Amelia’s Magazine | They’ve got it under CTRL

When you think of the humble pom-pom you think of children’s clothes, order buy of gigantic sombreros for tourists, generic unsightly snow boots and poodles with dodgy haircuts. Experimenting with pom-poms always seemed to be a bit like tequila shots – one was fun, two was adventurous, any more was way overboard and enough to make you gag.
NOT ANY MORE! Somebody somewhere decided it was time to wrench those pom-poms from the cheerleader’s sweaty grasp and boom! Stick them in the right places and we’re in love – and it turns out you can have hundreds of them!



They might have come to our attention bobbling out all over the catwalks in fashion week and with the high street following suit, but this is a look that could be even cheaper for the creative recessionistas amongst you. Make your own! Check it.
If you ever find yourself sat staring into space on the tube, you could be churning out a whole lot of pom-poms instead. Worn the right way I think it’s a really easy and fun accessory to jazz up an outfit– this cute Peter Jensen ring as a prime example:


We’ve seen some girls wearing them in their hair, which make a nice woolly alternative to bows, and of course the contentious scrunchie.








Don’t be wearing those in the cinema mind you.

It’s amazing that something so simple has been culturally reinterpreted so often over the course of history. That might sound grand but something that’s gone from dangling off the edges of sun hats in Central America, to being mass marketed to children all over the world to making on the Paris catwalks is pretty unique. Yikes, Pom Pom international even reckons they can promote world peace. Maybe that’s one tequila too many. Sporting them could almost seem a throwback to childhood, a fashion revival harking back to the days of hats and mittens (I’d like to say ‘and snow and toboggans’ but let’s face it, it doesn’t snow THAT often).
The last thing we can learn about pom-poms is from cheerleaders everywhere, who if nothing else, seem mind-bogglingly happy. Why? POM-POMS!
“At a T-cross-section go to the left. On your left hand you will see a hill. At the end of the hill, tadalafil on the top, this you will see a green cottage. That is where you can find me. If I am not there I might be outside doing some experiments.”
Holland’s answer to a modern day Darwin, Theo Jansen has spent the last 19 years playing god and taking evolution into his own hands. An arrogant way to spend the best part of two decades you might say, but not when you see what incredible results this passing of time has produced. Jansen’s kinetic creature creations exist in a carefully crafted overlap of art and engineering.
From a physics background to a study of painting via an interest in aeronautics and robotics Jansen arrived at 1990 with a thirst for breathing autonomous life into mechanical sculpture. What started as a highly technical computer animation program is now only reliant on the power of the wind with no machine assistance and only minimal human input required, and even that Jansen hopes to eventually phase out.
My personal attraction to what Jansen does comes from my deep seated loathing of plastic waste, which he cleverly conquers by incorporating discarded plastic bottles as part of a complicated wind energy storage system and he sources metres and metres and metres of yellow plastic tubing- 375 tubes per animal to be exact- to create the skeletons for his beautiful monsters.
He claims he started to use the plastic tubing because it was unbelievably cheap and readily available although he quickly discovered that a more perfect material for the project would be hard to find as they are both flexible and multifunctional. He draws comparisons between the plastic required in his art and the protein required for life forms. “in nature, everything is almost made of protein and you have various uses of protein; you can make nails, hair, skin and bones. There’s a lot of variety in what you can do with just one material and this is what I try to do as well.”
The heads of his giant beings act as sails, directing the intricate frames to glide gracefully across the nearby beaches to Jansen’s home and laboratory. The insect-like wings catch gusts of wind and propel the body forward. When there is no wind not even for ready money, the stored energy in the belly of the beasts can be utilized.
Jansen’s vision is of a landscape populated by herds of these sculptures taking on entire lives of their own. The versions of models that made it into existence have raced and won survival of the fittest contests through his computer program and having studied these ‘winners’ Jansen designed creatures so developed they are even capable of self preservation, burrowing themselves in the sand when the gusts are too powerful for them to use constructively.
His imagination like his Strandbeests (literally translated as ‘Beach Animal) is an ever evolving self perfecting organ. He envisions a point at which he will release his creations ‘into the wild’, which he speaks about in the same loving tone you would expect from a parent preparing their nest to be flown by their offspring. “I imagine that two animals will meet each other and compare their qualities in some way; have a demonstration somewhere on how they run and how fast they can run and also do some quality comparison on how they survive the winds. And the one with the better quality kills the other one and gives the other its own genetic code. There could be 30 animals on the beach, running around all the time, copying genetic codes. And then it would go on without me.” It’s not so far fetched after all to consider what Jansen does as god-like. He plainly and rather humbly philosophizes, “I try to remake nature with the idea that while doing this you will uncover the secrets of life and that you will meet the same problems as the real creator,” he added. Theo Jansen is simply a genius though his genius is far from simple. Amen.

It has been a while since I have found a political party that I feel that I can get behind. Politics seem to have descended into a misguided mess. Anytime I read about a Tory or Labour MP, more about it is usually because of a scandal. What is going on environmentally and economically seems to play second fiddle to infighting and lies. Meanwhile, living in East London, I have become friends with a couple of people who are involved in the Hackney Green Party. They don’t seem to lie, or cheat, or claim expenses – this is a party that I can support! I wanted to find out more about them, so I sat down for a cup of tea with Matt Hanley, who is the Green candidate for Stoke Newington Central.

Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

I really liked the political broadcast; I thought it was very astute. The message is not that we have to step outside of our comfortable lives, but that the Green Party are the only political group who can deal with the contemporary and current issues that the world is facing; both politically and environmentally.

We have changed in almost a 180-degree way, twenty years ago the stereotype was beards, sandals, pipes, hemp clothes, it was almost like lecturing the public – it was unsophisticated. Twenty years ago was what, 1989? Scientists for the first time had come to an agreement that climate change was happening, and that it appeared to be man made. I guess when that news was first out there; people were like ‘look, its GOT to change’. Now we are a bit savvier. We have to present policies which are palatable to the voting public; there is no point in standing on the side lines and finger wagging, if we present a policy which will save money but drive down carbon emissions – that is what we are all about. I see the environment agenda of the Green Party very much subset of our core goal, which is social justice. Everything we do, we put the welfare of the human being at the very core. If they are not benefiting from our policies then… I don’t want to know…. that is what the Green Party stands for. So we work for human rights, LGBT rights, promoting the local economy, promoting local business, right though to reducing carbon emissions, they are all under this umbrella of social justice. We are providing a very electable platform, which will improve people’s lives. We are a very well run political party with extremely good innovative ideas to get ourselves out of this economic mess and we are also challenging climate change and enabling our communities to do the same and preparing ourselves for peak oil.

There have been a many protests organised recently, a lot of people who have never protested before are taking to the streets. What is the Green Party’s stance on direct action?

We are the political wing of the New Social Movement; we are the only party who advocate non-violent direct action. The Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, is probably the only leader with a criminal record, she has been arrested at a nuclear base up in Scotland. We support legitimate protest. There is a place for the protesting, and a place for the parliamentary process. So we are the elected wing of the protest movement.

Illustration by Aarron Taylor

Other parties don’t like their protesters do they?

Absolutely not, they just want you to nod along. Like good citizens, nod along like The Churchill Dog! (Laughs)

For people who have only heard of Hackney and have not been here, the first words that would come to mind would not be “sustainability”, “communities” or “grow your own”, but plenty of people are living by these ideals here and there is actually quite a healthy sized green movement in Hackney….

There is a massive opportunity for a green movement here, and massive support for us. It is unbelievable. In the last elections, the Greens reached second or third in every single ward in Hackney.

And you have a good relationship with Transition Town Hackney as well?

Yes, but they are completely different organisations. The Transition Town movement doesn’t want to be in the thrall of the political party. We definitely support the parties and their principles. We are all about a localised economy, we should be able to feed ourselves, produce our own energy, and I should be able to send my kid to the local school. The Transition Town model is about preparing for the onslaught of climate change and equipping communities for that transition, and that is also what the Greens are all about.

Can you see Hackney functioning well under a Green Party council?

Absolutely! They are doing it in Lewisham at the moment, which is a similar demography. They are doing all these fantastic things, for example, they have set a system up where you can go to the library and hire energy reading meters which you can take home and fix into your energy meter and this allows you to do an audit of your energy usage. I definitely want to see this launched in Hackney. It’s an innovative, creative way of thinking. It’s about putting sustainability at the core of everything, which also saves lots and lots of money!

I see The Green Party as being very accessible to young people as well.

The average age of people joining is mid to late 20′s. They are not wedded to 20th century politics, a lot of older labour supporters can’t bring themselves to leave. We have the same agenda that Labour did, back when they were good Labour. Only we can add the environmental agenda. We stand up for peace. We stand up for nuclear disarmament, no other party does that. We want public services to stay public. We want to renationalise the railways – the cost of rail tickets hits young people very, very hard. Younger people can see that we are standing up to big businesses, supporting local shops, and standing up for individuals. We have a whole plethora of progressive policies……..

Illustration by Aarron Taylor

And also The Green Party a very media savvy bunch – you are on Facebook, you organise lots of activities….

