Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Preview: Ada Zanditon

Susan Hiller-Tate-Britain
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Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 sneak preview by Andrea Peterson. I asked a variety of illustrators to interpret one piece from the new collection… so read on to see what they did!

Ada Zanditon looks somewhat confused as I pile into her live/workspace at the same time as the morning influx of interns – maybe I’m a new, about it rather overgrown one? She is still in her pyjamas, recipe having recently emerged from the space beneath a cutting table that currently serves as her bed.

This season Ada will not be putting on a catwalk show; instead she will show a film presentation alongside the collection on mannequins. “What you can do on a catwalk is dictated by how big your budget is, ailment ” she explains. “Lagerfield puts on amazing shows but the cost of production is huge. One reason why everyone loved McQueen was because he put on an event; a moment that could be referenced from then on.” Ada feels that a film or presentation can offer a much more immersive experience on a tight budget.

Ada Zanditon LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd.

Last season’s show at Victoria House was intended to be interactive, with people circulating around the models. In fact it became more like a salon show as soon as the pesky photographers formed a bank across the room that guests were afraid to cross. “But the fact that it wasn’t a normal catwalk set was exciting – now it’s time to go to the next stage.” This season movement will be shown on a screen and the audience will be able to feel the details up close without fear of interaction with any live humans. “I’ve learnt that people won’t walk up to a model when they are in full hair and make up because it is too daunting.”

The night before our interview Ada was filming the A/W 2011 presentation at Netil House just off Broadway Market. On the wall above the table where the interns are busy cutting out invitations there is a model – I correctly deduce that Georgiana from Bulgaria is in fact the star of her new film. “It’s much better to fit a narrative around one person,” she says. Ada was able to exactly fit the garments to Georgiana, chosen because of an active interest in her concept and aesthetic. “She also has ability to act and move elegantly and gracefully. I feel she embodies the aspirations of my customers.”

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Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Ada’s great grandparents were from Ukraine and Lithuania, but her mother was born and grew up in America, with the result that Ada has dual nationality and got to spend holidays in fashionable Martha’s Vineyard, where her parents bought a house before it became popular. “Of course now it’s full of rich yuppies… which in a way is good because they look after the beautiful landscape.” Ada herself was born in Crouch End in north London before the family moved south of the river. Secondary school was by all accounts not a fun experience – even though she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 5 her school pushed her in an academic direction that she felt uneasy with. As a result she didn’t do art A-level but instead took photography GCSE and attended life drawing classes.

With the encouragement of an art teacher who spotted her potential she went to Morley College to produce a self generated portfolio which she took to her Art Foundation interview at Kingston University. She was promptly offered an unconditional offer. “They were so warm and impressed that I cried in the interview – I was just so happy that someone finally understood my work.” Afterwards she did a degree at London College of Fashion and then embarked an internship with McQueen where she learnt “a hell of a lot”. She was there for a total of four seasons, working almost all of the time. “It’s a tough industry – you can work 9-5 and achieve something mediocre or you can put 100% in and achieve something beautiful.”

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews.

The new A/W 2011 collection is called The Cryoflux, embodying in its name frozen landscapes and the idea of change. It was inspired by the polar regions, mainly Antarctica, but also the climatic changes experienced by people living in the Arctic. Ada became fascinated by the ice cores that are pulled up to show our climate history in intimate detail, and extremophiles, mostly microscopic organisms which exist in extreme conditions such as the polar regions. “But I didn’t want to be too literal in my translation – after all we’re experiencing extreme conditions both politically and economically as well.”

For further inspiration she looked at the doomed Robert Scott expedition of the early 1900s, for which the explorers were clothed in heritage clothing from great British brands like Mulberry. “I combined the romantic world of beautiful tailoring with an icy modern aesthetic. For instance I looked at broken ice floes in a constant state of flux.”

Ada Zanditon
Ada Zanditon in her studio in Whitechapel.

I wonder if Ada will model a bit of clothing from the collection so that I can get it illustrated but she baulks at the suggestion because she doesn’t design for herself. “I’m quite scruffy… but my designs always come out elegant and polished,” she says. “I want to create wearable stuff for my customer and not myself because I am quite a specific market of one.” Her collections are instead inspired by an interest in architectural design and illustration. She likens it to the work of Monet. “He doesn’t look like a waterlily. And lots of male designers don’t wear the frocks that they design.” As part of the designing process she loves meeting and learning more about her customers although she’s eager to assure me she’s not a slave to them, and concepts will always be important.

Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd
Ada Zanditon in her studio by Donya Todd, who chose to put her in one of her S/S 2011 designs anyway.

