Rebecca Louise Todd BA Fashion Marketing & Communication, Level 4, 2015-2016 MIED 410, Communication Techniques and Strategy I Fashion Writing Coursework CWK3 Gabriela Pedranti
Index i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii.
Simple Article Press Release Interview Feature Article Review Opinion Piece Final Story
Story: The untold property lines
This Beauty Boom Fast fashion has been the topic of conversation for many years now, but this seems to be on the decline. With the growing percentage of sales in the beauty industry over the past year, apparel has been taking a back seat. If you have not noticed yet, you will now, but it seems as though everyone is spending more and more time on their makeup and are talking more and more about their beauty regimes than ever before. Has this rise in alternative lifestyle choices directly affected the apparel industry? It seems as though this is the case. Beauty chains have recorded higher than ever sales results, whilst apparel brands have recorded a decline in sales in recent months. The connection between the two is quite uncanny, the more you think about it. People cannot spend equal amounts on both beauty and apparel, so a compromise is necessary to keep your lifestyle or your ‘goal’ lifestyle. One can easily make fast fashion clothes look better with accessories such as a great make up look. But one cannot make a bad make up look, look good with a great outfit choice. A whole package is needed.
Caption: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Juice Beauty Shoot So the answer is, higher quality, more expensive beauty products. This rise in the industry is not purely due to ‘looking better’, but due to many lifestyle and celebrity trends on the rise. Millennials have been known to be a generation of knowledge about everything around them, from what they consume and do in their lives, to now, being more aware of what they put on their bodies. This millennial mind set has been the catalyst to many lifestyle trends in recent 1
years, from vegetarianism to veganism, to organic foods and recycled clothes; so it is no surprise that this is the next step in this lifestyle trend chain. Along with these lifestyle trends and changes in today’s world, has also meant a rise in the trend of transparency. This means that brands have been labelling their products with tags such as “organic” or “natural”, to increase buyer purchasing, as these are tags we look for. It also entails that many brands have had to rebrand their products in such a light as to appeal to the conscious and aware shoppers that we are today. It is not to say fast fashion brands are out of the race just yet. Many have launched statements releasing the dates of their new beauty product lines or the decision to increase these lines. These brands include, fast fashion chain ‘H&M’, who have quite an extensive range of beauty products in stores, from a line of brushes to lipsticks. This does not necessarily mean these lines will do well because of the times, as many people opt for more expensive brands, but it is an option for those who want to stay on trend but within a budget. This growth in beauty can be said to be a result of other trends in our social and cultural world. With the rise of celebrity presence on social media’s, from Facebook to Instagram to Periscope to now even YouTube; fashion consumers are more aware of beauty and fashion trends and are able to keep up with the times and follow these trends. These social platforms have allowed for the selfie evolution to take form too. With people posting selfies on the daily, make up trends have begun to evolve and change, people are taking more risks and experimenting more as it is now ‘allowed’ or accepted. Senior editor of WGSN, Theresa Yee has called this “The Kim Kardashian Effect”: on Kim and her make up team creating trends from contouring to highlighting. With her huge online presence and personality, Kim has been at the forefront of beauty trends and an ambassador for beauty products from fragrances to skin care to make up brands. On top of posting selfies, her YouTube presence along with her sisters too has increased; allowing your average plain Jane to learn the ways of celebrity make- up artists and allow everyone to get the look with how-to videos.