Absolutely! In fact next week we are going paintballing – ‘Paintballing for Peace’

(Laughs) What other way is there to find peace?

(Laughs), and we are going on a Hackney Greens bike ride down to Brighton, we are organising a summer solstice away down to the coast. And we go on alternative pub-crawls. (Laughs)

Speaking of young people, Matt, you are 30 years old and you are standing for Stoke Newington Council for next May. What prompted this move?

I don’t like politicians – they are all the same, especially with what is going on with news about their expenses at the moment.
Working for the Green Party, and seeing the good that they are doing, I thought, you have to step up. I know that I can do a good job. Labour are failing miserably both in Hackney and in the country. The Conservatives are the same, the Liberal Democrats are no different, and so as a Green, you just have to step up.

What will you do if you won and had the power to implement any idea? What’s the first thing that you would do?

Free insulation! It’s a scheme that stems from European legislation, which states that energy companies are obliged to give a certain percentage to energy efficiency schemes. But the councils have to apply for that. The Green Party in Kirklees is on the local council, so every single person in Kirklees gets free insulation. It drives down energy costs, and drives down the carbon emissions and creates local jobs, so it’s a win win situation. Why every single council on the country is getting on this I don’t know. It saves everyone money, make peoples homes warmer, make them healthier – it stops people going to NHS with colds and flu and also reinvigorates the local economy by producing jobs. It creates a programme of very sustainable jobs. We tried to implement it before, but the Labour Councellors called it ‘daft’, dismissed it out of hand and didn’t give a reason beyond that!

That doesn’t make any sense!

The Labour and Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats are on the wrong side of history, but there is a new movement, and it takes into account the Green Party, Transition Town and Friends Of The Earth…. Amnesty International, trade unions, CND etc and all these community grass routes organisations. This is a wonderful new social movement that can be called green with a small g and is a new paradigm of social and political engagement…. this is what the 21st Century is coming to now, but the three big parties are still clinging onto the coat tails of 20th Century ideology. This whole new multifaceted social movement (of which the Green Party are the political wing) is the new politics of the 21st century.

Illustration by Faye Katirai

Can you tell us the best changes that we can make to our lives to make our world more sustainable?

Number one is vote Green! Although I don’t want to lecture people about being ” eco trendy”. Eco trendiness and eco consumption is not going to sort this mess out. We need strong government action to allow this country to change to a sustainable economy. But back to things that you can do as an individual: don’t use your car as much. Don’t eat as much meat. Cut down, you don’t have to stop eating meat completely, just don’t buy from supermarkets. Stop shopping at supermarkets altogether, because that is killing the environment, and your local towns. Support your local shops instead.

Wise words! Thanks Matt.
While the rest of us spent the winter windblown and wet-toed, viagra knitwear designer Craig Lawrence was dreaming of a resort escape, prostate with all the bells and whistles. And what hard earned sunburn doesn’t deserve to be soothed by an embarrassingly oversized tropical drink with all the tacky accoutrements. And ‘splash’ inspiration is born! Those fanciful toxic colored fishbowls of liquor with their cascading garnishes were all the visual inspiration Craig needed to create his first collection since graduating from St.Martins last July. Knitted up with satin ribbons and swirling metal yarn, the knitwear newcomer’s sugar sweet confections made it to Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s runways and onto the lips of the fashion heavies.


I understand sweets and cocktails were the inspirations for your recent collection. What are some of your favorites?
After my degree collection for St.Martins I needed a bit of time to catch my breath so when I started designing again it was winter…cold and grey. I was eating sweets in my studio and daydreaming of beaches and tropical drinks. Some of my favorite things are peach daiquiris, parma violets. My favorite sweet is probably chewy toffee and favorite drink is that fizzy orange drink irn-bru.
What do you recall as the first piece of knitwear you ever made?
A wooly, salmon colored scarf that I actually lost on the train. That and an awful grey ruched square-shaped polyester thing I had to make for my A levels.
If given the chance to collaborate with anyone who would you have in mind?
I’ve always thought of doing pieces for a more theatrical environment. I would love to work with Slava Snowshow.


You recently worked with stylist Katie Shillingford on a shoot for your recent collection. There’s so much movement in those images which really brings your knits to life, how did you manage to capture that?
I’d wanted dancing and movement but the studios’ ceilings were too low and they were all too expensive. So we brought a 9 ft family size trampoline to a rooftop overlooking the city and had the girls bouncing up and down on it. A bit risky actually as there was really not much there to stop them from going over if we weren’t careful. We did the hair and make up at home with the help of my boyfriend and flatmates, one of which is a model, which definitely helps when you need someone for fittings.
Did you start out interested in knit or did you find your way to it while studying fashion?
Actually, I wanted to do menswear while I was at London College of Fashion, by the time I got to St.Martins they encouraged me to do knit because they saw that all my stuff to that point had been designed in jersey. And I loved the chunky quality of knit.


I hear you managed to do the impossible and actually design 6 seasons of knitwear for Gareth Pugh, while doing your BA, AND working a retail job once a week. How were you able to do that and how many of yourself did you have to clone?
I was in school at the time and had knitted a scarf for a friend who’s flatmate wore it on a date with Gareth, who mentioned he was looking for a knitwear designer. He got in touch and said he needed to have pieces made up in a week. So it was all quite fast. All that while doing my BA degree and working in the stock room at John Lewis on Saturday mornings, sometimes having to be there at 6 am. You get used to not sleeping.
And a year after graduating you were showing at Vauxhall Fashion Scout?
My PR agency BLOW called me up a week before the show and said they had an opening for me, so I made up some accessories and a few pieces to fill out the collection I’d been working on. I was given a team of hair and make up artists and we were off.


Which comes first for you, the yarn or the garment?
Usually the textiles come first for me. I’ve learned alot about them along the way, like for example needing to use a flat knit for tight fitting garments.
Are there any textiles, practical or not that you’re really keen to use?
I’d like to do something with little leather strips or pvc something shiny and bright. Maybe even strips of diamante.
What is one of the more random things you’ve used to knit with?
You know those yellow rubber gloves used for washing up/ i found a guy in Dalston Market selling a gaint roll of it and bought it. I cut it up into tiny little strips and started knitting it up but as a garment it was incredibly heavy and totally unweareble.
Could you give us a peek into the inspirations for your next collection?
At the moment I’m interested in accessories, chenille, and fireworks!
Look out! That is some recipe. Craig Lawrence wants to expand our minds and preconceptions, to push knitwear into places we’d least expect it. Can’t wait to see what Molotov cocktail awaits us next season!

Prepare yourself for copious amounts of black eye liner as this week sees us take an awe-inspiring look at one of London’s fashion firmament Hannah Marshall. A rapidly establishing icon Marshall has been injecting a healthy dose of rock and roll back onto our catwalks since her break through debut in 2007.

I tracked down Hannah to find out more about this talented lady


How are you doing? It’s a lovely sunny day in London; hope your enjoying the sunshine?

I have escaped from London to work from home today in the beautiful Essex countryside; the weather is beautiful here too.

Take me through life since you’re A/W 09 collection showcased at London Fashion Week?

The Autumn/Winter 2009 collection ‘Armour’ was shown at London Fashion Week as part of the New Generation exhibition sponsored by Top Shop. In addition, store I did my first presentation at the On|Off space with Ipso Facto in the Science Museum. The collection was also shown in Paris and New York and there has been a very positive reaction with UK and International press and buyers alike. Since fashion week, ed I have started working on more music collaborations, approved which is really exciting.


Your one of the few designers I have come across that you really get the sense that your personal style plays prominence in your designs, would you agree?

I think it’s important to practice what you preach, and at the end of the day I am designing what I want to wear, that I believe isn’t out there already. I am obsessed with black, shoulder pads and eyebrows. My brand is an extension of me and my aesthetic and vision, which is about empowering women through clothing.

Every girl needs her staple black dress, for me anyway there is a sort of salvation and self-assurance in black clothing, would you agree?

When I design, I design in black. It’s the strongest and most powerful colour there is. Black is the perfect tone to create bold and interesting silhouettes with. For me, the iconic Little Black dress is the epitome of timeless clothing and is the wardrobe staple that is exudes a powerful elegance, authority and quiet confidence. When I launched my label in 2007, I just showed 12 black dresses – for me, a black dress is all you need.


What would you say stimulates you to create your collections?

This season the Hannah Marshall woman wears her own suit of armour. Her body is encased in steel line panels, protected with angular breastplates, concealed with pronounced contours and shielded with moulded hips. This body armour concept allows pieces to offer the illusion of strength and lend the wearer a sense of security.

My design philosophy stems from my continuing obsession with the human form and bodily contours, resulting in carefully orchestrated designs that fit to perfection, inspired insect exoskeletons references such as the beetle’s armoured shell, mimicked through protective interconnecting segments. Black takes the main stage once again, in contrasting and tactile fabrics to create a second skin concealing what lies beneath. The introduction of caviar- look stingray, luxurious stretch velvet and taught elastic is added to my ritual butter soft leathers and lustrous stretch silks

I know it’s a generic question, but which designers out their would you
pinpoint as inspirations?

