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The young the Restless

















A note from the Editor W

elcome to Solipsist’s first issue. The ideas of this issue owe themselves in equal measure to two cultural juggernauts, one our love for style and the other for British Creativity. We managed to nab exclusive interviews with a mix, of up and coming graduates chosen for our creative special. Interviewing some of the best creative British talent, who credit their success to London Art School. Unearthed fashion capital’s signature styles. From London, Berlin & the mystery, of Parisian women who only dress for men. With a special Vive La France feature applauding the French & their joie de vivre.

inspired international award winning drag queen, & exploring celebrity culture that embodies the past and questions their changing faces of beauty.

Reena Jokhan



FEATURE WRITERS Annemari Savolainen Nicole Peters Sybil Odiaka Reena Jokhan

CONTRIBUTORS Jack Redden Izras

ILLUSTRATORS Olivia Mathurin Essandoh Jonna Soininen


SPECIAL THANKS TO Izzy Shannon Chris Dennis & Olivia

Lastly we are proud of the variety of hand drawn illustrations and exclusive photo shoots woven throughout this special issue, and only ask one thing from our reader. To switch off for a while, take your time and read Solipsist



Reena Jokhan Editor

Celebrated Marilyn Monroe’s 50th year anniversary, by paying homage to ‘icons & their decades nostalgia’ Identifying the fashion trends, by interviewing a 1950’s SOLIPSIST


Word on

the Streets of Style Hello London.





ondon, home to the edgy! Trends are born on a daily basis in my hometown. It’s no surprise we struggle to save money. Every corner you turn, there’s a shop and in that shop, there’s something you’ll want! Luckily, clothes and accessories are generally affordable in London. From Primark (dubbed Primarni by Londoners) to charity shops filled with hidden gems, there’s a cheaper substitute to everything in this beautiful city! Alongside photographer, Shannon Tao, we hit the streets of London to hear an alternative fashion forecast whilst snapping up the amazing street style of the locals.

what I love, if it’s in fashion then it is!” Bee declares. Alfie Moon is, but are you ready for flamboyant prints ? We’ve already spotted several male models in printed shirts throughout Shoreditch. “Oh, hell no!” laughs Mark as I present a rather cute, heart print Burberry Prorsum shirt for men. “Wow! It’s so cute yet cheesy, perfect for Valentine’s Day” his girlfriend squeals. Well, I love it and if I had the money to purchase Burberry Prorsum menswear, having a vagina would not stop me! “I can see someone like Tinie wearing it though, he makes everything look cool” Mark concludes.

First to catch our eyes is Eri. With the exception of her adorable contemporary nail design, Eri is in head to toe vintage. Wearing a burnt orange suede jacket and rustic lace up brogues, Eri represents the growing popularity of vintage pieces amongst Londoners. If you’re looking for a unique piece, go vintage! The sizing is usually hit and miss but finding that rare gem can make a wardrobe!

“Alfie Moon is, but are you ready for flamboyant prints?”

Heading towards Peckham, we spot Bee. I request her alternative forecast on an Elizabethan style McQueen gown. “Outrageously amazing, I would wear it to uni” declares the BA Fine Art student. I can only believe her as it’s pretty warm yet she’s dressed from head to toe in fur. I can even hear the faint cries of the animals brutally murdered for her outfit. Sad but I can only admire her fur shorts. Why don’t I own fur shorts?! Hmm.

Thanks to Hipsters, you don’t have to be religious to rock a turban or decorate your neck with rosaries. Once simply known to me as my rough hometown, east London is now home to many hipsters and people under the impression that being broke is rather trendy. Subconscious rant ALERT! You can’t help but sympathise with hipsters. All the bleach they go through for rainbow or dip dye hair, all the awful music they create as well as listen to... regardless, their influence has managed to worm its way into the high street as well as high fashion catwalks.

Bee’s not alone, Londoners are craving character! Although I doubt the high street will provide a cheaper Elizabethan McQueen alternative, I can guarantee virgin white lace and crochet in abundance. “I guess I’ll be able to buy some pretty cool pieces to customise but I’m not one to jump on the trend bandwagon. I wear

on the sheer trend?! “No way, it’s any excuse to show a bit of skin like we don’t show enough already” rants Amy. I agree but I doubt it will catch on as a trend in London. We have pretty shit summers so winter will be just as shit and unless you wish to freeze to death you’ll leave this trend in a magazine. “I don’t get it, you can see her undies. Undies shouldn’t be visible in summer let alone winter” Amy’s rant continues. The model in the photo looks amazing though and the Christopher Kane dress is covered in floral organza protecting her modesty! With London conquered, we can confirm the biker jacket will reign for another season. Expect it in every store in a whole lotta’ new colours & materials. Not that we haven’t seen it all; although I would like to see a bubble wrap biker jacket or a rubber biker jacket or even an edible biker jacket. Ooo, candy floss flavoured biker jackets. Yum!

