Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day: Gifts and Ideas


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

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

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


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

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

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


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

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

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


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

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

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


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

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

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


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

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

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


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

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

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Romeo Pires

LFW Romeo Pires by Maria del Carmen Smith
Romeo Pires by Maria del Carmen Smith.

Romeo Pires are a new design duo for me. Sergio Pires hails from Brazil and Nicholas Humphrey comes from the UK: they met studying textile design at Guildhall University.

LFW Romeo Pires by Maria del Carmen Smith

The models took to the catwalk in pairs with wildly crimped hair and ghostly white make up that was far from elegant, online but I quickly warmed to this clever collection, advice which saw oversized waists hooked up with massive low slung braces. Everything was lovingly folded or pleated and this translated well into menswear, ed my favourite piece being a dashing short cape. Their textile background was obvious in bleached prints of rusty nails and skulls that broke up the otherwise monochrome palette with added butterscotch and cream.

romeo_pires_lfw2010_bex_glover
romeo_pires_lfw2010_bex_glover
romeo_pires_lfw2010_bex_glover
Romeo Pires by Bex Glover.

At the end of the show this endearing pair made a hasty entrance together, looking dead cute in the male version of their vision. Definitely a new label to watch.

Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Romeo Pires SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,Bex Glover, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Guildhall University, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,textiles

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2010 Catwalk Review: Charlie Le Mindu by Amelia

Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover
Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover

And so the circus starts all over again…. in a not particularly auspicious way for little ol’ me, pill as I was nearly run over by a succession of buses rally driving bumper to bumper through Holborn as I was wending my way to my first fashion week show astride my lethal Raleigh Shopper (yes, price Shopper, medications not Chopper. There will be no wheelies on this bike). And then a nasty man in a car called me a ‘stupid caaah’. It all started swimmingly I tells you. Bastard.

At the on/off premises – Victoria House in Bloomsbury – I was met by two young girls bearing brollies as if promoting a car show outside Earl’s Court rather than the uber-trendy off schedule space where all the most hotly tipped designers will show. Inside I was warned not to trip over a step leading to a stuffed deer over which swung, and will swing all week, an intricately papercut sculpture. Rob Ryan, I blame you – papercutting is so very now, it’s even on the light fittings in the press den.

Deer at On/Off by June Chanpoomidole
Deer at On/Off by June Chanpoomidole

Getting into the show proved simple – a charming cockney fella on the door was greeting all the as yet fresh-faced fashionistas with a cheery grin, merrily announcing: “You got a pass love? Don’t matter what kind. Oyster card will do!” Next to the showhall there was a hastily erected memorial to Alexander Mcqueen that looked suspiciously as if it may have been sponsored by apple, touch screens showcasing his catwalk shows interspersed with the occasional app rollcall. A more personal homage was to be found over at the BFC tent, featuring some touching hand written messages.

Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover
Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover

Charlie Le Mindu was and is principally known as a hair stylist, so it comes as no great surprise that his show was sponsored by copious quantities of hair products and… a wig salon; who provided the large empty pink boxes that everyone is seen touting about the place for the ensuing day, perfectly sized to make a great girly box file. In fact there was so much to take away that I struggled under the load from the very first show. Whoever said there was a recession?

I took my place on the front row next to Guy, editor of Fashion156 Magazine, which is another online fashion magazine. He told me that he had 12 people covering the shows, including backstage photographers. And they should be uploading throughout the day. I was impressed!

Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover
Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover

What can I tell you about Charlie Le Mindu? The show started with a lady bearing a crystal crucifix on her head and things just got better. The black lace bodystockings were merely a foil for the impressive cocoon like wigs and head pieces, constructed from feathers, tassels and all things exotic – most of it was not exactly clothing but defiantly offered a fan-fucking-tastic kick off to fashion week. The models stomped down the runway in royal blue make up, some smeared in deepest black bodypaint. Capes and swinging bags to match your hair? Why, step this way madam.

Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover
Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover

Charlie is clearly a magnet for the more exotic types of fashionista and there were plenty of strangely dressed people to be ogled, even so early in the morning, including a large man with a bushy beard, sexy black dress, (possibly real) fur stole and glamourous red lipstick. And the best bit about such creatures is that they’re more than happy to pose because they’re all hoping for a few moments of internet glory – and the possibility of flouncing their look from here to Timbuktu. We can all be famous now!

Bearded man with red lipstick by June Chanpoomidole
Bearded man with red lipstick by June Chanpoomidole

Read contributor Matt Bramford’s review of Charlie Le Mindu here, with illustrations by Maryanne Oliver.

Categories ,Alexander McQueen, ,Bex Glover, ,black, ,Charlie le Mindu, ,Feathers, ,Hairstylist, ,Jewels, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,lfw, ,Maryanne Oliver, ,Off Schedule, ,onoff, ,rob ryan, ,Victoria House

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2010 Catwalk Review: Charlie Le Mindu by Amelia

Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover
Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover

And so the circus starts all over again…. in a not particularly auspicious way for little ol’ me, pill as I was nearly run over by a succession of buses rally driving bumper to bumper through Holborn as I was wending my way to my first fashion week show astride my lethal Raleigh Shopper (yes, price Shopper, medications not Chopper. There will be no wheelies on this bike). And then a nasty man in a car called me a ‘stupid caaah’. It all started swimmingly I tells you. Bastard.

At the on/off premises – Victoria House in Bloomsbury – I was met by two young girls bearing brollies as if promoting a car show outside Earl’s Court rather than the uber-trendy off schedule space where all the most hotly tipped designers will show. Inside I was warned not to trip over a step leading to a stuffed deer over which swung, and will swing all week, an intricately papercut sculpture. Rob Ryan, I blame you – papercutting is so very now, it’s even on the light fittings in the press den.

Deer at On/Off by June Chanpoomidole
Deer at On/Off by June Chanpoomidole

Getting into the show proved simple – a charming cockney fella on the door was greeting all the as yet fresh-faced fashionistas with a cheery grin, merrily announcing: “You got a pass love? Don’t matter what kind. Oyster card will do!” Next to the showhall there was a hastily erected memorial to Alexander Mcqueen that looked suspiciously as if it may have been sponsored by apple, touch screens showcasing his catwalk shows interspersed with the occasional app rollcall. A more personal homage was to be found over at the BFC tent, featuring some touching hand written messages.

Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover
Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover

Charlie Le Mindu was and is principally known as a hair stylist, so it comes as no great surprise that his show was sponsored by copious quantities of hair products and… a wig salon; who provided the large empty pink boxes that everyone is seen touting about the place for the ensuing day, perfectly sized to make a great girly box file. In fact there was so much to take away that I struggled under the load from the very first show. Whoever said there was a recession?

I took my place on the front row next to Guy, editor of Fashion156 Magazine, which is another online fashion magazine. He told me that he had 12 people covering the shows, including backstage photographers. And they should be uploading throughout the day. I was impressed!

Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover
Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover

What can I tell you about Charlie Le Mindu? The show started with a lady bearing a crystal crucifix on her head and things just got better. The black lace bodystockings were merely a foil for the impressive cocoon like wigs and head pieces, constructed from feathers, tassels and all things exotic – most of it was not exactly clothing but defiantly offered a fan-fucking-tastic kick off to fashion week. The models stomped down the runway in royal blue make up, some smeared in deepest black bodypaint. Capes and swinging bags to match your hair? Why, step this way madam.

Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover
Illustration of Charlie Le Mindu by Bex Glover

Charlie is clearly a magnet for the more exotic types of fashionista and there were plenty of strangely dressed people to be ogled, even so early in the morning, including a large man with a bushy beard, sexy black dress, (possibly real) fur stole and glamourous red lipstick. And the best bit about such creatures is that they’re more than happy to pose because they’re all hoping for a few moments of internet glory – and the possibility of flouncing their look from here to Timbuktu. We can all be famous now!

Bearded man with red lipstick by June Chanpoomidole
Bearded man with red lipstick by June Chanpoomidole

Read contributor Matt Bramford’s review of Charlie Le Mindu here, with illustrations by Maryanne Oliver.

Categories ,Alexander McQueen, ,Bex Glover, ,black, ,Charlie le Mindu, ,Feathers, ,Hairstylist, ,Jewels, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,lfw, ,Maryanne Oliver, ,Off Schedule, ,onoff, ,rob ryan, ,Victoria House

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2010 Catwalk Review: J Maskrey by Amelia

J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.

J Maskrey is responsible for a lot. You know all those tacky glitter tattoos that you can buy in every chemist and pound shop? Well, troche she’s the one to blame. This former make-up artist invented “skin jewellery” over 10 years ago, page when she glued some Swarovski crystals onto an adhesive backing. But those glittery Superdrug rose tattoos just ain’t the same, patient so despite the mass dumbing down of her initial idea J Maskrey has managed to maintain a dazzling career at the epicentre of fashion cooldom, and it is on the catwalk that J Maskrey‘s jewelled masterpieces really glitter.

J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.

Once again man wearing rubber, gimp mask and inflatable wig was front row. In at least his second outfit of the day for J Maskrey’s evening show at Victoria House. Where do these people change? And what on earth was his fashion statement? I can put up with any amount of pain in the name of erm, beauty standing out from the crowd. And believe me I know how much he suffered under those bright runway lights because when he stood up to leave the show the sweat literally flooded out of his sleeves into a puddle on the floor. Nice. Rather you than me – lady posing with the Gimp Fashionista.

Gimp Fashionista at Iris Van Herpen
Gimp Fashionista at Iris Van Herpen.

Gimp Fashionista dripping on a fan at J Maskrey.
Gimp Fashionista dripping on a fan at J Maskrey.

J Maskrey has had a long relationship with uber stylist Judy Blame, and their collaboration continues. Against a curtained stage set the slow moving models posed beautifully at intervals under the bright lighting before gathering en masse at the helm of the catwalk, making this show a dream for good photography.

J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey used careful staging and immaculate posing to create a beautiful catwalk show. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

A boy’s smooth back and arms were entirely covered with black glittery shapes, a girl with a severe bobbed haircut revealed a cluster of leopard spots racing across her chest and back, another bared glittered slashes across her breasts, culminating with dangling beads dripping like congealed blood.

J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

A demure girl with high neckline and primly bunned hair held her hands gently to her waist, where the light glistened on Swarovski crystals dripping from her delicate fingernails. Gigantic Geisha-inspired headdresses teetered on top of heads.

J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

This was a beautiful spectacle, but one where the clothes appeared to come a distant second to the dazzling performance. Looking back it becomes more apparent that there some highly desirable pieces buried beneath all the glitzy showpieces. Take the heavily beaded skullcap and cape, cute little nobbled skate skirt and chain print top – all actually very wearable. And not for nothing did I spot J Maskrey herself wearing the slouchy t-shirt dress with huge glittered logo at the On/Off party. To which I was dragged kicking and screaming “But I don’t do fashion parties anymore… oh okay just for one cocktail then.”

J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Needless to say I got in a bad mood very quickly because I really don’t know anyone in fashion anymore, and usually can’t remember anyone’s names or what they actually do, which further exacerbates the situation when they come over to me all chatty. And then my Canon 5D Mark II camera broke down with an error 20 (it does this every now and again, usually when I really REALLY need to use it) so I could no longer hide behind my camera – which I often do as a way of disengaging from situations.

Ladies in the loo at the On/Off party.
Ladies in the loo at the On/Off party.

Luckily it was at this point that the Sugababes arrived so we clambered on a bench to watch them sing before we left. You know what? They were definitely singing live with a good amount of gusto, and they certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was really very sweet. And a good way to end an exceedingly long day, with just one of those small surprises that every fashion week throws up.

Sugababes performing at the On/Off party.
Sugababes performing at the On/Off party.

Categories ,Bex Glover, ,Canon, ,Crystals, ,Fashionista, ,Geisha, ,Gimp, ,Glitter, ,Headdresses, ,J Maskrey, ,Judy Blame, ,menswear, ,onoff, ,Skin Jewellery, ,Sugababes, ,Swarovski, ,Victoria House

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2010 Catwalk Review: J Maskrey by Amelia

J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.

J Maskrey is responsible for a lot. You know all those tacky glitter tattoos that you can buy in every chemist and pound shop? Well, she’s the one to blame. This former make-up artist invented “skin jewellery” over 10 years ago, when she glued some Swarovski crystals onto an adhesive backing. But those glittery Superdrug rose tattoos just ain’t the same, so despite the mass dumbing down of her initial idea J Maskrey has managed to maintain a dazzling career at the epicentre of fashion cooldom, and it is on the catwalk that J Maskrey’s jewelled masterpieces really glitter.

J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.
J Maskrey by Bex Glover.

Once again man wearing rubber, gimp mask and inflatable wig was front row. In at least his second outfit of the day for J Maskrey’s evening show at Victoria House. Where do these people change? And what on earth was his fashion statement? I can put up with any amount of pain in the name of erm, beauty standing out from the crowd. And believe me I know how much he suffered under those bright runway lights because when he stood up to leave the show the sweat literally flooded out of his sleeves into a puddle on the floor. Nice. Rather you than me – lady posing with the Gimp Fashionista.

Gimp Fashionista at Iris Van Herpen
Gimp Fashionista at Iris Van Herpen.

Gimp Fashionista dripping on a fan at J Maskrey.
Gimp Fashionista dripping on a fan at J Maskrey.

J Maskrey has had a long relationship with uber stylist Judy Blame, and their collaboration continues. Against a curtained stage set the slow moving models posed beautifully at intervals under the bright lighting before gathering en masse at the helm of the catwalk, making this show a dream for good photography.

J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey used careful staging and immaculate posing to create a beautiful catwalk show. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

A boy’s smooth back and arms were entirely covered with black glittery shapes, a girl with a severe bobbed haircut revealed a cluster of leopard spots racing across her chest and back, another bared glittered slashes across her breasts, culminating with dangling beads dripping like congealed blood.

J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

A demure girl with high neckline and primly bunned hair held her hands gently to her waist, where the light glistened on Swarovski crystals dripping from her delicate fingernails. Gigantic Geisha-inspired headdresses teetered on top of heads.

