Amelia’s Magazine | The Tate Escape: The Long Weekend

sea of bees julie
Happy Bank Holiday Amelia’s Magazine readers! If, drugs like me, you’re nursing some pretty horrific sunburn, whack on some aloe vera and retreat to the shady and cool gig venues of London for this week’s pick of the best!

Monday 25th May

First on today’s menu are Canada’s tastiest export since poutine; Women, they play their jingly-jangly post-rock tunes (imagine maypole dancing in the sunshine with Sonic Youth) at the Lexington with support from Dag För Dag and Forest.


Tuesday 26th May

We featured them in our magazine aaggggeeess ago-Amelia’s Magazine’s whimsical favourites Slow Club bring their dulcet tones to Scala, perfect music for long warm spring nights.


Wednesday 27th May

I might just wet my pants with excitement- Wavves are playing Old Blue Last! San Diego’s finest will be playing their anarchic melodies and distorted surf punk. Keep your eyes peeled for our interview (probably a page of me gushing “why are you so awesome?”) with Wavves coming this week.


Thursday 28th May

Owen Pallett is one cool dude, not only was he in the epic Arcade Fire, he broke off and created Final Fanatsy, a deliciously structured cacophony of strings and loop pedals; like being lost in a wonderland of beautiful sound at Union Chapel.


Friday 29th May

Upset the Rhythm never fail to disappoint, this Friday they’re putting on something fun; Syrian legend Omar Souleyman with support from Saharan Group Doueh


Saturday 30th May

20 bands are playing 2009 Brainlove Festival at Brixton Windmill, including performances from Kid Carpet, the excellent Internet Forever (keep eyes peeled for an interview), Napoleon IIIrd, The Duloks, gwEm, Pagan Wanderer Lu and a bundle load of exciting new bands from across the musical spectrum.

Then we’ll be heading to the Luminaire to catch our French crushes Nelson and asking them to be our pen-pals…


I’m off to play croquet, have a good music-filled week dear readers! Be sure to comment and let me know how you enjoyed this week’s gigs

Just because you are a brave suffragette doesn’t mean that you don’t want to scrub up nicely.

As our readers know, site Amelia’s Magazine is passionate about the role of the arts in inspiring discussions and action over Climate Change, viagra buy and always wishes to share these discoveries with you. While the message of Climate Change is a serious one, the way in which the message is conveyed need not be, and sometimes, a large dose of playfulness is needed to spread the word. This is why we are so excited about the newest venture between Lush and Climate Rush entitled Trains Not Planes. I’m sure that you all know about the loveliness of Lush, but you may not know about the actions of Climate Rush.


This is a group of people (which includes our Publisher and Editor, the eponymous Amelia, one of Climate Rush’s key members) who are deeply concerned about the issue of Climate Change, and even more concerned about the Governments “efforts” (or lack of) to tackle this emergency. Understanding that occasionally, direct and public action is needed in order to make the law makers sit up and take notice, they draw inspiration from the Suffragettes of almost one hundred years ago and show that peaceful civil disobedience can lead to positive change. Like suffragettes too, they make their protests in style; picnic blankets are laid out and tea and cake is served. Lush have evidently been inspired, because this week they too will be wearing their sashes with pride and putting on the kettle and best of all, you are invited!


The occasion is all to celebrate the aforementioned collaboration and the happy result of this union is Lush’s Chox Away soap. (£2.89 for 100g) As you may have guessed from the title, Chox Away is made up of a blend of chocolate (and smells like chocolate too), vanilla absolute, peppermint oil and sweet orange oil. I was fortunate enough to get to try some last week and I have been whipping myself up into a lather over it ever since. Anyone who has shopped at Lush will know that every one of their products are creamy delights that leaves your skin soft and smooth and this soap is no exception. I might be biased, because I get ravenous over chocolatey flavoured soaps, but this one is seriously good enough to gobble up. From this week, you can also buy it when you pop into Lush, (but try not to drive there). If you want to be treated to the spectacle of Lush Cosmetics staff dressed as Climate Suffragettes and holding picnics then go to your nearest Lush on Thursday 28th May at 12pm sharp where a tea party will be under way. As they are such a friendly bunch, feel free to sit down on the blankets that Lush will have across the floors (which will be emblazoned with the message CLIMATE CHANGE IS NO PICNIC), and while you munch on your free vegan cake, wearing a “Trains Not Planes” sash, you can find out more about the cause behind this collaboration. If you live in the London area, then Liverpool Street branch are putting an extra twist on the festivities – they will be giving out free Chox Away’s! As they have been informed that they can’t hand them out on the station concourse (because of the association with Climate Rush, which is apparently considered ‘too controversial’!) they will be on Bishopsgate concourse instead. So if you want a freebie (and who doesn’t?) then make sure that you are down there at 12pm sharp!