YouTube has become a huge protagonist in the beauty trends online presence, with thousands of people posting how-to-tutorials to help you create any make up look. This platform can be said to have allowed this trend to grow, as anyone and anyone can learn to create something from nothing with the click of a button. It also allows product reviews, brand endorsements and beauty brands to create content and images for themselves; broadening their reach and growth. But does this beauty incline have a downfall? Would people rather become part of the exclusivity of brands through the cheaper alternative of make-up than clothes? Will this affect the brands apparel sales in the long term? Who knows, but the beauty trend has nowhere to go but up. Edited.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Javier Buy less, choose well, make it last! Handmade and ready to wear Friday 28th April/Studio 101- We are seeing more and more designers stepping off platforms other than those in Italy and France, in Europe that is, and this is no exception for designer Javier. A new face in the industry, he is making his debut with a unique choice of words, “Buy less, choose well, make it last!” Up and coming designer Javier is coming out with his first shop-able collection this month! The collection will consist of handmade, high quality pieces all produced in Barcelona, Spain; where designer Javier resides. This collection will be presented on Friday the 28th of April at Studio 101 in Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona. The studio will be open to the public from 18.00pm to 20.00pm, and then set up for a private party starting 21.00pm, for press and fellow designers, on request. Designer Javier will make an appearance at both events to make statements and answer any questions. The collection has been photographed and the new campaign for the collection will be released at the event this Friday. Xavier Serrano, face of the men’s collection has stated that, “I was transfixed with his vision for the collection, and I’m even more fascinated now that I have seen and worn it!” Fashion events are normally a very exclusive, non-intimate affair, Javier is changing this rule. He has chosen to present to both the public and designers in a hope of bringing fashion back to the people. He has come up with an intimate design concept that seeks to make this possible, working with design teams from Barcelona. The night will be one to watch. # # # Media Contact: Julianne Thomas Barcelona, 08004 +345678923 firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 25th April 2016
3rd Culture Kid, Kelly Harkins; on discovering where she belongs and how she got there. By Rebecca Todd After living in three other countries, Kelly Harkins believes she has found her place, discovering that she belongs in an international environment. Finding that international environment in Barcelona; Harkins enjoys being surrounded by people of an open like-minded approach to life. Harkins now no longer feels like an outsider in her life. It only took three years too. Harkins grew up in a small town in Canada, leaving her birth place of Venezuela. When asked about where she developed her interest in fashion and the like, Kelly responded with a quirky remark about definitely not taking any style tips from the town dwellers of her intimate Canadian town. She states she got a lot of inspiration from her mother, and her attitude towards other people and style in general. She informs us that her mother has a very different style to that of her own, but has a “I do not care what people think, as long as I am comfortable in myself” approach to style; which Harkins has taken into that of her own attitude towards style. When asked about her main influencers of fashion, other than her mother, Harkins credits magazines, TV shows and E News for her beginning interest and intrigue into the fashion world. Harkin’s first interest in the fashion industry lay with that of journaling, which she believed stemmed from her keen interest in magazines and fashion TV. However this career path changed after living in Thailand and developing what she refers to as an ‘eclectic’ fashion sense. She described how she enjoyed wearing a mix of everything, experimenting with her style and not following global fashion trends. Kelly describes this development as her turning point for her choice of career. She has now
discovered an alternate path that she decided she would much rather explore: Styling. Harkins graduated from an international high school in Thailand, and spoke of no possible further education choices for a fashion student in that part of the world. She now had to go down the path of discovering a place that fitted her needs. She wanted to move somewhere that was both international, cultured and new. Harkins and her family had frequented Spain on many occasions and she had always loved the country, lifestyle and people that too frequented the city. She then went on to explore this option as a possibility for her further education. It was in this exploring that Harkins discovered IED, in Barcelona, the city in Spain she had the biggest connection and most love for. Harkins then decided on Fashion Marketing and communication as her preferred course as she discussed the broadness of the subject matter as something she felt would benefit her future fashion career. It would allow her to explore her beginning interest in journaling, whilst giving her the necessary tools to become a stylist. She described being excited and slightly nervous for the move and transition but ready for her next stage in life. Kelly began this interview speaking greatly of the influence her mother gave to her in the beginning stages of her life, her motherâ€™s style, attitude and outlook on life. Now we needed to know the other influencers in her life. When asked this question she took it back to the good old style icons of our time, dropping names like Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel. Admitting that she does not dress anything like her style icons but likes them for their attitudes towards fashion, as she had done with her mother. Kelly spoke of their simple elegance, classic looks, styles and their own influencers. She appreciated their desires to be unique and not follow style trends, as she too does. It is apparent from the way Kelly speaks about fashion, that it is something that she truly feels connected and in touch with. Speaking the way she does about what fashion and style means to her, shows just how much this is not a hobby, but rather a lifestyle choice. She is not just a fashion lover,, but a fashion influencer. Developing this fashion mind and lifestyle we can credit to her moving away from her home and living in a third culture lifestyle. She left for Thailand at the ripe age of eleven, and lived away from family and childhood friends for as long as she can remember. Growing up in such a way shapes you and your style choices. It makes you mature in aspects of your life that your peers from back home may never have matured. She speaks of the world in a more open minded, knowledgeable way thanks to her travels when she way young and the people that she met from these travels and life abroad. This lifestyle is represented in her eclectic style she spoke of before, she enjoys the elements of mixing and matching that travelling has enabled her to do. Continuing to speak of her own style, Kelly states her enjoyment of standing out and making statements. She would rather follow he own heart and choices
than follow mainstream styles and trends. She wants to stand out and feel special when she wears clothes. She bought up the idea of one of a kinds as something she loves to find and buy, she likes the special element that this gives in a wardrobe. She mentions vintage and thrift stores as a frequented shopping trip because of these old, one of a kinds you can find there. She has stuck to her roots and icons, and prefers to shop at vintage stores and wears whatever makes her feel good and comfortable. Taking it back to her mother’s influences, she takes the following statement into account always: “Use what you have and make the best of it”- Kelly Harkin’s mum. Kelly has definitely found a foot hold here, crediting a lot to her third culture upbringing, she will be an open and inspired mind in the industry. Finally, to end this piece and with what Kelly used to end her interview: “Power should be given to those with a strong value system, who will use this power for change that will benefit someone.” Edited.