J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

This was a beautiful spectacle, but one where the clothes appeared to come a distant second to the dazzling performance. Looking back it becomes more apparent that there some highly desirable pieces buried beneath all the glitzy showpieces. Take the heavily beaded skullcap and cape, cute little nobbled skate skirt and chain print top – all actually very wearable. And not for nothing did I spot J Maskrey herself wearing the slouchy t-shirt dress with huge glittered logo at the On/Off party. To which I was dragged kicking and screaming “But I don’t do fashion parties anymore… oh okay just for one cocktail then.”

J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
J Maskrey. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Needless to say I got in a bad mood very quickly because I really don’t know anyone in fashion anymore, and usually can’t remember anyone’s names or what they actually do, which further exacerbates the situation when they come over to me all chatty. And then my Canon 5D Mark II camera broke down with an error 20 (it does this every now and again, usually when I really REALLY need to use it) so I could no longer hide behind my camera – which I often do as a way of disengaging from situations.

Ladies in the loo at the On/Off party.
Ladies in the loo at the On/Off party.

Luckily it was at this point that the Sugababes arrived so we clambered on a bench to watch them sing before we left. You know what? They were definitely singing live with a good amount of gusto, and they certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was really very sweet. And a good way to end an exceedingly long day, with just one of those small surprises that every fashion week throws up.

Sugababes performing at the On/Off party.
Sugababes performing at the On/Off party.

Categories ,Bex Glover, ,Canon, ,Crystals, ,Fashionista, ,Geisha, ,Gimp, ,Glitter, ,Headdresses, ,J Maskrey, ,Judy Blame, ,menswear, ,onoff, ,Skin Jewellery, ,Sugababes, ,Swarovski, ,Victoria House

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Amelia’s Magazine | Howies: Ethical active clothing pioneers in Wales

Tania Kowalski was a workshop manager at a well-known contemporary jewellery gallery in London when Synnove Saelthun arrived from New York to join the design team. They soon discovered that they had similar views on design and business ethics, more about cialis 40mg and became good friends. Several years later they started the Oria brand, prescription using Synnove’s design skills and Tania’s production expertise. Synnove is a technically brilliant goldsmith with a passion for design and an eye for detail. Tania is a trained jeweller, viagra with a wide range of experience in the jewellery industry, from design creation through to production. Her expertise includes sourcing ethical materials and ensuring fair business practice.

Tania’s passion for other cultures has led her to visit remote tribes in the Amazon of Brazil, hill tribes in Nepal and the Dogon people of Mali. It was during these travels that she became fascinated with the cultural importance and symbolic meaning of tribal adornment. When designing a new collection, the couple sit down together to discuss what the new collection will symbolise. They research and refine story boards, and after ensuring that the designs are technically feasible Synnove makes an initial prototype, the best of which will go into production.

The use of the phoenix is a symbol of honesty and justice in Chinese mythology, and is one of the inspirations for the Nina collection. The lotus symbolises purity and beauty in many different cultures, and it inspired their silver lotus collection.

Working in Nepal Tania discovered that the safe working conditions and fair living wages which we take for granted in the West are not necessarily the norm in other parts of the world. This early experience was important in persuading Tania to commit to fairtrade sourcing as a founding principle of Oria.

Vintage fashion, about it illustrated by Matilde Sazio

Kim Sklinar, viagra sale aka Preloved Reloved, cheap has set herself an interesting New Year’s challenge. For the duration of 2011, Kim isn’t going to buy any new clothes. No more high-street bargains, no more feeding corporate giants, no more fast-fashion waste, no siree. ‘Another one?’ I hear you cry – and you’d be right. But this one is a little different.

While Kim hopes to raise awareness about the amount of cheap clothing we purchase and what effects that has on the environment and people’s lives, there’s also a bigger reason closer to home. Kim’s father was diagnosed with cancer over 18 months ago, and she decided to set up the project to raise funds for Macmillan, the cancer care and support charity. Unfortunately, as of only last week, Kim’s dad won’t see the project through its fruition. But Kim will dedicate the project to his memory.

So, how do you do it? Well, Kim’s vowed to buy only vintage and from outlets like eBay, and she’ll spend more time in charity shops which also benefits all of the organisations that run them. I had a chat with her about the project and how she thinks she’ll manage it all…


Vintage shop, illustrated by Karolina Burdon

What gave you the idea for Preloved, Reloved in the first place?
Well I always like to dress a little differently. My style is mainstream with a retro edge, I suppose. I always seem to end up with a daft New Year’s resolution – last year I cycled from London to Paris for The Institute of Cancer Research. I like using my time to help others and spread awareness.

Were you a fan of vintage and upcycling before you started the project?
Yes! I always admire my friends’ outfits; well, those who wear vintage and second-hand fashion. Upcycling is something I have experimented with for ages at home and now is the time to make sure I actually finish some projects!

Where will you source your outfits?
Charity shops, vintage stores, eBay, my mum’s wardrobe…! I made a lined cape last night from linen and satin for balmy summer nights (booking a holiday soon!).


Charity shops, illustrated by Rukmunal Hakim

What does the project hope to achieve?
I want to raise awareness of numerous charities related to my Dad’s illnesses. I want my friends to know that too much of an unhealthy lifestyle is probably going to lead to an early demise. I also want to raise the profile of vintage and second-hand fashion; I remember as a kid we use to take the mick out of anyone who dressed from a charity shop. I myself as a student had a stigma against them. Now it’s become kitsch, cool and quirky. It’s good for the environment.

How much do you hope to raise and what are the funds likely to be used for?
£2500 is my Just Giving target – it goes directly to Macmillan. However, with my shopping at many different charity shops, my cash goes straight to them – win win all round! I have my thinking cap on about how to expand the project though.


eBay! Illustration by Avril Kelly

Why did you choose Macmillan?
My dad (and his dad) had cancer – he died last week unfortunately. And it wasn’t the cancer that killed him, it was his heart and his adult-onset diabetes. A poor lifestyle in his twenties and thirties caused it and he was only 57 when he passed. So as I said before, this project benefits other charities focussing on these causes too through me spending money at their outlets.

Not that far in, but have you come accross any problems so far? Has anything that happened that you weren’t expecting?
Avoiding shops is quite hard as I realised I can’t just pop into the Topshop sale and treat myself – which I suppose is good for my wallet and I’m going to do less impulse-buying on the way home from work.
With my Dad passing, I haven’t had as much time to go browsing shops as much as I’d like. This weekend, however, I’m going to the Girls of Guildford vintage fair and gig – for some serious retail therapy, cupcake-nomming and also to check out some great live music away from the bustle of London.


Vintage, illustrated by Jess Holt

What are you wearing today? Where’s it all from?
Dark blue skinny jeans, leather knee boots that I already owned with black and cream patterned blouse from River Island that I bought from Cancer Research UK. I’m also wearing red rose earrings from Magnolia Jewellery.

Do you plan to make or alter any of your clothes? If so, how?
Yes – I love sewing and making jewellery too – I made a cape last week and have upcycled a pair of old, torn jeans from my uni days into a denim mini. I have a small collection of retro patterns including a lovely dress with a pussy bow. I love being able to create something out of fabric I love: last year I went to a lovely Indian wedding and couldn’t find The Outfit – so I made a purple maxi-dress with a halterneck and glammed it up with ribbons dangling down my back. Saved myself a fortune too!