I am obsessed by Thierry Mugler and the super tailored, sexy designs from the 80′s period. I love the minimalism of Jill Sander in the 90′s and appreciate the sculptural shapes from Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto.

You utilise black very heavily within your work, would you say “black is
the new black?’

Always – black is irreplaceable and will always be around throughout each season.

I know you’re enthused by music, you recently used Ipso Facto as muses for you’re A/W 09 collection, which other bands blast out of your headphones?

Ipso Facto of course, as well as The Kills, Iggy Pop, Skunk Anansie, The Black Keys, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Florence & The Machine, Prince, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Nirvana, Siouxie & The Banshees, and more…

If you could work with any iconic figure from the past, who would you choose any why?

Cristobal Balenciaga – pure genius.


Do you have any advice for budding designers eager to break into the fashion sphere?

Believe in yourself, otherwise how can you expect others too. Also, I would advise any young designers to get a mentor and do their ground work.


The more that I delve into the world of Hannah Marshall the further in awe I become. Marshall creates collections that are not merely appreciated as catwalk objects, she creates pieces that tap into every woman’s subconscious. Her Designs follow a distinctive aesthetic, beautifully crafted with architectural precision but with a sensibility that just screams wearability.


I think on a subconscious level we are all black aficionados, when your endlessly trawling the deepest realms of the wardrobe on those bleary eyed mornings, what brings us the utmost in self-assurance and feistiness? Without a doubt it is the quintessential little black dress that consoles all dilemmas. Its been engrained into our sub conscious, think avante garde, think Audrey Hepburn. The back dress prevails time, it still retains the same stylish potency now as ever. Regardless of occasion Its my one true ally admist the abysses of print and colour that can often just make the head spin. Blacks connotates effortless dominance, sexiness and style.


So watch out world we have a new queen of darkness on our hands!

(images supplied by Victor De Mello)

It’s such a beautifully simple idea that you can’t believe you didn’t think of it first.

A is for ‘Alternative Accomodation’ by Zoe Campagna

Take 26 photographers all with first names beginning with unique letters of the alphabet running from a to z. Get them to each to submit a brief with key words running from, site yep you guessed it, sildenafil a to z, corresponding with the letter their name begins with. Make it both ongoing and international running over one year and several continents and voila! You have the most interesting collaborative project since Miranda July’s learning to love you more.

R is for ‘Reverse’ by Yong Hun Kim

That gives you a whopping 676 photographs and a whole lot of talent. With the project only just completed from ‘Alternative Accommodation’ to ‘Zigzag’, the project is hoping to exhibit here in London and bag themselves a book deal. I took some time out with project curator, photographer representing ‘S’ and artist responsible for the project brief ‘Stop a Stranger’ Stuart Pilkington and had a bit of Q and A.

C is for ‘Chaos’ by Ed Maynard

Hello Stuart, how are you doing?

Not too bad thanks Alice.

How long was it between dreaming up the Alphabet Project and its actualization?

Do you know I can’t really recall now. It’s only since late 2007 that I’ve started to get off my backside and actualize anything at all. I think the idea may have been brewing for quite some time – maybe even a couple of years.
Eventually I sat down and created a basic site for the project and then posted the concept on a few sites like craigslist and Facebook to see if it connected with anybody. This was in late 2007. I didn’t really hear anything from anybody until January 2008 when an Australian photographer called Paula Bollers e-mailed me and said she was interested. She also sent the idea to some people she knew who then started to contact me. Until then I was about to abandon the idea but this was the catalyst I needed and I haven’t looked back since.

F is for ‘Funny’ by Frank Gross

How was the project put together? Did you find photographers or did they find you? Was there a criteria for choosing artists, such as previously unpublished?

I used a variety of methods to track down the remaining photographers. Some of the people I knew namely John Wilson and Emli Bendixen. I asked if they wanted to be involved and they both said ‘yes’. Emli suggested some other photographers like Rachel Bevis and Burak Cingi and I’m very glad they all came on board – some great British talent.
I also started to contact photographers who had joined some groups I had set up on Facebook to celebrate the work of Alec Soth and Joel Sternfeld. I started to look for photographers who use a variety of disciplines like Lomo, art photography, fashion photography, large format, polaroid etc. I also consciously started to look for people from all over the world.

M is for ‘Memory’ by Rachel Bevis

Was it your intention to be a multinational project or was that pure chance from who got involved?

Not originally but when I started to enrol people from various corners of the world the more this idea excited me. Part of the concept is to do with interpretation, with people’s individual responses, and I realised that if I had photographers from different countries and different disciplines then the variety of images would be all the more exciting.

V is for ‘Voracious’ by Stuart Pilkington

Do you have photography on your walls at home? Is it your own, people you know or that of renowned photographers?

Funnily enough I am painting my rooms white at the moment and I don’t have any pictures on my wall at all but I hope to have a couple of large William Eggleston prints soon and some prints from 20×200. I also would like to rotate images from a number of the photographers I have been working with.

I is for ‘Idiocy’ by Andrew Ward

How do the response photographers work? Do they respond to all 26 projects or individual briefs that they are interested in?

Okay so originally the Alphabet Project was going to involve just 26 photographers, all with a first name beginning with an unique letter of the alphabet. However, I soon realised that a year is a long time for 26 people to remain committed so I needed to have another set of 26 photographers, similarly with first names beginning with an unique letter of the alphabet, in case anyone needed to pull out. I called this group of 26 photographers ‘responding’ purely because the only difference between them and the original 26 was that they didn’t set a task, they purely responded to each task set. The only requirement for all photographers involved was that they completed all 26 tasks by the end of the year.

J is for ‘Just by Radiohead’ by Emli Bendixen

Which brief took you the longest to come up with an idea for? Which did you know straight away?

To be honest I am the least imaginative when it comes to photography. This is probably one of the reasons I am moving away from creating images to being an art photography curator. An assignment was set like ‘broken’ and ‘thrill’ and I could only think of the most obvious responses whereas the other photographers came up with the most ingenious and leftfield images. Some of them were surreal, some of them incredibly clever and funny. I really enjoyed seeing what they came up with each fortnight.

Who or where or what would be your dream subject to photograph?

I want to get out into the great landscapes of the US with my Wista 5×4 – to photograph places described in books such as ‘Moon Palace’ by Paul Auster and ‘Walden’ by Henry David Thoreau. There’s something that really appeals to me about epic spaces.

Z is for ‘Zigzag’ by Hind Mezaina

After the book what are your plans for the Alphabet Project? What personal projects are you working on?

I am currently exploring avenues and looking for venues/galleries in London. Currently I am curating a couple of other projects by the name of 12 Faces, and the 50 States Project, ( These are both ideas that evolved out of the Alphabet Project. I also have a number of other projects in mind and one I’m very excited about which will take place in 2010.

N is for ‘Nightscape’ by Geoff Ward

Finally, who would play you in a film of your life?

I think either Richard Kiel, (the chap who played Jaws in ‘Moonraker’), or Hervé Villechaize, (the midget who played Tattoo in ‘Fantasy Island’).

Nice! Thanks for your time Stuart, and best of luck.

Viva le Collaboration I say.

P is for ‘Phenomenon’ by Dirk Such

(Thumbnail: K is for ‘Kitchen’ by Kristal Armendariz)
Paris- based Nelson (JB Devay, cialis 40mg Gregory Kowalski, cialis 40mg David Nichols and Thomas Pirot) are four dashing purveyors of technical trick-clickery, information pills instrument swingers and moody wordsmiths all finished off with a dash French cool. Their new wave vibe skitters from a Factory Records vibe to the spooky storminess of the early Animal Collective records. They are refreshingly unique for a band that emerged from a Paris scene awash with mini Pierre Dohertys and wannabe Carl Berets. Nelson are never afraid to experiment with genre and technique creating an intelligent type of music, songs that are both danceable and deep; like bopping around a copy of Sartre.
I ate their tortilla chips and spoke to them about making the channel crossing to the notorious London gig circuit, cultural perceptions of French music and having Berlusconi over for dinner, we laughed a lot. From this I can whole-heartedly conclude that you should embrace a new entente cordiale because they’re ferrying over to start a revolution…


JB Devay: Hello, nice to meet you, we are Nelson from Paris…How did you manage to be here?
My parents made love 23 years ago…
JB: That’s disgusting…I don’t talk to girls who speak like this.
I apologise, so you guys have been playing a lot of gigs in London this week (93 Feet East, Old Blue Last, Buffalo Bar), I was wondering if you could tell me about how you view the differences between the Paris music scene and the London one?
Gregory Kowalski: The thing is we are playing in clubs in London, and from what we see in clubs for 3 or 4 years is that London bands are not really original, in Paris they’re used to be this rock scene that started 4 years ago but now it’s kind of quiet.
Thomas Pirot: I would say that London has lots of bands, so there are a lot of bad bands.
I guess what I always noticed was that the Paris scene is smaller…
David Nichols: Yeah, definitely, but it’s more diverse than the London scene, we haven’t seen too much of the rest of England yet. In Paris there was this thing that bubbled up 4 years ago, with new bands and bands that hadn’t otherwise had a chance to play, now that’s quietened down; there are the bands that stopped and bands that have moved onto a more professional career.


