Amelia’s Magazine | The London Fashion Week Virgin: Estethica Review

Illustration by Avril Kelly http://cargocollective.com/avrilkelly

There’s something about coming out of the Tube in an area you’ve never been to before. I realise this is an extremely London-centric point, order but bear with me – when you find yourself spat out onto a brand new street it’s like discovering a different city. But then you look up and see the familiar roundel and you know that yes, it’s still London. It’s interesting how so many of us seem to come to London to experience its variety, only to entrench ourselves in one specific part of the city. Some (who, me?) may even develop a few prejudices about certain other parts of the city too, as if London were some sort of microcosm of the world … Oh actually that last bit’s about right, isn’t it. ‘There is in London all that life can afford,’ Samuel Johnson famously said, and it’s very true. But still, going all the way to Clapham on a Saturday morning? SOUTH London? Really!

But last weekend I went to Clapham for the very first time, because that’s where the Papered Parlour is and I’d been looking forward to their silversmithing class for weeks. I resurfaced from the Tube at Clapham Common, curiously peeking around while the nice man with the coffee cart ground beans from scratch to make my espresso. The Papered Parlour is just up the road, hidden behind a plain door in a side street. Claire and Louise, the workshop’s founders, weren’t there, but my fellow would-be smithers and I were welcomed by Hana and our teacher, Caren Hartley.

Upcycled jewellery by Madi http://www.madiillustration.co.uk

Jewellery upcycling, or recycling of old items, was the theme for last Saturday’s seminar. We each poured out our bags of old, neglected jewellery, hoping Caren would be able to help us make something usable out of it. I’d brought two rings I was hoping to fix, having broken both of them within weeks of each other after having worn them every day for years. I’d also brought some broken brooches my grandma had given me, as well as a few other pieces I weren’t wearing. Having just told the group we could not use heat on any item that wasn’t pure silver or gold, Caren shook her head at my beloved moonstone ring. ‘You can’t heat anything with a gemstone as it will break,’ Caren said. Araldite glue it is, then.

My mother’s old floral pendant also got the brush-off from Caren: ‘That’s pewter, it would melt before you could do anything with it.’ This is the main danger when working with old jewellery, as you haven’t made it yourself and hence you can’t be completely sure about the metal composition. Caren studied the pendant, curved and prone to annoying swinging, concluding: ‘You could flatten it, with the mallet.’ Mallet! I was expecting delicate tools, tiny adjustments and boiling frustration, but it turns out silversmithing includes plenty of hammer action.

Caren Hartley

The next few hours went by in a flash. After my mallet fun I got the little pliers and snippers, changing the broken grandma brooches into pendants. Rough edges were smoothed down with the metal files – silver is quite soft when you’re working with it. Silversmithing is also a surprisingly dirty activity, with the suds from my hands running black as I washed before the cake break. It can be dangerous too – judging by the fact they made us sign some sort of release before letting us use the saw.

Make do and mend by Naomi Law http://www.nimlawdraws.co.uk

Halfway through the day we were introduced to the blowtorch, used not only to join pieces of metal together but also to prepare silver to be worked on. Heating up the metal to reach ‘the cherry red temperature’ loosens the molecules within the silver, Caren explained, meaning you can work on it. My main task with the blowtorch was to mend my ring, a little lady who wraps her legs around your finger. I’d got the ring half price at a craft fair nearly ten years ago, and worn it every day until the poor girl broke her leg about two years ago. High street silversmiths didn’t seem very keen on sorting this for me though, and now that I’ve seen how it’s done I can see why: it’s fiddly.

I put on the leather apron and the protective goggles, ready for the big moment. ‘Now, angle the flame away from me, as I will be holding the leg piece,’ Caren said as I lit the torch, wondering if she gets paid extra if a student maims her. But as the little lady turned cherry under the blue flame, everyone’s digits remained intact and the leg was back where it belonged. Okay, so it sticks out a bit more than it did before, but a little tap of the hammer and Bob’s your uncle.

Caren and Eva by Avril Kelly http://cargocollective.com/avrilkelly

Detail

I left the Papered Parlour with eight new pieces of jewellery, having altered or mended old things I either couldn’t or wouldn’t wear. My hands were aching as I counted up change for another espresso from the cart, about to go back to the familiar side of the river. As I stood on the platform waiting for my train, I absent-mindedly ran my thumb along the lady-ring. She’s back, and I fixed her all by myself.

Result

The Papered Parlour is in Clapham: 7 Prescott Place, London SW4 6BS. For more information about the spring workshop schedule see our listing – there are more silversmithing workshops to come, plus printmaking, sewing, photography, quilting and how to make your own shoes. Also, the Papered Parlour is putting on two mini-festivals at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green this spring: ‘Ethical fashion in the age of austerity’ tonight (3 March) and ‘It’s your write!’ next month (7 April) – for more detail see our listing here.


Illustration by Avril Kelly

There’s something about coming out of the Tube in an area you’ve never been to before. I realise this is an extremely London-centric point, treat but bear with me – when you find yourself spat out onto a brand new street it’s like discovering a different city. But then you look up and see the familiar roundel and you know that yes, buy it’s still London. It’s interesting how so many of us seem to come to London to experience its variety, only to entrench ourselves in one specific part of the city. Some (who, me?) may even develop a few prejudices about certain other parts of the city too, as if London were some sort of microcosm of the world … Oh actually that last bit’s about right, isn’t it. ‘There is in London all that life can afford,’ Samuel Johnson famously said, and it’s very true. But still, going all the way to Clapham on a Saturday morning? SOUTH London? Really!

But last weekend I went to Clapham for the very first time, because that’s where the Papered Parlour is and I’d been looking forward to their silversmithing class for weeks. I resurfaced from the Tube at Clapham Common, curiously peeking around while the nice man with the coffee cart ground beans from scratch to make my espresso. The Papered Parlour is just up the road, hidden behind a plain door in a side street. Claire and Louise, the workshop’s founders, weren’t there, but my fellow would-be smithers and I were welcomed by Hana and our teacher, Caren Hartley.


Upcycled jewellery by Madi

Jewellery upcycling, or recycling of old items, was the theme for last Saturday’s seminar. We each poured out our bags of old, neglected jewellery, hoping Caren would be able to help us make something usable out of it. I’d brought two rings I was hoping to fix, having broken both of them within weeks of each other after having worn them every day for years. I’d also brought some broken brooches my grandma had given me, as well as a few other pieces I weren’t wearing. Having just told the group we could not use heat on any item that wasn’t pure silver or gold, Caren shook her head at my beloved moonstone ring. ‘You can’t heat anything with a gemstone as it will break,’ Caren said. Araldite glue it is, then.

My mother’s old floral pendant also got the brush-off from Caren: ‘That’s pewter, it would melt before you could do anything with it.’ This is the main danger when working with old jewellery, as you haven’t made it yourself and hence you can’t be completely sure about the metal composition. Caren studied the pendant, curved and prone to annoying swinging, concluding: ‘You could flatten it, with the mallet.’ Mallet! I was expecting delicate tools, tiny adjustments and boiling frustration, but it turns out silversmithing includes plenty of hammer action.