As you can see, the events will be lighthearted, but the underlying message is a serious one, and needs to be shared. ‘Trains Not Planes‘ is the ethos which Climate Rush and Lush are in firm agreement with. As you all know, flying is doing untold damage towards the earth. Flying releases a lot of CO2 – which is even more destructive to our environment when released at high altitudes than on the ground and this is contributing to more droughts, flooding and other catastrophic changes to our climate all over the globe, including right here in the UK.

So Lush and Climate Rush are aiming to remind the public of the benefits of train travel, especially for business, or when travelling up and down the country. As Lush says, ” The world looks better from the window of a train than it does at 30,000 feet, and if we are going to take control of run-away climate change, we need fewer runways and more use of train tracks. ” Lush subscribe to the brilliantly titled phrase “My Karma is Your Dogma“, which basically translates as take the train, cycle or walk to work! They understand Climate Rush’s grave concerns over the amount of flying that occurs around the world (and specifically in Britain; were you aware that per person, Britons emit more CO2 emissions from flying than any other people on the planet -603 kg per person per year, compared to 434 kg for Irish and 275 kg for Americans? ). So if you buy a bar of Chox Away between May 25th and May 31st, Lush will be donating all of the proceeds from the sale towards the efforts of Climate Rush in tackling this environmental emergency. Lush themselves have a policy against flying domestically and all Lush staff take the train when travelling in Britain. This is something that they would like to see other businesses implimenting.

Speaking to the Climate Rushers as they donned their sashes, I asked what they made of Chox Away, and all agreed that it gets a vote of confidence. As they explained; “Not every luxury need be a vice. Here at Climate Rush HQ we’re inordinately proud of LUSH and their commitment to Trains Not Planes. Like spending time on travel, the Chox Away experience is a fabulously indulgent way to take Climate Change seriously.” One of Climate Rush’s newest recruits, Hana Cogings declared; “Chocolate soap? Who’d have thought…..but then again, who’d have thought not so long ago that trains were the future, not planes! I’m gonna lie back and indulge!” So if you want to feel refreshed and ready to Rush, then lather up!


Meanwhile, Climate Rush will be spreading the word in the way that they know best; pedal power! If you want to come along – and all are welcome, they will be tucking their knickerbockers into their trousers and getting on their bikes in St James Square, London at 5pm on June 1st. The event is to draw attention to what will be the first night of a two day coal conference and Climate Rush will be assembling outside Chatham House where the conference will be held. It will also mark the first night of the pre-Copenhagen climate talks in Bonn, and what better way to mark this occasion than a gentle bike ride around town (where Climate Rush will be your tour guides, pointing out climate crime scenes and buildings that may be housing climate criminals). Afterwards, they too will be ending the excursion with a picnic. So see you there? We will be the ones smelling yummy, hope you will be too!
Lucy Barlow: Delicate Boundaries
First Floor Projects Gallery
5 Redcliffe Gardens, prescription London SW10 9BG

Thursday to Saturday 12pm – 6 pm
All other times by appointment
To 30th May


This week is the last chance to catch the wonderfully playful exhibition at the new First Floor Projects gallery. Containing both Lucy Barlow’s previous drawings and sketches and her transition into paint on canvas, viagra the space is the living room of James Tregaskes; a unique, relaxed, cosy environment which compliments Barlow’s artwork perfectly. Stop by, have a cup of tea, and say Hi from me. Watch out for a review of this exhibition this week.


On The Line
Shane Bradford, Oliver Clegg, Cédric Lefebvre, Ian Monroe
Ben Newton, Ayman Ramadan, Gavin Turk
Crimes Town Gallery
1 Yoakley Road
London N16 0JX

Friday-Sunday 12-6pm
Opens 29th May until 28th June

Shane Bradford

Crimes Town Gallery, an artist’s run space presents six artists (working in various media) who are each freely interpreting the title in relation to our contemporary environment. The exhibition aims to discuss and open the debate on the possible effects of the current economical downturn on the art world, and whether we are heading for a reinvention of creativity or a starvation of possibility.