The collection features lots of British wool but the silk is not organic because it is much harder to source than good quality organic fair-trade cotton. “Most silk is Chinese even though it often claims to be Indian. I’ve looked into using Peace Silk [which doesn’t kill the silk worms in the process of manufacture] but the trouble is that you only get a smooth continuous unbroken fibre if the worm is killed. My customers want quality and I don’t want to compromise that.” At present Ada feels it is more important to focus on the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability.

There are only a few print designs in the new collection, which were printed locally in Bermondsey. “I feel that winter is usually more about sculptural details, so I tend to explore the cut. Print tends to be for S/S. But you can get sick of tailoring!” Ada can’t imagine living somewhere where the climate doesn’t change on a regular basis and she is looking forward to designing for the next S/S season: think big and loose, “like a million layers of air”.

Ada-Zanditon-S/S 2011 by-Maria-del-Carmen-Smith
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith.

This season Ada had her choice of slot at LFW, so naturally she chose to show on the first day. The main theme of her presentation remains firmly under wraps but expect a narrative inspired by the solar system and in particular by Europa, which is a moon of Jupiter that experiences particularly extreme conditions. “I like the outside perspective; seeing things from the viewpoint of the other. So I imagined a superwoman extremophile who evolved under the surface of Europa and goes on an exploration of Antarctica.” The film is directed by twins Andrew and William Ho, who had lots of passion and enthusiasm for her subject. “I love their elegant aesthetic.” As well as an “interesting” soundtrack guests can expect a surprise immediately as they enter the venue between 1-2pm on Friday 18th February. I can’t wait… and I shall report back on my findings.

Ada Zanditon features in my new book: Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Part two of this interview will go online tomorrow and digs deeper into Ada’s theories on sustainable practice.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,ACOFI, ,Ada Zanditon, ,Alexander McQueen, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Andrew and William Ho, ,Antarctica, ,British Wool, ,Broadway Market, ,Bulgaria, ,Danielle Shepherd, ,Dee Andrews, ,Donya Todd, ,Europa, ,extremophile, ,Georgiana, ,Ice Core, ,Jupiter, ,Kingston University, ,Lagerfield, ,lfw, ,Lithuania, ,London College of Fashion, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,McQueen, ,Morley College, ,Mulberry, ,Netil House, ,peace silk, ,Robert Scott, ,The Cryoflux, ,Ukraine, ,Victoria House, ,whitechapel, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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Amelia’s Magazine | At War for the Whales: #1 Heading Out

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The M/V Steve Irwin looks for a way out of a dense field of icebergs (Photo: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

As a young kid, visit this dosage I was always fascinated by the idea that the Blue Whale, more about the biggest animal ever to have lived on this planet, pill was still out there roaming the oceans. I prized a giant mural of a whale above my bed and every couple of months I sent some of my pocket money off to organisations who worked to keep my whale friends safe. Although whales and the whaling issue were kept in the back of my mind, it wasn’t until I reached my mid-twenties that I started realizing that these wonderful creatures were still actively being hunted, despite all the protection they are supposed to enjoy under international treaties. The more I read up on it, the crazier the whole situation seemed. For example, Fin whales are listed as an endangered (and thus protected) species on the IUCN Red List since 1996. They are illegaly hunted down and killed every year in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, a protected area for whales put in place by the United Nations in the mid 90′s. A whaling fleet from Japan enters these Antarctic waters around mid December to kill nearly 1000 whales (Piked whales and Fin whales) for ‘scientific research’.

Minke whaleIllustrations by Kerry Lemon

One night, after reading some news articles about whaling, I just got so angry. Here are these beautiful creatures, hunted down and killed for a bit of quick money. Scientific research? Yeah, right! It makes me mad when I think about some ignorant businessmen down the line, filling their pockets with total disregard for the animals, the environment and the future generations that I hope will live to see these majestic creatures live freely like they deserve to, just as much as we humans do.

My anger quickly translated into action and within weeks I signed up to join the Sea Shepherd ship’s crew for their annual anti-whaling campaign in the Southern Ocean. Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson is known for his direct action tactics and the fact that he won’t back down from opposition or controversy and is more willing than anyone to put up a fight to defend ocean wildlife. Since 1979, Sea Shepherd has scuttled and sunk 10 illegal whaling ships at dockside, rammed and boarded ships at sea and confiscated many miles of illegal longline and driftnet. All this in the last 32 years in a war that has put the lives of whales, seals, dolphins, sharks, fish and sea birds first. Most importantly, a war in which Sea Shepherd has never sustained or caused injury to anyone as a result of its actions.