Caren Hartley

The next few hours went by in a flash. After my mallet fun I got the little pliers and snippers, changing the broken grandma brooches into pendants. Rough edges were smoothed down with the metal files – silver is quite soft when you’re working with it. Silversmithing is also a surprisingly dirty activity, with the suds from my hands running black as I washed before the cake break. It can be dangerous too – judging by the fact they made us sign some sort of release before letting us use the saw.


The blue flame by Naomi Law

Halfway through the day we were introduced to the blowtorch, used not only to join pieces of metal together but also to prepare silver to be worked on. Heating up the metal to reach ‘the cherry red temperature’ loosens the molecules within the silver, Caren explained, meaning you can work on it. My main task with the blowtorch was to mend my ring, a little lady who wraps her legs around your finger. I’d got the ring half price at a craft fair nearly ten years ago, and worn it every day until the poor girl broke her leg about two years ago. High street silversmiths didn’t seem very keen on sorting this for me though, and now that I’ve seen how it’s done I can see why: it’s fiddly.

I put on the leather apron and the protective goggles, ready for the big moment. ‘Now, angle the flame away from me, as I will be holding the leg piece,’ Caren said as I lit the torch, wondering if she gets paid extra if a student maims her. But as the little lady turned cherry under the blue flame, everyone’s digits remained intact and the leg was back where it belonged. Okay, so it sticks out a bit more than it did before, but a little tap of the hammer and Bob’s your uncle.


Caren and Eva by Avril Kelly

I left the Papered Parlour with eight new pieces of jewellery, having altered or mended old things I either couldn’t or wouldn’t wear. My hands were aching as I counted up change for another espresso from the cart, about to go back to the familiar side of the river. As I stood on the platform waiting for my train, I absent-mindedly ran my thumb along the lady-ring. She’s back, and I fixed her all by myself.


Result

The Papered Parlour is in Clapham: 7 Prescott Place, London SW4 6BS. For more information about the spring workshop schedule see our listing – there are more silversmithing workshops to come, plus printmaking, sewing, photography, quilting and how to make your own shoes. Also, the Papered Parlour is putting on two mini-festivals at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green this spring: ‘Ethical fashion in the age of austerity’ tonight (3 March) and ‘It’s your write!’ next month (7 April) – for more detail see our listing here.

My first experience of London Fashion Week was less in at the deep end with the big kids, click and more of a splash about in the shallow end with armbands on. And actually, I found it a rather favourable place in which to position myself.

My task was to skulk around the Estethica and Ecoluxe show rooms and report back on some of my favourite designs, a task I undertook with gusto. Anyone who reads my personal blog will know that I adore beautiful ethically made clothes. So I jumped/squealed at the chance to meet some of the designers and see the clothes up close. I have been watching the rise and shine of some of the new ethical designers with interest, having been introduced to many of them via Amelia’s book (which of course you have bought, yes? Yes?)

My first hurdle in getting to Estethica involved ‘borrowing’ a friends pass and hoping that no one would look at the name on the badge and question my gender when I beeped in. I was a tad nervous approaching Somerset House, but was buoyed on by ‘West End Girls’ which popped onto shuffle at the most opportune moment for the final bit of the walk. I bloody love it when shuffle gets it right. So it was with a strut that I entered Somerset house aided by the Pet Shop Boys, my trusty Spanx and one too many soya latte’s.

My second hurdle was actually finding the room. Directions typically included: “You’re in entirely the wrong place. You need to turn round, go back downstairs and outside, then enter through one of two doors, left again….” I think I went cross eyed. It was located in a particularly awkward spot, which was a shame as the rooms contained some marvellous work. But the getting lost, trekking up and down stairs and being stomped on by lethal platform wedges was worth it. The quality of some of the designs was inspiring and innovative, easily rivalling their ‘non ethical’ neighbours.

I had kind of hoped that I’d be able to blend in with the crowd, take notes and snap pictures before skulking on, but I quickly realised that this would be nigh on impossible.  I soon found myself confabulating with some of the friendly designers and PR people. I was repeatedly asked if I had a card. I didn’t. Rookie error. Lesson learned for next time.  Stall holders craned to read my badge as I smiled sheepishly and surreptitiously covered it with my scarf. I was nervous so wondered around with a slightly creepy perma-grin, but thankfully most of the participants had heard of Amelia’s Magazine so far from being rebuffed, I had a very warm welcome. PHEW.

Ok- on to the clothes. I met lot of lovely people and saw some beautifully crafted clothes, but here are just a few of my favourites.

The jewellery of Little Glass Clementine caught my eye before I had even entered the room, and like a magpie, I was beckoned in by it. Necklaces are made from a marvellous concoction of found objects; from bird skulls and bottle tops, to bath plugs and plastic toys.  They are totally unique, slightly mad (in the bestest of ways) and utterly covetable. Little Glass Clementine is featured in Amelia’s book. See an extract of the interview here .

Goodone pulled me in next, with their soft jersey bodycon dresses and thick woollen belts that begged to be handled. I loved the combination of figure hugging dresses with drapey, overized pieces too, all made from recycled, end of roll and salvaged materials. Feminine yet bolshy. Ace. Goodone are featured in Amelia’s book, see an extract of the interview here:


Illustration by Natasha Thompson

There is something irresistible to me about Joanna Cave’s delicate filigree jewellery. Inspired by ballet and old Art Nouveau costumes, the pieces are delicate and girly yet dramatic and bold. They are made from recycled sterling silver, ethically sourced pearls and vintage ribbon. Joanna cave jewellery is featured in Amelia’s book, see an extract of the interview here:

Actualy, I was pretty spoiled on the jewellery front. Kumvana Gomani uses old bottles and recycled aluminium to create gorgeous long necklaces and pretty earings.


Illustration by Alison Day

The North Circular, an ethical knitwear company, inhabited the corner of one of the rooms, filling it with an impressive alluring installation involving a huge bundle of sheeps wool and TV’s. Apparently the video was showing a piece called ‘metamorphosis’ with Lily Cole in it, but I managed to miss it. Truthfully, muted colours are not my thing, but the pieces were luxurious to feel and beautifully crafted, using British ethically sourced wool.


Illustration by Alison Haines

I loved this bright Pink Ciel dress. Just the right balance of smart and sexy.  All Ciel fabrics are carefully sourced to be as ethical as possible. Sarah Ratty, the founder of Ciel and chair of the Ethical fashion Forum was warm and friendly, and a long time friend of Amelia’s Magazine. She is featured in Amelia’s book, you can read an extract of her interview here.

Illustration by Avril kelly

I have to say that, despite the fact that the person in the stall seemed too busy to talk, I fell in love with Max Jenny. My favourite pieces were their colourful cape’s, for the following reasons.  They are waterproof; this satisfies my northern fell-walking roots. They are capes; this satisfies my Drama Queen roots. Amazingly their products are made from recycled PET bottles, which satisfies my inner hippie. Tick, tick. tick. MaxJenny is featured in Amelia’s Compedium of Fashion Illustration.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Lu Flux’s designs also caught my eye. I have always loved their use of colour and therefore loved this colourful leather rucksack. By working with salvaged, vintage and organic fabrics, that combine pleats, knitting and patchwork, the collection makes something new out of something old. .Lu Flux is featured in Amelia’s Compedium of Fashion Illustration. You can read an extract of their interview here.