Sherrie Levine
Simon Lee Gallery
12 Berkeley Street
London W1J 8DT
Monday to Friday: 9.30am to 6.00pm
Saturday: 11.00am to 4.00pm
29th May – 31st July


“I consider myself a still-life artist, with the bookplate as my subject. I want to make pictures that maintain their reference to the bookplates. And I want my pictures to have a material presence that is as interesting as, but quite different from, the originals.” Sherrie Levine.
American artist Levine showcasing new work including poetry and postcards.

Tal R- Armes de Chine
Victoria Miro Gallery
16 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW

Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am-6.00pm
Monday by appointment.
until 25th July


Danish artist Tal R explains “armes de chine refers to a classic manual about weapons from ancient China. These objects, which once had a very specific and practical purpose, now several hundred years later seem completely abstract. Like a long lost slang…” With not a single piece attached to a wall and instead all pieces suspended or installed across the floor of the gallery’s main space, this will prove to be a very unique exhibition indeed. Expect everything from lost scouts, wrong fruits, embarrassed old uncles and melted minimal ice cream., taking forms of sculptures, paintings and work on paper.


Parades and Processions
Parasol Unit Gallery
14 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW

Tues – Sat, 10am – 6pm Sun, 12 – 5pm
Until 24 July


Photo by: Jeremy Deller, Veterans Day Parade, 2002 Video installtion, Courtesy Art: Concept, Paris

Featuring: Francis Alÿs, Fiona Banner, Jeremy Deller, Thomas Hirschhorn, Rachel Hovnanian, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, William Kentridge, Michèle Magema, Annette Messager, Amy O’Neill and Hiraki Sawa.
A ‘parade’ is usually a festive occasion for which people dress up in extravagant costumes and create elaborate and highly structured artefacts, while a ‘procession’ is more often an organised group of people proceeding in a formal or ceremonial manner, often with a religious or political connotation. The exhibition will feature works by twelve UK-based and international artists who take their inspiration from the traditional meanings of ‘parades’ and ‘processions’, creating works that epitomise the social and political context of our time. The resulting works, ranging from sculpture to installation, films and videos, are powerful forms of expression that address issues of history, culture, identity and politics.


Michael Raedecker
Camden Arts Centre
Arkwright Road
London NW3 6DG

Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm
Wednesday 10am-9pm
Closed Mondays & Bank Holidays
Until 28th June


A solo exhibition by London-based Danish artist Michael Raedecker includes new paintings and a selection from the last 5 years. He uses a unique combination of thread and paint to create his atmospheric paintings. They derive from and also reinvent different genres from the history of art including still lifes, landscapes, ruins and flower paintings.
In the new work, Raedecker references flowers, washing, cakes, table-cloths, sheets, lace, food and houses. These domestic topics and the decorative associations of needlework create a friction with the fetishistic nature of these paintings.


Stitch and Sock It Up
Stitch n Bitch London

The Royal Festival Hall
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX

Wednesday 27th May
From 6pm

Photo from faithdarling

Struggling with your latest sock project? Not sure about how to turn that darned heel? Or are you simply mystified by all those little needles and simply wouldn’t know where to start? If so, this week’s sock surgery may be just what you need. The experienced sock knitters will be happy to share their sock expertise with anyone who needs it.
The act of shopping can be a divisive experience, check normally somewhere along gender lines, but I would be prepared to bet that most people have at least once been betrayed by the deceitful mythologisation of shopping as ‘retail therapy’. Shopping can be hardcore, hideous megabitch – when it makes that imperceptible shift it can morph into the seventh circle of hell of escalators, crowds, queues, bags and blisters.

Is it wrong to want a little romance and daydream in shopping? I don’t want to shunted in and spat out, I want to be nurtured and seduced until I buy lots of nice things I don’t really need. Hurwundeki on Commercial Street in Shoreditch seems to understand this. Quirky, stocked full of antiques and things like vintage clogs and bow ties, it totally eschews style over utility, has softly lit stone archways filled with clothes and changing rooms with tall heavy curtains and stone busts inside.