Ok, you were saying that when you come here you play clubs; do you all think that it’s hard for continental bands to make it here? or maybe that there’s a stigma attatched to being a French band? I think people have really specific preconceptions of “French Music”
Thomas: I think so maybe 3 or 4 years ago, but now because of the Parisian scene; that’s kind of changing, there seems to be some more open-minded feeling.
Gregory: Many people we meet after gigs say “oh a French rock band there is something sexy about that”.
David: We’ve reaped a lot of benefit from the electro scene; like Justice and Ed Banger, I mean we’re not at all part of that scene, but for the first time in January we weren’t just another French band, people were asking if we knew Justice also the French Revolution nights at 93 Feet East have done a lot for (hammy French accent) ze freeench cauuzzze!
Gregory: Are you German?
David: Ja.
JB: The change will definitely happen when we have one big French rock band breaking through….


I think Ed Banger is important, even if you’re not affiliated with it because it encourages a two-way cultural export, where as before it was uniquely British bands being exported to France, now French music is cool again in the British public eye…
I was going to ask you why you sing with an English accent?

David: JB doesn’t…he created his own brand of accent.
Gregory: It’s just the music we grew up listening to.
JB: Yeah like Ed Banger, Daft Punk, Phoenix
David: It’s really just the accents each of us naturally have when we sing.
Thomas: Plus we have our very own English teacher. (points to David)
You mean David, who learnt English when he was at school with Justice and Air, right?


So I was reading about your influences, a lot of them are cinematic or literary; how do you think that affects your music?
David: Well it’s all things that have touched us personally, things that we’ve connected with in all sorts of art…
JB: I think at the end we’re all trying to say the same thing…I don’t see such a big difference between music, art or literature; it’s all a different way to express emotions. I can talk to James Salter or a guy making movies like I would to another musician.
Gregory: It’s all the same artistic world.


Hmmm, with regards to your literary influences and as well as English being your second language- do you think that affects how you approach song-writing? When I write in French my writing voice totally changes…
Thomas: I think it’s easier to express yourself in another language, there’s a distance.
Gregory: You can play with something when you don’t really know the rules; it’s a nice game, you have weird images going together even if its not really proper; I think it works.
I guess it’s the Nabokovian thing of collecting words by their shapes and sounds and not by their meaning, it’s interesting in terms of abstraction but also creates a new intimacy with language; I can see that in your lyrics…
Gregory: Definitely, our first album (Revolving Doors) was definitely about collecting words this way, but now, with the second we are trying more to tell stories.
David: Now we know how to collect words by shapes and sounds; it’s naturally part of our writing process to do it and now we know how to do that, we can now focus on writing stories…but we still have the sense of “I like that word there and how it sounds, so I’ll put it there and the story will fit round it”
Thomas: It’s because naturally our lyrics come from yaourt…
Gregory: It’s Franglais!
David: Yaourt is French for when you don’t know the words but sing something anyway…
Like Goobledigook?
David: Yeah! Once you find the rhythm of sounds and structure, then you find the words to fit.
Thomas: Words always come with the music and sound, never before.


Cool, there’s a sense of fluidity about how you work, not only with lyrics and working in the studio but also with not really having assigned positions within the band, you all swap instruments- is this fluidity important to you?
Gregory: Yes, definitely.

So what’s coming up for you guys in the future?
JB Devay: A gig in two hours.
Gregory: Then back to Paris for drinks with Daft Punk and Justice!
David: I have a dinner with Air!
Nelson’s Manager Nico: Well, you won’t have much to eat then will you?
That’s a good one- I’ll put that in!


Finally, if you had to have 5 people over for dinner who would you choose?

JB: Clint Eastwood for me.
Thomas: Matt Berninger. (singer of The National)
Gregory: (something that sounds like Evita)
Gregory: No, Avey Tare.
Oh Avey Tare! (singer of Animal Collective) nice choice!
Gregory: Berlusconi as well actually, he’d be an interesting guy…
He could do a pasta!
Nelson’s Manager Nico: Scarlett Johansson
(sounds of masculine approval)
David: I’d say Woody Allen.
Who’d do the washing up?
David: Probably me.
Gregory: I’d do it with Scarlett Johansson…
I bet you would!

Nelson’s debut album Revolving Doors is available now on Ctrl Alt Del Records (UK) and Diamondtraxx (France).
They play The Luminaire on 30th May.
Photos of Nelson playing at the Centre Pompidou appear courtesy of Julien Courmont
Awesome backdrops (in photos) by Ahonen & Lamberg

We normally post our listings on a Monday, viagra but there are quite a few events going on this Bank Holiday Weekend that we wanted to share with you.

First of all, sale who has not seen a screening of “The Age of Stupid” yet? If you haven’t, then there are plenty of opportunities on Friday night, thanks to the numerous places which will be taking part in the genius ‘Indie Screenings’.


If you need more of an incentive, anyone who comes along to the 7.30pm screenings across the country will get to watch an additional webcast as well. The Age Of Stupid have teamed up with the Royal Society of the Arts to bring you an exclusive live webcast. Directly after screenings finish across the width and breadth of the UK at 9PM, they will go live from London with an interactive web panel beaming directly to anyone holding an event. On the panel they’ll be joined by:
 Franny Armstrong (Director of The Age of Stupid, McLibel and Drowned Out) ?- George Monbiot (Prolific climate change journalist and author of HEAT)?- Sir Nicholas Stern (Author of the Stern review and economist)?- Dr Richard Betts (Head of climate impacts at the MET office)?- Dr. Mohammed Waheed Hassan, Vice-President of the Maldives  


Have a look at the Age Of Stupid website to see where these screenings are place. One particular screening which has piqued our interest is going to be held at the fabulously named Stoke Newington International Airport (needless to say, not a real airport), but “a performance and rehearsal venue where extremely interesting people get up to brilliant things.”The film will be shown in order to raise money for the Nottingham thought criminals, so come along and bring all your mates. It’s a great little venue, and all money taken on the door will be split between them and those naughty people what thought about possibly maybe conspiring to do nothing.

Illustration by Bryony Lloyd

Those who follow this blog will hopefully know a little about the wonderful work that Transition Towns are doing. This weekend they are holding a conference which will last from May 22 -May 24. If you want one of these places please call Kristin on 07950542351. Places cost £85 which gives you access to the full smogasbord including workshops, open spaces, evening events, entertainment & lunch. It promises to be a wonderful weekend. Take a look at the programme for the full picture
The conference programme has been announced. It’s a packed schedule, with workshops happening throughout the weekend covering every aspect of Transition. Here is a list of what to expect. 
Here’s the full list:
Saturday Morning
Energy Descent Planning
Growing Communities
Oil, Climate & Money
Learning >From Coin Street Community Builders
Constellations: a Practical Experience
Creative Environmental Education
The Transition Guide to Working With Your Local Council
Ensuring & Maximising Diversity in Transition
Transition Training & Consulting: who we are and what we do
Can Britain Feed Itself? Bringing GIS Mapping to the Question
Crowdfunding & Fundraising
Saturday Afternoon
Local Currencies
The Transition Guide to Food
Wha’s Like Us? The Scottish Experience
Climate Change Goes Critical
The Work That Reconnects
Harmony Singing
Wild Food & Wildlife Walk
Turning The Corner
Transition Training & Consulting: working with businesses & organisations
Animate Earth
Economics Crash Course
Sunday Morning
Food EDAPs
Weaving Magic
Making The Most of The Media
Transition Web Project Bringing Transition Together
Conflict Resolution & Communication
The Heart & Soul of Transition
Energy Descent Planning for Transport: The Oxford Example
Personal Resilience
Asking the Elders
Transition Timeline
Wild Economics: Wolves, Resilience & Spirit

Illustration by Fay Katirai

The Transition website also lists places to stay if you are coming from out of town, so you will not be stuck for a place to stay.


Elsewhere, Rootstock and Radical Routes are holding a free one day conference and workshop which includes a talk by the key note speaker, Marsh Farm’s Glenn Jenkins, who will be asking “How can we protect our remaining social and economic resources from the convulsions of capitalism?” The event will be on Saturday at the Conway Hall in Holburn, London. Radical Routes is a network of radical co-ops whose members are committed to working for positive social change. The network is made up mainly of housing co-ops of various sizes (none with more than 16 members), a few workers co-ops and a couple of social centres.
Four times a year, the member co-ops get together at “gatherings”. These weekend events have a social function, but are also the places at which all important decisions are taken. They are open meetings and anyone is welcome to attend.
The event will run from 10 am – 6pm. But it doesn’t finish then! Afterwards, Radical Routes will be throwing a party to celebrate their 21st birthday. Music and entertainment will be provided by Attila the Stockbroker, a performance and punk rock poet, as well as David Rovics, Babar Luck, Clayton Blizzard and Smokey Bastard. Food will be provided by The Anarchist Teapot Kitchen Collective from Brighton and Veggies Catering Campaign from Nottingham.
Tickets for the evening’s party are £8.00/£4.00 concs or if you include food, £11.00/£6.00 concs. Tickets can be booked by calling 0113 262 4408 or emailing
Who are Worried about Satan? Worried about Satan are a duo based in Leeds comprising of Gavin Miller and Thomas Ragsdale who produce atmospheric soundscaping far in advanced of their relatively young age.