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A whale surfaces at the edge of the sea ice in Antarctica. (Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

As a trained violin maker I had no ship skills whatsoever but the ship’s carpenter role was one I was able to fill. Sometimes people ask me what carpentry work there is to do on a ship. ‘Surely it’s all steel?’ Honestly, I have never made so many cabinets, bunks, cupboards, boxes, holders, storage racks, tables, benches, toilet roll holders and other wooden contraptions as in the last 18 months. The ship is always a hive of activity with deckhands, engineers, quartermasters, officers and cooks working hard to get the ship in top shape for the job at hand. Having been involved in activism for over 10 years, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with such a dedicated, hard working and committed bunch of people.

Bryde's whale

With a samba band, Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin and many local people waving us off at dockside, we left Fremantle on 7th December with a course set for Antarctica. As soon as we left the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone we were trailed by a Japanese surveillance vessel, which has been following us ever since. We will reach the whaling grounds within the next few days and more that ever before we have the ability to shut them down. We have more resources at our disposal, more public support than ever before and the people of Japan are increasingly questioning the ongoing spending of millions of their tax payers money on this useless and cruel industry.
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Close up of the Japanese harpoon ship. (Photo: Barbara Veiga / Sea Shepherd)

As the world leaders gathered in Copenhagen last month, failing to come to an agreement on tackling climate change and make emission cuts mandatory by international law, we were forced to set sail for thousands of miles to uphold another bit of major legislation they had agreed upon, but which they chose to ignore to enforce. What was it again, this thing agreed upon in the 80′s and at the time hailed as a massive victory for conservation? Something to do with whales?

If the nations of the world can so blatantly ignore an international treaty that is supposed to protect an endangered species in an established whale sanctuary, than what hope is there for the international community to enforce any type of legislation that is to fight climate change? The ongoing illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean is a slap in the face to conservation efforts around the world. A set back for environmental activists the world over. A stab in the back to those people who worked so hard to get the legislation agreed upon in the first place. For the sake of the whales, the international community and future generations we will sail into the Antarctic, find the whalers and give them what they deserve.

For latest updates and news, please see the Sea Shepherd website: www.seashepherd.org

Categories ,Antarctica, ,australia, ,Blue Whale, ,conservation, ,Endangered species, ,Hunting, ,japan, ,Kerry Lemon, ,Research, ,Sea Shepherd, ,Steve Irwin, ,united nations, ,Whales, ,Whaling, ,Wietse Van Der Werf

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Amelia’s Magazine | At War for the Whales: Part 2

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The Japanese harpoon ship, approved Shonan Maru No 2 appears behind the iceberg (photo credit: Barbara Veiga / Sea Shepherd)

It has been an eventful couple of months at sea and most of us are eager to get back to the whaling grounds as soon as possible. Two days ago we departed from Fremantle, Western Australia, for the third voyage down to the Antarctic waters, where the whalers continue their whaling season under the guise of ‘scientific research’. We have been at sea for well over 2 months now and returned to port twice for refuelling. When we initially left for the campaign in early December, we were tailed by the Shonan Maru II, a Japanese harpoon ship turned spy vessel, as soon as we left Australian waters. The ship stayed with us wherever we went. We tried to lose it by heading into ice or heavy weather, but could not shake them.

Sei whale

Illustration by Kerry Lemon

I step outside on the aft deck to see the spy ship, Shonan Maru II, bearing down upon us fast. Our helicopter had been launched earlier to verify what ship it actually is, as we hadn’t come within clear visual range before. Upon arrival, the helicopter had a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) pointed at it. This is a device that sends out a highly directional noise, aimed at disorientating or even incapacitating a person. Using it on our helicopter while it is mid-air is, to say the least, totally irresponsible. With the helicopter now safely back on the Steve Irwin, it seems that the Japanese ship is coming in for the attack. With its water cannons blasting at full power, it is trying to come alongside us, presumably to give the helicopter a wash down, in an effort to damage it. As it chases us, loudspeakers blast: “This is the Shonan Maru captain! You are too close to me! You are too close to me!” Meanwhile we have a prop-fouler ready, which is a long rope we trail from the end of our ship to keep them at bay. If they were to come too close and run over the line, it could get entangled in their propeller and cause serious damage. They know this and are unable to come as close as they’d like. They keep trying but by now we are entering an ice field full of mid-size growlers and after a few sharp manoeuvres the Japanese ship backs off. They fall back but stay behind us within radar range.

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The Japanese harpoon vessel, Shonan Maru No 2 on the run with water cannons blasting (photo credit: Michael Williams / Sea Shepherd)

A couple of days later we are anchored up in Commonwealth Bay, overlooking the Antarctic continent on one side and the open sea on the other. Our spy ship can still be seen lurking about on the horizon. We haven’t been able to get rid of her, so we take shelter in these waters, which are French territory. Perhaps the French can help.