Stocking vintage, new designers and their own label, it has become something of an empire for its Korean owner Ki, and Thursday sees the launch of a new venture at the bottom of Cambridge Heath Road. It’s a shop-cum-café-cum-playground, but this is no family Little Chef: featuring a beautifully crafted playground that manages to fuse function and fairytale, it’s a sanctuary for local families wishing to visit and enjoy it for its varying facets. It seems a hugely positive venture for the Hackney community, as well as building on the idea that shopping doesn’t have to be a stressy, hellish mess. I spoke to Ki ahead of its launch this Thursday.

At the beginning when you set up Hurwundeki what was your aim in terms of the shopping experience?

Actually I have always been a hairdresser, when I moved to England, I was working for Vidal Sassoon before opening my Hair Salon in Spitalfields. I began to cultivate my taste for vintage via the interior of the Salon. I started to sell vintage items within the space, and subsequently opened a vintage boutique; and later launched the Hurwundeki line of clothes. The aim was to provide a shopping experience that customers remember, providing clothes that are classic, yet have a twist, in beautiful settings made up of artefacts that may have once been frowned upon. This has generated our own unique clientele.

I always remembered it after the first time I visited as it was simply such a nice space to be in.

Why thank you.

In terms of designers you stock, what are you criterias? Who is your

In terms of the Huruwndeki label, the clothes have to be classic, which means that they’re versatile. They have to have a twist, like in the pattern of the construction has been slightly toyed to give an edgy look. The price has to be affordable. We have our own niche, and for fashion, we are actually fashionable.

In terms of the service, we offer our customers award winning coffee, at very reasonable prices. The settings are out of this world, somewhere quirky, yet mellow enough to relax in.

Generally our customers are not just one type, we appeal to a variety of clientele because different facets of our company attract more to different kinds of people.

With regard to your new venture in Hackney, what was it that inspired you to
set it up? Anything in particular? Were there any other similar places that you could use as a blueprint?

Well it was originally our headquarters. And before that it was used by the car lot next door. We relocated, offices, but I had a feeling about the space, and developed a vision for it.

I like the idea that you emphasised the functional aspect of it all too – where did you manage to pull all your playground pieces from? They’re definitely striking walking down Hackney Road.

Some of the pieces where from our Commercial St boutique and some from our warehouse, that had been sourced by myself.

What has the response been from the local community? Have you had particular
support or endorsement from anyone?

Everyone loves it. The local community think it’s about time something like this happened. We’re getting great feedback.

What are your plans beyond this?

To keep expanding, never being satisfied to standstill, if you’re not going forward, then you’re moving backwards.




Ki seems to have maximised the shopping experience by tapping into people’s lifestyles; not just the lone shopper with only themselves to carry, but the family unit too. I think it’s a creative vision that really riffs off people’s needs, and that’s definitely on the money.

Hurwundeki Cafe launches this Thursday, May 28th.

Returning this year after a triumphant 2008 which saw it scoop ‘best small festival’ at the festival awards, link The Secret Garden Party once more stands out like a painted lady amongst the cabbage whites of this summer’s festival line-ups. For those not in the know, no rx the non-profit festival takes a distinct lest field approach to it’s competitors. This year’s main additions for example are the science and explorer camps, which are hosting science and human rights related talks and debates. Full marks have to be given for their decision to retain the capacity at a relatively small six and a half thousand, refusing to bow to commercial sponsorship. Rather then working to promote beer branding or mobile phones, the organisers instead look to promote ideas, creativity and having a good time that’s not to nature’s expense.


Set amongst ten acres of landscaped garden, meandering around a river and surrounding a lake, there’s much more going on here then just music. Aside from the talks and discussions, I feel I can safely state without too much research that this is the only British festival that lists skinny dipping, bubble-wrap popping and twilight maypole dancing as activities. Also instead of the usual £4 burgers, festival goers have the likes of hog roast and home made falafel to choose from, amongst the other organic foods on offer. Then once the bands are finished, rather then attempting to drink as many cheap lagers as possible or sleep while all around you are doing so, you can instead go see a dj in a tree or go relax in a hot tub.



As far as the music goes, one side of the lake consists of ‘the great stage’ and smaller stages for louder/dancier music, while the other side of the lake hosts stages devoted to more acoustic and chillax music. The line-up itself includes the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, VV Brown, DJ Food, Those Dancing Days, Golden Silvers, Evil Nine, Emmy The Great, Le Castle Vania, Fight Like Apes, Phoenix, Caribou, Bombay Bicycle Club and Dan Black.