Their live shows are an incredible, prescription blistering assault on the senses that leave you whimpering in the corner like a kid who’s lost his blankie. On receiving their new album ‘Arrivals’, I have to admit I was more than a little concerned. I couldn’t really imagine how they’d be able to match this on stage furore on record. Yet, no sooner had the disc started spinning when my worries disappeared in the fug of a post rock, techno wrestling match. The despair, the fear and the power  is as prevalent here as it ever has been on the stage. Nothing compromised, nothing lost.


Each track builds up to an almost unbearable hiatus. One part electronic, another part rock with some mind melting jungle beats on the side. It shares a little with Dub step hero Burial, if I had to name anyone, who they have shared a studio with. The mixture is balanced out perfectly with an accompaniment from some rather unusual spoken word samples from Patricia Hearst amongst others; altogether creating a sound that is both ethereal and heart wrenching. It was like being hit over the head with twenty chairs and then pile driven into a concrete canvas. But I’d do it again I tell you, again.


The album is now due to be released at the end of May on Gizeh Records.

Andy Council and Amelia’s Magazine are old friends. Mr Council penned some superb illustrations for us back in the day and since then has gone on to produce some of the hottest material to be had on the British graphic art scene.


When it comes to parallels the man himself cites the work of cult comic book illustrator/hero Geoff Darrow and the sublime master of anime Miyazaki, side effects but for me Council’s style can’t be described as anything other than a true one off. The intricacy with which he renders his visual feasts is phenomenal, unhealthy and catches both the eye and the imagination.


Those of you lucky enough to reside in Bristol may have come across local resident Council’s window work, though his artwork that graces everything from posters and flyers to skate decks and murals can be found the country over. He is also one seventh of a new collective calling themselves Boys Who Draw.


He was kind enough to indulge me and my love of quirky quick-fire questions, the results of which can be found below.

Which illustrator or graphic artist do you most admire and why?

There are so many illustrators whose work I admire. I really admire the work of my friend Mr Jago as he has gone really painterly and expressive with his work. I wasn’t sure if I should say that as he doesn’t like me saying and got a bit funny about it before!

Poster/flyer for Play It By Ear Club

Which band past or present would provide the soundtrack to a film of your life?

Sonic Youth I guess – they are my favourite band and have been the background music to most of my life. Funnily enough though, for key moments in my life like my wedding day and when I found out my partner was pregnant I have had Guns and Roses songs in my head. I’m not really a big fan of the Gunners.

Tell us something about Andy Council we might not already know.
I own a Taxidermy duck called Stufty.

Album Cover Art for Earmint

What is your pub quiz specialist subject?

Cryptozoology. Anything to do with Bigfoot, Nessie and other creatures that might not actually exist.

If you hadn’t become an illustrator and all round cool dude, what would you be doing now?

I don’t think I ever got round to becoming a cool dude. I would probably be a paleontologist.

If you could travel back or forward in time to any era, where would you go?

I would of course go back to the time of the Dinosaurs!


What single piece of modern technology could you not bear to live without?

My computer and the internet. I’m totally addicted to it, which is why I don’t have it at my art studio so I can actually get some work done!

What or who is your nemesis?



What is your guilty pleasure?

Eating custard slices. My partner caught me in the centre of Bristol once eating one and it was all over my face. This was in the early stages of our relationship and amazingly she has stayed with me.

I say ‘Falloumi’, you say…?

I would say that surely you mean halloumi, the squeaky salty cheese that is great served with roast veg. (I actually mean the falafel halloumi wrap cross breed that we here at Amelia Towers boldly invented as a lunch favourite last week. Moving on.)


If you were taking Amelia’s Magazine out for a night in Bristol, where would we go?

I think I would start off at an exhibition opening in a squatted space such as the Emporium on Stokes Croft. Would then go onto to a local pubs such as the Bell where all the local Street Artists hang out. Quick stop off for some nasty chips at Ritas and then on to either The Star and Garter for some late night dub and drinking or The Black Swan for Dub Step, bon fire and carnage. Hmmm, I actually quite like staying in and looking after the little un these days.

What advice would you give up and coming illustrators?

The usual thing of keeping at it and relentlessly promoting your work I guess. Other than that, I would say it’s really good to get your work up on walls, windows or wherever it can be seen large by the public.


Who would be your top 5 dream dinner guests? Who would do the washing up?

The Beast of Bodmin, Skeletor, Richard Angwin (BBC west local weather man), Godzilla and the queen who can do the washing up if she hasn’t escaped being eaten by my chum from Bodmin.

Andy Council, we salute you. Would you have him round for dinner?
Thanks to Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s utterly perfect bit of cinema, for sale Amelie, this you’re probably more likely to associate Yann Tiersen with Place de la Concorde in Paris than with Concorde2 in Brighton. But he has travelled north, and I have travelled south to converge on this charmingly dark and sweaty rock venue for the unveiling of his new material. The new album, Dust Lane, will be released later this year, and Brighton is getting an earful tonight.


After some encouragement from the crowd, the band emerges and grabs their instruments. Already, I’m suspecting this is not going to sound quite how the Amelie Crowd expect. There are three guitarists, two with electrics, pedals all over the floor, I think I saw a violin, but nobody’s holding it and, woe is me, there isn’t an accordion anywhere in sight. They’re planning to rock us, aren’t they? Oh hang on, maybe not. All starts with an ambient drone, and suddenly two of them grab melodicas. Phew! It’s gentle, poetic, soothing, evocative. It is the Yann we know and love… for about a minute and a half. Then Yann looks at his colleagues authoritatively, drops the melodica and starts thrashing out a 5/8 guitar riff with a harsh aggressive sound. The whole band explodes in, following his beat tight as hell, and with no embellishment. Thrash, thrash, it just gets bigger and more and more epic, Suddenly the drummer derails into an even-numbered beat while everyone else remains the same, which results in brain-freeze for one lady in the front row. Yann is clearly not one to be pigeonholed, and this sounds more like mid-career Tortoise turned up to eleven.

I can’t help but wonder if some have come here just because of the Amelie-link. There are people who watch that film every day, you know? What are they thinking now?

Sure enough, I turn around to see a couple of skinny Brighton boys sucking their thumbs and clinging onto favourite teddies for consolation. A dozen soppy-faced girls weep into Cath Kidston hankies, for they could not possibly meet Mr. Right here, with this soundtrack. And it’s only the first song.


Nevertheless, everyone else seems pleased. Raw power, thick sound, and tight band. Yann seems pleased, too. He walks his asymmetrical 38-year-old mild-mannered French grin up to the mic. “Cheers”, he says then nervously scuttles off to be a band-leader. “Un-Deux-Trois-Allez-Oop”, it’s all-rocking pacy stuff for the first four or five songs, but with a fair few changes of mood. Sometimes it feels like the moments on Serge Gainsbourg’s Jane B. album which chug-chug along beneath manly utterances, and sometimes the whole band is singing in unison, alongside bulbous synth eternities and roaringly full guitars, like a crescendo in an epic prog-rock stadium-filler by Yes. There’s also a vaguely detached feel to some of it, which reminded me of Air’s 10,000hz Legend album – it’s a simulation of a rock band, an effect that’s been layered in there to satisfy a composer’s whim.

But the thing that really shook the crowd was an Earth-shattering rumbling apex of a full-on rocker, which died out as Yann picked up that violin. He lilted and scribbled and finally picked out a lick motif. It’s a few minutes of violin soloing that brings the whole room to a standstill, the moment of reassurance that entry-fees were worth it, the rush of blood to the heart. It’s the first time that his dexterous skills are laid bare, and as the song returns to full band chugger, he’s still licking it, and everyone is in love with him.

There is a lot of moving around onstage. The only one who sat still was the drummer, as one guitarist also played a synth, the other also played a microphone with some effects and read a book, the bassist had his melodica, the keyboardist also played ukelele, and Yann himself was all over everything (except for his poor, neglected accordion). At one point, I was sure that the second electric guitarist had switched to some new-fangled wind instrument, only for the lighting system to settle down to reveal that he was, in fact, just swigging some Evian.


One of the most memorable songs was We’ll Still Be There At The End. This was a repeated vocal à la full band, with driving chord changes which hints at the Pixies with an evangelical grandeur, perhaps a whiff of Arcade Fire. After a while this breaks down to a frenzied twiddle on a machine that sounded like a cross between a Kaosspad and a Tardis. This is new ground for a lot of people here tonight.