Photograph by Damian Ucieda Cortes

Tara St James made use of copper pipe work in her gorgeous, chunky jewellery, and I also loved the blanket capes too. Chic and snuggley. Good for campsites and cocktails, bonus.


Photograph by Lauren Bilanko

And then I was out the door again, navigating Somerset House’s warren like corridors. I presumed I’d be surrounded by long legged, anorexic, bitchy looking women. I did see some ultra skinny, unhealthy looking people, which will always sadden me, but there were also plenty of healthy looking amazingly dressed people there too. In fact, I enjoyed the London Fashion Week street style stuff as much as the main show photo’s (perhaps sacrilegious?). But what really struck me was that people were, well, NICE. And mostly normal. Which I have to say I wasn’t expecting.

Next up, I’ll be reviewing Ecoluxe. You can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (featuring the very best in ethical fashion design) RIGHT HERE.

Categories ,4 Equal Sides, ,ACOFI, ,Alison Day, ,Alison Haines, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Avril Kelly, ,ciel, ,Ecoluxe, ,estethica, ,esthetica, ,goodone, ,Hannah Bullivant, ,Joanna Cave, ,Kumvana Gomani, ,lfw, ,Lily Cole, ,Little Glass Clementine, ,London Fashion Week, ,Lu Flux, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Max Jenny, ,Maxjenny, ,Natasha Thompson, ,pet shop boys, ,Somerset House, ,Soya Latte, ,Spanks, ,Tara St James, ,The North Circular

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Amelia’s Magazine | The London Fashion Week Virgin: Estethica Review

My first experience of London Fashion Week was less in at the deep end with the big kids, and more of a splash about in the shallow end with armbands on. And actually, I found it a rather favourable place in which to position myself.

My task was to skulk around the Estethica and Ecoluxe show rooms and report back on some of my favourite designs, a task I undertook with gusto. Anyone who reads my personal blog will know that I adore beautiful ethically made clothes. So I jumped/squealed at the chance to meet some of the designers and see the clothes up close. I have been watching the rise and shine of some of the new ethical designers with interest, having been introduced to many of them via Amelia’s book (which of course you have bought, yes? Yes?)

My first hurdle in getting to Estethica involved ‘borrowing’ a friends pass and hoping that no one would look at the name on the badge and question my gender when I beeped in. I was a tad nervous approaching Somerset House, but was buoyed on by ‘West End Girls’ which popped onto shuffle at the most opportune moment for the final bit of the walk. I bloody love it when shuffle gets it right. So it was with a strut that I entered Somerset house aided by the Pet Shop Boys, my trusty Spanx and one too many soya latte’s.

My second hurdle was actually finding the room. Directions typically included: “You’re in entirely the wrong place. You need to turn round, go back downstairs and outside, then enter through one of two doors, left again….” I think I went cross eyed. It was located in a particularly awkward spot, which was a shame as the rooms contained some marvellous work. But the getting lost, trekking up and down stairs and being stomped on by lethal platform wedges was worth it. The quality of some of the designs was inspiring and innovative, easily rivalling their ‘non ethical’ neighbours.

I had kind of hoped that I’d be able to blend in with the crowd, take notes and snap pictures before skulking on, but I quickly realised that this would be nigh on impossible.  I soon found myself confabulating with some of the friendly designers and PR people. I was repeatedly asked if I had a card. I didn’t. Rookie error. Lesson learned for next time.  Stall holders craned to read my badge as I smiled sheepishly and surreptitiously covered it with my scarf. I was nervous so wondered around with a slightly creepy perma-grin, but thankfully most of the participants had heard of Amelia’s Magazine so far from being rebuffed, I had a very warm welcome. PHEW.

Ok- on to the clothes. I met lot of lovely people and saw some beautifully crafted clothes, but here are just a few of my favourites.

The jewellery of Little Glass Clementine caught my eye before I had even entered the room, and like a magpie, I was beckoned in by it. Necklaces are made from a marvellous concoction of found objects; from bird skulls and bottle tops, to bath plugs and plastic toys.  They are totally unique, slightly mad (in the bestest of ways) and utterly covetable. Little Glass Clementine is featured in Amelia’s book. See an extract of the interview here .

Goodone pulled me in next, with their soft jersey bodycon dresses and thick woollen belts that begged to be handled. I loved the combination of figure hugging dresses with drapey, overized pieces too, all made from recycled, end of roll and salvaged materials. Feminine yet bolshy. Ace. Goodone are featured in Amelia’s book, see an extract of the interview here:


Illustration by Natasha Thompson

There is something irresistible to me about Joanna Cave’s delicate filigree jewellery. Inspired by ballet and old Art Nouveau costumes, the pieces are delicate and girly yet dramatic and bold. They are made from recycled sterling silver, ethically sourced pearls and vintage ribbon. Joanna cave jewellery is featured in Amelia’s book, see an extract of the interview here:

Actualy, I was pretty spoiled on the jewellery front. Kumvana Gomani uses old bottles and recycled aluminium to create gorgeous long necklaces and pretty earings.


Illustration by Alison Day

The North Circular, an ethical knitwear company, inhabited the corner of one of the rooms, filling it with an impressive alluring installation involving a huge bundle of sheeps wool and TV’s. Apparently the video was showing a piece called ‘metamorphosis’ with Lily Cole in it, but I managed to miss it. Truthfully, muted colours are not my thing, but the pieces were luxurious to feel and beautifully crafted, using British ethically sourced wool.


Illustration by Alison Haines

I loved this bright Pink Ciel dress. Just the right balance of smart and sexy.  All Ciel fabrics are carefully sourced to be as ethical as possible. Sarah Ratty, the founder of Ciel and chair of the Ethical fashion Forum was warm and friendly, and a long time friend of Amelia’s Magazine. She is featured in Amelia’s book, you can read an extract of her interview here.

Illustration by Avril kelly

I have to say that, despite the fact that the person in the stall seemed too busy to talk, I fell in love with Max Jenny. My favourite pieces were their colourful cape’s, for the following reasons.  They are waterproof; this satisfies my northern fell-walking roots. They are capes; this satisfies my Drama Queen roots. Amazingly their products are made from recycled PET bottles, which satisfies my inner hippie. Tick, tick. tick. MaxJenny is featured in Amelia’s Compedium of Fashion Illustration.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Lu Flux’s designs also caught my eye. I have always loved their use of colour and therefore loved this colourful leather rucksack. By working with salvaged, vintage and organic fabrics, that combine pleats, knitting and patchwork, the collection makes something new out of something old. .Lu Flux is featured in Amelia’s Compedium of Fashion Illustration. You can read an extract of their interview here.


Photograph by Damian Ucieda Cortes

Tara St James made use of copper pipe work in her gorgeous, chunky jewellery, and I also loved the blanket capes too. Chic and snuggley. Good for campsites and cocktails, bonus.