Africa is not a Country, But it does hold the future of innovation. Africa is made up of 54 nations, over 2000 languages and cultures and a billion residents, the exhibition hall is just too small to fully capture this diverse and complex continent; but it does a great job in trying.
Source: Photograph of a photo from the exhibition Making Africa…a title that holds too many expectations, all varying depending on where you are from, how you were bought up and the news channel that you watch. Africa is a COUNTRY that many people have so many varying opinions on that going into something like this, everyone will come out with something different. Either enhancing their previous opinions, or creating new ones; either good or bad. What is this that is spoken of above? This is the “Making Africa: A continent of contemporary design” exhibition that is currently in at CCCB here in Barcelona. The exhibition is comprised of 132 pieces of works by many artists from across Africa, all with differing styles and points of view of the world they live in. Artists creating works from photographs, to masks, to furniture to fashion; all wholly inspired by the beautiful place they are lucky enough to call home. It is funny going in as an African myself, and being able to completely resonate with the works, it also allowing me to look around and tell who else feels the
exact some, just by looking at the way they too look and feel the works. The exhibition made me happy and homesick all at once and none of the work, no matter how almost disturbing, made me feel sad or like Africa was being portrayed in a bad light. Yet my friend turned to me and said “I didn’t know Africa was so poor”. This idea that everyone is seeing the exhibition with different eyes and opinions and backgrounds struck me here. We all watch the news, we know that Africa is portrayed in this war, poverty, poor stricken light, and most of us have the sense to know there is something else Africa has to offer besides this, but it is hard to believe until you go; so many choose not to. Go in with an open mind, you would be surprised at just how different Africa really is.
On entering you begin the journey of ‘Making Africa’ with interviews from people from many different countries in Africa about their experiences and life there and what Africa means to them. It was an intriguing use of video in the exhibition that really enhanced the understanding of what the exhibition is there to do. It gave a wonderful over view of what the audience was getting themselves into and it established a mind set for the viewers to enter with and
at least try and resonate with. The interviewees all had varying accounts of experiences based on where they originated, how they were bought up and where they are living now. Many had left Africa, not because of one specific reason, but because of opportunity. Although Africa is vastly developing and growing economically, opportunities in certain fields are still low, which is disappointing, but these are rising every day. With this mind-set developed from the interviews, and an alternate way of thinking about what we were going to experience, the first art works were presented. The gallery began with more statistical style pieces, graphs of data about aspects of Africa that people would generally be unaware of; from the number of countries to people per country. It was again laying the ground work for the rest of the exhibition and almost reiterating some stereotypes or beliefs that are so often mistaken or wrong. These artists are probably those that are so desperate for the world to know the truth, which was intriguingly mixed with some comics that are the polar opposite to this ideal. They were sarcastic and making fun of the Africa in which so many live but were allowed to as they know the truth and were not doing it in a mocking or hurtful way, but a relatable and funny way. Africans such as myself were able to relate completely, they were done very cleverly but still respectfully. Some people will be able to appreciate this humour. Beginning the exhibition in this light was clever and it was a good transition into the very innovative and sustainable works that were to come ahead. The exhibition hall in which the works were being presented was large and had a well laid out and open plan. The works were cohesively placed, with a balance of video, photography, sculpture and paintings. After the transitional pieces spoken of above, came a section, well balanced with video and sound elements that were dedicated to photography and fashion. It focused on styles and trends that were developed and originated in Africa. The collection of works were focused on the topic of fabrics and how they are used in African cultures. There was even an element of African sub-cultures bought into the works that gave it an overall cultural and artistic feel of the African continent. Fashion in Africa is differently done to that of fashion in the western world. Tribes and people that still follow core traditional practises represent themselves through fashion similarly to the western world, but because of pride more than status. They want to portray themselves in a light that is respectful, true to traditions and shows
pride in who they are and where they are from. The pieces capture this pride and stature that people carry themselves with. I have found that Africans do not go somewhere new without making an effort in their appearance, it shows respect to their new hosts or the new place, while making themselves feel proud.