But is the Frenchman protesting too much? The only dose of familiar that we got was the second, and final, encore, which after about thirty-two bars I realised was La Valse D’Amelie. That sweet chord progression was buried in there somewhere amidst a swirl of firebreathing synths and competing guitars. I had to ask myself if he was playing it hatefully, parodying it. It all left me with more questions than I arrived with. I didn’t go to Brighton in the hope of hearing Amelie hits, but because I knew enough of Tiersen’s work to respect him as a master of delicate, poly-instrument, emotional beauty. But, having mastered that, he seems bored of it. On the day that Dust Lane is released, we’ll see one of two possibilities. Either he’s desperately trying to sound utterly unlike “the Amelie guy” and losing his heart, or he still is a master, who has moved into new terrain of power instead of tenderness. It’s very difficult to say because his music has never been about catchy melodies, or hooky songs – not a gig poster-boy for noobs. And one obvious difference is that on an album, it will be possible for him to play all the instruments at once. So for the gig to feel unbalanced, in that there was too much of four guitarists chugging in tandem and not enough of virtuoso expressive instrument loving, may not bode badly for the album.
But the old fanbase will have to reassess Mr. Tiersen’s repertoire, and make a little room for their new moshy friends in the crowd. Amelie herself may have to replace her stupid grin with a rock-pout, and start chugging the Gauloises.

M. Tiersen has not only the obligatory myspace, but also the hoity-professional dedicated website. Be Intrigued!

Editor’s Note: What have you guys thought of our French Revolution recently? Kitsune, The Do, Nelson, and now Yann- Pretty exciting isn’t it?

Monday 25th May

Permaculture Design Course – The Urban Edge
Venue: ‘Waterside Centre’, information pills

9am -5pm
Stonebridge Lock, troche
Tottenham Marshes
Date: Monday 25 May 2009 to Friday 26 Jun 2009
Description: Located on the real urban edge, this participatory and practical course offers a range of learning opportunities, with hands on development and design of this exciting site, within the basin of the River Lea. This non residential course is run from 25-29th and May 22nd-26 June 2009
Contacts: Marianne
?Web Address:


Tuesday 26th May

International Court for the Environment
Herbert Smith,
Exchange House,
Primrose Street,
Broadgate, EC2, London

Discussion about the feasibility of pressing the case for a court. Info: Environment Court/ 7466 3285/ 7374 8000/07973 770942

Ilustration by Cocacolagirlie at Deviant Art

Wednesday 27th May

Green Left – Eco Socialism

Housmans Bookshop?
5 Caledonian Road
?N1 9DX,?UK
Tel 020 7837 4473 ?Fax 0870 706 6035

Green Left is an eco-socialist, anti-capitalist current within the Green Party, which started in June 2006 when 36 Green Party members agreed its launch statement (the Headcorn Declaration).?? Sarah Farrow, Green Left co-convenor said then: “Activists in the Green Party have founded Green Left because many Greens believe the only path to an ecological, economically and socially just and peaceful society has to be based on an anti-capitalist political agenda.”??This evening guests from Green Left will be discussing their agenda, and launching a new pamphlet on the issues at hand.



Thursday 28th May

Taking Root – The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Amnesty International Centre
The Human Rights Action Centre,
17-25 New Inn Yard
EC2, London
Info: 7033 1500/ 7033 1664/

The Green Belt Movement and Amnesty International are proud to present the UK premier of ‘Taking Root – The Vision of Wangari Maathai’.
‘Taking Root’ tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights and defend democracy.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with a panel led by Wangari Maathai and including the film maker Lisa Merton and IIED Director Camilla Toulmin.
A suggested donation of £10 is kindly requested on the door. All donations will go towards the work of The Green Belt Movement.
To reserve a copy of ‘The Challenge for Africa’ at RRP £20.00 (hardback) or ‘Unbowed’ at RRP £8.99 (paperback), please e-mail The Green Belt Movement at

Illustration by Lea Jaffey

Saturday 30th May
11am to 5pm
Economic and Environmental Recovery: from Downturn to Steady State. Creating a better world to recover from the credit crunch and the nature crunch

Cecil Sharpe House,
2 Regents Park Road,
Camden, London
NW1 7AY. Nearest Tube: Camden Town
With Fritjof Capra, Physicist and systems theorist, director of the Centre for Ecoliteracy in California; Ann Pettifor, Editor of The Real World Economic Outlook, Satish Kumar,
Editor of Resurgence Magazine.
Organised by Resurgence Magazine, Schumacher College, The Temenos Academy, The  Scientific l & Medical Network  & The Gaia Foundation.
Tickets: £25.00, Concessions £15.00
 RSVP: Peter Lang, Resurgence Events Director at  020 8809 2391.

Illustration by Lea Jaffy

Sunday 31st May

Date: Sunday 31 May 2009 ?Time: 10am – 5.00pm
Bonnington Centre,
11 Vauxhall Grove,
Vauxhall, London SW8 1TD

Not just in our minds but in our hearts and feelings.
Come and find out how we can move from a way of life devoted to consumption, greed, exploitation and endless economic growth – until it fails! TO A truly life sustaining one.
Joanna Macy’s “Work that Reconnects” offers a safe space to ground our feelings and access our power in nourishing, inspiring, uplifting and energising ways.
Contacts: Places are limited: please contact Jim Scott on 020 7640 0492 as soon as possible
?Web Address: http//
A geezer called Art Buchwald once observed that nostalgia was a misconceived notion that “yesterday was better than today”. Post Bush-adminstration, approved mid-swine flu, this web the commencement of the recession – you don’t even need no rose-tinted specs to see that yesterday quite frankly delivers a swift sucker punch into the sorry face of today. Inevitably, people everywhere are starting to get nostalgic for the 90s.

A while ago I came across a hoody on the Face Hunter and within ten minutes I had tracked down it down as coming from CTRL, a Helsinki based range that came into the world as a skate brand. Skateboarding seems very much the preserve of the 90s, and it’s tempting to euphemise those chilled out dudes with the beanies, baggy jeans and zoots in their back pockets, and I love how CTRL roots itself in this vibe but given way to a more playful and fashionable edge. Taking the philosophy of one of the best parts of street culture and giving its wearers a positive voice that can speak even from the way we look, it’s a brand that feeds back into the subculture it borrowed from in the first place.
Set up by two pals back in the halcyon days of 1995, CTRL started life making t-shirts, and gradually has expanded to produce all sorts, the best being some ruddy ace cardigans that you’ll look sharp in even if you’re not zooming up and down halfpipes in your spare time. They’ve even got a womenswear range going on, despite their art director Freeman confessing (in true skater style) to not knowing very much about girls.


They’re some really vibrant, unabashedly boisterous statement pieces that might well alarm the conservative in you, but are ultimately indicative of an enjoyment of life – urban life in particular – that might have got abstracted somewhere along the way.
Recent flick and 90s nostalgia fest The Wackness makes life’s dopeness its hero, and that philosophy seems strongly eminent with CTRL, a philosophy that could be learnt from the grunge kids of yesterday and couldn’t be more perfectly timed. There’s got to be room for that in your cupboard.


Freeman calls their clothing as representative of the individual “speaking with a megaphone and the top three stairs of the pyramid”. He has also spoken out about a desire to support Greenpeace, Amnesty International and other causes to prove that street culture can be a viable beneficiary source to others, not just to itself. So it ain’t just a bunch of pesky kids with low slung trousers, no sir – it understands that fashion can be about who you are and where you’re from, a street mantra because community is a paramount idea. Street culture and skate culture aren’t dirty concepts for Freeman like they are for the frenzied tabloids, they can be places of community that breed mutual respect for your peers, something that’s deeply ingrained.


They got some pretty fine threads too. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.


What do you guys think? Has CTRL successfully made the transition from skaters to the masses?

Categories ,90s, ,ethical, ,Fashion, ,Finland, ,grunge, ,skate

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Amelia’s Magazine | My adventures at Practicum: British Fashion, put together by the British Council in Moscow

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011
The Moscow Practicum: British Fashion crew in Red Square. All photography by Amelia Gregory. (unless I am in the pic that is)

Just over a week ago I travelled to Moscow with the British Council to talk to a group of young fashion designers from across Europe as part of a educational program called Practicum: British Fashion. I travelled from the UK with Toby Meadows, pilule who offers advice to fashion designers with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, sales and with Janine Passley, approved an expert in buying and sustainability practices for EI8HT who consults for ASOS.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011
With Toby Meadows, Janine Passley and Michael Salac.

It was the first time that I have flown in nearly three years. R/H the label travelled from Finland by train to reduce their carbon footprint, but unfortunately it was just that little bit too far for me to do the same…

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 with Janine Passley and Clare Lopeman
With Janine Passley and Clare Lopeman

It’s the second time I’ve been to Moscow: the first time having been in 2007 when I went there to discover up and coming creatives for issue 8 of Amelia’s Magazine. It takes under 5 hours to fly there, which seems remarkably close for a culture that is so very different from our own.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 with Evgenia Gerasimova
Practicum: British Fashion 2011 was put together by Evgenia Gerasimova, seen here introducing the programme.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 Kristian Steinberg
Kristian Steinberg gives us his pitch.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 Toby Meadows
Toby Meadows in front of a giant plastic bag sculpture in the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture.