It’s a warm day and the fat folks of Walthamstow are showing skin, too much skin. We approach the only female dressed ‘weather appropriate’. What’s her take




Jacket: Jean Pierre Braganza Shirt: Kirsty Ward Dress: Nisiss



Shirt: Junk Food Overalls: Jean Pierre Braganza Skirt: Vintage Shoes: Adidas Model: Alice H at M&P Models 12



On The St

reets Of





n a sunny afternoon in the midst of July I decided to pay homage to the easygoing casual nature of the capital city of Berlin. One I am proud of having had the pleasure of growing up in. I shot a fashion story on the infamous Pallas Estate in Berlin. A stone throw from where I grew up – these pictures have quite an emotional value, I guess – the only reason why I guess, is since I used to gaze upon the unsightly building complex as I went grocery shopping as a kid – first with my parents and then on my own as I gradually grew older. However as a Photographer – I am not a fan of the polished look – preference is paid to the real life edge. Something unpretentious. This is why I also love Berlin and its street style culture. The unique raw appal of the daily grind. Clothes are worn to last – rather than a quick fashion antidote. From a nation where fashion only has been highlighted in recent years – we are laid back in terms of clothing. Its street scene is an eclectic mix of the new and old. The odd and mundane. This is characterised by the unique appearance of people within the cityscape of Berlin. The fact that

you can be wearing the most outrageous outfit and nobody would care to bat an eyelid – Berlin has culturally always been very liberal and open minded and this is well reflected in the style of the people inhabiting this city. The high yield concentration of artists, designers and writers in the city has also allowed for a creative crowd to influence and shape the city. Giving the young children growing up there – a strong impression of varied styles. As a pre-­teen of 10 – I can certainly say Berlin made an impression on me. Not so much how I dress, I guess it shaped my mindset as a creative. A rebel perhaps? As I never liked following the prescribed set of rules preached by others including rules on how one should dress – instead I loved my blue jeans despite how unflattering they looked at the time and wore awkward jumpers and sweatshirts. Pieces dragged from the 90’s through to the early years of the new millennia. Within the current economic climate – the need to dress in pieces that last rather than fast fashion fixes is bigger than ever. I think a good example of how pieces can be timeless yet still edgy is to look at the streets of Berlin. Throughout the ages it has been a centre for style and chic – from the thirties to the modern heyday. Personally, the city has a great sense of style – personal to any of the other major German cities. In one that’s uniquely different to New York, London, Paris or Milan.







Quentin Tarantino The Ultimate Fanboy WORDS BY JACK REDDEN




uentin Tarantino is an American film director born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He’s 50 -years-old and has been making films since the 1980s. In that time, the man has created such classics as Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained.

bullshit here. I’m gonna do it, I wanna do it because it’s on me. I only want to do this once. I’m gonna be the hands and what I’m gonna do is, I’m going to just strangle you. I’m gonna cut off your air for just a little bit of time, we’re gonna see the reaction in your face and then we’ll cut.”

He’s also a massive fanboy. So that’s what happened. Quentin Tarantino is the aficionado of film, a walking encyclopaedia of the movies. As a result, his own films are peppered with hundreds of references and influences from other films Tarantino has seen and decided to pay homage to. He is also the highest scoring participant in Empire Magazine’s My Movie Mastermind, beating the likes of Christian Slater and Kevin Smith in a contest which through a series of 10 questions finds out just how well someone knows their own work. Quentin Tarantino is a fanboy who has created some pretty special moments of trivia-gold inside his own films. Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino’s most commercially successful film before Django Unchained, is set in a Nazi-occupied France during World War II. The story follows a group of Jewish soldiers and their plan to assassinate members of the German Nazi High Command whilst they attend a film premiere. It all gets a bit messy when the owner of the cinema where the premiere is taking place is also a Jewish survivor of the war and has her own vengeful plans for ze Germans. The film features an unfortunate scene where the character Bridget von Hammersmark, a German informant for the Allies, who’s played by Diane Kruger is strangled to death by one of the members of the German High Command mentioned earlier. In front of the camera, the strangler is Colonel Hans Landa, played by Christoph Waltz who won an Oscar for his role, but behind the camera, for one take only, Waltz is replaced by Tarantino himself who actually strangles Bridget von Hammersmark for real. That’s right, he actually choked her. On the Graham Norton show earlier this year, Tarantino expressed how unconvincing strangling looks in films he had previously seen so in order to correct that in Inglorious Basterds he spoke with Diane Kruger and said, “Look, here is what I would like to do, if you’re okay with it, because I just don’t want any phoney-baloney


It’s not just the dedication to authenticity that makes Tarantino an uber-fanboy though. It’s also the references, sometimes subtle sometimes obvious, which are thrown into his films. It’s clear a lot of thought and knowledge are behind it all which makes some of them that much more enjoyable when they’re eventually noticed.