It was after this section that the exhibition got into more innovative and highly representational portrayal of all the wonder that Africa has to offer, from natural beauty to the craftsman ship that can be offered from the African people. It was filled with gorgeously crafted works all unique in their own rights. It showed Africa in a way that it has never been seen before, the work man ship was immaculate and the vast number or names unfathomable. It was African Art in a way that I had never been exposed to before, and I have seen a lot of African Art. For the unexperienced viewer this collection of works will inspire you. Edited.
Season 5 Episode 4 Review Based on the bestselling book by Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City follows the story of four career women and their journey to finding love and affaires in the big city: New York. We have all heard the famous and sometimes controversial statement of ‘sex sells’, but will it sell Carrie Bradshaw’s book filled with columns of relationship advice? And will Carrie go down this road in order to ensure the success of her well acclaimed book? Samantha is enlisted to help Carrie make her decision on the front cover, but we all know what Samantha is like… All the while Charlotte and Miranda are dealing with choosing the right book for that of their own current problems. Has Charlotte gone down the right isle or will she have to start over again? And will the endless options in Miranda’s chosen isle allow her to find what she is looking for, or will she find that at Weight Watchers? You cannot have a group of women following their hearts (and vaginas) without a gay best friend to help out. Stanford meets a man named Marcus, who is not exactly what the group had in mind. Especially not Samantha who sees something she had not hoped to when opening up that door. But can she make such quick judgements when Carrie walked in on her doing the same thing just a day earlier? Samantha learns her own lesson, the hard way. Charlotte finds what she was looking for, but not in the old fashioned way: Online. Only to discover maybe it wasn’t quite what she had in mind, or does she not need it after all? Miranda pursues what she discovered at Weight Watchers only to realise maybe extra baggage is currently her worst nightmare. So should you judge a book by its cover? Edited.
Size in the fashion industry There is always all this talk around size and this ideal image of a women that is constantly being portrayed in the media. It speaks of the harm this has on young girls and their own body image and how this will affect them and their confidence. But as a young girl I do not remember thinking all that much about Barbie and this perfect girl everyone spoke of. It only really started affecting me when I hit puberty, because as a girl, your body suddenly becomes something else entirely; I gained weight, my hips enlarged and pimples became a new norm.
Looking back on my pre-pubescent body it was flawless and young alike to that of Barbieâ€™s in many ways. But after puberty I was also like Barbie; I had curves and form, but I no longer had perfect flawless skin and I became far more aware of these subtitles then. It is at this age when you are far more body conscious, you have hips now and boobs, and buying clothes in more complicated; and you have so much more to think about now that boys no longer have cooties. In general it is just a stressful time adapting to your new body that having these idealistic images of women constantly spamming the media does not help in any way, shape or form. We have come a long way since I hit puberty and the world then was a lot less aware of what was in the media and its effect on the world. We have seen more and more inclusion in the industry, with women of all shapes and sizes being given the opportunity to take part. Not to mention women and men of colour, being far more widely accepted. On top of body image and the way women and men are idealised in campaigns and fashion magazines, over recent years we have seen more awareness of different people, from people with down syndrome, to transgender models being more widely used; we have seen people realise it is not only this ideal size that was and still is portrayed in the industry, but the ideal women or man.