Photograph by Lauren Bilanko

And then I was out the door again, navigating Somerset House’s warren like corridors. I presumed I’d be surrounded by long legged, anorexic, bitchy looking women. I did see some ultra skinny, unhealthy looking people, which will always sadden me, but there were also plenty of healthy looking amazingly dressed people there too. In fact, I enjoyed the London Fashion Week street style stuff as much as the main show photo’s (perhaps sacrilegious?). But what really struck me was that people were, well, NICE. And mostly normal. Which I have to say I wasn’t expecting.

Next up, I’ll be reviewing Ecoluxe. You can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (featuring the very best in ethical fashion design) RIGHT HERE.

Categories ,4 Equal Sides, ,ACOFI, ,Alison Day, ,Alison Haines, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Avril Kelly, ,ciel, ,Ecoluxe, ,estethica, ,esthetica, ,goodone, ,Hannah Bullivant, ,Joanna Cave, ,Kumvana Gomani, ,lfw, ,Lily Cole, ,Little Glass Clementine, ,London Fashion Week, ,Lu Flux, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Max Jenny, ,Maxjenny, ,Natasha Thompson, ,pet shop boys, ,Somerset House, ,Soya Latte, ,Spanks, ,Tara St James, ,The North Circular

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Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day: Gifts and Ideas


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, unhealthyJoan Wasser announces to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, discountJoan Wasser announces to introduce “Hard white wall”, adiposity a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, recipe Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.


But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, viagra ” announces Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.


But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, recipe which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, here now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. But between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think? Especially the ladies amongst us…

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.

You can read more about my abysmal love life in my Valentines blog post from 2010.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Adam Smith, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Anieszka Banks, ,Ankolie, ,Artist Andrea, ,Becca Thorne, ,Bex Glover, ,Can We Shall We, ,Diana F+, ,EC One, ,Emma Block, ,Ethical Gold, ,etsy, ,fairtrade, ,Fisheye 2, ,Flowers, ,Gemma Smith, ,gifts, ,Gold, ,hearts, ,ica, ,Je t’aime, ,Jenny Lloyd, ,Jenny Robins, ,jewellery, ,Joana Faria, ,Laura Gravestock, ,Liz Lewis, ,Lou Cloud, ,Museum of Everything, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Oria, ,Peacock Heart, ,Peter Blake, ,Plastic Seconds, ,Prick your Finger, ,Quinky Art, ,rob ryan, ,Simon Critchley, ,Society 6, ,Soma Gallery, ,The School of Life, ,Valentine’s Day

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Amelia’s Magazine | Nancy Dee: the ethical fashion range from sisters Tamsin and Seraphina Davis

Emete Yarici by Jenny Lloyd http://jennylloyd.co.uk

It’s impossible to miss the Make Lemonade pop-up shop as you walk up Chalton Street Market, treat with big windows displaying the warm and cosy scene for everyone to see. Even standing across the street you can see Make Lemonade founder Emete Yarici pottering around, ed accompanied by her interns Holly-ann Ladd and Bettina Krohn.


Make Lemonade pop-up shop

Step inside and you’ll find a myriad of treasure, starting with clothes from the Make Lemonade range of one-off vintage finds. As Emete talks me through the contributions from the various designers and artists around the shop it becomes clear this is very much a collaboration. ‘I have been working on getting a shop for over a year, but it’s been a mad rush at putting everything together as I only found out I was getting this shop last week,’ says Emete.


Illustration by Joana Faria

Holly-ann has been collecting vintage charms and made them into necklaces, explains Emete, while more accessories are on display from knitwear designer Louise Dungate. The walls are covered by charity shop finds, as well as prints from graphic designers Dan Sayle and Oschon Wespi-Tschopp. This comes from a tie-up with environmentally friendly printers Hato Press. ‘We will be doing a live screenprinting session here on Saturday, where people can choose a design and have it printed on a bag,’ says Emete.

On Wednesday 26th there will be a free styling evening, followed by a music night on the 28th. Norwegian pop and jazz singer Jenny Moe will provide entertainment, alongside the group The Youth. ‘People can bring their own drinks and there will be lots of cushions, so people can come and talk and chill out,’ says Emete. More details of this and other events, including a film screening yet to be confirmed, can be found on the Make Lemonade Facebook page.

Textile print designer Temitope Tijani has provided a special range of her colourful handmade bags and jewellery, while Supermarket Sarah has created a wall of items from the shop – these will go on sale from Supermarket Sarah’s website from 31st January. In addition to clothing, this includes a 1970s coffee set and a very clever apple-a-day calendar from Ken Kirton, who is also responsible for the Make Lemonade logo.


Temitope Tijani illustrated by Genie Espinosa

‘I wanted the shop to be a platform for many people to show their work, not just for our own stuff,’ says Emete, adding that most of the artists are friends, or friends of friends. Camden Council sponsors Make Lemonade’s rent for the pop-up shop, as part of a scheme to bring new business to Somers Town. This area between Euston and King’s Cross stations isn’t necessarily a retail destination, but the locals have been very welcoming, says Emete.

Make Lemonade will exist mainly on the internet for a while to come, but Emete doesn’t rule out a permanent shop down the line. But the next goal to get the brand into shops as permanent concessions, as well as continuing the collaboration with Asos and focusing on the blog. Along with Bettina, Emete will go to Paris this spring to scout for some higher-range vintage lines, but she wants to stay true to the initial idea of creating a reasonably priced vintage shop – something that isn’t that easy to find in London. ‘We want to make sure we stay close to our roots and remain a brand people want to be part of,’ says Emete, suddenly all shy when she has to be in front of the camera instead of behind the scenes.


Emete Yarici

Make Lemonade pop-up shop will be at 24 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JH until 1st February – after that find them on their website. For more information see our listing and the Make Lemonade Facebook page.

Emete Yarici by Jenny Lloyd

It’s impossible to miss the Make Lemonade pop-up shop as you walk up Chalton Street Market, click with big windows displaying the warm and cosy scene for everyone to see. Even standing across the street you can see Make Lemonade founder Emete Yarici pottering around, website accompanied by her interns Holly-ann Ladd and Bettina Krohn.


Make Lemonade pop-up shop

Step inside and you’ll find a myriad of treasure, ask starting with clothes from the Make Lemonade range of one-off vintage finds. As Emete talks me through the contributions from the various designers and artists around the shop it becomes clear this is very much a collaboration. ‘I have been working on getting a shop for over a year, but it’s been a mad rush at putting everything together as I only found out I was getting this shop last week,’ says Emete.


Illustration by Joana Faria

Holly-ann has been collecting vintage charms and made them into necklaces, explains Emete, while more accessories are on display from knitwear designer Louise Dungate. The walls are covered by charity shop finds, as well as prints from graphic designers Dan Sayle and Oschon Wespi-Tschopp. This comes from a tie-up with environmentally friendly printers Hato Press. ‘We will be doing a live screenprinting session here on Saturday, where people can choose a design and have it printed on a bag,’ says Emete.

On Wednesday 26th there will be a free styling evening, followed by a music night on the 28th. Norwegian pop and jazz singer Jenny Moe will provide entertainment, alongside the group The Youth. ‘People can bring their own drinks and there will be lots of cushions, so people can come and talk and chill out,’ says Emete. More details of this and other events, including a film screening yet to be confirmed, can be found on the Make Lemonade Facebook page.