The Secret Garden Party. Cambridge. 23rd-26th July. £144 for weekend ticket (additional £75 for campervans/caravans).

Ever thought that purchasing art can be like purchasing new clothes? The way it looks on you in the shop’s plush changing rooms somehow can never be replicated once you get home and it becomes part of your own wardrobe. Art can be the same. The pristine white-washed walls of a gallery, cure the careful lighting, cialis 40mg the precision placing among other desirable pieces; it can all end in such disappointment and disillusion. Wouldn’t it make our lives a whole lot easier then if instead we browsed for art in its natural habitat – the home?


And so the genius of First Floor Projects gallery is born. A lived-in home that spares its walls now and then for up and coming artists is the venture of south-west London flat owner and all round lovely chap James Tregaskes with help from art PA Hannah Magor. Their inaugural exhibition, sildenafil titled ‘Delicate Boundaries’ is of the darling Lucy Barlow, and in turn it’s her first solo show. When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up into a woman just like Lucy Barlow; independent, beautiful, creative, working part time in a bookshop and a keen tea connoisseur.
And so I jumped at the chance to have tea with her at the homely gallery. The trademark ink and watercolour drawings that she is most recognised for grace the high ceilinged living room, side by side with newer larger more abstract pieces bursting out from the canvas with fresh bright bold hues and pigments.


It was between delicious cupcakes and fan-meets-idol handshakes that I manage to ask Lucy about herself and her romantically fanciful work. We started off talking shop, and then got into Barlow-related Trivia.

Hello Lucy, how are you?
I’m great thanks. Before you got here I found a DVD of The Secret and had my lunch on a tray. I went for a stroll and saw an Agatha Christie blue plaque and I found a stone, which I decided would be the keepsake for this happy morning. In fact, in The Secret he talks about how important gratitude is and keeps a stone in his pocket as a reminder to give thanks. Which was a bizaare coincidence. So yeah! How are you?

I’m good thanks. Your newer work is quite a new direction, has there been a specific catalyst in it’s coming about?
Definitely. I’ve been going through a time of change in myself. Painting has always been a bit of a slow burner. Doing the drawings I felt like I wasn’t being honest with myself. They were easy, fun and I loved doing them. But there was something else. Over the last year I’ve been busy growing up, finding out about myself. I’ve been trying to break down walls. I don’t want to leave drawing behind; it’s part of who I am. I think previously I was scared to paint, and what I did paint I kept to myself. But my heart goes into my mouth when I look through a book of paintings and I love colour. I wanted to see what could happen if I embraced it and once I did it felt amazing. I can now allow myself to put down my pens and make a mess- use big brushes and oils, and have no agenda.
My work is about reflecting what was going on in my personal life. Letting go of control – it’s all part of the same thing. I’m done with saying ‘I am this’ and putting restrictions on myself. I know now that I can be brave and experiment.


How has the experience of this exhibition differed to other shows you’ve had?
It has been incredible. I adore the home setting; this is where the heart is. Having things around that resonate with you. Galleries can be so scary.. ‘am I too close to the exhibit’? or ‘Am I over the security line’? It’s lovely to be with the work here, to sit down and have tea and take your time. Since I met James (Tregaskes, Gallery owner) at University he has talked about using his home as a gallery space, and insisted I be the first artist on the walls, and it’s happened! Home is where the Art is!
(I’m stealing that!)

What are you plans for the rest of the year?
In mid July I’m co-organising a group exhibition in Oxford with 4 others; Kim Norton, Sarah Brown, Sarah Boada and Richard Bishop.

A local artist thing?
We’re trying to get away from the ‘local thing’. We’re fed up with not enough great contemporary art in Oxford. There’s Modern Art Oxford, but that’s it. Contemporary art could thrive there. We are stiring the contemporary art pot, and causing a stir. Saying here we are! We aren’t just local- I have nothing against it, but it’s not the be all and end all.


How is the work received?
I think my work is accessible, easy to talk with. It’s going to be interesting with the shift from drawings to paintings, as to how people will respond. The next show will be all canvasses, no drawings. Fans of abstraction and abstract expressionists will be catered for. It’s for anyone who loves colour really.

