Amelia’s Magazine | Dear Fashion Diary: an interview with Emmi Ojala

Dear Fashion Diary

How did you first come across the idea of the Free Fashion Challenge, and why did you decide to take part? 

The Free Fashion Challenge was an initiative of Laura de Jong, who studied in the same fashion school (Amsterdam Fashion Institute) with me. She started the project to challenge fashionistas to rethink fashion and personal style outside the cycle of consumption. A teacher of mine introduced me to the project, asking if I would be interested in participating in the challenge. First it felt like a big commitment to sign up for not shopping for a year, but it was such an intriguing challenge that I ended up saying yes. I was curious to see how well I would cope, and so many people around me were shocked by the mere idea that it made me want to prove that spending 365 days without shopping would be doable.

Dear Fashion Journal

What was the biggest challenge when you stopped shopping for a whole year?
The biggest challenge was trying not to get bored with my clothes and find ways to cope when my clothes started to wear out. By the end of the year, I didn’t have one single pair of stockings without holes, so I always wore two on top of each other to cover the rips. I also started spending more time restyling my old clothes in attempts of staying excited about my outfits. It gave me the same happy feeling you get when you wear something new for the first time.

Dear Fashion Journal

And what was the most surprising thing that you learnt after a year without spending on clothes?
Most surprising thing I learned was that not shopping wasn’t actually that difficult. The only thing that I really missed was treasure hunting in second hand shops, but other than that I hardly had any temptations to spend on clothes.

Dear Fashion Journal

How did you learn to make your clothes fit seasonal trends, without buying new stuff?

My closet stayed pretty up-to-date thanks to swapping with friends and visiting my mom’s closet in search for old items. I was so happy that she had kept some of her golden oldies, because trends go around, come around, and suddenly old items begin to look contemporary again. Also DIY helps a lot if one wants to be trendy without spending; you can dye your clothes, cut them up and sew them back together into something fresh. The cyberspace is full of great DIY tutorials, so you can always find ways to customize your clothes even if you weren’t an expert on sewing.

Dear Fashion Journal

What was the process behind the creation of Dear Fashion Journal? What were you trying to achieve?

During the Free Fashion Challenge, all us participants wrote about our experiences on a blog. There were quite some thought evoking aha-moments documented there, so after the challenge was over, I wanted to dig a bit deeper and collect stories inspired by those experiences into a printed publication. My goal was to arouse thoughts on our attitudes towards fashion and ever-changing trends, and do so without nagging about green this and eco that. I wanted to tell personal stories that would inspire people to be creative with fashion and think about their clothes as something valuable rather than throwaway pieces. 

Dear Fashion Diary

How did you set about collecting all your data, and finding illustrators to work with you on the journal? 

The entire magazine is based on the experiences of 30 people, who took part in the year of not shopping. I interviewed many of them to find out what they had learned, what had been their most striking experiences and if their thoughts on fashion and style had changed. All the articles in the magazine are inspired by those discussions and by the blog that we wrote during the challenge.

I have always loved richly illustrated books and magazines, so I knew from the beginning that Dear Fashion Journal would have to be like that, too. I had a wish-list of illustrators I wanted to work with, and was over the moon to get to feature illustrations from Daria Hlazatova and Krister Selin, both of whom I knew from Amelia’s Magazine. I also found some great artists via friends, blogs and portfolio sites like Behance. Next to that, me and my best friend Sarah Meers also spent a few long weekends illustrating some of the articles for the journal ourselves.

Dear Fashion Diary

You have since created a book called Dear Fashion Diary, which is a place where people can record their relationship with clothes – how did this come about?
Before I decided to self-publish Dear Fashion Journal, I got in touch with BIS Publishers and introduced the concept to them. The journal gave them an idea about a kind of a fashion diary, and they asked if I would be interested in working on something like that. Coincidentally, me and Laura de Jong (the founder of Free Fashion Challenge) had already earlier been brainstorming about making a notebook full of fashion assignments, so we took on the project together and so Dear Fashion Diary was born.

Where can people in the UK find a copy of Dear Fashion Diary?

You can find the Diary at Tate Modern, Podshop, Blackwells, Rizzoli Bookshop, Waterstones as well as order it through Amazon.

The journal can be ordered online here.

What next? Any other projects in the pipeline?

For now, I’m happily busy illustrating a children’s book and freelancing for a few other clients, whilst waiting for my brain to blurt out the next great idea for a project of my own!

Emmi Ojala is featured in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration. You can follow her travels in illustration, fashion and sustainability on twitter here.