We switch off the engines and while one of the officers gets in the helicopter to visit the French base Dumont D’urville, some of the crew strip down for the traditional dive in the freezing Antarctic waters. As negotiations with the French continue into the afternoon, some of us head out in the small boat towards Cape Denison, home to a colony of 30.000 Adelie penguins and the spot where the Australian scientist Mawson landed in 1911. I step foot on land and realise how few people must have been fortunate enough to see this place. Snow covers the land as far as the eye can see and the smell of the fresh and sharp air takes some getting used to. Looking out at sea, the coastline is covered with rocks and home to thousands of Adelie penguins.

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A penguin on an iceberg in Antarctica (Photo: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

Following a bunch of penguins walking towards a huge icy ridge, it strikes me that this is probably one of the very few places of true wilderness left. Untouched by human hands, growth, development, exploitation. So far Antarctica has enjoyed fairly good protection. The Antarctic Treaty prohibits commercial and/or military activity on and around the continent and states that the number of cruise ships is to be kept to a minimum.
However, there are vast resources, such as oil and there are theories that when the treaty is re-negotiated in a few years, some countries including Japan will try to loosen these conditions in order to gain access. Some people argue that the only reason Japan continues its whaling operations in the Southern Ocean is so that it will have some ‘historical claim’ over the resources in the area, if it would ever be opened up for exploitation. Whatever the reasons, right now the Japanese fleet operates illegally in the area, threatening this habitat and the creatures that depend on its protection for their survival, which is all that matters to us.

Sperm whale

Illustration by Kerry Lemon

Seeing our ship in the far distance, anchored up in the bay, makes me feel proud to know that we are here for these animals and to protect this unique and untouched wilderness from the destructive hands of corporate power. I head back down towards the water, in the small boat and back to the ship. The commander of the French base has written a letter of support, but without some kind of navy presence in the area, they are unable to do much more than that. We pull up anchor and head back out into what now has become quite a rough sea. Not getting much sleep as we are thrown about by the 15 foot swells.

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photo credit: Glenn Lockitch / Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd has always enjoyed support from the ranks of Hollywood with, among many, Martin Sheen, Pierce Brosnan and Darryl Hannah donating their time and resources for the cause. The latest to join the list is Ady Gil, a businessman from Los Angeles, who has donated a large sum of money to help us purchase a second vessel. The ship, previously known as Earthrace, is a super fast trimaran powerboat which broke the world circumnavigation record in 2008, is bio-diesel powered and looks like something to have sailed straight out of the latest batman movie. Its skipper and creator Pete Bethune is eager to join the Sea Shepherd campaign and with the financial backing, the ship is refitted and renamed Ady Gil. We are on our way to meet up with the Ady Gil, which left Hobart two weeks earlier, to transfer food and other supplies. As we steam north, our spy ship keeps a steady two nautical miles behind us.

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photo credit: Glenn Lockitch / Sea Shepherd

We are getting closer to the Ady Gil and I go up to the bridge to see what is going on. Nothing shows on the radar. The boat is so small that it can go about its business virtually undetected. In addition, we take advantage of the short bit of darkness to covertly meet up. I step out on deck. ‘Over there, can you see?’ I can just about make out a tiny black spot in the vast darkness. We launch a small boat and pick up two of the crew. After a short meeting they head off into the darkness again. We set course for Hobart and the Ady Gil heads towards the spy ship in an attempt to take it out of action. Prop-foulers come out, stink bombs are thrown onto the deck and a photonic disruptor aimed at distracting those on the bridge is put to use. It is all part of our essential arsenal of non-violent tactics to shut down the whalers. In 30 years of operations Sea Shepherd has never caused a single injury as a result of any of its actions. We are non-violent yet honest about the fact that we take aggressive action. Exactly the type of action that is necessary to stop these criminal whale poachers. A few hours later we notice that the spy ship has caught up with us again. As we sail into Australian waters the Japanese ship stays put at the Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) boundary, unwilling to escalate the ongoing international stand-off over whaling.

Read Part 1 here.  Part 3 coming soon…

For latest updates and news, please see the Sea Shepherd website: www.seashepherd.org

Categories ,Adelie penguins, ,Ady Gil, ,Antarctica, ,Atlantic, ,Barbara Veiga, ,Cape Denison, ,conservation, ,Darryl Hannah, ,Dumont D’urville, ,Eric Cheng, ,france, ,Harpoon, ,Hollywood, ,Ice, ,Illegal Whaling, ,japan, ,Kerry Lemon, ,Los Angeles, ,Martin Sheen, ,Mawson, ,Michael Williams, ,Penguins, ,Pete Bethune, ,Pierce Brosnan, ,Sea Shepherd, ,Ship, ,Southern Ocean, ,Whale, ,Whaling, ,Wietse Van Der Werf

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