“Quentin Tarantino is the aficionado of film, a walking encyclopaedia of the movies.” Sticking to Inglorious Basterds for now, Brad Pitt’s character in the film uses a fake name impersonating an actor in order to infiltrate the premiere towards the end of the film. That name is Enzo Girolami, which is the birth name of the famous director Enzo G. Castellari who created the original Inglorious Bastards film that Tarantino’s movie title is so obviously influenced by.

who was the star of a 1966 spaghetti western where he played the original Django, a gunslinger caught in the middle of a feud between the Klu Klux Klan and some Mexican bandits. So of course he knows the ‘D’ is silent. Then there are the quirks in Tarantino’s film that are so evident of him playing around with the norms of a film to make it something different and more fun. You see this in Pulp Fiction during the end credits when the coffee manager is credited as “Coffee shop”. This is because of a scene in the film where a hold-up is taking place and a gun is pointed at the manager’s head by Ringo, the character doing the ‘holding-up’ who then asks “Are you gonna be a hero?”. The manager only get to “No, I’m just a coffee shop-” before Ringo interrupts him to start yelling at everyone else watching. You also see this from the existence of the bright yellow Chevrolet known as the “Pussy Wagon” which first appeared in Kill Bill: Vol.1 back in 2003. It’s owned by Tarantino himself who drove it as his everyday vehicle to promote the release of Kill Bill: Vol.2 the following year. He still owns the Chevrolet today and he licensed it for use to appear in the Lady Gaga and Beyonce music video for “Telephone”. Because, why not? Quentin Tarantino is someone who loves films. He loves them so much he allows them influence his own work to make them something much more enjoyable and fun. He is a highly successful geek with a camera who embraces the fun of film-making with different genres, different styles, and different worlds all for the love of the movies. Quentin Tarantino is the ultimate fanboy.

Then there’s Django Unchained which came out in 2012 and ended up as Tarantino’s most successful film in terms of money made and Academy Awards won. This film is set in pre-civil war America where slavery still very much exists and it follows one freed slave known as Django who, with the help of a German bounty hunter, sets out to rescue his wife from a notorious plantation owner known as Calvin Candie. There’s a scene where Django is waiting to meet Mr. Candie and as he does he talks briefly with a character called Amerigo Vessepi who asks Django his name. Upon hearing it, he asks how it’s spelt. Django spells it out for him and is sure to explain that the ‘D’ is silent, to which Amerigo replies, “I know” before walking away. Amerigo is played by Franco Nero an Italian actor






YEARS OF MARILYN MONROE Fem Fatales of today’s 21st Century icons are continuously being influenced by the late Monroe’s legacy WORDS BY REENA JOKHAN


his iconic movie star had such an impact on pop culture that her face, hair and fashiontography continued to be emulated to this day. For die-hard fans of old Hollywood glamour to lovers of iconic pop art, Marilyn Monroe is still a force to be reckoned with. Here are our top Vixens whom have all have captured Monroe through photo shots, music videos and film: Blake Lively said she pretends to be Marilyn Monroe when she walks the red carpet. “I have insecurities like any girl. I used to be really shy and unconfident. I hated being tall. Walking the red carpet is so scary, so I pretend to be Marilyn Monroe - someone who owned their sexuality and projected this incredible aura of self-confidence,” Debbie Harry at the height of Blondie-mania, it was said that she believed she was the illegitimate daughter of Marilyn Monroe, and commented “that there was a time in my life when I wanted to have that, because I thought it was glamorous and mysterious.” Lana Del Rey the sultry singer took on the role of Marilyn singing the infamous rendition of Happy



Birthday Mr President pretty damn well in her Born to Die Album, National Anthem. Let’s face it we are continuously being entertained in seeing celebs attempt to unleash their alter Monroe ego, as its clear that recreating Marilyn immediately gives celebrities a sex goddess status & like Monroe they use it to their full advantage. The spectrum of Marilyn’s beauty & power was best described by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner who featured Marilyn as the Magazines 1st cover girl in Decembers issue of 1953, “ she was most in control when she was in the nude, what would be a position of vulnerability for others was a position of power for her. No one but Marilyn could seduce the President just by whispering “Happy Birthday Mr President”, who could sing Happy Birthday to Obama that would live to this? Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera? 50 years after her death Marilyn is still an eternal icon, whose grace, mystery & power of seduction remain resolutely contemporary.