Illustration by Gilly Rochester

What else do you get up to?
I run Never Enough Notes – a music e-zine, and I’m cycling the London-Brighton this summer with my brother and friends to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

What would be your perfect Preloved, Reloved outfit?
For daytime it would easily be vintage jeans, brown boots that look a bit worn-out, a floaty shirt or cheeky tee, a tweed jacket and a battered satchel.
For evening, I love ball gowns and retro dresses so would be something glam that I could wear with a pair of 1970s heels! Oh there’s way too much choice, I love it!


Photographs by Kim Sklinar

You can follow Kim’s efforts at the Preloved, Reloved blog; donate online here.
Junky Styling S/S 2010 by Aniela Murphy
Junky Styling S/S 2010 by Aniela Murphy.

Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager are self-taught fashion designers. They started up Junky Styling after they received lots of compliments for their deconstructed and restyled secondhand suits made to go out clubbing in during the 1990’s.

What prompted your approach to dressmaking?
Our approach was initially borne out of a lack of money but it soon became a necessity for individuality and quality. At first Annika’s mother did most of the sewing so our designs were heavily directed by her.

Have you seen many changes over the years?
Aside from all the wrinkles on our faces? We have seen the tangible development of a marketplace that never existed before. Education has enabled the sustainable movement to become more widely accepted and understood, approved and now many new brands think about sustainability before they even start designing.

Where did you go out in the past and do you still go clubbing?
We went to a wide mixture of venues that hosted a similar dressy scene. It was such a brilliant time, and we still enjoy socialising and a bit of a shuffle. But we always try to ensure that we are not the oldest at the bar…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Junky Styling’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.
You’ve been going for a very long time. Have attitudes to ethical fashion started to change yet?
Consumers are starting to question the huge exploitation of people and the environment that permits their clothing to be so cheap, treat because it doesn’t add up. There is still a long way to go but the fashion industry is slowly changing the way it does business.

What has the People Tree brand achieved?
We support 5, website like this 000 farmers, case artisans and their families in developing countries by producing well designed fairtrade and sustainable products. For us it’s about creating sustainable livelihoods that put food on the table at the end of the day.

You’ve collaborated with both Bora Aksu and Karen Nichol. What have they brought to People Tree?
We’ve worked with Bora for four years because we share the view that good fashion design should last for years. He is a master of beautiful, feminine draped designs that we produce in organic and fairtrade cotton, and we’ve already started designing an exciting new collection for S/S 2012. Like me Karen is passionate about handicrafts and she loves traditional Japanese textiles and designs. She works with our hand knitters in Nepal to create beautiful appliquéd and hand embroidered embellishments
You’ve been going for a very long time. Have attitudes to ethical fashion started to change yet?
Consumers are starting to question the huge exploitation of people and the environment that permits their clothing to be so cheap, see because it doesn’t add up. There is still a long way to go but the fashion industry is slowly changing the way it does business.

What has the People Tree brand achieved?
We support 5, try 000 farmers, artisans and their families in developing countries by producing well designed fairtrade and sustainable products. For us it’s about creating sustainable livelihoods that put food on the table at the end of the day.

You’ve collaborated with both Bora Aksu and Karen Nichol. What have they brought to People Tree?
We’ve worked with Bora for four years because we share the view that good fashion design should last for years. He is a master of beautiful, feminine draped designs that we produce in organic and fairtrade cotton, and we’ve already started designing an exciting new collection for S/S 2012. Like me Karen is passionate about handicrafts and she loves traditional Japanese textiles and designs. She works with our hand knitters in Nepal to create beautiful appliquéd and hand embroidered embellishments
How did the idea of working with old porcelain come about? 
I was tired of producing other peoples’ ideas (as a stage producer) so in 2007 I decided to start working on my own project, dosage which soon developed into my rapidly growing label, stomach Sägen. I go to flea markets as often as I can for inspiration and to collect source material; I have amassed a huge collection of vintage buttons as well as piles of chipped and damaged porcelain that is no longer wanted. I like to work with my hands and I love turning items from the past into modern accessories. 

Sägen means Old Saga in Swedish – why did you chose this name for your brand?
I come from a small island called Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea and I have wonderful memories of listening to all the old myths when I was a kid. I came up with the idea for Sägen when I was there and the name reflects my interest in recycling a little bit of history into new treasures, so I find the name very suitable.

How do you cut the porcelain and set it in silver?
I cut and grind the porcelain with machines, which is a very dirty, dusty and dangerous job: I have been close to losing my fingers many times. When I am working in my basement studio I forget about everything else, instead focusing on the patterns that I am obsessed with. I decide what shapes to make up depending on the motifs in the porcelain, then I set the porcelain in silver (which is 98% recycled) so that it curves, bends and stretches around the shape I have cut out.
Ivana Basilotta S/S 2011 by Bex Glover
Ivana Basilotta S/S 2011 by Bex Glover.

Ivana Basilotta is Italian but has lived in Germany as well as the UK. She channels her observations of different cultures into her work, treatment sometimes the ideas flowing so fast that her pen can’t keep up and her scissors can’t cut the fabric fast enough. Quite often she only realises she was inspired by a certain idea once the collection has been finished. Having previously studied business Ivana is well placed to run her label, prostate and feels that a good business knowledge is as important as the creative force of a design house.

A committed vegetarian, she designs with peace silk, which is made in India without the killing of the silk moth. Because peace silk is spun as a fibre rather than reeled as a thread it is warmer and softer than ordinary silk. “I cannot imagine eating meat,” she says. “I find it strange that people eat dead animals.” She feels that being a vegetarian brings a great sense of freedom and well being, and it is an easy way to lead a greener life. “Farm land that could directly produce food for humans is used to farm and feed animals for slaughter, which uses up far more resources.” She does not like to imagine the stress and sorrow that farmed animals must experience, and wants no part in it…

Read the rest of this interview with Ivana Basilotta 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.
bex_glover_howies_collection
Howies by Bex Glover.

Howies has since 1995 pioneered the creation of ethical active clothing with a strong design aesthetic. Based in Cardigan Bay, case Wales, remedy the company has built up a devoted fan base via its affiliation with outdoor sports such as surfing, order mountain biking and skateboarding. Products are made from high performing sustainable fabrics that will last, with a proportion of profits ploughed back into grassroots social and environmental projects via the Earth Tax. Although some clothes are made in China and Turkey they ensure best practice by employing the same factories as other companies they trust, such as M&S…

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

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Active Wear, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bex Glover, ,Cardigan, ,Cardigan Bay, ,China, ,Do Lectures, ,Earth Tax, ,Eco fashion, ,Ethical Fashion, ,howies, ,M&S, ,Merino, ,Severn Studios, ,sustainability, ,Turkey, ,wales

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Amelia’s Magazine | Ivana Basilotta: how vegetarianism inspired a luxury ethical fashion range

Tania Kowalski was a workshop manager at a well-known contemporary jewellery gallery in London when Synnove Saelthun arrived from New York to join the design team. They soon discovered that they had similar views on design and business ethics, more about cialis 40mg and became good friends. Several years later they started the Oria brand, prescription using Synnove’s design skills and Tania’s production expertise. Synnove is a technically brilliant goldsmith with a passion for design and an eye for detail. Tania is a trained jeweller, viagra with a wide range of experience in the jewellery industry, from design creation through to production. Her expertise includes sourcing ethical materials and ensuring fair business practice.