It is only now that I have realised how big of an effect the images in the media have had on me. It is not only the size and look of these men and women that is effecting us, but the image they are telling us we have to fulfil and find in the
world for ourselves. I feel like I am supposed to have this gorgeous feminine body, with flawless tanned, glowing skin and I am meant to be attracted to these men with chiselled bodies and the same flawless skin; forgetting that everything we see in the media is altered and adjusted to make us feel that way. Image is something that we as people will have to deal with on a day to day basis. No one is ever happy. Even if you think someone like Kendall Jenner should be completely happy, I bet she is not. It is something I am still trying to fully understand and acknowledge. I will never be happy with my body if I am constantly comparing it to these perfectly retouched and photo-shopped women portrayed in the media and neither will you. So do what you have to do in order to feel good about yourself. No one is perfect, not even Kendall Jenner, because there is no such thing as perfect. Edited.
Third Culture Kid, Kelly Harkins ON DISCOVERING WHERE SHE BELONGS AND HOW SHE GOT THERE. It’s now, after living in 3 other countries, has Kelly Harkins found her place. In an international environment, surrounded by people of a like mind Harkins no longer feels like an outsider. Growing up in a small town in Canada, after leaving her birth place of Venezuela, she can confidently say she did not take any style tips from her fellow town dwellers, but rather her mother. Her mother who has a very different style to that of her own, Kelly says, and even uses the main characters of a popular hit series “Gossip Girl” to describe the differences, saying that she would be Blair and her mother Serena; if you know the show you’d understand! Kelly credits magazines, TV shows and E News for her interest in fashion. Beginning this keen interest with the hopes of becoming a fashion journalist, Kelly reached a turning point whilst living in Thailand that saw her dream shift. Realizing she wanted to do many things of varying subjects, she found new hopes in styling. This new found inspiration for her future career has bought her to where she is today. Knowing very well she could not go on to further education in Thailand, after graduating High school there, Kelly went down the path of looking to where the world would take her next. Which bought her here, Barcelona Spain. A country her and her family frequented often and loved, she found IED. The perfect environment and course landed in her lap. An international setting that she had become used to in Thailand, and a course that would allow her to gain an insight into all aspects of the fashion industry that interested her, as well as give her the knowledge needed to enter the styling world. She found her place. After her upbringing in a small town in Canada, to moving to Thailand at the ripe age of eleven, Kelly has developed a style that speaks wonders about her mother’s influence and encouragement. When asked about her icons, Kelly takes it back to the classics, dropping names such as Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel. Admitting that she does not dress anything like the two, but is rather more inspired by what they stand for; “The best accessory is a smile”, Hepburn once said, and something that Kelly stands by. She speaks of their simple and classic elegance as something she thinks is hard to have. Of that of her own style, Kelly likes those that are not afraid to stand out and make a statement. She loves the idea of ‘one of a kinds’, believing it makes you special and different in a world of so many people dressing so similarly. Kelly has definitely not given in to fashion trends, which is something very admirable. She has stuck to her roots and icons, and prefers to shop at vintage stores and wear whatever makes her feel good and comfortable. Taking it back to her mother’s influences, she takes the following statement into account always: “Use what you have and make the best of it”- Kelly Harkin’s mum. Kelly has definitely found a foot hold here, crediting a lot to her third culture upbringing, she will be an open and inspired mind in the industry. Finally, to end this piece and with what Kelly used to end her interview:
“Power should be given to those with a strong value system, who will use this power for change that will benefit someone.” By Rebecca Todd
July Frank I moved here when I was fourteen, promised to a boy from the moment I was conceived, I came here to settle in before our big day on my 18th birthday. His home was grand and extravagant, nothing like where I grew up. I come from a tiny town just south of the Scottish border, I am the youngest of four daughters and the last to be married off. All my sisters before me too were promised to wealthy boys upon being conceived and have all managed to fall in love with their promised ones, hopefully I will too. I haven’t met the boy yet. Here they have strict rules and plans to ensure the greatest success from the marriage, so I attend school with a classroom of boys and a couple girls, whom too are promised to one of the boys, and one of them is my future betrothed; I just do not know which. So I guess I have met him, but neither I nor he knows it. It’s said to be a good way to create relationships with boys and see if fate was right in predicting whom my husband would be. You see, it is a mathematical algorithm that has supposedly been working for generations and generations. My mother too was married off to a wealthy family, which determined who my siblings and I would be married off to, to ensure the least possible chance of incest and the sorts. It’s believed to keep family lines strong and alliances with families in the north even stronger. So based on my families line, we girls were promised to the Knight boys. It’s a tradition that I have questioned on many occasions, but have always been told to only speak when I am spoken to, and to not speak more than a girl should. The boys in families like mine, poor families, from the most northern points, work for the rich families. They don’t get promised to wives, they get jobs. It is a bizarre system, which we have all become adapted to, so very few step out of line and do otherwise. Unlike the boys, we girls leave home so young, hardly having formed relationships with our parents as we were raised by nannies and home-schooled in a separate building. From a young age we were pruned for our future as a wealthy man’s wives, well aware of what was laid down for us and how privileged we should feel. Having just turned sixteen, I know my time will be soon. You see we will be introduced soon, my betrothed and I, it is the next stage of this plan. When I turn seventeen, we will have one year to become acquainted, to discover each other’s quirks and allow the harsh reality to set in. I look forward to this time, I somehow feel like I should not but I do. I miss having someone to truly rely on, and I know most of the Knight boys are very fine men with good intentions, and that’s all I can ask for really. A fine young man.