“No one but Marilyn could seduce the President”

Madonna’s Material Girl Video was a spin on Marilyn’s Diamonds are a girl’s best friend Musical, featuring Madonna dressed as Marilyn and covered in diamonds. Ironically, Madonna has stated that she regrets recording this song due to the fact that she has since become known as ‘The Material Girl’ however, would Madonna have been so successful in her career to date had she not ‘borrowed’ so heavily from Marilyn Monroe?

Megan Fox having famously tattooed Marilyn’s face on her arm, “She was one of the first people I saw on television, like, literally moments after I was born,” claims Fox. “Every time I heard her voice growing up I always would cry. I wouldn’t know why when I was younger, but had my own theories. I’ve just always empathized with her.” Not only is Fox constantly photographed with a different book on the blonde bombshell, but she has also revealed to the press that she may have schizophrenia and fears that she’ll die young like her screen goddess.

The late Anna Nicole Smith, Blonde, voluptuous, and a Playboy playmate, model Anna Nicole Smith was the ultimate Monroe fan embodying her looks & attitude in diamonds, men and animals. She believed that she shared a special connection with the sex symbol’s soul. From photo shoots to having an extensive collection of prescriptions, Smith’s brief life became similar to her idol. Smith died from drug complications at age 39 in 2007. Monroe would was found dead from an apparent overdose at age 36 in 1962.

Lindsey Lohan naming her clothing legging line 6126 (Monroe was born June 1st 1926) Lohan’s infamous recreation of The Last Sitting with original photographer Bert Stern for New York Magazine in 2008. Then in 2009, Lohan sported a blonde wig yet again and posed like the star with a Dolce & Gabbana dress that features Monroe’s face printed all over, earning the title as “La Nueva Marilyn (The New Marilyn)” for the August 2009 cover of Spanish Vogue.



“You have to remain glamorous and beautiful, you can buy fashion, you can’t buy style”, says Drag Idol Winner 2012 Chris Dennis aka ‘La Voix’ when asked what it takes to be an iconic 21st century drag queen.


escribed by as “iconic ally glamorous” by sex icon Pamela Anderson & “love the attitude I like you” by the infamous Simon Cowell. Chris Dennis talks to Reena Jokhan about La Voix’s alter ego, Old Hollywood & what it takes to be a 21st century drag Queen. Reena Jokhan: Chris, what makes ‘Old Hollywood’ so fascinating? Chris Dennis: I have always been fascinated by old Hollywood and I think as a gay community we relate to the glamour and trials and tribulations of these strong women. Women suffered employment prejudice and lower basic rights such as the power to vote, during these iconic years of the 40’s and 50’s. Gay men today relate to that struggle with social acceptance. However these women were on the flip side always elegant, glamorous and striking. The aftermath of the war in the 1940’s brought a backlash of the need for glamour and enjoying life in the 1950’s, even on rationed pay slips. RJ: We are continuously being entertained with celebrities unleashing their Alter Egos, how best would you describe La Voix’s? C D: The character of my alter ego La Voix, in my mind is much older than me…..say 20 years. I envisage her as a slightly failed film star trying to make her way now throughout the changing media times. R.J: Chris what preparation do you go through in channelling your Hollywood Icon before Showtime? C.D: To channel this maturity and difference I have to surround myself with music of that era drink my make-



up and dressing time. My iPod has long albums such as “100 greatest hits of the 20’s”, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell. To surround my mindset with this music and era is key to the transformation. I then attempt to re-create in my mannerisms the female gestures of those times. I have a 1920’s shaped champagne glass to drink from during which you can’t hold in any other way than in the movies, a large dressing gown during the makeup. Also whilst sat in my prep time I have to wear heels. It makes your legs fall in a certain way when sat and it makes me not feel so removed from the performance I’m about to do. R.J: With an ever-increasing fierce competition out there, what does it now take to be a UK iconic 21st century drag queen of today? C.D: Drag as an art form in the UK, it is looked upon as a lot lower than in the US. In the UK drag used to be brave, flamboyant and gay men aspired to be as brave as drag queens. It has always been in gay rights movements, drag queens who have created change and exposure to the injustice of many gay issues. The stonewall riots etc in US was front lined by drag queens. Today gay men have much better rights, although still fighting for much equality, the role of the drag queen has become more entertainment based, also more underground, and out of the central Soho. Today many drag queens wear cheap costumes and wigs, were the gay men are wearing top designers and couture, a complete switch of circumstance. Therefore to be a drag queen in the 21st century you

have to be glamorous beyond belief. Either in couture gowns from the latest celebs and designers and also have the most pretty boys on your arm. Also you have to have a talent. The aesthetic of drag isn’t enough anymore. You will today find drag DJ’s, singers, dancers, burlesque, magicians, comedians. In the past simple lip sync to a song would have done. Gay men want drag queens to be ahead of the crowd to succeed. In today’s media world that is tough. It requires full time self-marketing, new images weekly for twitter and Facebook, as well as constant gig plugging. You have to remain glamorous and beautiful. Bad wigs and makeup will make an audience turn on their heels as they have seen it too many times. You can buy fashion you can’t buy style.