Tania’s passion for other cultures has led her to visit remote tribes in the Amazon of Brazil, hill tribes in Nepal and the Dogon people of Mali. It was during these travels that she became fascinated with the cultural importance and symbolic meaning of tribal adornment. When designing a new collection, the couple sit down together to discuss what the new collection will symbolise. They research and refine story boards, and after ensuring that the designs are technically feasible Synnove makes an initial prototype, the best of which will go into production.

The use of the phoenix is a symbol of honesty and justice in Chinese mythology, and is one of the inspirations for the Nina collection. The lotus symbolises purity and beauty in many different cultures, and it inspired their silver lotus collection.

Working in Nepal Tania discovered that the safe working conditions and fair living wages which we take for granted in the West are not necessarily the norm in other parts of the world. This early experience was important in persuading Tania to commit to fairtrade sourcing as a founding principle of Oria.

Vintage fashion, about it illustrated by Matilde Sazio

Kim Sklinar, viagra sale aka Preloved Reloved, cheap has set herself an interesting New Year’s challenge. For the duration of 2011, Kim isn’t going to buy any new clothes. No more high-street bargains, no more feeding corporate giants, no more fast-fashion waste, no siree. ‘Another one?’ I hear you cry – and you’d be right. But this one is a little different.

While Kim hopes to raise awareness about the amount of cheap clothing we purchase and what effects that has on the environment and people’s lives, there’s also a bigger reason closer to home. Kim’s father was diagnosed with cancer over 18 months ago, and she decided to set up the project to raise funds for Macmillan, the cancer care and support charity. Unfortunately, as of only last week, Kim’s dad won’t see the project through its fruition. But Kim will dedicate the project to his memory.

So, how do you do it? Well, Kim’s vowed to buy only vintage and from outlets like eBay, and she’ll spend more time in charity shops which also benefits all of the organisations that run them. I had a chat with her about the project and how she thinks she’ll manage it all…


Vintage shop, illustrated by Karolina Burdon

What gave you the idea for Preloved, Reloved in the first place?
Well I always like to dress a little differently. My style is mainstream with a retro edge, I suppose. I always seem to end up with a daft New Year’s resolution – last year I cycled from London to Paris for The Institute of Cancer Research. I like using my time to help others and spread awareness.

Were you a fan of vintage and upcycling before you started the project?
Yes! I always admire my friends’ outfits; well, those who wear vintage and second-hand fashion. Upcycling is something I have experimented with for ages at home and now is the time to make sure I actually finish some projects!

Where will you source your outfits?
Charity shops, vintage stores, eBay, my mum’s wardrobe…! I made a lined cape last night from linen and satin for balmy summer nights (booking a holiday soon!).


Charity shops, illustrated by Rukmunal Hakim

What does the project hope to achieve?
I want to raise awareness of numerous charities related to my Dad’s illnesses. I want my friends to know that too much of an unhealthy lifestyle is probably going to lead to an early demise. I also want to raise the profile of vintage and second-hand fashion; I remember as a kid we use to take the mick out of anyone who dressed from a charity shop. I myself as a student had a stigma against them. Now it’s become kitsch, cool and quirky. It’s good for the environment.

How much do you hope to raise and what are the funds likely to be used for?
£2500 is my Just Giving target – it goes directly to Macmillan. However, with my shopping at many different charity shops, my cash goes straight to them – win win all round! I have my thinking cap on about how to expand the project though.


eBay! Illustration by Avril Kelly

Why did you choose Macmillan?
My dad (and his dad) had cancer – he died last week unfortunately. And it wasn’t the cancer that killed him, it was his heart and his adult-onset diabetes. A poor lifestyle in his twenties and thirties caused it and he was only 57 when he passed. So as I said before, this project benefits other charities focussing on these causes too through me spending money at their outlets.

Not that far in, but have you come accross any problems so far? Has anything that happened that you weren’t expecting?
Avoiding shops is quite hard as I realised I can’t just pop into the Topshop sale and treat myself – which I suppose is good for my wallet and I’m going to do less impulse-buying on the way home from work.
With my Dad passing, I haven’t had as much time to go browsing shops as much as I’d like. This weekend, however, I’m going to the Girls of Guildford vintage fair and gig – for some serious retail therapy, cupcake-nomming and also to check out some great live music away from the bustle of London.


Vintage, illustrated by Jess Holt

What are you wearing today? Where’s it all from?
Dark blue skinny jeans, leather knee boots that I already owned with black and cream patterned blouse from River Island that I bought from Cancer Research UK. I’m also wearing red rose earrings from Magnolia Jewellery.

Do you plan to make or alter any of your clothes? If so, how?
Yes – I love sewing and making jewellery too – I made a cape last week and have upcycled a pair of old, torn jeans from my uni days into a denim mini. I have a small collection of retro patterns including a lovely dress with a pussy bow. I love being able to create something out of fabric I love: last year I went to a lovely Indian wedding and couldn’t find The Outfit – so I made a purple maxi-dress with a halterneck and glammed it up with ribbons dangling down my back. Saved myself a fortune too!


Illustration by Gilly Rochester

What else do you get up to?
I run Never Enough Notes – a music e-zine, and I’m cycling the London-Brighton this summer with my brother and friends to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

What would be your perfect Preloved, Reloved outfit?
For daytime it would easily be vintage jeans, brown boots that look a bit worn-out, a floaty shirt or cheeky tee, a tweed jacket and a battered satchel.
For evening, I love ball gowns and retro dresses so would be something glam that I could wear with a pair of 1970s heels! Oh there’s way too much choice, I love it!


Photographs by Kim Sklinar

You can follow Kim’s efforts at the Preloved, Reloved blog; donate online here.
Junky Styling S/S 2010 by Aniela Murphy
Junky Styling S/S 2010 by Aniela Murphy.

Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager are self-taught fashion designers. They started up Junky Styling after they received lots of compliments for their deconstructed and restyled secondhand suits made to go out clubbing in during the 1990’s.

What prompted your approach to dressmaking?
Our approach was initially borne out of a lack of money but it soon became a necessity for individuality and quality. At first Annika’s mother did most of the sewing so our designs were heavily directed by her.

Have you seen many changes over the years?
Aside from all the wrinkles on our faces? We have seen the tangible development of a marketplace that never existed before. Education has enabled the sustainable movement to become more widely accepted and understood, approved and now many new brands think about sustainability before they even start designing.

Where did you go out in the past and do you still go clubbing?
We went to a wide mixture of venues that hosted a similar dressy scene. It was such a brilliant time, and we still enjoy socialising and a bit of a shuffle. But we always try to ensure that we are not the oldest at the bar…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Junky Styling’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.
You’ve been going for a very long time. Have attitudes to ethical fashion started to change yet?
Consumers are starting to question the huge exploitation of people and the environment that permits their clothing to be so cheap, treat because it doesn’t add up. There is still a long way to go but the fashion industry is slowly changing the way it does business.