Textile print designer Temitope Tijani has provided a special range of her colourful handmade bags and jewellery, while Supermarket Sarah has created a wall of items from the shop – these will go on sale from Supermarket Sarah’s website from 31st January. In addition to clothing, this includes a 1970s coffee set and a very clever apple-a-day calendar from Ken Kirton, who is also responsible for the Make Lemonade logo.


Temitope Tijani illustrated by Genie Espinosa

‘I wanted the shop to be a platform for many people to show their work, not just for our own stuff,’ says Emete, adding that most of the artists are friends, or friends of friends. Camden Council sponsors Make Lemonade’s rent for the pop-up shop, as part of a scheme to bring new business to Somers Town. This area between Euston and King’s Cross stations isn’t necessarily a retail destination, but the locals have been very welcoming, says Emete.

Make Lemonade will exist mainly on the internet for a while to come, but Emete doesn’t rule out a permanent shop down the line. But the next goal to get the brand into shops as permanent concessions, as well as continuing the collaboration with Asos and focusing on the blog. Along with Bettina, Emete will go to Paris this spring to scout for some higher-range vintage lines, but she wants to stay true to the initial idea of creating a reasonably priced vintage shop – something that isn’t that easy to find in London. ‘We want to make sure we stay close to our roots and remain a brand people want to be part of,’ says Emete, suddenly all shy when she has to be in front of the camera instead of behind the scenes.


Emete Yarici

Make Lemonade pop-up shop will be at 24 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JH until 1st February – after that find them on their website. For more information see our listing and the Make Lemonade Facebook page.
How do you start to design each new collection?
I usually list ideas that I am wondering about – thoughts about philosophy, cialis 40mg science and how we should live – in my note book. Then I pick out the most interesting of these topics. Maybe some philosopher or artist has already found an answer but I like to discover things through my own ideas and research.

In what way does fashion allow you to combine all your creative ideas?
I create artwork in two dimensions as well as making music and video. Fashion feels more real because it is created in three dimensions, case and I try to make clothes that combine all the dreaminess and fantasy of my other creative endeavours. I work on music at the same time as I work on designs for my clothing so that it will match the catwalk show when I put them together.

Why did you decide to name your collective after yourself?
We work as a team on ideas that mostly come from my brain. I feel as though I am a percolator, stomach I’m inspired by all the feelings that come from my friends which I filter through my own internal world. Satoshi Date is just a device: percolate Satoshi Date machine and breathe out. I believe that I am connected to everyone in the world and I am just a representative.

How do you work with others to complete each collection?
We get the main idea together and do lots of research before we even think about the clothing. We read, write, listen, draw, collage… developing the idea deeper and deeper. Then we start designing and sampling with textiles and prototypes until the final garments are ready to be made.
MaxJenny by June Chanpoomidole
MaxJenny by June Chanpoomidole.

Wearable art.
Maxjenny Forslund was inspired to create her label when she discovered her mother’s paintings in the cellar. Her mother Margareta Forslund is also a designer and together they create the bright print designs (some of which are based on self-portraits) that characterise her line of Street Sculptures signature waterproof capes. The capes are based on a circular pattern that drapes over the contours of the body, cialis 40mg and are perfect for riding a bike in the rain.

Intelligent sustainable materials.
Maxjenny capes are created from a recycled material made out of plastic PET bottles. Dye sublimation printing is used as an even more environmentally friendly substitute to digital printing. The sourcing of good quality materials is a big part of Maxjenny’s job…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Maxjenny’s clothing in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, seek alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.
NANCY DEE by KELLIE BLACK
Nancy Dee by Kellie Black.

Tamsin and Seraphina Davis are sisters in ethical fashion design. Nancy is a long standing family name and Dee simply stands for the initial of their surname, information pills Davis. They settled on the label Nancy Dee because it is a little bit kitsch and reflects the style of their designs.

How did Nancy Dee come about?
Seraphina is my younger sister by four years and she has the background in fashion design whereas I have worked in the film industry and studied economics and social policy, more about so I am better suited to managing the business side. We started working together because Seraphina wanted to market her designs and she needed a partner. I had just finished my studies and wanted to work on something related to social policy. We launched Nancy Dee in 2008 to create garments that bridge the gap between style, viagra 60mg versatility and ethical production.

How do you manage to keep your designs both retro and up to date?
Fashion is cyclical by nature, and all trends are developments on past ideas. We take the shapes and references that appeal to us from history and update them by using new eco fabrics and modern colours. The prints play a large part; they are designed by us but influenced by older designs.

How did you hook up with the family-run factory in India that makes your clothes?
We were actually approached by them whilst at a trade show which was lucky because it wasn’t working out with another factory, so we were actually searching for someone to take over production. Fate intervened: we met the owner in London, then travelled over to Delhi later that season to check over the factory conditions, meet the staff and work on samples.

How will you further reduce your environmental impact?
Video conferencing and daily phone calls enable both Seraphina and I to work from home (I live in Leicester while she is in London). Skype is an amazing invention that helps us to keep in touch with the factory, reducing the need to visit so often. We’re constantly looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact, such as the use of degradable packaging for the webshop – but it is an ongoing job. We want to start some production in the UK since one of our biggest environmental impacts is caused by the delivery of stock from India. Many UK factories lost a huge portion of their income when it became so much cheaper to produce garments in Asia, so it will be nice to bring some work back here…

Read the rest of this interview with Nancy Dee in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Carbon footprint, ,Eco fashion, ,Ethical Fashion, ,India, ,Kellie Black, ,Nancy Dee, ,Seraphina Davis, ,Skype, ,Tamsin Davis

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Amelia’s Magazine | New S/S 2013 Season Interview: Michelle Urvall Nyrén of Ever Rêve

Ever Reve by Sine Skau
Ever Reve by Sine Skau.

Readers of my second book Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration will recognise the name Michelle Urvall Nyrén: in those pages you can find wonderful examples of her beautiful watercolour fashion illustrations. In the years since the book was published Michelle has been busy designing and launching her very first fashion collection, inspired by both her love of watercolour design and her ethical education. Not surprisingly, the Ever Rêve S/S 2013 collection is a beautiful first outing for this talented lady.

ever rêve
Your beautiful inaugural collection was put together in collaboration with Swedish writer Hanna Ricksten. What was the process of meeting and deciding to work together?
At the beginning of my working process there is always a persona. I always use characters and fictional stories as an inspiration to build up a collection as it helps me to create an ambience and gives me a set to work in. My choices of colours, patterns and cuts can be traced in this story or in the character.
Hanna and I have known each other for a long time and she has been writing stories for as long as I have been working with textiles. When I started working with Ever Rêve I talked a lot to Hanna and realised that we share many ideals and dreams, which is why we decided to create a story together. I sent Hanna all of my inspiration work; notes, photos, colour samples and sketches and she based the story on that. It was a very stimulating process of reciprocal creativity.  
 
ever rêve
The model in your look book has a very unique look: how did you come to cast her?
I cast Aleksandra at a distance from photos sent by friends we have in common. She lives in Poland where we took the photos and I didn’t get to actually meet her until the day of the photo shoot. I love her look; she expresses both strength and vulnerability at the same time. I am always looking for something unique in models; Aleksandra was perfect for this collection. She is also very hard working. On the day of the shoot, it was about 35 degrees. We decided to take photos of the knitwear in the late afternoon, but the temperature remained really high. Once I asked her to put the knitted jumper on I could see a look of terror on her face, but she quickly covered it up with a smile. She is a great girl and a very professional model.
 
ever rêve
What inspired the patterns you have used?
There is a strong yet rough expression in some Polish graphic designs that have inspired me a lot, working with straight lines and simple shapes. I found it challenging to work with strong graphics in combination with the water colours, as the technique automatically softens it up a bit. I have also been strongly inspired by textiles that my grandmother made in the sixties.
 