The Changing Face of Beauty an alternative WORDS BY SYBIL ODIAKA




rom the melodramatic to the hypocritical, you’re bound to come across an article or documentary criticising the fashion models of today. Although I am among those who criticise, it’s not for such reasons. I hate the lack of ethnic diversity but I love the celebration of unconventional beauty. From the ‘anti-ethnic diverse’ polls of the most beautiful celebrities to features idolising the ‘real woman’, a quick flick through a magazine or tabloid is enough to generate self-hatred and trigger confusion. What is beauty? What is a ‘real woman’? According to the media, any woman who isn’t a size 10 or smaller is real. To summarise, it’s a stupid term used to put down the minority in order to boost the confidence of the majority. There was a time when models were considered just as conventionally beautiful as actresses and musicians. The supermodels of the mid-eighties and early nineties represented this conventional celebrated beauty. Even today, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista are still cited as the best! Why? The supermodels may not have represented the average woman of that day or today but they represent what women want to look and feel like, glamorous! The supermodels created a lifestyle which stimulated a feeling of wanting to be desired, idolised and socially accepted aesthetically by the majority. Kate Moss and the models of today represent the harsh reality. This is not in terms of body image but in terms of imperfection. With all the ‘real women’ and pro-natural beauty campaigns, it’s still apparent that no one really wants to celebrate their flaws or what makes them different.

“I could do a Christina Aguilera and tell the world, “you are beautiful” but I’d be lying” We are naturally inclined to love the conventional beauty. Discussing the subject with friends, I ask, “Who is the most beautiful woman alive?” The girls humorously respond with “me” but this is quickly followed with hysteric shrieks of denial. “That would be true if Angelina Jolie, Adriana Lima and Scarlett Johansson did not exist” responds Mariana. The rest of the girls agree, “Mila Kunis is also really beautiful” says Caitlyn. I catch the girls off guard by asking, “Who is the least beautiful, in fact, most ugly woman alive?” Naturally, we all begin to laugh but the girls immediately begin to spill out name after name. Agyness Deyn and Georgia May Jagger are the least appealing to the girls.

“What makes Angelina Jolie & Mila Kunis beautiful?” My question is met with silence and then “hmm”. No one can explain. “They are beautiful because they are” argue the girls in unison. I thought beauty was in the eye of the beholder?! I guess we all see through the same eyes, subconsciously taught society’s criteria of beauty. I believe beauty has no face. It should not have a universal standard. It’s your vision, your perception, it belongs to you and the opinions of the mass should not influence it. I could do a Christina Aguilera and tell the world “you are beautiful” but I’d be lying. You love the smell of flowers and fresh grass, I loathe it. You’re in love with Ryan Gosling or Cheryl Cole, I don’t get the hype. If we can have an opinion on the foods we love or the music we listen to, why do we strive to look the same? In this world of superficial clones, one can only appreciate ‘the alternative’ the high fashion modelling world provides.

THE UNCONVENTIONAL BEAUTIES Donyale Luna. Born Peggy Ann Freeman, Donyale Luna was a 6ft2, astonishingly slender, Bambi eyed unconventional beauty. Exploding into the fashion scene in the late sixties, the wild yet stunning supermodel was instantly dubbed “the reincarnation of Nefertiti” by the media. Luna is often cited as the first black supermodel as well as the highest paid fashion model of her time. Although she towered her fellow models, Luna primarily stood out due to her crazy drug fuelled behaviour, brown skin and rock star fashion style. She would often crawl down the catwalk whilst high on the rock ‘n’ roll life and its substances. Although she conquered a racist fashion world, she couldn’t conquer her addictions. Kate Moss. Often called, the greatest model of all time! Please feel free to argue with yourself as it’s a fact, well, a bias uncompromising opinion. A timeless unconventional beauty and the most photogenic woman in the world; hate her or love her, you simply can’t deny she does her job oh so well. Gemma Ward. Discovered at the age of 14, Gemma Ward was instantly labelled, “the exotic blonde”. The scout who discovered Ward predicted a bright future for the Australian teenager. At the age of 16, Gemma Ward became the youngest model to appear on the cover of American Vogue. Although blonde and blue eyed, her unconventional features provide a refreshing image. Ward’s unique look inspired a generation of alien doll faced models.