Charlie Knight Rump springer begins tomorrow. As I have just turned 18 years, I have been given two years to see the world, sleep with as many girls as I like and let my youthfulness fly before I am married off to some 18 year old Frank girl from the North. My father has been lucky so far, my brothers before me were all prudes, and opted to stay home during this time. I will most definitely not be. “I thought we had a choice father?” is what my reply was to my father whom proceeded to tell me that I will not be doing as I like during rump springer, as I had previously planned to. Apparently my brothers did want to leave the chateaux but it turns out that was just some hopeful dream we were fed to as children to make these last two years of freedom sound more thrilling. Apparently I have to attend classes for two years, and keep my rump springing as a hobby on the side. I have been informed that I will be studying alongside this Frank girl, but will not find out which in the class she is until I turn 19. So technically I only have one rump springer year, and to make matters worse I am forbidden to sleep with any of the girls in the class, as they all have to remain virgins for their future husbands. So the year of 18 is not going to be as great as I thought it was going to be after all. I do not fully understand why I have been kept in the dark so much my entire life. I have blatantly been lied to and my life has been a total lie as far as I can tell. Looking at all that has developed since my eighteenth birthday, I can start to see connections to the syllabus we were taught in school and my current situation. We were always taught to obey our fathers and respect our mothers, to understand that love is something that is decided for us at birth, and that the family line we marry will determine the family line that our children will marry in the future. My parents children have all been married to the Franks children, and the Franks daughters have all been married to my parent’s boys. My children will marry the children of some other family from the north for lord knows what reason. I honestly do not understand how this came about and why, but I would like to know. However based on recent run ins with my father, I do not think he will be one to offer up any information on the subject so I might have to do some of my own research.
July Frank I have enjoyed my time here at the Knight’s chateaux, it is large and has lush vast grounds to roam in, when the sun is just setting. I live in what the Knights refer to as “the cottage” but in essence is just a smaller chateaux. It is on a property all owned by the Knights but shared with various families. In “the
cottage” lives 10 girls of my age all promised to various households living on the property. We each have our own large chambers, accompanied at all times by our own personal hand maidens. We eat in a large dining hall at the front of the cottage, looking out over the gardens, cooked and served to us by 10 kitchen staff that take care of the house along with each of our hand maidens. We are given a new dress each week and attend Friday dinners with the boys in the main house of the property. The main house consists of a ball room, in which school dances and town balls occur, where we go to study and play sport and where the two story library is kept. It is found in the centre of the property with the various family homes found surrounding it, all tucked neatly away behind gardens to keep privacy. The cottage is located 20 minutes’ walk from the centre, and we are often given a carriage when the weather is not in good form. We are well looked after, which is in the families best interests as we will be marrying their sons soon. It is a rather selfish thing this. Taking daughters form their homes and marrying them off to their sons. In disguising this from us, I suppose they have to ensure we live well until that point. We might as well get used to it too, as this is what our lives will be like from now on, except only on a different property, hopefully owned by my family and shared with others. It is a weirdly romantic place in my eyes, everyone walks around in their Sunday best, everyone knows everyone and all the girls to be married are distinguished by a pretty ‘V’ broach worn on our chest to symbolise our position. We have lovely Friday dinners, and regular dances, we can take out the horses at our leisure and go shopping in town with spending money we are given each week. I cannot say I miss home all that much after my two years living like this.