 Ever Reve by Sandra Contreras
Ever Reve by Sandra Contreras.

Can you tell us a bit more about your family’s textile history?
My grandmother was a textile artist and designer and she worked a lot with traditional wax batik in the early sixties. She used this technique to make bright and colourful graphic patterns on pieces of clothing. I have never met my grandmother as she died when my mother was born, but I have been told my whole life that I am like her. I found it very hard to relate to this when I was younger but then I was given a box full of clothes made by her a couple of years ago and I clearly saw the connection.  
 
 ever rêve
How did your fashion illustrations inform the creation of this collection?
I was intentionally looking to link my illustration and textile work together with Ever Rêve. I have been working with water colours for as long as I can remember and it is a technique I feel confident with. A couple of years ago I experimented with silk dyes and found that the effect I was searching for was similar to silk painting. I think this has been a quite natural progress: coming out of experiments and a need to explore new materials and surfaces.
 
 ever rêve
How have your ethics affected the making of this collection?
Ethics, environment and sustainability were a big part of my education and are still something I pay a lot of attention to. I looked at every part of the production process and asked myself how I can improve. For example, the parts of the collection that are hand painted are made on an organic silk (a production without insecticides or pesticides) and the knitted garments are made out of recycled silk/viscose yarn. The only tricky part is to find someone who does digital printing on organic fabrics, something that I am still searching for. I was also very careful selecting the printers and the seamstress – they are both small family run businesses which care about their employees. I am still concerned about all the travelling the fabrics need to do before they get a final steam on the hanger, but I have spoken to some charities who advised me on how to reduce and offset our carbon footprint. There is always room to improve!
 
Ever Reve by Grace Nikobari
Ever Reve by Grace Nikobari.

Where are the garments made and by whom?
The Ever Rêve garments are made in Łódź, Poland. My partner has got contacts in the textile industry and they recommended a seamstress and her team. They are very skilled and experienced and they have worked with many international designers before.
 
ever rêve
Who do you hope will wear these clothes. What will she do in them?
I hope that Ever Rêve appeals to women in many different ages, doing many different things. Because some of the garments are hand painted and very luxurious I don’t expect them to be worn every day; however my friend who has a six month old baby wears her stripy silk shirt for most things, washes it in water with some shampoo and irons it dry. The clothes are made to be worn, living life with their wearers; at work, on holiday, at parties or celebrations.
 
ever rêve
Who are your dream stockists?
I would love to see the clothes in Liberty, because of their long tradition and history of fabrics and prints. Browns is another dream stockist.
 
ever rêve
What are your next plans for Ever Rêve?
I am currently working on the A/W 2013 collection. With this collection I am hoping to participate in more events for young designers, competitions and shows during London Fashion Week. I am trying to make a solid ground for Ever Rêve to stand on and to build it up from there, little by little and with patience. Big dreams and fantasies trigger you to work hard, but only when they are mixed with a sensible attitude and realistic goals can they actually come into fulfilment. 


All look book photography and film by Sejin Ahn. I can’t wait to see how Ever Rêve develops.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Aleksandra, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Browns, ,Ever Rêve, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Grace Nikobari, ,Hanna Ricksten, ,liberty, ,Lodz, ,Michelle Urvall Nyrén, ,poland, ,S/S 2013, ,Sandra Contreras, ,Sejin Ahn, ,Sine Skau

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Amelia’s Magazine | Nina Dolcetti: an interview with ethical shoe designer Elisalex Grunfeld de Castro

Martina Spetlova S/S 2011 by Krister Selin
Martina Spetlova S/S 2011 by Krister Selin.

Fashion designer Martina Spetlova hails from Bohemia in the southern part of the Czech Republic. She studied Chemistry and Biology at university in Prague before coming to London where she was accepted onto a print design BA at Central Saint Martins, sickness despite the absence of a portfolio. Having recently graduated from her MA she is now working on her second collection. En route she has won several prestigious competitions. Studying for an MA at Central Saint Martins seems to open doors.

During her year out from Central Saint Martins she set up a fairtrade embroidery network with women in Pakistan, stuff spending six months living in the area to network between communities and fashion designers, which was great fun but also a lot of responsibility. There was an exhibition in London but sadly the project didn’t last much longer after she left. I am now busy with my own label but I hope to incorporate similar projects into my work in the future. Thanks to her print design background Martina is able to fund her label from the sale of her printed textile designs and she also teaches pattern cutting to a small group of ladies…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Martina Spetlova’s clothing in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.
Nina Dolcetti by Natsuki Otani
Nina Dolcetti by Natsuki Otani.

Were you already considering how to make ethical shoes whilst you were studying at Cordwainers?
Absolutely. I come from a family of ethical fashion pioneers (Orsola de Castro of From Somewhere is my Mum), doctor so it was a no-brainer for me. I know too much about the quantity of waste produced by the fashion industry and the exploitation of people and environment, medicine so of course I was set on running my label as ethically and morally as I could.

When did you first start to work with your signature wedge and what was the process of finding the perfect shape?
The first drawing I did of my signature curved wedge was in a quiet moment at my first Estethica exhibition at London Fashion Week in 2008, when I was eight months pregnant. The wave of inspiration for my next collection had just hit me and I was absorbed in my new designs. It wasn’t until much later that I realised that the curve of the wedge was the exact line, only reversed, of the instep. And thinking about it now, I think the pregnancy definitely had something to do with it too!

Where do you source your materials from? 
I source my offcuts from anywhere and everywhere. I’ve found amazing textured leathers in markets in Spain, been given boxes of beautiful offcuts from other designers, and raided bins in factories. I can find a use for even the smallest scraps. The vegetable tanned leather comes from Italy, and the heels and platforms in cork and wood are hand turned in Norfolk…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Nina Dolcetti’s shoes in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Cordwainers, ,Eco fashion, ,Elisalex Grunfeld de Castro, ,estethica, ,Ethical Fashion, ,footwear, ,From Somewhere, ,Laura Bailey, ,lfw, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Nina Dolcetti, ,Norfolk, ,Offcuts, ,Orsola De Castro, ,spain, ,vegetable tanning

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Amelia’s Magazine | Lu Flux: playful upcycled ethical fashion design

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Why the name?
I made up the name when I was at my family home on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, ask where I collect endless pieces of sea polished glass from the beach. I combined that with my first name Clementine because I thought it was kind of sweet.

Where do you work from?
I used to live and work on a little leaking narrow boat by Springfield Park in north London. But I now have a proper studio in Dalston with a big work desk. Makes life a little easier – less rocking!