Fur: Vintage Body: American Apparel Ring: Chanel Accessories: Vintage



Fur: Vintage Shoes: Balenciaga Bag: Chanel Shorts: Topshop



Blazer: Zara Stockings: Wolford Bra: Calvin Klein Leopard Shorts: Victoria’s Secret







Parisian style is the sex that says, you could be my lover, even if that won’t ever happen

ou can walk anywhere in Paris and see women who are not, as they used to say, put together with two pins or perfectly dressed and made up from the roots of their hair to their toenails. In other great cities, this is not the case. To walk the streets of New York or London or Berlin is to wonder if women are making themselves up in front of mirrors salvaged from the fun house or if their budgets permit them only to buy their clothes at discount and sight unseen, as if from a grab-bag, or if they go shopping blindfolded.

Paris is the one city where women do not dress for other women. Elsewhere, women assume that men have no appreciation of a woman's appearance and panache, so they throw themselves on the untender mercies of other women, the idea being that you can impress with "originality," if that is the right word, even if you haven't a clue what becomes you. Such women dress for favorable comparisons to the images in fashion magazines which are produced by women and men who have in common a huge loathing of women except for models or those famous for being famous. Parisian women have not bought this idea. It is not because the air they breathe is any different from the air anywhere else .They are different, and always stylish, because they dress for men, and the men, despite assumptions to the contrary elsewhere, are paying attention to what the women are wearing, can tell chic from cheap, and appreciate style. And that, I believe, is because both women and men in Paris prefer style to fashion. Fashion is what someone else tells you to wear without bothering to look at you. Style is what you choose for yourself because you know yourself—and own a high-class mirror. The former is to dress blindfolded, and the latter to dress with the eyes wide open. You can see women in Paris whose clothes would seem so last year—or even last century—to a fashionista, yet who



turn the head of every man they pass on the sidewalk and don't care if another woman notices or not.

“Paris is the one city where women do not dress for other women” They are confident because they know that style is sex: not the sex of lust, or of an invitation to the easy pickup, or of the artful if unconvincing sexiness of the model with the half-closed eyes, the halfopen mouth, and the plump, pouty lips. Parisian style is the sex that says, you could be my lover, even if that won't ever happen. It is the sex that speaks from femininity to manhood without needing an interpreter, a go-between, or a bottle of wine. It is the sex of Coco Chanel's little black dress that reveals what its wearer wants to reveal, looks right in any light, and promises to fall to the floor with the slip of a hook or the slide of a zipper. And all that possibility, all that promise, is in the streets of the city every day in broad daylight and under the stars for all to see and enjoy without any shame, hesitancy, or looking back. No wonder we stay go out early and stay out late in Paris.



A Mix Of Graduates Are Chosen In This Creative Special, Interviewing Some Of The Best Creative British Talent who Credit Their Success To London Art School






omeone once said that all roads lead to Rome. It might have been true to the Romans, but the 21st century aspiring designers only seem to have one destination in mind: London. The University of the Arts London is educating the future talent of fashion, design and media in various locations in London. Solipsist met with 2nd year Cordwainer’s Footwear design student Jonna Soininen from London College of Fashion, to discuss footwear design and the importance of being in London right now. Jonna walks on the streets of East London with a clear focus of becoming the next big footwear designer. She has evolved into an international designer while living in London and only the blonde hair and the warm lamb fur coat resemble her Scandinavian roots. Born at the end of 1980s in a small town in Finland, Jonna grew up listening to Spice Girls and experimenting with her creativity from the early age on. After graduating high school, she went onto studying interior design and had her first job experience placement with Laura Ashley. After graduating, Jonna decided she wanted to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a footwear designer and applied to study at London College of Fashion. Jonna tells that she has always been creative and fell in love with arts and crafts at a young age. Designing was something that made sense in her life and she wanted to study in the best university for footwear design. In the fall on 2011, Jonna found herself in London with 4 suitcases of shoes and a dream to become a household name. Choosing London was more of a choice than a coincidence for her. “London definitely has an influence on my work as a designer”,