Categories ,Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration, ,Amsterdam Fashion Institute, ,BIS Publishers, ,Blackwells, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Dear Fashion Diary, ,Dear Fashion Journal, ,Emmi Ojala, ,ethical, ,fashion, ,Free Fashion Challenge, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Krister Selin, ,Laura de Jong, ,Podshop, ,Rizzoli Bookshop, ,Sarah Meers, ,sustainable, ,Tate Modern, ,Waterstones

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fashion Fringe: London Fashion Week S/S 2013 Catwalk Review

Haizhen Wang S/S 2013 by faye west
Haizhen Wang S/S 2013 by Faye West.

I was very excited about this year’s Fashion Fringe: it’s always a great place to discover the talent of years to come (think Fyodor Golan and Corrie Nielsen) but this time there was also the chance that my acquaintance Vita Gottlieb might win. So it was with some anticipation that I took my seat for my last show of the season in the BFC tent at Somerset House.

Haizhen Wang S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin
Haizhen Wang S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin.

Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Haizhen Wang photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Haizhen Wang photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Haizhen Wang photography by Amelia Gregory
First up was the collection from Haizhen Wang, with expert tailoring based on the tabard structures of Japanese armour and historical costumes alongside deconstructed asymmetrical layering in a graphic print. The garments came in a predominantly black colour palette with flashes of textured steel and rows of cobalt beading. Models wore Geisha influenced platform heels and severe haircuts or conical headgear. Haizhen Wang is a graduate of both the London School of Fashion and Central Saint Martins – since when he’s had a good grounding in the industry working with labels as diverse as Max Mara and All Saints.

Teija Eilola S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin
Teija Eilola S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin.

Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Second up came the collection from Finnish designer Teija Eilola, who describes her inspiration thus: ‘A Finnish girl arrives at the party: shoes in her bag and a huge, crisp mackintosh over her little silk dress. On the way to the party she crossed a forest and a couple of fields.‘ In practice this meant a finely tailored range of sensible separates in muted mushroom and flesh tones. The range featured double breasted detailing on a short blouson sleeved trench coat and mini cropped version, rucheing on a demure bodice and plenty of capacious bags: an eye on brand extension already? Her sensible approach could be explained by the fact that until recently Teija Eilola was joint head of womenswear at Ted Baker. Prior to that she worked at smaller labels after graduating from the RCA.

Vita Gottlieb S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin
Vita Gottlieb S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin.

Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Rounding up the trio was the work of relative newcomer Vita Gottlieb, who styled her models in high backcombed quiffs and classic courts. This was an exciting collection that successfully showcased her prowess in textile manipulation. High waisted pencil skirts featuring poured curves at the waist and elongating vertical ruches were paired with cape shouldered tops covered in subtle printed detail or sculptural spikes: all accessorised with bold leather jewellery embellished with metal rings and studs. Hers was the brightest colour palette of the three, although that wasn’t saying much as she had worked mainly in subtle golden tones and soft browns, highlighted with dashes of teal and luxurious red.

Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
By now everyone will know that Haizhen Wang won the award, presented by guest judge Christopher Bailey of Burberry. But I of course think it should have gone to Vita Gottlieb; her tailoring may not have been as clean and precise as the others, but her experimental approach won hands down; resulting in an innovative collection that showed great promise for the future. Read my exclusive pre show interview with Vita Gottlieb here.

Categories ,All Saints, ,Burberry, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Christopher Bailey, ,Corrie Nielsen, ,Fashion Fringe, ,Faye West, ,Fyodor Golan, ,Haizhen Wang, ,Lo Parkin, ,London School of Fashion. RCA, ,Max Mara, ,Somerset House, ,Ted Baker, ,Teija Eilola, ,Vita Gottlieb

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with fashion designer David Longshaw

Latitude 2010-Ivo Graham Blind Date by Amelia Gregory
James Acaster by Kathryn Jones
James Acaster by Kathryn Jones.

Over the course of Latitude I saw numerous comedians, online some of whom appeared as comperes on other stages when not performing to surely one of their biggest ever audience (of thousands) in the Comedy Arena. The Cabaret Arena was much favoured, cialis 40mg as of course was the Literary Arena – hanging out with Robin Ince and his fabled posse.

Kevin Eldon, sildenafil Phil Jupitas, Josie Long… they all dropped by, frequently.

Latitude 2010-Phil Jupitas by Amelia Gregory
Phil Jupitas. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Robin Ince by Stacie Swift
Robin Ince by Stacie Swift.

My favourite part of the longstanding Book Club was a guide to one of Robin Ince’s favourite bad books: Mens’ Secrets, set to a duelling musical accompaniment.

Latitude 2010 James Acaster by Amelia Gregory
James Acaster.

