Amelia’s Magazine | By Stamo: a taster interview with ethical fashion designer Elisabeth Stamo

Beautiful Soul A/W 2010 by Zarina Liew
You started out as an insurance broker so you’ve have had an unconventional career so far. Why and how did you become a fashion designer?
As a young girl, see I wanted to be a fashion designer, but life has its twists and turns and I found myself caught up in the rat race for eleven years. I lacked passion for my work but I didn’t know how I would cope without my luxuries and the next pay rise. Then I had the opportunity to backpack around the world for six months with my best friend and for the first time in my adult life I realised that I could live on a budget. I started to see life in a different light, with endless opportunities. Whilst in Tokyo, something happened to me: I was surrounded by the most amazing boutiques and I was like a child in a sweet shop. Mesmerised. Excited. Totally inspired. I realised that I needed to make radical changes to my lifestyle in order to make my dreams a reality and I haven’t looked back since. I graduated from the London College of Fashion with a BA(Hons) in Fashion, Design and Technology in 2008. During my final year, I was involved in a project based around ‘saving the earth’. I was hooked. Fashion with a TRUE meaning, for me, is the only way, and my ethos helps me to focus and push forward.

Why did you decide to specialise in creating adjustable garments?
I set out to create timeless designs that will be favoured pieces in the wardrobe for a lifetime and multi-functionality renders a garment timeless, as it can be worn to suit different moods and seasons. A woman’s curves change regularly and it’s frustrating when a zip or button will not close. I therefore avoid using conventional fastening in my designs and instead explore alternative methods. I love to experiment and delve below the surface of fashion, discovering new ways to incorporate responsibility through use of distinctive materials and design innovation.

What does your zero waste policy mean in practicality?
I am extremely fond of fabric and I hate to see it go to waste! I upcycle vintage kimonos to create new garments that hold a greater value; when I dismantle a kimono I am left with very limited panels of fabric, only 38cm wide. It’s important that I work with these restrictions and nurture an understanding of the fabric availability. Any leftover fabric will be placed aside and then revisited the following season, where I set myself the challenge of designing a new piece based on the leftovers. I have just designed Beautiful Soul’s third collection, S/S 2011’s Believe, and the leftover fabrics have been transformed into a range of unique corsets and shoulders pads in our menswear jackets. Material remnants feature as fastenings and embellishments, adhering to the policy of zero waste whereby every last thread of fabric is used in the creative process.

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Beautiful Soul’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.
ZarinaLiew_BeautifulSoul_FW10
Beautiful Soul A/W 2010 by Zarina Liew.

You started out as an insurance broker so you’ve have had an unconventional career so far. Why and how did you become a fashion designer?
As a young girl, buy more about I wanted to be a fashion designer, more about but life has its twists and turns and I found myself caught up in the rat race for eleven years. I lacked passion for my work but I didn’t know how I would cope without my luxuries and the next pay rise. Then I had the opportunity to backpack around the world for six months with my best friend and for the first time in my adult life I realised that I could live on a budget. I started to see life in a different light, with endless opportunities. Whilst in Tokyo, something happened to me: I was surrounded by the most amazing boutiques and I was like a child in a sweet shop. Mesmerised. Excited. Totally inspired. I realised that I needed to make radical changes to my lifestyle in order to make my dreams a reality and I haven’t looked back since. I graduated from the London College of Fashion with a BA(Hons) in Fashion, Design and Technology in 2008. During my final year, I was involved in a project based around ‘saving the earth’. I was hooked. Fashion with a TRUE meaning, for me, is the only way, and my ethos helps me to focus and push forward.

Beautiful Soul A/W 2010 by Zarina Liew
Beautiful Soul by Zarina Liew

Why did you decide to specialise in creating adjustable garments?
I set out to create timeless designs that will be favoured pieces in the wardrobe for a lifetime and multi-functionality renders a garment timeless, as it can be worn to suit different moods and seasons. A woman’s curves change regularly and it’s frustrating when a zip or button will not close. I therefore avoid using conventional fastening in my designs and instead explore alternative methods. I love to experiment and delve below the surface of fashion, discovering new ways to incorporate responsibility through use of distinctive materials and design innovation.