Michael Salac of Blow PR joined us the next day, as did Clare Lopeman, a fashion designer and head of fashion at the British Higher School of Art and Design. Practicum: British Fashion took place in a wonderful old industrial complex known as the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, a huge hall that was built in 1926 as a bus garage and that now houses exhibitions, a cafe, lecture halls and a fantastic bookshop.

Moscow The Garage Centre of Contemporary Culture
Moscow’s The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 Toby Meadows
We ate a lot of canapes!

Together we made up a hopefully non scary panel of “experts” who listened to short pitches from the designers, who came from Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Finland, Denmark, Estonia and Latvia. We then offered our opinions and advice on how to improve their businesses – in my case this invariably meant encouraging sustainable practice and prompting them to improve their online presence. The next day it was our turn to lecture on our expert subjects, in my case, How to produce good promotional material that will attract editorial coverage in magazines, and how to promote your brand successfully on social media. Just some of my favourite subjects!

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 Michael Salac
Practicum: British Fashion lecture with Michael Salac

Moscow British Council Hede Kerstin Luik
Hede Kerstin Luik from the British Council in Estonia

I like teaching and lecturing so I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it was lovely that so many people came up to me afterwards to tell me how inspired they were. I took loads of postcards with me and they all got taken which I take as a good sign!

Moscow British Council-after my talk

But what was undoubtedly the most brilliant part of the whole experience was the opportunity to meet lots of wonderfully talented people who are doing really interesting things in their own countries. Sitting at my computer all day every day I sometimes forget that I am very much a people person at heart, and I enjoy hanging out with other people. As is often the case at these kind of events some of the most important networking was done outside of official hours, when we were chatting at the hotel bar or exploring the extremely expensive rooftop bar at the Radisson Hotel which is housed in one of Moscow’s famous Seven Sisters – laughing as we all squished into the tiny lift to zoom up to the 29th floor, and then coming straight back down again when we discovered how expensive it was.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square Soulland
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square Soulland
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Radisson Hotel
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Radisson Hotel
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Radisson Hotel
The incredibly fancy Radisson toilets…

We also got the opportunity to attend one of the many Russian Fashion Weeks, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, for which the British Council had flown over Lulu Kennedy of Fashion East to showcase three of her star designers: Marios Schwab, Louise Gray and James Long.

Moscow British Council-russian fashion week
Moscow British Council-russian fashion week
At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, sponsored by, ahem, Tupperware.

Moscow BC 2011-partying after fashion week
Partying after fashion week shenanigans.

I’ll be writing up that experience in a separate blog post. In the meantime here are a bunch of pictures from my time in Moscow… fun times indeed. As a result it looks as though I will be attending Fashion Philosophy Fashion Week Poland in Lodz in early May 2011. Thankyou so much Evgenia Gerasimova and the British Council!

Moscow Red SQUARE soldiers
Soldiers in Red Square.

Moscow Dior advertising
Giant Dior advertising.

Moscow BCmy legs
My legs in the lift.

Moscow BC 2011-Michael and Emilia of R/H
Michael of Blow and Emilia of R/H

Moscow BC 2011-Lovely knitwear in Solyanka
Lovely knitwear in the shop at the Solyanka nightclub.

Moscow BC 2011-Red Square
Red Square

Moscow BC 2011-Russian Dolls
Lots of Russian dolls

Moscow BC 2011-Toby Meadows on the Metro
Toby Meadows on the Metro

Moscow BC 2011-Michael Salac and Janine Passley
Michael Salac and Janine Passley on the Metro

Moscow BC 2011-Metro

Moscow British Council-Amelia Gregory with cocktail
Enjoying an EXTREMELY expensive Cherry Pepper cocktail – like a meal in one!

Categories ,1926, ,ASOS, ,Blow PR, ,British Council, ,British Higher School of Art and Design, ,Carbon footprint, ,Centre for Contemporary Culture, ,Centre for Fashion Enterprise, ,Clare Lopeman, ,D.EFECT, ,Denmark, ,EI8HT, ,Estonia, ,Evgenia Gerasimova, ,fashion, ,Fashion East, ,Fashion Philosophy Fashion Week, ,finland, ,Fortytwo, ,garage, ,James Long, ,Janine Passley, ,Kristian Steinberg, ,Latvia, ,Lisa Shahno, ,Lodz, ,Louise Gray, ,Lulu Kennedy, ,Mareunrol’s, ,Marios Schwab, ,Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, ,Michael Salac, ,Michaela Mazalanova, ,Moscow, ,Nadya Nurieva, ,Networking, ,poland, ,Practicum: British Fashion, ,R/H, ,R/H the label, ,Radisson, ,Red Square, ,Russia!, ,Seven Sisters, ,Slovakia, ,Slovenia, ,Social Networking, ,Soulland, ,sustainability, ,Toby Meadows, ,Tupperware

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Amelia’s Magazine | Post-London Fashion Week Interview: Minna

Masters of Reality return with their latest mind altered offering to master their, treat cialis 40mg well, reality.

Masters of Reality’s sixth and latest record Pine/Cross Dover is a welcome return of the classic American desert kings who have many rock and roll fingers in many Palm Desert pies. Although released in 2009, the record is making waves over in the UK now. Presented as two halves, the question is Pine/Cross Dover, their first record in five years, any good?

As a pretty big Queens of the Stone Age fan, I was keen to dip my toe into the pool of rock and branch away from my Tension Head (a track which has incidentally been on my top five records for the last decade), let my ears broaden their taste and listen to fellow desert rockers Masters of Reality, which although I was quite familiar with them I hadn’t fully appreciated. Main member and founder Chris Goss has produced many QOTSA records, and so it’s a clear lineage many make associating the two bands together. To my bountiful joy I was pleased with what I heard in the shape of Pine/Cross Dover, kicking off with King Richard TLH, epitomizing from the outset the classic chugga chugga desert rock sound in a nutshell. This song makes me want to get up to get down, swing my limbs around the room and air drum to the max. Which, after doing so left me injured, but on a futuristic trip through nostalgia at the cusp of the desert rocking it’s best.

Aside from the belting opener, stand out tracks include the blissful Always, pounding with its repetitive drum beats and guitar riffs commonly associated to bands in the Palm Desert scene. The instrumental Johnny’s Dream, broadens the sound and style of Masters of Reality to something more then what many have said to be within the realms of stoner rock. Johnny’s Dream is pure end credit music and an awakening to the bands’ previous explorations. Further tracks to download include Absinthe Jim and Me, and the juggernaut Up In It, with Dave Catching playing guest guitar on the former – a fellow member of the desert rock scene and collaborator to many Josh Homme projects, including touring with Eagles of Death Metal last year. Masters of Reality, who add a dash of dark riff house blues to complete their newest record, are for anyone who has overplayed their Queens of the Stone Age records (which does happen) and are after a darker and deeper foray into the light of desert rock at it’s best. Due to tour the UK supporting The Cult in early 2011, if you’re into psychedelic, desert rock and dirty riffs, this is a band you don’t want to miss.

Masters of reality Pine

Masters of Reality return with their latest mind altered offering to master their, price well, dosage reality. Their sixth and latest record Pine/Cross Dover is a welcome return of the classic American desert kings who have many rock and roll fingers in many Palm Desert pies. Although released in 2009, buy the record is making waves over in the UK now. Presented as two halves, the question is Pine/Cross Dover, their first record in five years, any good?

As a pretty big Queens of the Stone Age fan, I was keen to dip my toe into the pool of rock and branch away from my Tension Head (a track which has incidentally been on my top five records for the last decade), let my ears broaden their taste and listen to fellow desert rockers Masters of Reality, which although I was quite familiar with them I hadn’t fully appreciated. Main member and founder Chris Goss has produced many QOTSA records, and so it’s a clear lineage many make associating the two bands together. To my bountiful joy I was pleased with what I heard in the shape of Pine/Cross Dover, kicking off with King Richard TLH, epitomizing from the outset the classic chugga chugga desert rock sound in a nutshell. This song makes me want to get up to get down, swing my limbs around the room and air drum to the max. Which, after doing so left me injured, but on a futuristic trip through nostalgia at the cusp of the desert rocking it’s best.

Chris Goss
Chris Goss – something of a character!

Aside from the belting opener, stand out tracks include the blissful Always, pounding with its repetitive drum beats and guitar riffs commonly associated to bands in the Palm Desert scene. The instrumental Johnny’s Dream, broadens the sound and style of Masters of Reality to something more then what many have said to be within the realms of stoner rock. Johnny’s Dream is pure end credit music and an awakening to the bands’ previous explorations. Further tracks to download include Absinthe Jim and Me, and the juggernaut Up In It, with Dave Catching playing guest guitar on the former – a fellow member of the desert rock scene and collaborator to many Josh Homme projects, including touring with Eagles of Death Metal last year. Masters of Reality, who add a dash of dark riff house blues to complete their newest record, are for anyone who has overplayed their Queens of the Stone Age records (which does happen) and are after a darker and deeper foray into the light of desert rock at it’s best. Due to tour the UK supporting The Cult in early 2011, if you’re into psychedelic, desert rock and dirty riffs, this is a band you don’t want to miss.