James Acaster was one such novice who I saw happily entertaining pre-act literary crowds with clever improv. Teenage wonder Ivo Graham kept the Cabaret crowd thoroughly entertained with his impromptu rendition of Blind Date – amusingly he is so young he had to be told of Cilla’s name. Weird to think of Blind Date already consigned to ancient TV history.

The main Comedy Arena was my favourite place to hang out in 2007, and it’s popularity continues to grow. Despite additional wing tents on each side of the huge central marquee, the arena remained unable to contain the enthusiastic crowds, who kicked up huge volumes of dust with every new exodus and influx.

Abi Daker - Ivo Graham
Ivo Graham by Abigail Daker.
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One of the biggest draws of Latitude is the chance to discover new talent. Ivo Graham is a mere 19 years old, which made his ability to engage a massive audience all the more impressive. With jokes centred around Facebook, pesky younger brothers and getting in trouble with mum, he still struck a chord with the older folks.

Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins
Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins.

Eric Lambert was winner of the Latitude New Act of the Year 2010, although from what I heard Ivo would have been way more deserving…. or James. Eric’s winning performance centred around an improv routine that wasn’t always quite up to scratch.

Latitude 2010-Eric Lambert by Amelia Gregory
Eric Lambert.

He was cheeky and sexual, no doubt a hit with the ladies. It’s proved nigh on impossible to do any research into Eric since he seems to have zero internet presence… but I would guess from his demeanour that he’s a big fan of Russell Brand.

Doc Brown by Iamanoctopus.

Of the better known comedians I really enjoyed the guide to slang courtesy of Doc Brown, who was formerly a rapper and just happens to be younger brother of Zadie Smith. Sucking snot out of his small child and inappropriate comments on packed buses define his descent towards the normality of family life.

Stephen K. Amos by Suzie Winsor.

Following him on Friday South Londoner Stephen K. Amos was suitably un-PC, berating his previous Yorkshire audience for its lack of diversity, ripping the piss out of posh people, bemoaning his old age (he’s 35. there’s no hope for me) and generally causing loud if somewhat uncomfortable chuckles across the arena.

On Sunday we caught the tail end of Rufus Hound, who was indeed face-painted up like a dog, if somewhat lacking of a tail. He spoke of the trials and tribulations of marriage and babies… which led onto the misogynistic diatribe of Richard Herring, a 43 year old singleton who made jokes about tit wanks and gay sex, accompanied by a signer for those hard of hearing. Or perhaps just to afford the opportunity to make yet more lewd jokes.

Richard Herring by Sine Skau
Richard Herring by Sine Skau.

He also over-milked an incredibly tedious tirade about Mars Bars that met with a fairly frosty reception… that became part of the act… that increased it’s tediousity. I think he was my least favourite comedian at Latitude.

Andrew Lawrence by Faye Skinner.

Next up Andrew Lawrence was really quite sinister but also strangely endearing, geared as his jokes were around his all round lack of appeal. Hey, why the sadness? I’ve always had a soft spot for scrawny gingers! Leaning back at a jaunty angle and grinning demonically he spoke of his semi-autistic relationship with his current (long-suffering) girlfriend. Hey, doesn’t that cover most men?

Lastly, Deborah Francis White put on a genius show on Sunday in the Cabaret Arena. “Every actor wants to be in a sitcom, every man wants to be in a woman,” she informed us, talking us through a series of pie charts that showed the different state of mind for women. Whilst we’d like practically every man we meet to want to sleep with us (approximately 95% according to Deborah) the reverse is true when it comes to the amount of men we actually want to sleep with.

Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins
Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins.

To a chorus of knowing laughter from women, slightly nervous laughter from the men, she talked us through the best way to pull the opposite sex. “Be a Scorsese movie!” she opined, extolling the virtues of confidence. “You’re probably not going to get a part in me…” But the point is that every man should want to. Even if the reason they’re so fixated on lesbian porn is simply “two tits good, four tits better.” She persuaded the women in the audience to stroke themselves on the breast to turn the men on, pulled people out of the audience to follow her instructions on how to tell a girl on the tube she’s gorgeous, and finished with a bra wrestling match between two men. Because who wants to sleep with a man who can’t get a bra off with one hand?

The comedy at Latitude Festival is undeniably one of its biggest selling points… now if only they could figure out how to accommodate the heaving numbers of people that yearn to be amused.

David Longshaw, patient illustrated by Abigail Wright

David Longshaw is a man of many talents. Aside from designing his own label, look he is passionate about writing and illustrating not only for various publications but as part of the creative process behind his collections. 

After his passion for fashion lead him to an open day at the famous Central St Martins, try where all his favourite designers had attended, before even completing his GCSE’s, he decided to go ahead with A Levels at his local Grammar school whilst taking Wednesday afternoons off to study  pattern cutting at an Adult education centre as his first step onto that ladder towards success. It worked.  

