price to pay when you work for such a respected firm and get to influence the future of fashion. Once a week, on their lunch break, Julia and a small group of her colleagues get together to discuss the trends they think may take off in the future. Julia is on the ‘youth’ team and is grouped with employees from different departments within the company, meaning a wide range of skills, backgrounds and opinions are brought together. At each meeting, members bring together ideas, objects or images that represent what is current, ideas from films, the street or blogs and what they think will influence future trends. For example, Julia and her team feel the film Spring Breakers, will soon have a big impact on youth trends. “We think it’s going to be really influential in terms of colour,” she says. However, Julia asserts that, most of the time, trends stem from cultural and financial factors rather than fashion itself.
“Generally, it’s not fashion we look at; we’ll look at what’s happening in the economy. For example, lots of young people are starting up their own businesses through Instagram and loads of young people are making their own t-shirts and printing their own t-shirts,” she muses. Trend forecasting, she explains, is all about being observational. “You’ve got to be engrossed in your favourite blogs. Even if you’re out in a cafe like this, you’re constantly making a note of things people are wearing. Just keeping an eye out for things that interest you,” she advises and adds, “I think that comes quite naturally to people who are a bit of a magpie.” Julia believes having your own blog, even if you don’t have many followers, is key to trend forecasting as it’s an easy way to keep a visual diary. “You can look back at it after a month and see your most recent posts and get an idea of what you’re interested in because, sometimes, I don’t even know what I like,” she laughs and adds that looking over her blog, The Fringe, often allows her to confirm to herself what she likes and what she has recently seen. Although a blog can be very personal, Julia tries not to let personal opinion overly affect her feelings about future trends, but admits this can be hard. “If I see a graphic that I think is horrible then I won’t take it to my trends meeting and then it’ll never get to the macro trends stage, so it is personal opinion in the first place”. Another area where Julia’s work and personal tastes can merge is in relation to her personal style. Although Julia tries to steer away from the big trends she helps to predict, wanting to find something new and different for herself, she does recognise that her work and especially what others are wearing in her office, does influence her. “I think I am probably more influenced by the people I work with in the office, but in the long run they’re the ones making the website,” she reasons and adds that working in such a creative environment means she can be as
experimental as she likes with her style. “You kind of feel a bit freer because you work with people who are really open to new styles, you feel like you could turn up in whatever,” she grins. “It’s not a fashion office, it’s not like The Devil Wears Prada. It’s not all glamour”. As cool as her jobs sounds, it’s not all fashion weeks and catwalk shows and for those who are starting to feel jealous, Julia says her job does include lots of practical every-day mundane tasks such as website maintenance. She also admits her lack of journalistic training was a factor that initially worried her. WGSN’s trend writing style is very concise; a factor which sets them apart from other trend forecasting companies and recognises the clients’ limited time and need for as much information as possible as quickly as possible. However, Julia initially struggled with writing in such an authoritative manner. “[The clients] want to be told, on a plate and they want it to be really visual. It’s quite hard to write like that because I’ve only been there for a year and I didn’t study journalism. Pretty much everyone that I work with studied journalism,” she says, and jokes that it can be hard telling top high street players such as M&S what trends they should be following. “It’s a matter of confidence and experience,” she reasons and adds that it is a little less daunting because WGSN also write trend confirmation reports, allowing WGSN to show their clients the trends they predicted have come to fruition. “It’s so they trust us otherwise we could just tell them anything,” she says. Julia may only have been working for WGSN for just under a year, she hopes to carry on working for the company as well as branching out into more freelance design based work, being involved in exactly what she loves: fashion.
Words by Charlotte Kelloway Photography by Hollie Blundell
We recently caught up with Cardiff based menswear designer Imtayaz Qassim, director of street wear label ESAH. A brand that is ready to blow up any second now... This is a true example of how a small project can literally turn into a fashion phenomenon.
exploration words by cinzia palladino images esah clothing
starts at home
I started ESAH last year through a uni project and decided to take it forward as an actual company, although I’ve made massive changes to it from my original work. . I was actually studying a course in Computer Science! I was literally sat staring at a computer screen day in, day out just writing code. I just found it so boring! I’ve always been into fashion and I ended up researching designers and brands I was interested in. After a short while, I decided enough was enough! A month later I was on an art foundation course.