What does your zero waste policy mean in practicality?
I am extremely fond of fabric and I hate to see it go to waste! I upcycle vintage kimonos to create new garments that hold a greater value; when I dismantle a kimono I am left with very limited panels of fabric, only 38cm wide. It’s important that I work with these restrictions and nurture an understanding of the fabric availability. Any leftover fabric will be placed aside and then revisited the following season, where I set myself the challenge of designing a new piece based on the leftovers. I have just designed Beautiful Soul’s third collection, S/S 2011’s Believe, and the leftover fabrics have been transformed into a range of unique corsets and shoulders pads in our menswear jackets. Material remnants feature as fastenings and embellishments, adhering to the policy of zero waste whereby every last thread of fabric is used in the creative process….


Beautiful Soul SS:11 Believe was created with Zarina Liew after she made contact with Nicola Woods to complete her submission to be in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Music was provided by Amelia’s Magazine favourite Gabby Young and Other Animals.

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Beautiful Soul’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.
AmyMartino_AndrewCrews_HorsPiste
The Andrea Crews Hors Pistes collection by Amy Martino.

Maroussia Rebecq arrived in Paris in 2002. Deciding that she did not want to work alone she created a fictional character, this web Andrea Crews, viagra sale around which she began to build a network of accomplices. Maroussia may be the founder and director but Andrea Crews is a project in which many others take part. Andrea Crews is an avant-garde movement based on a sustainable aesthetic, viagra order communicating creative ideas via ethical means. The latest collection is described as “a galactic warrior on a sunset ride”.

The Andrea Crews Hors Pistes collection by Amy Martino
The Andrea Crews Hors Pistes collection by Amy Martino.

The average Andrea Crews customer is “good looking and open minded with good style, aged anything from 7 to 77 years old.” The antithesis of sleek French fashion, Andrea Crews revels in the juncture of performance art and fashion, playfully recycling unwanted clothing. The crew sorts through old clothes, hunting out the boldest colours and best quality materials. Styles are combined to create “fresh, sexy, unisex, colourful, graphic, funky” outfits, which take shape as they grow. Andrea Crews collections are always accompanied by a big performance and lots of partying – “we work hard, we party hard” – collaborating with other experimental contemporaries on the cultural scene: artists, stylists, video directors and DJs, not to mention musicians. They have dressed Santigold, Metronomy and Yelle

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Andrea Crew’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.
Krister Selin By Stamo S-S 2011
By Stamo S/S 2011 by Krister Selin.

Where and how were you trained in fashion design?
In Greece I studied hand weaving and embroideries at institutions and museums and with local people so that I could learn about traditional techniques. Then I trained at the London College of Fashion and I have also studied shoes, what is ed millinery and textile design for print. Besides having my own brand, more about I also consult and train on the technical side of fashion; pattern-cutting, garment technology and quality control. I recently set up Ecoluxe with fellow ethical designer Elena Garcia to promote eco-luxury as a lifestyle choice. I am also working on a Masters in Business Administration with the University of Liverpool. I study all the time to keep my mind ticking over.

By Stamo S/S 2010 by Antonia Parker
By Stamo S/S 2010 by Antonia Parker.