What has the People Tree brand achieved?
We support 5, website like this 000 farmers, case artisans and their families in developing countries by producing well designed fairtrade and sustainable products. For us it’s about creating sustainable livelihoods that put food on the table at the end of the day.

You’ve collaborated with both Bora Aksu and Karen Nichol. What have they brought to People Tree?
We’ve worked with Bora for four years because we share the view that good fashion design should last for years. He is a master of beautiful, feminine draped designs that we produce in organic and fairtrade cotton, and we’ve already started designing an exciting new collection for S/S 2012. Like me Karen is passionate about handicrafts and she loves traditional Japanese textiles and designs. She works with our hand knitters in Nepal to create beautiful appliquéd and hand embroidered embellishments
You’ve been going for a very long time. Have attitudes to ethical fashion started to change yet?
Consumers are starting to question the huge exploitation of people and the environment that permits their clothing to be so cheap, see because it doesn’t add up. There is still a long way to go but the fashion industry is slowly changing the way it does business.

What has the People Tree brand achieved?
We support 5, try 000 farmers, artisans and their families in developing countries by producing well designed fairtrade and sustainable products. For us it’s about creating sustainable livelihoods that put food on the table at the end of the day.

You’ve collaborated with both Bora Aksu and Karen Nichol. What have they brought to People Tree?
We’ve worked with Bora for four years because we share the view that good fashion design should last for years. He is a master of beautiful, feminine draped designs that we produce in organic and fairtrade cotton, and we’ve already started designing an exciting new collection for S/S 2012. Like me Karen is passionate about handicrafts and she loves traditional Japanese textiles and designs. She works with our hand knitters in Nepal to create beautiful appliquéd and hand embroidered embellishments
How did the idea of working with old porcelain come about? 
I was tired of producing other peoples’ ideas (as a stage producer) so in 2007 I decided to start working on my own project, dosage which soon developed into my rapidly growing label, stomach Sägen. I go to flea markets as often as I can for inspiration and to collect source material; I have amassed a huge collection of vintage buttons as well as piles of chipped and damaged porcelain that is no longer wanted. I like to work with my hands and I love turning items from the past into modern accessories. 

Sägen means Old Saga in Swedish – why did you chose this name for your brand?
I come from a small island called Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea and I have wonderful memories of listening to all the old myths when I was a kid. I came up with the idea for Sägen when I was there and the name reflects my interest in recycling a little bit of history into new treasures, so I find the name very suitable.

How do you cut the porcelain and set it in silver?
I cut and grind the porcelain with machines, which is a very dirty, dusty and dangerous job: I have been close to losing my fingers many times. When I am working in my basement studio I forget about everything else, instead focusing on the patterns that I am obsessed with. I decide what shapes to make up depending on the motifs in the porcelain, then I set the porcelain in silver (which is 98% recycled) so that it curves, bends and stretches around the shape I have cut out.
Ivana Basilotta S/S 2011 by Bex Glover
Ivana Basilotta S/S 2011 by Bex Glover.

Ivana Basilotta is Italian but has lived in Germany as well as the UK. She channels her observations of different cultures into her work, treatment sometimes the ideas flowing so fast that her pen can’t keep up and her scissors can’t cut the fabric fast enough. Quite often she only realises she was inspired by a certain idea once the collection has been finished. Having previously studied business Ivana is well placed to run her label, prostate and feels that a good business knowledge is as important as the creative force of a design house.

A committed vegetarian, she designs with peace silk, which is made in India without the killing of the silk moth. Because peace silk is spun as a fibre rather than reeled as a thread it is warmer and softer than ordinary silk. “I cannot imagine eating meat,” she says. “I find it strange that people eat dead animals.” She feels that being a vegetarian brings a great sense of freedom and well being, and it is an easy way to lead a greener life. “Farm land that could directly produce food for humans is used to farm and feed animals for slaughter, which uses up far more resources.” She does not like to imagine the stress and sorrow that farmed animals must experience, and wants no part in it…

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

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bex Glover, ,Eco fashion, ,Ethical Fashion, ,India, ,Italian, ,peace silk, ,Severn Studios, ,vegetarian

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Amelia’s Magazine | Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration is OUT NOW!

Willow candle by daria hlazatova
Willow Organic Gold Frankincense and Myrrh candle by Daria Hlazatova.

I don’t know what it is about candles that gets me so excited. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I love beautiful smells. My house may be a mess but I quite often spritz my office with a sweetly scented room spray or light a candle to imbue a relaxing mood. I think that this is the nub of what is so brilliant about candles, generic link especially the really high quality ones that contain high quantities of essential oils – they are the simplest way to create a delightfully relaxing and cosy feeling within a space.

willow organics candle

And of course Christmas is all about candles. Since I lived in Sweden as a little girl my family has had a tradition of lighting advent candles during the month of December – and whilst I don’t spend much time at my parent’s home anymore, look I always look forward to candlelit dinners when I return for Christmas. Candles impart a certain cosiness which the Danish call “hygge” – and during these bitterly cold dark winter months is most sorely appreciated.

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh candle by Daria Hlazatova
Gold Frankincense and Myrrh candle by Daria Hlazatova.

This year my favourite discovery is the Willow Organic Gold Frankincense and Myrrh candle. It comes beautifully presented in a beribboned fold out box and utilises the naturally healing and calming effects of precious oils that have been synonymous with Christmas since biblical times.

Willow candle box
willow candle box open

From the wonderful scents to the gold leaf that floats glittering in the top of the wax, information pills it doesn’t get more christmassy than this. The Willow Organic shop in Kings Road, Chelsea is open until the 23rd December, so there’s still time to grab a fabulous Christmas candle before the big day.

Cire_Trudon_by_Megan_Piontkowski
Cire Trudon by Megan Piontkowski.

Earlier this year I discovered the French Cire Trudon brand, which has been in operation in various guises since 1643. Alongside very high quality candles presented in beautiful glass pots with heraldic shields, they also produce stunning room sprays in statement bottles and a boxed set containing a room spray, candle and illustrated fairy tale – the idea being to encourage children to enjoy evocative scents from a very young age. Not for the hard up these boxed sets don’t come cheap, but I love the idea and the illustrated booklets are a delight.

Sinbad the Sailor - Fairy Tale Box - Cire Trudon

Recently discovered: the Albam independent menswear clothing store in Spitalfields stocks three yummy varieties of candle, my favourite being the figgy one. When I went in they were also testing out a new scent called Library, which was suitably masculine. Unfortunately I don’t think you can buy these online but it’s definitely worth taking a trip down to this great little store.

Spitalfields Candle Co by ellie sutton
Spitalfields Candle Co and Tocca candles by Ellie Sutton.

There is also the Spitalfields Candle Co. which uses sustainably sourced soya wax in all candles. It was hard to choose my favourite from such a yummy range only briefly sniffed in the Inspitalfields gift store, but I think it has to be Lemon Verbena – I just love that clean bright scent.

Diptyque Candle - The Cloud Commission
Diptyque Candle by The Cloud Commission.