she praises the town. “It is everything about London: the people, the energy, the street art, the surroundings [that make it influential].” Jonna currently resides in Bethnal Green and works in Covent Garden, mixing the electric East to the trendy Central. When asked if she thinks London still has enough space for new designers, Jonna does not hesitate to see the two sides of the story. She admits that sometimes being in London can be intimidating, but when you believe in yourself and your work, you will get through anything - even the competitive design industry in London. Scandinavian design movement has been described as functional, minimalistic and simple. Jonna is also an ambassador of simple design and hopes to see classic and simple footwear designs in the near future instead of crazy heels and studs, that have been on trend for the past few years. Jonna’s own design ideology is to design beautiful and timeless shoes that women still want to call them as her favorite shoes even after 10 years of time. True to her Scandinavian ideology, she lists Finsk, Acne and Rupert Sanderson as her favorite footwear designers. Jonna hopes to find work in her own industry after she graduates from London College of Fashion in 2014. She will definitely start her own shoe line in the future, but does not underestimate the importance of working with other designers, gaining knowledge before starting her own label. At the end of the interview, I only have one more question to ask. Will you ever get sick of working around feet? She laughs and shouts: ‘Never!’




and drawn illustrator Olivia is in the middle of her FDA in design for communication at London College Of Communication

With regular uploads of her work to instagram olivia_ _ twist Two underscores yeaah

me, weirdly. African fabric, hip-hop & the 90’s (Grace Jones is awesome). That’s my kind of thing.

R: What artists inspire you? O: Jean Michel Basquiat, Chris Offili and Michelle Robinson. I’m really into afrocentricish/raw design. I love the richness and the sense of pride.

Her less is more take on this flash interview leaves no time for a cuppa whilst reading this and more time to take in her colorful illustrations…

R: How would you best describe yourself? O: I am not a girl of many words; I’m curious and quirky. R: What’s your method of madness? O: I am an illustrator hand drawn style and currently converting to the digital! Cool, bold and vibrant.

R: What’s your inspiration? O: My main source of inspiration comes from my Afro-Caribbean background; pattern and color excites


i. D

espite the fact that he studied fashion Design, fashion photography was not Izras’s first choice of career. Crediting his inspiration on revelling in the current zeitgeist & being a firm believer that “you cannot walk through life with closed eyes”. Born in North London to a German mum and Jamaican father. Izras is based between London and Berlin, and now splits his time working between the two cities. Our editor managed to nab an exclusive interview whilst he was in London to talk about his love affair with art, what lead him to CSM fashion, and his remarkable journey into fashion photography?

RJ: What were your earliest art experiences? Izras: Ever since I was small I wanted to be an Artist. I remember telling my teacher at the age of 10 that I didn’t need to do well at school since I only wanted to draw and sculpt. Not write and add sums. She only told me that I should comb my messy hair. I took little interest in school except for Art -­that and skateboarding around the city with a keen eye for street art. I also wore my hair in a ponytail and loved drawing naked women all over my exercise books. I don’t think my teachers quite appreciated that... R: Why study in London? I: I moved back to London, as I needed to think about my future, and what I wanted to do. My first instinct was either Fine Art or Sculpting at Central St Martins or Chelsea. To be honest I didn’t even know a degree in Fashion existed... Neither am I the walking example of the fashionable male... (I love the second hand shops in Berlin – despite there being a big taboo among the kids on the school playground since it was all about branded clothing and flash Nike trainers – I just found it more unique than wearing something everyone else wore) But yes, I was in my foundation that we had a cover tutor who came from Central St Martins. She looked at my sketchbook, which was respectively full of women – clothed and naked, in all mediums from Ink through to charcoal and pencil. And recommended I look into Fashion or textiles... I decided that it looked fun and that I possibly could make more money from it than I realistically would with a Fine Art or Sculpting degree. I applied to the BA in Fashion at both LCF and CSM... LCF was too restrictive for me – you had to choose your specialism in before you even started. The course at CSM is very open minded and you can jump between specialism of Men’s, Women’s, Knit, Print and Communication. R: Why Fashion Design? I: I love designing – the vision of creating something. Always very minimal and sexy. Though I do love good-­