How do you determine what is ethical in fashion design?
The work ethical comes from the ancient Greek word ethos, which means a combination of honesty, justice and sincerity. According to Aristotle, these moral characteristics were an important aspect of everyday life. My brand practices ethos by using local resources where possible, working with and within the community, developing people skills to create sustainable hand crafted products. For my diffusion line I also source vintage fabrics from redundant stock or end of rolls from warehouses all over Europe – or whichever part of the world I happen to be visiting…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of By Stamo’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 ,Antonia Parker, ,Aristotle, ,By Stamo, ,Elena Garcia, ,Elisabeth Stamo, ,Ethical Fashion, ,Ethos, ,Greece, ,Krister Selin, ,London College of Fashion, ,University of Liverpool

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Amelia’s Magazine | Top Drawer at Olympia, January 2015: Review

Clara_Francis_fox_beaded_necklace
Top Drawer grows ever bigger each year, and this time around there was a new dedicated fashion section, as well as the Spotted zone curated by Charlotte Abrahams, designed to promote up and coming designers.

Clara_Francis_necklace
It was really great to catch up with jewellery designer Clara Francis, interviewed on this website last year. Clara specialises in the old fashioned art of beading, using the technique to create wonderful and unusual statement necklaces, tiaras and earrings.

Tagua_nut_Just_trade
Just Trade specialise in jewellery made using ethical materials by artisans. These animal pendants are made out of Tagua nut from Ecuador.

Sew_Lomax_makeup_bags
I loved the new neon embroidered wash bags by Sew Lomax.

Nancy_Nicholson_embroidery
At spotted I found Kent based designer Nancy Nicholson, who makes wonderful retro inspired DIY embroidery kits, some pieces inspired by he work of her mother Joan Nicholson. Love them.

Alfred_Wilde_Wolf_and_Moon
Alfred & Wilde designer Simon Mitchell makes amazing graphic printed homewares, and has recently collaborated with Wolf & Moon to make these new perspex jewellery designs inspired by his love of the Platonic Solids.

Colour_cutie_octopus
Colour_Cutie_cats
These great interactive cards are from Colourcutie, which was launched by designer Anna Rumsby in 2014.

Ola_studio
In the greetings card and stationery section of Top Drawer I was drawn to the subtle graphic designs of Ola Studio by Katy Goutefangea, who I first discovered in 2013 during London Design Week. Her lay flat notebooks are a genius idea.

Jay_bamboo_plate
Finally, this eco friendly bamboo fibre plate is from the Anatomical Range by new label Jay, a gift brand designed to appeal to men but just as good for us ladies, from Cubic.

Sadly I did not locate the Wrap Magazine stand which so impressed me last year. Oh yes, and I never even made it to Craft. Hopefully next time!

Categories ,Alfred & Wilde, ,Anatomical Range, ,Anna Rumsby, ,Charlotte Abrahams, ,Clara Francis, ,Colourcutie, ,craft, ,Cubic, ,Joan Nicholson, ,Just Trade, ,Katy Goutefangea, ,London Design Week, ,Nancy Nicholson, ,Platonic Solids, ,Sew Lomax, ,Spotted, ,Tagua nut, ,Top Drawer, ,Wolf & Moon, ,Wrap Magazine

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Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day – What’s it all about anyway?

valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, order that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

valentine 2

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, website and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers‘. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, case and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.

Categories ,Amelia Gregory, ,Bonbi Forest, ,Clara Francis, ,craft, ,Hummingbird, ,jewellery, ,Lady Luck Rules OK, ,Lisa Jones, ,make and do, ,rob ryan, ,screenprint, ,Soma Gallery, ,squirrel, ,Tatty Devine, ,Thereza Rowe

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Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day – What’s it all about anyway?

valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

valentine 2

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.



Categories ,Amelia Gregory, ,Bonbi Forest, ,Clara Francis, ,craft, ,Hummingbird, ,jewellery, ,Lady Luck Rules OK, ,Lisa Jones, ,make and do, ,rob ryan, ,screenprint, ,Soma Gallery, ,squirrel, ,Tatty Devine, ,Thereza Rowe

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Amelia’s Magazine | Review: Renegade Craft Fair in London, 2013

Adorable frog king silver ring by La parra jewels

This weekend I hot footed it down Brick Lane to the Truman Brewery for the 2013 London edition of the Renegade Craft Fair. It was a great chance to catch up with familiar faces as well an opportunity to discover new talent. Here’s my pick of the show: first up, this adorable frog king silver ring by La Parra Jewels, who works from her studio in Bedford.