Tocca are a high end scent company that stock in Liberty – I particularly like the sound of the Bianca candle which contains Green Tea and Lemon. Each year the Parisian brand Diptyque creates a special Christmas range, in beautifully decorated coloured glass jars. The Orange Epicee sounds yummy, as does the Canelle.

Jo Malone by Gareth A Hopkins
Jo Malone by Gareth A Hopkins.

Lastly but no means least Jo Malone offers incredibly classy scents, all tastefully presented in cream boxes with crisp branding. The limited edition Pine & Eucalyptus Collection sounds glorious, and how about a giant candle with not one but four wicks to make a major statement?

Right, I’m off to get on with my present wrapping by the scent of my Willow Organic candle. Have a glorious Christmas everyone.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-cover

So, pills the book is finally here! You can find it at Tate Modern, about it Magma, Design Museum, Serpentine Gallery, Tatty Devine, Cornerhouse, Arnolfini and many other good independent book stores across the UK and by early 2011 around the world.

Tatty Devine Amelia's Compendium
Harriet of Tatty Devine takes receipt of her copies of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Amelia's Compendium Magma
On the shelves of Magma.

Or you can buy it online here for a reduced price and receive 12 unique Amelia’s Magazine postcards, plus a selection of bookmarks. This offer is EXCLUSIVE to my website. You can’t get these postcards anywhere else!

Amelia's Compendium postcards
Postcards come free with all orders of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration made through this website.

The following up and coming fashion illustrators feature in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration:
Abigail Daker, Abby Wright, Amy Martino, Andrea Peterson, Aniela Murphy, Antonia Parker, Bex Glover, Emma Block, Erica Sharp, Faye West, Gemma Milly, Jennifer Costello, Jenny Robins, Jo Cheung, Joana Faria, June Chanpoomidole, Katherine Tromans, Katie Harnett, Kellie Black, Krister Selin, Lesley Barnes, Lisa Stannard, Michelle Urvall Nyren, Naomi Law, Natasha Thompson, Natsuki Otani, Rachel de Ste Croix, Yelena Bryksenkova, Zarina Liew & Gareth A Hopkins.

And…. the book features interviews with the following ethical fashion designers:
123 Bethnal Green Road, Ada Zanditon, Andrea Crews, Anja Hynynen, Beautiful Soul, By Stamo, Camilla Norrback, Christopher Raeburn, Ciel, Dem Collective, Edun, Emesha, Emma Ware, Fifi Bijoux, From Somewhere, Goodone, Gossypium, Henrietta Ludgate, Hetty Rose, Howies, Ivana Basilotta, Izzy Lane, Joanna Cave, Junky Styling, Little Glass Clementine, Lu Flux, Martina Spetlova, Maxjenny, Michelle Lowe-Holder, Minna, Nancy Dee, Nina Dolcetti, Noir, Noki, Oria, Partimi, People Tree, Pia Anjou, Prophetik, Romina Karamanea, Sägen, Satoshi Date, Tara Starlet, Ute Decker & Wilfried Pletzinger

Below are some pages from inside the book – which is the usual riot of colour and pattern for which I have become known. You can also watch a flick video of the book on the website of my international distributor Idea Books here.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-From Somewhere
From Somewhere illustrated by Rachel de Ste Croix.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-By Stamo
By Stamo illustrated by Krister Selin.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-Christopher Raeburn
Christopher Raeburn illustrated by Gemma Milly.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-Edun
Edun illustrated by Katherine Tromans.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-Dem Collective
Dem Collective illustrated by Michelle Urvall Nyren.

Amelia's Compendium Aniela Murphy
Aniela Murphy’s pages in the content proofs.

Amelia's Compendium Antonia Parker
Antonia Parker’s pages in the content proofs.

Please note that I will not be posting any orders out until the 4th January 2011. Have a very merry Christmas!

Categories ,123, ,123 Bethnal Green Road, ,Abby Wright, ,Abigail Daker, ,Ada Zanditon, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Amy Martino, ,Andrea Crews, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Aniela Murphy, ,Anja Hynynen, ,Antonia Parker, ,arnolfini, ,Beautiful Soul, ,Bex Glover, ,book, ,Book shop, ,Bookstores, ,By Stamo, ,Camilla Norrback, ,Christopher Raeburn, ,ciel, ,Cornerhouse, ,Dem Collective, ,Design Museum, ,Eco fashion, ,Edun, ,Emesha, ,Emma Block, ,Emma Ware, ,Erica Sharp, ,Ethical Fashion Design, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Faye West, ,Fifi Bijoux, ,From Somewhere, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Milly, ,goodone, ,gossypium, ,Henrietta Ludgate, ,Hetty Rose, ,howies, ,Idea Books, ,illustration, ,Ivana Basilotta, ,Izzy Lane, ,Jennifer Costello, ,Jenny Robins, ,Jo Cheung, ,Joana Faria, ,Joanna Cave, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,Junky Styling, ,Katherine Tromans, ,Katie Harnett, ,Kellie Black, ,Krister Selin, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Lisa Stannard, ,Little Glass Clementine, ,Lu Flux, ,Magma, ,Martina Spetlova, ,Maxjenny, ,Michelle Lowe-Holder, ,Michelle Urvall Nyrén, ,Minna, ,Nancy Dee, ,Naomi Law, ,Natasha Thompson, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Nina Dolcetti, ,noir, ,Noki, ,Oria, ,Partimi, ,People Tree, ,Pia Anjou, ,Prophetik, ,Rachel De Ste. Croix, ,Romina Karamanea, ,Sägen, ,Satoshi Date, ,Serpentine Gallery, ,Tara Starlet, ,Tate Modern, ,Tatty Devine, ,Ute Decker, ,Wilfried Pletzinger, ,Yelena Bryksenkova, ,Zarina Liew

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Amelia’s Magazine | Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration is OUT NOW!

Willow candle by daria hlazatova
Willow Organic Gold Frankincense and Myrrh candle by Daria Hlazatova.

I don’t know what it is about candles that gets me so excited. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I love beautiful smells. My house may be a mess but I quite often spritz my office with a sweetly scented room spray or light a candle to imbue a relaxing mood. I think that this is the nub of what is so brilliant about candles, generic link especially the really high quality ones that contain high quantities of essential oils – they are the simplest way to create a delightfully relaxing and cosy feeling within a space.

willow organics candle

And of course Christmas is all about candles. Since I lived in Sweden as a little girl my family has had a tradition of lighting advent candles during the month of December – and whilst I don’t spend much time at my parent’s home anymore, look I always look forward to candlelit dinners when I return for Christmas. Candles impart a certain cosiness which the Danish call “hygge” – and during these bitterly cold dark winter months is most sorely appreciated.

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh candle by Daria Hlazatova
Gold Frankincense and Myrrh candle by Daria Hlazatova.

This year my favourite discovery is the Willow Organic Gold Frankincense and Myrrh candle. It comes beautifully presented in a beribboned fold out box and utilises the naturally healing and calming effects of precious oils that have been synonymous with Christmas since biblical times.

Willow candle box
willow candle box open

From the wonderful scents to the gold leaf that floats glittering in the top of the wax, information pills it doesn’t get more christmassy than this. The Willow Organic shop in Kings Road, Chelsea is open until the 23rd December, so there’s still time to grab a fabulous Christmas candle before the big day.