What designers are you influenced by? Alexander Wang is one of my main influences at the moment and Rick Owens, I like his aesthetic, not so much the final outcome of his garments but I do like his design aesthetic. Also ASAP Rocky and Kanye West are my muses, not Kanye’s work as a designer but his personal style. If money was no object I’d be wearing Alexander Wang! There’s a new guy from England who calls himself The Cloth Surgeon, he’s dressed ASAP Rocky and works with a lot of leather, jersey and wool, similar sort of stuff to me. I’d like to be able to wear his stuff, but again its like £600 for a jumper! Where do you get your inspirations from? My main inspiration behind the brand and the current ESAH collection is taken from different cultures and religions. Also nature and the natural world have strongly influenced the collection. I take little bits of each concept and merge them together to influence my designs. What separates ESAH within the busy mens street wear market? We like to keep things clean and minimalistic, focusing on quality and detail, where as the majority of street wear brands use heavy graphic based designs, and tend
How did ESAH Clothing come about?
to follow other trends within street wear. Trends are something we do not follow and like to think of of ESAH and it’s garments as timeless and can be worn no matter what season.
I would invite Tupac to a dinner party, so I could find out what really went down!
Tell me more about the name and the concept? What does ESAH mean?
I came up with the saying; “exploration starts at home”. It’s a statement that’s different to each individual person. For me it was looking at my dad’s side and the whole middle-eastern culture but also the other side to me, which is very urban and strongly influenced by streetstyle. There’s like, two sides to me. I’ve got this love for high-end things and luxury crossed with street style. So exploring both of those is where I got the statement “exploration starts at home” I want ESAH wearers to make the statement personal to them and explore their personal journeys. How would you define the style that ESAH exemplifies? I’d say it’s a mix of high-end menswear and street wear, going more into high-end menswear for next season’s collection. What are your future plans and goals for the brand? I’d like to take ESAH as far as it can go as a brand and see where my final collection takes me after university. I’d like to say that I’d
stay in Cardiff, but I don’t think there’s enough opportunity or a big enough fashion community (yet)! So I will be moving probably next year sometime to either L.A. or London. But I would love to open my first store in Cardiff. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party - dead or alive? Barack Obama, I have always wondered if the President really does have many secrets passed down only from President to President? Biggie and Tupac so I could find out what really went down! Sir David Attenborough so I could pick his brain about the natural World, Angelina Jolie, Chris Tucker so I could make him sing War like in Rush Hour 1 and then Micheal Jackson for the entertainment. That would be pretty cool right? Tell us about some of your accomplishments as a designer. Boy band JLS have been spotted a lot lately wearing ESAH! Michael Payne has also just shot a new video and he’s wearing ESAH in that, and also Dappy and Fazer from N-Dubz will soon be rockin’ the ESAH logo! So that’s pretty cool! And finally, if you had to sum up ESAH in a playlist what would it sound like? As ESAH is based on my own vision, inspirations and thoughts I guess it would have to be like one of my own playlists which are very random. It would be a varied list of artists such as Linkin Park, ASAP Rocky, jay Z, Yann Tiersen, Shawn Chrystopher, Tupac, Foo Fighters, Kanye West and so much more. I like to think ESAH is a brand that any type of person could buy into, just as I’m in to many types of music.
The daddy of sharp tailoring and colour pop brogues. If you don’t know his name, we suggest you get on Google, and fast. This style god is living proof that men’s styling can be just as creative as women’s. FACT.
If you thought your glittery waistcoat, Mickey ears and fluffy bow tie were a “tad much”, just look to Bryan Boy wear it with confidence.
A legendary bonus to the list - simple because if we were crime-fighting puppets, we would want glasses as big as our face too.
Poor little rich boy, who constantly interchanges between ‘homeless chic’ and suit clad ‘maverick’. He is the hybrid of a villain and a hero, the perfect icon for schizophrenics everywhere.
Britain’s skinny answer to James Dean. His look resembles ‘that guy’ from down the pub, and it just so happens that that guy is head to toe in Burberry. No biggie.
If you never thought you could find anyone quirkier than Westwood, turn to her right. Andreas Kronthaler, the product of a threesome between a 19th century labourer, a pirate, and a unicorn. Who said a six foot bearded man can’t wear a white linen skirt?
Leaders of the Pack Words by Hollie Blundell and Simone Linney Illustration by Emma Mattingley
Step 1: Cardigan Step 2: Back comb hair Step 3: Develop the general theory of relativity.