Ceramics by laura lane design

These decorated ceramics are by Laura Lane, featuring geometric shapes and photos taken by her great grandfather.

Ceramic jewels by Made by Me Me Me

It’s not the first time that I’ve been attracted to pastel ceramic jewels by Made by Me Me Me, a lovely alternative to real gems.

Hand screen printed geometric design cushions by Rhian Mclaren at renegade craft fair

Rhian Mclaren has just started her business, producing hand screen printed geometric design cushions that are bang on trend.

Squirrel melamine coaster by Ketchup on Everything

This squirrel melamine coaster by Ketchup on Everything is part of a range that was inspired by illustrations in old children’s books: a lady after my own heart.

Boat in a bottle risograph print by scout editions

I was really bowled over by lovely designs from Scout Editions, a brother and sister design team. They have some really cool risograph prints including a range of bottle themed Christmas cards. Might have bought a tea towel…

Stunning beaded swan flower statement necklace by Clara Francis

I have been meaning to catch up with beaded jewellery designer Clara Francis for a few years now, and was so excited to see her stall brimming over with intricate work, all created from a workshop in her garden. Imagine the compliments you would get wearing this stunning beaded swan flower statement necklace: so unusual and special.

ceramic pot by Amy Worrall

There seems to be a bit of a trend towards illustrators working with ceramic at the moment – I think I can see the appeal of daubing curious characters on top of tactile clay. This bulbous succulent plant pot is by Amy Worrall.

Badger DJ plate by Jim Bob Art

It’s always nice to run into James Ward, working under the name Jim Bob Art. He is constantly adding to his hand painted plate designs and I was especially taken by this new Badger DJ edition.

Helen Lang - plump fox cushions

Helen Lang (Wetpaint) specialises in beautiful hand drawn ink designs and gorgeous bespoke typography. I think her designs look magnificent on big plump cushions.

Lost wax cast silver eyeball necklace Datter Industries

Once upon a time illustrator Kaye Blegvad contributed to Amelia’s Magazine. Now she creates a delicate narrative jewellery range under the name Datter Industries, working between London and New York. I like her lost wax cast silver eyeball necklace: an unusual technique to see in the UK, and one which makes the most of her illustration skills (she’s another one who is producing illustrated ceramics as a bit of a sideline).

paper sculptures by Pappet of Hungary

Such fun: these paper sculptures to make with the kids are by Pappet of Hungary.

textured suede bags in jewel colours by ShopJill

These lovely textured suede bags in jewel colours are screen printed by hand on Brick Lane by ShopJill.

Telegramme christmas cards

Telegramme Studio have just produced a beautiful new Christmas stationery range which I think will do very well. I must also confess that I bought their last Bat For Lashes gig poster, a print which I have adored for a long time

Wooden wall birds by anna wiscombe

Lastly: pretty pretty wooden wall birds by Anna Wiscombe.

With any luck you’ll be able to buy products from some of these wonderful designer makers on the new look Amelia’s Magazine Marketplace very soon. Can’t wait!

Categories ,2013, ,Amy Worrall, ,Anna Wiscombe, ,Bat for Lashes, ,Bedford, ,Brick Lane, ,Clara Francis, ,Datter Industries, ,Helen Lang, ,Hungary, ,James Ward, ,Jim Bob Art, ,Kaye Blegvad, ,Ketchup on Everything, ,La Parra Jewels, ,Laura Lane, ,london, ,Made by Me Me Me, ,Marketplace, ,Pappet, ,Renegade Craft Fair, ,review, ,Rhian Mclaren, ,Scout Editions, ,ShopJill, ,Telegramme, ,Telegramme Studio, ,wetpaint

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