Charlie Knight It is funny listening to these girls speak about their futures. They are so unaware of what they have got themselves into. They speak of it so romantically after being lied to their whole lives as we were, except us boys on the property were not told it so romantically. We were told of what was expected of us, when it was going to happen and how it was going to happen .These girls were told that, but in a beautiful story, and to be fair they were coming from some rundown, poor farm in the north. I guess not much lying was needed after all. They do not realize that most of their husbands will have numerous mistresses, they will be obligated to sleep with their husbands all the time and bear as many children as their husband wants. Sometimes that means none, which is easier said than done. It is an ugly truth that they do not see until it is too late, and most of the boys are these kinds of husbands, so of course they will not say anything, they do not care.
“Charlie!” I here and realise I have been completely consumed by my own thoughts, and forgotten that I am sitting in my first class of the year. “Yes mam” I reply sheepishly, as I have gone red faced from the embarrassment of being called out, which is very unlike me, but I had caught a smile off of a curly haired, red head at the front of the class. “I beg your pardon, I was caught in my thoughts”, I said quickly and quietly. I left the class that day contemplating two major life events, the first being disappointment as I would have much rather have been away from the property and the second being intrigue into the curly haired, red head girl. She seemed to grin at me in a way girls never grinned at me before.
July Frank “July F…” I fumbled almost revealing my last name to a boy at the end of the class whom asked me who I was. “That was close” he responded. “Yes very” I replied awkwardly. “I am just July”. He was the first boy I had talked to since beginning these classes, where I knew that I would be amongst my future husband. All the boys are older in my new class, as us girls are promised to boys who are two years older and ready to take over their family name with a young but old enough bride at their side. His name was Elijah, and seemed very feminine for a boy. He had a girly sing to his voice when he spoke that made everything he said sound eager and exciting. He took me by the arm and we walked out into the fresh air of the gardens. I inhaled sharply and caught the eye of a boy from my class; he was walking off with another dangerous type boy, cigarette behind his ear, our eye contact lingered and I exhaled, closed my eyes, reopened them and he was gone. His were the first kind eyes I had seen for a while. Elijah, my new and only male friend and I, walked arm and arm deep into the gardens. I suppose I should have been a little weary, but he made me laugh and I felt comfortable. “I’ll show you my favourite place on the property,” he wisped in my ear. He had grown up here, so I am sure he knew many places. But he was also not like the other boys. He was kind and caring and looked at me with more respect than I had been shown by any of the other boys. We were walking towards his family home, “I cannot be here Elijah?” I said to him when I realised we where we were going. One of the few rules we have, is to keep out of the family homes as to not discover who is who. “Do not worry July Frank, I will not tell a sole” he cheekily responded, giving me a side wink. “I know who I am to marry, and it is not you so do not worry” he said, with a voice filled with spite as he said the word marry. “But how?” I queried. He smiled in response. “You’ll see!”
Charlie Knight “I found out her name.” I told Bert, as he puffed on a cigarette. “Her name is July.” Bert was never interested in girl talk, like the rest of the boys in the class, he did not care about them. I did not want July to get one of these boys, she does not deserve the life she will get with them; but I don’t know if I could give her a better one. “Char. Charlie! Are you going to smoke that?” Bert called, snapping me once again out of my thoughts. “Charlie!” He begged again, pointing at the cigarette behind my ear. “Ah, no you can have it.” I said half-heartedly, tossing it at him. “I will see you later Bert, I have to go somewhere.” I ran through the gardens, thinking about what had just come to me. I knew it was strictly forbidden to even enter the room, let alone do what I plan on doing. I just had to know.
July Frank Elijah and I walked through the stables and in through a trap door that led into the main house. We stuck to back stairwells used for the staff and climbed up to what must have been the highest point. “My father is in charge of what families marry what, he keeps all the files in this tower. I found it as a young boy and have been trying to figure out what the algorithm is and how it came to be.” “Elijah!” I exclaimed. “We are going to get into so much trouble, please take me back to the cottage.” He kept a hold of my hand, pulling me up and up the spiral staircase. For the first time that afternoon I felt afraid. Just as this feeling began to settle in the pit of my stomach, Elijah pushed open a large door and light filled the stairwell. I had to catch my breath, the light so bright and the room eerie in the most beautiful way.