Model wears Vinyl Hollogram Top by Natalie Mauser (Opposite) Model wears Digital Print Maxi Dress by Melissa Tincello
The Irrational Dream Model - Kate Ellery Hair - Jessica Davies at Vidal Sassoon Make up - Charlie Mac
Model wears Neoprene Dress by Emma Kelly and rubber necklace by Amanda Williams (Opposite) Model wears Appliqued Organza Top by Lorraine Evans
Model wears outfit and accessories by Amanda Williams (Opposite) Model wears Dress by Amy Morgan
the underdog Photography - Huw Davies Words by Ric Bower Model - Dean Fortt Model wears 123D shirt and Trousers by Amanda Williams (Opposite) Model wears Mopar Digital Print T-shirt by Lucy Garnet-Jones
Huw Alden Davies, photographer of ‘The Underdog’, is a rising star in the firmament of documentary photography. He gives us a flavour of life in the small Welsh village of Tumble in which he grew up and now documents with his camera. Huw’s work can be seen as part of Diffusion festival 2013, the Cardiff international festival of photography.
Get Shorty “Five cop wagons and an armed response unit turned up in our street one afternoon looking for Shorty, who was reputedly in possession of an explosive device (again!). They finally caught up with and surrounded him in the park behind our house; he was ordered to place down any weapons he was concealing on the ground in front of him. All the cop’s eyes were on the large bulge in the front of his coat. Shorty finally reached in under the front of his jacket and carefully pulled out a live chicken.”
Model wears Rhyme Wool Reversible Coat by Alyyson Arscott, 123D Neoprene Scooped Jumper, Printed Silk Shirt and Charcoal Sweatpants by Amanda Williams
Model wears Carbon Coat by Chris Pottinger and Wanderlust Jumper by Charlotte Taylor (Opposite) Model wears Vandium Jacket by Victoria Harris and Mopar Sweatpants by Lucy Garnet-Jones
13 TO VISIT THE ONLINE VERSION GO TO WWW.PLATFFORM.ORG
angela gidden Words by Tracy Pritchard Photography - Ric Bower Lecture and Images - Angela Gidden
Fashion at CCI lives by three core values, education, experience and innovation. What three do you live by? Originality, honesty and quality. I have a certain design ethos for everything that I do. It depends on the process that I am working with, the clients I am working with and the sector that I am working within the design project. I guess that fundamentally the honesty in design is making sure that what I design is not just desired, but there is a need.
So, once upon a time, I was ‘just a furniture designer’. Well that’s what I trained to be, that’s what I got my degree in, that’s what I wanted to be and that’s what I’d cut my industry teeth on. That is, until the day I realised that being a three dimensional designer actually enabled a far wider multi-disciplined approach to design. For me, it had to be more than just creating sofas and chairs. I was pretty ambitious even then, I fancied owning my own brand. So, way back in 1992, there I was with thoughts toward a new design future, my future. I was starting to recognise and establish the potential for design diversification as a fresh creative viable business strategy, and it felt like a healthy mind-shift. The only issue was, I didn’t have a business. It was 1993, I needed finance, I needed a team, I needed clients. I had competition, so I had to stand out and offer something exceptional, and very useful. I was able to provide a highly proactive design service - so, I already had ideas, and pretty much the same as today… too many ideas to know what to do with. Now I needed clients. We know that designers rely on their name and very specifically in the fashion industry. When your reputation is up, it’s one of the most valuable assets you will ever own - enhance it, enable it, and protect it. The very least it will do is pay you a wage and pay your bills. Enough said… . except that is for this little gem - when my reputation did come into its own, Habitat were keen to commission me to design a new sofa range. Now, I always set out to push design boundaries, create successful selling products, and exceed my client’s expectations. But Pacino excelled on the high street like no other lifestyle furniture design. It was a win-win situation for all three parties – the designer, the manufacturer, the retailer. Oh, and actually the customer of course, because they ultimately got great design, good quality, great value for money and the Habitat brand in their living room. My studio work was taking me into more diverse design territories where I was being commissioned to design interiors, exhibitions, and TV sets.But, there was still this burning desire to create my own brand of furniture – well designed, contemporary, quality furniture with a ‘designed and made in Wales label’. In 1998, Attic 2 and my ‘original’ collection were launched. My signature style is sharp but soft forms; it’s what I call human-critical. It’s where shape, textiles, textures, colour work together in
just like the best-dressed individual in the most beautifully tailored suit.