Ok, time to lower the tone a little and get to know more about you, Lucy. We loosely call this our ‘Lucky 13′ questions. Firstly, If you were taking Amelia’s magazine out in Oxford, where would we go?
There’s a secret weeping willow tree in the University Parks. I like to think its secret, but maybe everyone knows about it. It would have to be a hot evening in summer. That would be beautiful.

What would be your pub quiz specialist subject?
Oh gosh, I don’t know. It’s a shame I don’t eat meat anymore otherwise it would have been Hugh (Fernley-Whittingstall- man behind the River Cottage series and all-round God of the ‘waste not, want not’ ethic). Maybe veganism then?!

What advice would you give to young artists?
I wish I knew. Can someone tell me?! I’d say believe in yourself. Show your work wherever, to whoever. If you keep it to yourself it can’t talk to anyone. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You must keep going and don’t give up. Lastly, don’t try and emulate anyone- of course, draw inspirations but don’t seek to become the people who inspire you. It’s about your unique originality.


Which band past or present would provide the soundtrack to your life?
What good questions! Beth Orton would be right up there. I want to say the Beatles too.. But can I have one more?
Thanks. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.. They would round it off nicely.

If you could travel forwards or backwards in time to any era, where would you go?
I’d love to go to the 1960s, though that’s too easy isn’t it? I’d go to Ancient Egypt and watch them build pyramids and all that jazz. And then I’d come back via the 60s please. Then I can meet the Beatles and be a groupie and wear amazing dresses…

If you hadn’t become an Artist, what would you be doing now?
I’d be a singer.
What kind of singer?
Folky, acousticy; a gentle singer who can break hearts and grow her hair long. I still want to try and fit being a singer in. I’d like to sing to whoever would listen.

Who or what is your nemesis?


Tell us something that we may not already know about Lucy Barlow.
I do try and compost EVERYTHING.
How well does that go?
Good, when I’m in a good mood. But when I’m blue, not well at all. Which makes me more depressed.

Hey, Lucy Barlow, what makes you so awesome?
My foot massages. Whoever, whenever. Not in a fetish way though! I find it relaxing.

Which single piece of modern technology can’t you live without?
My radio. It’s a portable friend. Is that modern anymore? I’m tempted to say my computer.. but sometimes I hate it and actually a life without one would be bliss.

Which artists do you most admire?
Henri Matisse, Peter Blake.. there are so many. Peter Doig I love- his use of colour in particular. Mark Rothko and his colour fields. Howard Hodgkin is my recent find. And can I have another?
David Hockney.
There are no women in that list Lucy..
Oh! I do have a female idol. Helen Frankenthaler is amazing. That’s a long list huh. Sorry!


Who would be your top 5 dream dinner guests? Who would do the washing up?
Anais Nin, Henri Matisse if he could make it, George Harrison.. can I just bring everyone? I don’t want anyone to be excluded! Barefoot Contessa (pause) Oh, what am I doing?! Andy Warhol! And can I trade George Harrison? I’d love to meet Florence Nightingale. I’d wash up myself.

I say Falloumi, you say..?
Alluminate! I just thought of star filled sky all of a sudden. What’s Falloumi- sounds lovely! (It’s a falafel and halloumi cross breed, firm lunch favourite that we are more than a little ‘in to’ over here, and like to over mention.)

Anything you want to add?
I’m currently looking for representation, so anyone reading this and interested please get in touch. Thank you!


I left First Floor Projects with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Miss Barlow has a unique way of looking at the world that couldn’t be more innocently wonderful, and her work is a window into that special outlook. Even now in my 20s, arguably an adult, I would still like to be Lucy Barlow when I grow up.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?


For years her uniquely styled Portobello Market stall has been the hushed haunt of stylists and designers when the well of inspiration has run dry. Voluminous shapes and ultra feminine collages of textiles are the earmarks of her brand. Reem Alasadi is a hopeless vintage addict, see re-inventor extraordinaire and in the words of Alphaville, salve she is in fact, “big in Japan”. For the last several years she has been quietly building momentum in the notoriously discerning Japanese fashion market, cresting recently with an award for Best Show at Japan Fashion Week where she recently launched her ready-to-wear line.