Charlie Knight I had been running for what seemed like forever, I ran through the stables and up the back stairwells. I had not been here in years, not since… I had not thought about it in years either. I had not been back here since Elijah told me he did not want to marry a girl. It was so shocking that I had not talked to him since, he used to be my best friend. We would come to this tower all the time, and try to figure out what all the names were. When we were told about our fate I figured it out, but by then I was no longer friends with Elijah, and did not think it right to come back here without him.
I was navigating my way to the main shaft of the tower, I had not done this in a while so it took some trial and error. I kept running down the wrong stairwells or going in circles, over and over again.
July Frank I was still taking in this grand room when Elijah caught my attention, “My father is out hunting today, and no one is home at this hour in the day.” He was walking down long corridors of books and files, swiping his figures along the dusty shelves. Like a dancer, so elegant and light on his feet, he seemed to breeze through the rows and rows of information. Data. “Tell me something July Frank. Who would you like your future husband to be from our class?” he breathed this phrase out like a King, cool, calm and collected. Almost as if there was a right and a wrong answer. I flushed with red, sighed and embarrassed, walked behind one of the large shelves. Between two books I whispered, “The boy with the cigarette behind his ear. He has kind eyes”. He grinned like a giddy school boy, looked away and in a sultry voice uttered, Charlie Knight.
Charlie Knight I had finally found the right stairwell, but at this point was exhausted. I made my way up the stairwell at a steady pace. Recalling all the times as children, when Elijah and I would race up the stairs, pushing and shoving each other. Laughing and screaming with joy. I do miss my good friend. The door was ajar when I made it to the top. But I knew all the heads of households on the property were out hunting today. The wives out in the gardens chatting with some fine wine and all the staff taking the opportunity to rest and be with their families. I pushed the door open, let the light flood out and then closed the light back in again. This room has always taken my breath away and holds so many old memories from when I was a boy and how we discovered this place. We thought it was a library at first. We were very wrong.
July Frank Elijah and I were continuing up and up in the tower, to a secret room with the information I would apparently want. Whatever that was. He had to use a key to open the door. “I made a copy of the key when I was a boy, no one knows
I have it.” He said, giving me a cheeky grin. I smiled back, intrigued about what we would find inside. It was different to the room we had just left. When the lights were turned on it felt like a hospital. Harsh bright lights, ugly concrete floors and rows of documents. Clearly not a library. “If you could find out who you were to marry, right now, would you want to know?” Elijah breathed out, in the same powerful but soft voice. “I guess?” I said, a bit nervous of what was the correct answer then. Bearing in mind he had relocked the door. “Well you are in luck July Frank,” he smoothly pulled out a file, flicked through and said, “Aha, here is what you are after. Do you want to look with me?” I thought about it for a moment, “Yes” I said a bit wearily. We turned the page, and there it was: July of the Frank family to marry Charlie of the Knight family. The happiness that rushed through my body could not be relished in. we heard someone on the stairwell and the sound of keys swinging. “Quick, back here!”
Charlie Knight I stood in the great room for a minute. Caught my breath and made my way up even higher into the tower. Where what I was looking for would be found. I had kept the key Elijah made for me as a boy on my belt loop all this time. “I knew you would come in handy.” I whispered to the key, and myself. I opened the door with ease, closed and looked it behind me as Elijah had always told me. Turned on the bright, harsh lights and immediately went to my family file. I flicked through the pages, and found the one I was looking for. Took a deep breath, closed my eyes and looked down. Charlie of the Knight family to marry July of the Frank Family I breathed heavily, a grin I could not help across my face and let out a wee yelp of joy. “Thank goodness!”
Elijah July and I could not help but look at each other and blush with joy at his happiness. I was happy that they were happy. July stepped forward before I could hold her back, “I was happy too” She breathed into the back of his neck. He jumped out of his socks and let out a gasp of nervousness and excitement at seeing her. They grinned like teenagers at each other for a while. Like it was love at first sight.
Both in love with each other’s eyes. I had a new best friend, and would soon be reunited with my old best friend. I was content. I stepped out, Charlie looked at me with kind, apologetic eyes exhaled with an, “Elijah!”… [Words: 3494]
In first year we took a fashion writing course. This is various examples of the work we were assigned to write during this course.
Published on Feb 12, 2018
In first year we took a fashion writing course. This is various examples of the work we were assigned to write during this course.