Cire_Trudon_by_Megan_Piontkowski
Cire Trudon by Megan Piontkowski.

Earlier this year I discovered the French Cire Trudon brand, which has been in operation in various guises since 1643. Alongside very high quality candles presented in beautiful glass pots with heraldic shields, they also produce stunning room sprays in statement bottles and a boxed set containing a room spray, candle and illustrated fairy tale – the idea being to encourage children to enjoy evocative scents from a very young age. Not for the hard up these boxed sets don’t come cheap, but I love the idea and the illustrated booklets are a delight.

Sinbad the Sailor - Fairy Tale Box - Cire Trudon

Recently discovered: the Albam independent menswear clothing store in Spitalfields stocks three yummy varieties of candle, my favourite being the figgy one. When I went in they were also testing out a new scent called Library, which was suitably masculine. Unfortunately I don’t think you can buy these online but it’s definitely worth taking a trip down to this great little store.

Spitalfields Candle Co by ellie sutton
Spitalfields Candle Co and Tocca candles by Ellie Sutton.

There is also the Spitalfields Candle Co. which uses sustainably sourced soya wax in all candles. It was hard to choose my favourite from such a yummy range only briefly sniffed in the Inspitalfields gift store, but I think it has to be Lemon Verbena – I just love that clean bright scent.

Diptyque Candle - The Cloud Commission
Diptyque Candle by The Cloud Commission.

Tocca are a high end scent company that stock in Liberty – I particularly like the sound of the Bianca candle which contains Green Tea and Lemon. Each year the Parisian brand Diptyque creates a special Christmas range, in beautifully decorated coloured glass jars. The Orange Epicee sounds yummy, as does the Canelle.

Jo Malone by Gareth A Hopkins
Jo Malone by Gareth A Hopkins.

Lastly but no means least Jo Malone offers incredibly classy scents, all tastefully presented in cream boxes with crisp branding. The limited edition Pine & Eucalyptus Collection sounds glorious, and how about a giant candle with not one but four wicks to make a major statement?

Right, I’m off to get on with my present wrapping by the scent of my Willow Organic candle. Have a glorious Christmas everyone.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-cover

So, pills the book is finally here! You can find it at Tate Modern, about it Magma, Design Museum, Serpentine Gallery, Tatty Devine, Cornerhouse, Arnolfini and many other good independent book stores across the UK and by early 2011 around the world.

Tatty Devine Amelia's Compendium
Harriet of Tatty Devine takes receipt of her copies of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Amelia's Compendium Magma
On the shelves of Magma.

Or you can buy it online here for a reduced price and receive 12 unique Amelia’s Magazine postcards, plus a selection of bookmarks. This offer is EXCLUSIVE to my website. You can’t get these postcards anywhere else!

Amelia's Compendium postcards
Postcards come free with all orders of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration made through this website.

The following up and coming fashion illustrators feature in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration:
Abigail Daker, Abby Wright, Amy Martino, Andrea Peterson, Aniela Murphy, Antonia Parker, Bex Glover, Emma Block, Erica Sharp, Faye West, Gemma Milly, Jennifer Costello, Jenny Robins, Jo Cheung, Joana Faria, June Chanpoomidole, Katherine Tromans, Katie Harnett, Kellie Black, Krister Selin, Lesley Barnes, Lisa Stannard, Michelle Urvall Nyren, Naomi Law, Natasha Thompson, Natsuki Otani, Rachel de Ste Croix, Yelena Bryksenkova, Zarina Liew & Gareth A Hopkins.

And…. the book features interviews with the following ethical fashion designers:
123 Bethnal Green Road, Ada Zanditon, Andrea Crews, Anja Hynynen, Beautiful Soul, By Stamo, Camilla Norrback, Christopher Raeburn, Ciel, Dem Collective, Edun, Emesha, Emma Ware, Fifi Bijoux, From Somewhere, Goodone, Gossypium, Henrietta Ludgate, Hetty Rose, Howies, Ivana Basilotta, Izzy Lane, Joanna Cave, Junky Styling, Little Glass Clementine, Lu Flux, Martina Spetlova, Maxjenny, Michelle Lowe-Holder, Minna, Nancy Dee, Nina Dolcetti, Noir, Noki, Oria, Partimi, People Tree, Pia Anjou, Prophetik, Romina Karamanea, Sägen, Satoshi Date, Tara Starlet, Ute Decker & Wilfried Pletzinger

Below are some pages from inside the book – which is the usual riot of colour and pattern for which I have become known. You can also watch a flick video of the book on the website of my international distributor Idea Books here.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-From Somewhere
From Somewhere illustrated by Rachel de Ste Croix.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-By Stamo
By Stamo illustrated by Krister Selin.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-Christopher Raeburn
Christopher Raeburn illustrated by Gemma Milly.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-Edun
Edun illustrated by Katherine Tromans.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion-sm-Dem Collective
Dem Collective illustrated by Michelle Urvall Nyren.

Amelia's Compendium Aniela Murphy
Aniela Murphy’s pages in the content proofs.

Amelia's Compendium Antonia Parker
Antonia Parker’s pages in the content proofs.

Please note that I will not be posting any orders out until the 4th January 2011. Have a very merry Christmas!

Categories ,123, ,123 Bethnal Green Road, ,Abby Wright, ,Abigail Daker, ,Ada Zanditon, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Amy Martino, ,Andrea Crews, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Aniela Murphy, ,Anja Hynynen, ,Antonia Parker, ,arnolfini, ,Beautiful Soul, ,Bex Glover, ,book, ,Book shop, ,Bookstores, ,By Stamo, ,Camilla Norrback, ,Christopher Raeburn, ,ciel, ,Cornerhouse, ,Dem Collective, ,Design Museum, ,Eco fashion, ,Edun, ,Emesha, ,Emma Block, ,Emma Ware, ,Erica Sharp, ,Ethical Fashion Design, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Faye West, ,Fifi Bijoux, ,From Somewhere, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Milly, ,goodone, ,gossypium, ,Henrietta Ludgate, ,Hetty Rose, ,howies, ,Idea Books, ,illustration, ,Ivana Basilotta, ,Izzy Lane, ,Jennifer Costello, ,Jenny Robins, ,Jo Cheung, ,Joana Faria, ,Joanna Cave, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,Junky Styling, ,Katherine Tromans, ,Katie Harnett, ,Kellie Black, ,Krister Selin, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Lisa Stannard, ,Little Glass Clementine, ,Lu Flux, ,Magma, ,Martina Spetlova, ,Maxjenny, ,Michelle Lowe-Holder, ,Michelle Urvall Nyrén, ,Minna, ,Nancy Dee, ,Naomi Law, ,Natasha Thompson, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Nina Dolcetti, ,noir, ,Noki, ,Oria, ,Partimi, ,People Tree, ,Pia Anjou, ,Prophetik, ,Rachel De Ste. Croix, ,Romina Karamanea, ,Sägen, ,Satoshi Date, ,Serpentine Gallery, ,Tara Starlet, ,Tate Modern, ,Tatty Devine, ,Ute Decker, ,Wilfried Pletzinger, ,Yelena Bryksenkova, ,Zarina Liew

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