humoured kitsch. Fun, not taking oneself too seriously? I find fashion has become awfully serious these days. Designers are being battered by reviews for being ‘too sexy’ (see Versace Fall Winter 2013 RTW – I LOVE IT) – it’s all quite sad really. Perhaps it’s a sign of how commerciality has gone haywire? (I fear this problem has even started eating away at Fashion Photography) R: How did Fashion Design lead you into Fashion Photography? I: I encountered my first problem with Fashion Design when I made my first collection. The problem may have been minimal but I as a perfectionist found it quite distressing... Basically collaborating with a Photographer was the problem, the pictures didn’t really sort of represent the collection to what I could have assumed their best? There is a nice little proverb in Germany, which is called ‘Selbst ist der Mann’ – basically meaning that self-­reliance is the name of the game. And as I believed I could do a lot better than that Photographer I worked with, I decided to pick up a camera and a pretty girl from the women’s wear course take these images myself. They may not have been the best pictures... But I liked them and discovered that I loved Photography in the process. After some long haul internships in design – I found that I didn’t really want to enter the sea of new designers competing for the Topshop Newgen Award. I was in Paris interning when I decided to drop design. I still appeared to the job but just assumed that on my return to London – I won’t pursue becoming a designer. I was lucky to in my time take some pretty nice images of my stunningly gorgeous flat mate over there; she is from Austria and quite literally the most beautiful girl ever. Then I worked with a few modelling agencies. I was sad when I had to leave but as with all ends, I was excited for the new start. R: How did this new love turn professional? I: Upon my return to London I found myself looking at my work again and wondering what the heck I should do with my life. Up until then I never really had the intention of pursuing photography professionally. Since for one I always believed it to be highly competitive and impermeable. Of course it is both those things and will continue to be. But I think my all round knowledge of the arts makes me look at it differently? R: Are there any other career loves? I: I love Fashion Photography but I have many other interests too. So I cannot say if I do want to focus my life on it forever. I would love to be an editor at large for a magazine at some point. A footwear designer (if only I had the time to learn it), Curator, Directing and producing short films (something I have been recently experimenting with) the list is endless. I believe the fashion education at CSM allows you to be ‘free

spirited’ and pursue anything – you only need to be passionate about it. R: What impact has CSM had on your journey from being a graduate to now? I: A lot has changed with my view on the world from being a fresh-­faced naive kid when arriving at CSM to my now somewhat hardened attitude towards the world. I mean I wanted to be a big designer, now I am a Photographer with a more realistic approach to life. You learn a lot about yourself as well. From an ability to manage projects through to how you work with yourself and others around you. I guess I see the point of those god-­awful fashion group projects now since working in the industry really IS one giant group project. Your eye as an creative becomes a lot more sharper and focused (no pun intended) since you do look at old project work and wonder what the hell you were doing back then. The harsh but completely fair critique allows you to build a good level of self-­ judgement. I reviewed a few old photographs of mine the other day and cringed. And some made me quite melancholic since they do prove how I’ve grown up and become older... R: What inspires your work? I: I am inspired by change, travelling and meeting new people. Carefully observing my surroundings. Good in depth and very thought provoking conversations, in German, English and French. Carefully cherry picking, the best and most strange encounters since this I firmly believe filters into one’s mind and temporary aesthetic, as it’s all about revelling in the current zeitgeist. You cannot do this if you walk through life with closed eyes.

“You cannot walk through life with closed eyes” INTERVIEW BY REENA JOKHAN | | PHOTOGRAPHY BY IZRAS

The thrill of the hunt for rare books WORDS BY NICOLE PETERS


olding the first edition of any book means holding part of its history. The moment it was first presented to the world. It is the original, with only a limited number of copies ever printed. Collecting rare books and first editions is often associated with people with deep pockets, but as many collectors agree, you can sometimes find real treasures for a bargain. Knowing that somewhere in a cluttered thrift shop or car boot sale is a gem waiting to be discovered is part of the thrill and collectors love the hunt. You can collect any kind of books, literary classics, revolutionary scientific and medical works, historic accounts of exploration, or around any other subject which interests you. Some people search for books which they loved as a child, or which inspired, moved or taught them throughout their lives. A new chapter for rare book collecting has started with the advent of the internet and with the ability to buy books digitally. But we believe that a book’s size, shape, design, artwork and maybe even etchings made by the authors themselves gives it its true individuality and provides its unreserved value. Number one of the rarest and in most demand books in the world is Johannes Gutenberg’s edition of the bible printed in 1456. There are only 21 known copies left and even single pages alone would sell for several thousand pounds. Also on the list are Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebook of scientific research and theories “Codex Leicester” which includes original drawings and sketches, and William Shakespeare’s “First Folio” which contains plays which have never been reprinted as well as many which are considered classics today. But it is not only those enormous golden-edged tomes under a glass which people imagine when they think of collectable books. A collectable title can be any rare or unusual book or any limited edition. Examples include Roald Dahl’s first edition of “Charly and the Chocolate Factory” printed in 1995, “The Pale Horse” by crime legend Agatha Christie from 1961, or the first photoplay edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” from 1935. All of which are sold at a very affordable price. With a little bit of patience and luck, you can find every type of collection imaginable, from banned and censored works to books which inspired classic films. Whether you are looking to complete your collection or for signed copies and exquisite bindings to make the perfect gift, a trip to your local antiquarian or thrift shop will surely be worth the visit.



Solipsist - Issue 1  

The first issue of Solipsist magazine; a University of the Arts London project. A magazine designed by Sybil Odiaka. Cover photography by Iz...

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