You aren’t a trained jewellery designer, so what prompted you to start Little Glass Clementine?
I taught myself to make jewellery so that I could support myself through my degree at SOAS, where I studied Anthropology and World Religions, and I ran stalls at the markets in Portobello and Camden for the best part of three years. Then I became busy restoring gypsy caravans and being a climate activist, but now I am in love with the discovery of beautiful antiques and unusual stones that I transform into sculptural necklaces. I quickly realised that my market is high-end, where my statement necklaces will be recognised as art.

How does showing at Estethica compare with working on a market stall?
It’s a bit like being back in the market, bantering with passers by, drinking coffee and chatting about my jewels. But with a few distinctive differences; there is no reggae playing, I’m not freezing cold, and my prices and pieces have changed – quite dramatically.

How do you put each necklace together?
I arrange all the components on an old piece of black velvet, making compositions out of the different objects and gems until I am satisfied. Then I start weaving them all together and hope very much I can recreate what I had when I laid them out. I only use wire and I never glue or make holes in the objects – so there is always a period while I’m working where everything looks like a big entangled mess. Strangely enough I am never convinced that a necklace is right until about five minutes before it is finished – when suddenly one stone, broach or button will bring the whole thing together.
Lu Flux S/S 2011 by Lesley Barnes
Lu Flux S/S 2011 by Lesley Barnes.

Lu Flux was born Elizabeth Flux, order but gained her delightful moniker thanks to her little brother’s inability to say her full name. She hails from the Isle of Wight, unhealthy “a very lovely quintessentially English part of the UK” and she designs against the grain of glamorous fashion, viagra approved making eccentric playfulness desirable.

How much did working with Bernard Wilhelm affect your aesthetic?
I was interested in the wonderful silliness of fashion before I went to work with Bernhard, but he reaffirmed to me that it is possible to have a successful fashion label without a focal point of glamour and sex. For me fashion is a tool with which I can portray fun and humour in a beautifully crafted, wearable way.

What is the most exciting bit of fabric you have come across on your hunt for treasures?
There are so many! I really enjoy finding old patchwork quilts and samplers where the fabrics have faded over time. I have devoted a whole wall of my studio to floral cottons, so I am quite spoilt for choice yet there is always room for a few more…

Lu Flux A/W 2010 by Rachel de Ste. Croix
Lu Flux A/W 2010 by Rachel de Ste. Croix.

How do you set about creating your more sculptural pieces?
I normally start out by doing some experiments and manipulations with fabrics to see what works on different scales with different weights of fabric. Then I do some more studies and drawings of the fabric until I feel it will work within a garment. Lastly I construct a demonstration version of the garment (a toile) until I feel it is right.

Why is it important for you to be ethical?
I think it is important for everyone to be ethical, in every aspect of life. I don’t think that I can save the world with what I am doing, but I believe that if everyone worked and lived in a more ethical way the world would not be in the state it is in now. In regards to fashion, I passionately believe that a garment can be both beautiful and ecologically minded. I will always retain my original aim to design and manufacture fashion in a way that recognises its imprint on society and the environment but I would not like this ethos to distract from my capabilities as a designer…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Lu Flux’s clothing in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bernard Wilhelm, ,Eco fashion, ,Elizabeth Flux, ,Ethical Fashion, ,isle of wight, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Lu Flux, ,Patchwork, ,Rachel De Ste. Croix, ,recycling, ,Upcycling

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Amelia’s Magazine | Marina Spetlova: creating fabulous upcycled fashion garments from zips

Martina Spetlova S/S 2011 by Krister Selin
Martina Spetlova S/S 2011 by Krister Selin.

Fashion designer Martina Spetlova hails from Bohemia in the southern part of the Czech Republic. She studied Chemistry and Biology at university in Prague before coming to London where she was accepted onto a print design BA at Central Saint Martins, sickness despite the absence of a portfolio. Having recently graduated from her MA she is now working on her second collection. En route she has won several prestigious competitions. Studying for an MA at Central Saint Martins seems to open doors.

During her year out from Central Saint Martins she set up a fairtrade embroidery network with women in Pakistan, stuff spending six months living in the area to network between communities and fashion designers, which was great fun but also a lot of responsibility. There was an exhibition in London but sadly the project didn’t last much longer after she left. I am now busy with my own label but I hope to incorporate similar projects into my work in the future. Thanks to her print design background Martina is able to fund her label from the sale of her printed textile designs and she also teaches pattern cutting to a small group of ladies…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Martina Spetlova’s clothing in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Czech Republic, ,Eco fashion, ,embroidery, ,Ethical Fashion, ,fairtrade, ,Krister Selin, ,Martina Spetlova, ,Pakistan, ,Prague, ,recycling, ,Upcycling, ,Zips

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Amelia’s Magazine | Martina Spetlova: New S/S 2012 Season Interview

Martina Spetlova By Shauna Tranter
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Shauna Tranter.

Eco designer Martina Spetlova first caught my eye when I was putting together Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration last year. She has an inimitable ability to combine materials and colours which has made her past two collections every bit as eye catching as that first one I saw. Time for a catch up me thinks.

Stacie Swift - Martina Spetlova AW11
Martina Spetlova A/W 2011 by Stacie Swift.

For A/W 2011 you shot a more spooky video with a tribal beat, cheap can you speak a bit more about the inspiration for this?
I wanted to work with a dancer and I used a very inspiring film by Maya Deren called A Study In Choreography For Camera as reference. Margarita who performs in my film was loosely choreorgaphed for the piece and then we filmed it over a stretch of a few hours. The music came later and was sourced by Paddy Austin, price who got it from an old Italian opera by Roberto De Simone.


Your use of sustainable leather and zips for A/W 2011 is amazing, how did you mock up trial samples of this range?
I always spend some time researching in the library at the start of a season, but my ideas tend to evolve by experimenting in the studio. I am always testing and mixing the combinations of textures and colours at my studio… playing with various leathers and using zips as connectors and features. 

Martina Spetlova by Celine Elliott
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Celine Elliott.

Your use of colour is very intriguing – where do you get the ideas for your mismatches? Is there something in particular that you look at for inspiration each season, or is your colour choice in your DNA?
In order to be sustainable I work with end of line fabrics and yarns which can be quite limiting in terms of colour. I always have an idea of the main colours I would like to use when I start working on a new collection, but I have to also see what is available and what happy accidents I discover along the way. But I suppose you could say that colour is in my DNA, as I seem to know that the choices and combinations I use are right.


The video for your new S/S 2012 collection is beautiful – what gave you the idea to work with split imagery and different focal lengths?
For my presentation I took the elements that helped create the S/S 2012 collection and separated them out in petri dishes on a large light box. I wanted to highlight the way I experiment when I work, by creating a formula for various processes my designs go through. The film had to sit next to this piece in Somerset House so thats how we thought of using mirrors and a magnifying glass to distort and split images. The film is a collaboration with Ruta Balseviciute and Till Janz, and we were inspired by the short films of Erwin Blumenfeld of course.

Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-2
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-3
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-3
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-3
Chemical theory is still a dominant theme, how is this applied to the making of your garments for S/S 2012?
My formula I mentioned above takes the ingredients I use – the end of line fabrics and yarns, ethically sourced leathers, textures and colours of elements such as the zips and knit – and combines them with my own experimentation processes to create the finished piece. I studied a chemistry degree in Prague before I went to Central Saint Martins to study fashion and I found some similarities between the two disciplines. The way I experiment with colours and textures in the design process at my studio echos the blending and mixing of chemicals in order to achieve a prescribed reaction within the laboratory. 

Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Erin Sleeper
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Erin Sleeper
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Erin Sleeper.

You first came to my attention as an eco designer – how has a desire to be ethical continued to influence your work, and how do you make sure that all fabrics are sustainably sourced?
I work with end of line fabrics and yarns from European mills which the industry sees as waste material, but which I am able to use for my limited edition collections. I also work with leather companies which have sustainable policies. 

Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-6
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-7
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-8
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-9
You’ve recently been doing some teaching – how does this compliment and fit in with your design work?
I have just started teaching fashion on Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw which is a brand new course and full of energy. It gives me an opportunity to step away from my own work, whilst helping the students develop their own ideas in the same way I was encouraged to at Central Saint Martins.

Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Stacie Swift
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Stacie Swift.

Where can people buy a piece of Martina Spetlova?
Selected pieces from my A/W 2011 and S/S 2012 collection will be soon available at LN-CC. I am also selling my new collection with Osmoda, which is new online shop.

Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-10
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-11
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-12
Any future plans or collaborations that you can tell us about?
I am hoping to carry on collaborating with Atlantic Leather, which I have been working with for a couple of seasons now. I am also looking into a shoe collaboration for the new season, to be shown next February. 

Wonderful stuff! You can see more of Martina Spetlova in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-13
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-14
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-15
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012
S/S 2011 collection

Categories ,A Study In Choreography For Camera, ,A/W 2011, ,Academy of Fine Arts, ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Atlantic Leather, ,Celine Elliott, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Chemistry, ,ecodesign, ,Erin Sleeper, ,Erwin Blumenfeld, ,ethical, ,film, ,LN-CC, ,ma, ,Martina Spetlova, ,Maya Deren, ,Osmoda, ,Paddy Austin, ,poland, ,Prague, ,Roberto De Simone, ,Ruta Balseviciute, ,S/S 2012, ,Shauna Tranter, ,Somerset House, ,Stacie Swift, ,Till Janz, ,Warsaw, ,Zips

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Amelia’s Magazine | Martina Spetlova: New S/S 2012 Season Interview

Martina Spetlova By Shauna Tranter
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Shauna Tranter.

Eco designer Martina Spetlova first caught my eye when I was putting together Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration last year. She has an inimitable ability to combine materials and colours which has made her past two collections every bit as eye catching as that first one I saw. Time for a catch up me thinks.

Stacie Swift - Martina Spetlova AW11
Martina Spetlova A/W 2011 by Stacie Swift.

For A/W 2011 you shot a more spooky video with a tribal beat, cheap can you speak a bit more about the inspiration for this?
I wanted to work with a dancer and I used a very inspiring film by Maya Deren called A Study In Choreography For Camera as reference. Margarita who performs in my film was loosely choreorgaphed for the piece and then we filmed it over a stretch of a few hours. The music came later and was sourced by Paddy Austin, price who got it from an old Italian opera by Roberto De Simone.


Your use of sustainable leather and zips for A/W 2011 is amazing, how did you mock up trial samples of this range?
I always spend some time researching in the library at the start of a season, but my ideas tend to evolve by experimenting in the studio. I am always testing and mixing the combinations of textures and colours at my studio… playing with various leathers and using zips as connectors and features. 

Martina Spetlova by Celine Elliott
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Celine Elliott.

Your use of colour is very intriguing – where do you get the ideas for your mismatches? Is there something in particular that you look at for inspiration each season, or is your colour choice in your DNA?
In order to be sustainable I work with end of line fabrics and yarns which can be quite limiting in terms of colour. I always have an idea of the main colours I would like to use when I start working on a new collection, but I have to also see what is available and what happy accidents I discover along the way. But I suppose you could say that colour is in my DNA, as I seem to know that the choices and combinations I use are right.


The video for your new S/S 2012 collection is beautiful – what gave you the idea to work with split imagery and different focal lengths?
For my presentation I took the elements that helped create the S/S 2012 collection and separated them out in petri dishes on a large light box. I wanted to highlight the way I experiment when I work, by creating a formula for various processes my designs go through. The film had to sit next to this piece in Somerset House so thats how we thought of using mirrors and a magnifying glass to distort and split images. The film is a collaboration with Ruta Balseviciute and Till Janz, and we were inspired by the short films of Erwin Blumenfeld of course.

Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-2
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-3
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-3
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-3
Chemical theory is still a dominant theme, how is this applied to the making of your garments for S/S 2012?
My formula I mentioned above takes the ingredients I use – the end of line fabrics and yarns, ethically sourced leathers, textures and colours of elements such as the zips and knit – and combines them with my own experimentation processes to create the finished piece. I studied a chemistry degree in Prague before I went to Central Saint Martins to study fashion and I found some similarities between the two disciplines. The way I experiment with colours and textures in the design process at my studio echos the blending and mixing of chemicals in order to achieve a prescribed reaction within the laboratory. 

Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Erin Sleeper
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Erin Sleeper
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Erin Sleeper.

You first came to my attention as an eco designer – how has a desire to be ethical continued to influence your work, and how do you make sure that all fabrics are sustainably sourced?
I work with end of line fabrics and yarns from European mills which the industry sees as waste material, but which I am able to use for my limited edition collections. I also work with leather companies which have sustainable policies. 

Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-6
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-7
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-8
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-9
You’ve recently been doing some teaching – how does this compliment and fit in with your design work?
I have just started teaching fashion on Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw which is a brand new course and full of energy. It gives me an opportunity to step away from my own work, whilst helping the students develop their own ideas in the same way I was encouraged to at Central Saint Martins.

Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Stacie Swift
Martina Spetlova S/S 2012 by Stacie Swift.

Where can people buy a piece of Martina Spetlova?
Selected pieces from my A/W 2011 and S/S 2012 collection will be soon available at LN-CC. I am also selling my new collection with Osmoda, which is new online shop.

Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-10
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-11
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-12
Any future plans or collaborations that you can tell us about?
I am hoping to carry on collaborating with Atlantic Leather, which I have been working with for a couple of seasons now. I am also looking into a shoe collaboration for the new season, to be shown next February. 

Wonderful stuff! You can see more of Martina Spetlova in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-13
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-14
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012-15
Martina-Spetlova-SS-2012
S/S 2011 collection

Categories ,A Study In Choreography For Camera, ,A/W 2011, ,Academy of Fine Arts, ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Atlantic Leather, ,Celine Elliott, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Chemistry, ,ecodesign, ,Erin Sleeper, ,Erwin Blumenfeld, ,ethical, ,film, ,LN-CC, ,ma, ,Martina Spetlova, ,Maya Deren, ,Osmoda, ,Paddy Austin, ,poland, ,Prague, ,Roberto De Simone, ,Ruta Balseviciute, ,S/S 2012, ,Shauna Tranter, ,Somerset House, ,Stacie Swift, ,Till Janz, ,Warsaw, ,Zips

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