I designed soft seating two years ago called the ‘Cwtch’ for my client Orangebox. It’s where I’ve merged and blended the smart tailored
The Cwtch and its unique reveal seam is a huge commercial success for Orangebox and for me as the designer. It’s distinctive, sophisticated and stands out from the crowd. Over
furniture including most
The Gidden-Storey collaboration spawned a far more sculptural collection of furniture, far more bold, far more niche. The Kootch launched in 1998 - it was a statement piece and had my signature style stamped all over it. Applying a fashion sense to the furniture is not about fashion for fashion sake or fashion with a disposable attitude. For me it goes against everything I practice in design. From the very beginning of my design career I set out to design stuff to last believing in design for longevity and kicking furiously against design for disposability. Fresh, young ambitious talent and skills within the furniture and fashion industry is becoming as important as the established experienced hand on the production floor. I’m massively passionate about harnessing and nurturing skills and real craftsmanship as Chair of Creative Skillset UK’s Fashion and Textile Forum Wales. I’m pretty excited to be working with the CCS Cymru team to establish with Tracy Pritchard, Head of Division Fashion and Retail at the Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries working closely with me as Deputy Chair. Understanding the skill and knowing how to use it to maximise potential takes experience and often vision
I’d also been hoarding off-cuts of fantastic character-rich leather - I certainly wasn’t going to send them to landfill, but had no idea what to do with it all. I was presented with various design ideas with real sustainable approaches aiming to create the perfect sustainable solution to cut-offs, and in 2006, Nomad & Nest was ‘born out of waste’. Myself, and my partner Fi Campbell were now proud owners of a fashion accessory British brand. Our
This year we will be launching a new collection of flight bags called Air and Airo, originally conceived for the Adain Avion Cultural Olympiad project in Wales. The collection is inspired by the glamorous world of 1960’s airline travel, the iconic form of the airplane and, a graphic nod to Swiss Style. I’ve even added the reveal seam detail as a signature mark. Indigo inky colours are key, with possibilities of introducing some innovative technical knit. It’s been a fascinating project with the students with some really exciting outcomes. Gaining industry experience and insight first hand is always going to be extremely valuable and worthwhile. It’s about real commercial design thinking and doing. And now bang up to the minute, I’m design consultant to Camira Fabrics, and at this point in time I’m right in the thick of the fascinating world of 3D technical knitting. products are stunning, from 3D knitted heavily textured almost stonewashed
room dividing screens with an almost ethereal presence to. There’s no point to design unless we care about the world we live in, what we create within it and how we create it. So, innovate, enjoy design
The effects and the
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Un-Charted Territory BA (Hons.) Fashion Promotion at the University of South Wales continues to move forward into new and exciting areas of promotion, bringing the creative talents of fashion focused students into the legal world of Thirty Park Place Chambers, Cardiff. This alternative collaboration will combine fashion, illustration and accessories with the suited and booted. The unique live project looks to the humble tote bag as a form of visual communication and will result in an illustrated and branded bag designed by students. It will be sold and distributed throughout the Cardiff based Barristers and Solicitors. Cassie Crocker, Marketing Clerk at Thirty Park Place Chambers said â€œChambers is brimming with excitement at the prospect of our must have bags!â€? The project is set to take place in November and the bags will be available in early 2014.
Totes ama words by holly brace Patrick Pope – alias P’trique – hits the nail on the fashionable head with his viral YouTube video “Sh*t Fashion Girls Say”. Brimming with hilarity, the one and half minute long clip is a breath of fresh air to the oh-so-serious world of fashion. P’trique combines bitchy “She thinks she’s sample size” with comedy “OMG I hate my bangs!” in a uproarious Mean Girls-esque demeanour. Regina George eat your heart out.