One cold and wet afternoon I head over to Portobello Market and snake through the stalls until I spot a treasure trove of cozy vintage. A little brass bed with quilted duvet and a pair of victorian ladies boots, a travel weary trunk with a jumper making a lazy effort at escaping its mouth… It’s all I can do not to settle in with a cuppa tea and biscuits. Reem’s individually unique clothes are hanging in groups of deep inky blues, burnt siennas, lacey whites.


This attention to “stories” is what informs Reem’s vision. Her gathering, reworking and styling of antique garments is what keeps them coming back. In fact, it’s what had designers like John Richmond and Stella McCartney hiring her as a consultant.

Petite and tomboyish Reem is dressed in super baggy jeans with frayed hems, shaved head and a parka. With warm olive skin and chestnut eyes she exudes the relaxed confidence of someone who knows her work speaks for itself. At 16 she was already working for Karen Millen in her hometown of Kent. Convinced she wanted to do fashion she was accepted to London College of Fashion and St.Martins before she was even old enough to attend. But once she’d set out on her own there was no turning back. By the age of 21 she had her first label and a 1,000 sq ft studio.


However, the perils of many fledgling designers caught up with her as well and she found herself in debt and in need of a new game plan. So what started out as a fold away table of vintage bits and bobs for 50p – 5 pounds in the Portobello Market eventually became something of a concept store. Like a born stylist she would put her antique pieces together based on an idea, color or shape, occasionally refurbishing them when necessary.


I first saw Reem’s precious pieces in 2005 at her popup store in front of Tokyo’s uber-style hive La Foret. A perfect compliment to Harajuku’s vintage vamps and lolita girls. Like many things in Japan business, Reem’s visionary debut in Asia’s fashion capital took four years of talks and preparations. Now a local darling showing original ready-to-wear (non vintage) garments on the Tokyo catwalks she has brought her line back to London where she showed at On/Off in ’08. From market stalls to fashion runways, Reem Alasadi has tailored her own way up the ranks, managing to stay afloat in the churning waters of fashion.

What is it that makes me uncomfortable about summer events at London hyper-galleries? They want to appear spontaneous, thumb but they’ve obviously taken months of planning. It all looks like a village fete, but it’s happening in the middle of London. The vibe is homespun, craftivist, folksy – yet there is always a big-name corporate sponsor on the top of the poster.

Robert Morris: bodyspacemotionthings

When I first arrived at Tate Modern‘s The Long Weekend, to see the restaging of Robert Morris’s Bodyspacemotionthings, my worst fears were confirmed. When this piece was first exhibited in 1971, it had to be closed after just five days due to ‘exuberant and overexcited behaviour of some members of the audience’. But on the day I saw it, it was nothing more than a middle-class adventure playground, parents queueing patiently with their children to roll around on bits of plywood.

Robert Morris: bodyspacemotionthings

Staff were on hand to deal with any ‘exuberant behaviour’. And, even more of a shame, the architectural impact of Morris’s structures had been dampened by the addition of safety measures such as chicken wire to stop people falling as they slid around.

House of Fairytales: Recycled Bunting

I went outside to have a look round The House of Fairy Tales, another part of Long Weekend, designed for families. Still in sceptical mood, I soon found myself listening to story about a wolf with a group of eight-year-olds. Wandering on, I saw families making huge mountains out of clay, writing letters to the moon and learning how to take cuttings from plants.

House of Fairytales: Apothecary Stall

As the sun came out, there was a puppet show about a child who got trapped inside a television (don’t worry, it had a happy ending), and a band began to play something really loud and catchy at the other end of the field. I walked around a tiny museum inside a caravan and learned a lot about tar-barrel rolling in Ottery St Mary.

House of Fairytales: Puppet Show

By this time, I confess, I was enjoying myself. It was impossible to stay snooty when surrounded by so many families and people of all ages, all running around drawing, sewing, singing and making like mad.

House of Fairytales: Nomad Poetry

So I got stuck in and wrote a really terrible poem about being a nomad, and pegged it up on a huge washing-line where lots of other people had written and drawn stuff about being a nomad. A woman came up to me and gave me a clothes peg wearing a dress. I couldn’t deny that this place of fairy tales did feel creative and spontaneous and, yes, even a little exuberant at times.

House of Fairytales: Caravan Museum

What inspires you to get creative?

All photographs by Polly Corrigan

Categories ,House of Fairytales, ,Robert Morris, ,Tate Modern, ,The Long Weekend

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