Now, with an impressive resume boasting a degree, an MA, various awards, work with designers such as Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara and his own label, he is as motivated as ever and yet to satisfy that inner taste for success in the fashion industry. 

AW10, illustrated by Krister Selin

How did you get from such humble beginnings, attending just one pattern cutting class a week, to working with such big designers and creating your own label? 
During the summer that followed my A Levels, I did a work placement with Adam Entwisle, working on his LFW debut collection. I then studied Art Foundation at Manchester Metropolitan and carried on my pattern cutting, studying the advanced course. Then, during that summer I did work experience at Clements Ribeiro and Hussein Chalayan before starting at St Martins, where I studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Womenswear. 

The fabric for my graduate collection was given to me by Richard James after doing a work placement there on Savile Row during my second year and the collection won the Colin Barnes Drawing Prize and the Esme Fairburne Award. 

After St Martins I went straight on to the Royal College of Art studying  (MA) Fashion Design Womenswear. I was asked to design for Alberta Ferretti before I finished my graduate collection but said I wanted to finish my MA, so the day after graduating I moved to Italy to design for Alberta. It was great being offered the job before graduating as it meant I could concentrate on my collection and I knew I’d get great experience from designing in Italy. 

My MA collection was selected for the Final of ITS#6 (Trieste) and Le Vif Weekend (Belgium) and I then went on to design for Max Mara in Italy before coming back to start my own label. 

David Longshaw at Ones to Watch, AW10, photographed by Matt Bramford

Where do you get inspiration from for your own label?  
I’m inspired by short illustrated stories I create specially for each new season. My last collection was called ‘Escaping Emily’, it was about a puppet who was discovered by a slightly disturbed fashion designer called Emily who had moved to work in Italy.

Some of the illustrations I then turned in to prints for the dresses – and the cogs that were in some prints and sewn on to some garment, came from the section where Emily finds the puppet in a hamper style basket that’s full of camera and watch parts. The colours, shapes and prints all come from the story.  

Illustration from David’s sketchbooks

Are there any designers that you would compare yourself to or that you admire? 
I wouldn’t compare myself to any one really but I really admire a variety of designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy. Kirsty Ward is a really exciting designer who’s launching her own label this September, after working for Alberta Ferretti and doing jewellery for my collections. 

Are there any pieces from your collections that you are particularly fond or proud of? 
I have a few favourites. One of them is a cog print cropped jacket from my last collection that wasn’t actually on the catwalk in the end as I felt there was enough going on with the dresses and it would have detracted from the total look. I also like the pleated dresses from the last collection as they were the trickiest to construct but after a severe lack of sleep, wither out how I wanted. 

Illustration by David Longshaw

What else do you get up to in any spare time that you manage to have? Is there anything other than designing that you like to immerse yourself in? 
I also do some writing and illustrating for different magazines which you can find links to on the press section of my website. There’s also a section called ‘Maudezine’ where I’ve interviewed Holly Fulton and JulieVerhoven. I’ve also written about up and coming designers with fictional character Maude for Disorder magazine which is quite amusing. 

Other than that, I really love going to galleries and the theatre with my girlfriend when we both have the time! I also really like watching rugby and football, especially live.  I’ve not had much time to go since starting working for myself but I get the odd match in with my dad or friends.   

AW10, illustrated by Krister Selin

So, what’s next for David Longshaw?  
Well short term I’m working on my new collection for September, which I’m planning on exhibiting in London and then Paris. I’m expanding my collection to include some more, simpler pieces using my illustrations as prints so they are more accessible for shops and customers. That will also mean I can have a few more extreme pieces in the collection to balance it all out which should be fun. I’ll also be continuing writing and illustrating. 

Where do you see yourself in the future? 
Hopefully still being as creative as possible – designing , writing and illustrating, just hopefully on a bigger scale with my own larger creative company.

David Longshaw at Ones to Watch, AW10, photographed by Matt Bramford

Categories ,Abigail Wright, ,Adam Entwisle, ,Alberta Ferretti, ,Central St Martins, ,Clements Ribeiro, ,David Longshaw, ,Disorder Magazine, ,Emily, ,Givenchy, ,Holly Fulton, ,Hussein Chalayan, ,JulieVerhoven, ,Karl Lagerfeld, ,Kirsty Ward, ,Krister Selin, ,London Fashion Week, ,ma, ,Manchester Metropolitan, ,Maudezine, ,Max Mara, ,Miuccia Prada, ,Ones To Watch, ,paris, ,Pattern Cutting, ,Ricardo Tisci, ,Richard James, ,Royal College of Art, ,Savile Row, ,Womenswear

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