Illustration by Sarah Layzell
Do the fashion “Bitches” really live up to their catty and over the top stereotypes? Well, they certainly do get a bad rep in fictional adaptations (Devil Wears Prada anyone?) and receive constant slandering by Joan Rivers of ‘Fashion Police’ – this is surely adding fuel to the fire. If you really want to see the (almost) reality of fashion girls, then maybe you should take a look at the “Fashion PR Girl problems” Tumblr page. The micro-blog gives an insight into working in the industry through the medium of using extremely relevant animations. Scrolling through you can certainly see what the these ”Fashion Bitches” have to face day to day. Sarcasm aside, there is a certain link between P’triques farce, comedic version of ‘fashion life’, and the apparent reality of the community’s hard graft. “A sh*t load of fashion PR girls are like that”, says Asher Flowers, model at AMCK, in reference to the satiric videos. However, he gives his own unique perspective of how aspiring fashion advocates actually get somewhere, and that is by being the complete opposite of P’triques hilarious stereotype. “In terms of the people I’ve met, they’ve all been pretty lush… which is why I suppose they get further. . . it’s honestly about work rate”. Asher, a 20 year old model from London, recently walked for Sibling’s show at London Men’s Fashion Week, where he donned a pair of the infamous oversized knitted mittens for the show,
which I am sure P’trique would have something to say about (“So chic!”) The irony of the video is that by mocking the fashion industry, P’trique has become somewhat of a mini celebrity among the fashion conscious. Invited to sit front row at the Carlos Miele show at New York Fashion week 2012, the comic was apparently “mobbed” by fashionistas and bloggers. There’s a lot to say here about the industry’s sense of humour. Fa Fendi even went as far to say P’trique looked “so chic”, not to mention the glowing reference from Harper’s Bazaar editor Derek Blasberg. Maybe fashion bitches are merely a product of fiction and stereotype that don’t take themselves too seriously? Sure, it’s no secret Lauren Weisberger based her book ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ on her own bitter experiences working for Conde Nast. Combining that, and what P’trique said: “We interned together at Isaac Mizrahi, and she sucked a lot of d-”, we can make our own assumptions of what it’s like to work for a fashion firm. Think back to the Carrie Bradshaw days. Where fashion life was so simple. You get paid a few dollars a word for Vogue and suddenly you can afford to drop $400 on a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s “OMG. Shoes”. The clip pays homage to the show by using character references in real life. Now this is something that happens even if you’re not in fashion. “Oh, she’s totally the Miranda.”
Fresh Cut Photography - Robyn Alexandra Model - Fern Izo
Gucci got game
“Think Dior is dope?” Us too and that’s why we can’t get enough of ‘Blackscore’ clothing.
From Rita Ora to Jourdan Dunn, Black Score has fashionable fans in high places. We caught up with Simeon Farrar, brand creator, for an insight into his rapidly growing label. Black Score is a continuation of the main brand ‘Simeon Farrar’, which can be seen in Harrods and on the hottest catwalks at London Fashion Week. The designs are all screen-printed by hand, making them truly unique, one-off pieces.
In our eyes, the designs are a welcomed relief from the serious, rigid nature of fashion trends – “I’m not laughing at the industry, that’s never what it’s been about,” Simeon told us. “A lot of brands do it, but I’ve never really liked that and never wanted to be apart of it. Most of the publicity we got was at last years” London Fashion Week. That was the first time that any of our prints dealt with the industry – before that they were always referencing bands. It really changed our audience – they were never meant to be that fashion related.”
“I wanted to start the Black Score label because I’ve got a lot of ideas that I couldn’t put into the main brand, So I thought I’d start another one!”
I’m not laughing at the industry, that’s never what it’s been
The black and white pen designs are inspired by the bold DIY punk fashion statements of the 80’s, infused with Farrar’s own love of music, art and skateboarding. “I’ve been in the fashion business for about ten years now and I came in through the back door, which is where I’ve always stayed and been comfortable. My background isn’t fashion - I take a lot of inspiration from other aspects of my life – it’s a real patchwork of stuff”. That just about sums up Black Score; the designs exude personality, humour and a energy of rough readiness. These, teamed with the tongue in cheek illustrations will excite even the plainest of days.
These tees are now seeing some style spotlight! Not only have they been a massive hit with the likes of us fashion peasants, but they have also been wholly embraced by fashionistas such as Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn – both of whom feature in some of the witty designs.
“It’s all about a stream of my subconscious ideas. That is what Black Score is supposed to be – it is a reaction to popular culture. It’s not seasonal, it’s just instant”.
“It was a major step in our development and it all just kind of took care of itself. It’s quite cool, I think Cara (Delevingne) rang up Rita (Ora) and said “Hey
I’ve got a great t-shirt here, you should wear it to the Burberry show” and then she just got papped everywhere and we were all over the newspapers – it was fantastic!” “I think they’re quite honest. I know they’re not crazy-different but they’re marketed in an honest way. We were born on Instagram and I think our buyers respond to that – it’s their time!” For now, Black Score are sticking with the t-shirts, but Simeon has hinted at some exciting prospects for the future. “Right now, I want to keep it like some dirty punk band and that’s how I want it to look for the foreseeable future. But we have got some exciting potential collaborations coming up that I can’t tell you about, but they could be really big when they finally drop – you’ll know when it happens!”
In the mean time, all we can do is take Simeon’s words of wisdom while we wait: “We were born on Instagram – just get your stuff out there. Put them in the right hands and then just put them in anyone’s hands. The best thing you can possibly do is word of mouth and that always starts by people actually wearing the stuff – that was my main kind of priority. Have conviction; believe in yourself and your product. Follow whatever you’re into at the time and just do it”. Words by Ellie Hansford
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