Masters of reality Pine

Masters of Reality return with their latest mind altered offering to master their, approved well, approved reality. Their sixth and latest record Pine/Cross Dover is a welcome return of the classic American desert kings who have many rock and roll fingers in many Palm Desert pies. Although released in 2009, the record is making waves over in the UK now. Presented as two halves, the question is Pine/Cross Dover, their first record in five years, any good?

As a pretty big Queens of the Stone Age fan, I was keen to dip my toe into the pool of rock and branch away from my Tension Head (a track which has incidentally been on my top five records for the last decade), let my ears broaden their taste and listen to fellow desert rockers Masters of Reality, which although I was quite familiar with them I hadn’t fully appreciated. Main member and founder Chris Goss has produced many QOTSA records, and so it’s a clear lineage many make associating the two bands together. To my bountiful joy I was pleased with what I heard in the shape of Pine/Cross Dover, kicking off with King Richard TLH, epitomizing from the outset the classic chugga chugga desert rock sound in a nutshell. This song makes me want to get up to get down, swing my limbs around the room and air drum to the max. Which, after doing so left me injured, but on a futuristic trip through nostalgia at the cusp of the desert rocking it’s best.

Chris Goss
Chris Goss – something of a character!

Aside from the belting opener, stand out tracks include the blissful Always, pounding with its repetitive drum beats and guitar riffs commonly associated to bands in the Palm Desert scene. The instrumental Johnny’s Dream, broadens the sound and style of Masters of Reality to something more then what many have said to be within the realms of stoner rock. Johnny’s Dream is pure end credit music and an awakening to the bands’ previous explorations. Further tracks to download include Absinthe Jim and Me, and the juggernaut Up In It, with Dave Catching playing guest guitar on the former – a fellow member of the desert rock scene and collaborator to many Josh Homme projects, including touring with Eagles of Death Metal last year. Masters of Reality, who add a dash of dark riff house blues to complete their newest record, are for anyone who has overplayed their Queens of the Stone Age records (which does happen) and are after a darker and deeper foray into the light of desert rock at it’s best. Due to tour the UK supporting The Cult in early 2011, if you’re into psychedelic, desert rock and dirty riffs, this is a band you don’t want to miss.

Illustration by Faye West

Recently in the midst of London Fashion Week (S/S 2011 already I hear you say?!) I had the chance to interview a designer who’s no stranger to the bi-annual tradition, buy nor Amelia’s Magazine. Her last interview with us took place before Fashion Week in February when the Minna brand was early in its second year and we have since seen her A/W 2010 collection provide a culmination of gothic lace and textured velvet loved by many.

But this year Minna was back to show at Estethica again, view so it was time to catch up with her whilst eyeing up her S/S 2011 look.

Minna at Estethica. All photography by Jemma Crow

So you’re back for another season within Esthetica, illness how do you think this collection is different to your others and what are you hoping to offer to the customer?
Well this season we are going back to what we do best; hand finished and truly-vintage looking pieces. We wanted each piece to look like it was a ‘one of a kind.’ This is something we achieve by tea dying vintage lace and leaving the hemlines slightly frayed. The end result is a collection of beautiful feminine pieces that are designed to suit every shape and size. I’m very excited about this collection as we’ve put into good use everything that we’ve learnt about the customer and what she wants for the past two years.

Illustration by Antonia Parker

Sounds exciting. So what has been you real drive and inspiration behind the SS11 collection?
Well I love summer so designing this collection is always the easiest for me and is always lots of fun; the only problem is that I had too many ideas to put into work. I suppose the inspiration me and my team worked from was based around the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ movie of which my daughter is a huge fan (and Minna herself could watch all day long), both other inspirations came from laid back summer afternoons in the South of France where I spend a lot of time with my family. I think it’s the slow pace of life there and the beautiful architecture to see that puts me into a creative mood.

The A/W 2010 looks on the website are beautiful and very gothic. The Claudia dress especially is amazing and very inspirational. Who do you see as your customer and where do you imagine her wearing the pieces? Is it something that you bear in mind when you create the look?
In the winter I am always craving darker pieces so that’s what I love to create for my customer. I also a big fan of creating pieces that are functional and think dresses are the perfect mix of functionality and fashion; that’s the reason there were no tops in my A/W 2010 collection. I think I directed [the collection] towards a more mature audience and I think it’s apparent that as I get older so does my design style. But it’s about not being too serious; I think its important to pay attention to the little details and the collar on the Claudia dress (very Peter Pan-esque) adds just the right amount of playfulness.

Too right that they’re not too serious (and who in fashion should be?!). I have a bit of a crush on that piece right now to kick start my autumn winter look. And from a (recently) London girl what do you think of the style in our capital? How does it compare with the Finnish style you experienced at home?
What I love about the Brits is that they’re not afraid of breaking the rules; and I’m a big believer that the rules are there to be broken. People over here aren’t just following the trends, they have their own individual style that they translate into so many different looks in their outfits. I think you’re lucky to have the British High Street here as it’s the best in the world; its cheap and accessible but it also makes it very hard for smaller brands to compete with the Primark and Topshop’s of the world.
Finland is completely different and it’s a very expensive and tricky market to break into but if you can crack it then Finnish customers are amongst the most loyal I know. In fact you can probably count on one hand the number of brands in the market. Weather is also a big issue out there though and the Finnish need like their pieces to be simple and serviceable whilst still following the trends. They have to be functional and people have to have a functional winter wardrobe to get through the seasons.
Saying this I am surprised every time I visit Finland again as there’s a new generation of fearless fashionista’s emerging who but their pieces over the internet and aren’t afraid to experiment with fashion. After all, Fashion should be fun and that’s what I try to create with my pieces and what I hope the customer gets from them too.

Thank you so much, Minna. Sounds like a great philosophy to have when looking at a collection and SS11 sounds like it will be a great year for you. I’m looking forward to it already! And put me on the list for a Claudia dress too, as you say everyone needs a functional winter wardrobe. Thanks and congratulations for London Fashion Week.

Categories ,Antonia Parker, ,estethica, ,ethical, ,Faye West, ,finland, ,interview, ,lace, ,London Fashion Week, ,Minna, ,S/S 2011, ,vintage

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Amelia’s Magazine | Q&A with Finnish fashion designers Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label

R/H Label by HollyMae
R/H Label by HollyMae.

You’ve read a bit about Finnish fashion designers Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi, viagra 100mg now here’s my Q&A with the R/H Label girls.

R/H Label by Sam Parr
R/H Label by Sam Parr.

How did you guys meet? Come on now, drugs tell the truth!
We met at the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2003 – we studied at the same class for six years and became good friends. While doing our Masters studies we realised that we wanted to do our MA theses together and in doing so created the base for our label R/H. Both of us have always dreamt of having our own label and what could be better than putting all our skills together to create a fashion label.

R/H Label by June Chanpoomidole
R/H Label by June Chanpoomidole.

What’s best about working together? (and worst)
We have been doing very well for a label that has existed less than a year. The reason for that is that together we are stronger; we have the same motivation to build R/H up to become a solid fashion label. We create our own ways of working and the environment we like to work in. We always trust one other and support each other when needed. This is a tough business and it’s good to have someone to share the responsibilities and worries with otherwise it could be quite lonely. Of course we need to work well as a team and be able to put R/H the label before our own needs and visions. R/H is us but at the same time we like to think that it’s the third person in our company. For example while designing we always question each other whether it is ‘R/H style’ and think about the R/H girls and women who buy it and what kind of style we like to offer to them.

RH Label SS 2011RH Label SS 2011 dress
R/H Label S/S 2011.

The worst is that as close friends we might spend a bit too much time together talking and gossiping – sometimes it affects our working days so that the work that we are supposed to do gets held up. Of course sometimes we do not share an opinion about something that affects R/H and then we just have to discuss together and come up with the best possible solution. We definitely have our own, sildenafil personal design styles that we combine in the design process and that’s how R/H style is made at its best! Hanna has a more feminine and black style where as Emilia’s style is wilder with more colours and of course prints. There are similar aspects in our styles too. We both share the visual need to bring a rougher edge to the design. So in R/H garments the soft and beautiful is always mixed with rough details. R/H always comes with an attitude!

A/W 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label A/W 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

How do you split the work up and who is best at what?
We both do everything. It’s a small two ladies company at the moment so we have to be able to do whatever it takes to make R/H work. We share tasks with each other according to our interests and skills. There are always some tasks that are no-one’s favourites but we both try hard to take care of everything. Hanna is very good at taking care of the production process and contacts and Emilia is in charge of the PR meaning social media, magazines etc. Of course we have some people helping us out with certain tasks which we appreciate enormously!

RH Label SS 2011 mood
R/H Label S/S 2011.

When it comes to designing the collection, we definitely design together. The only thing that we have divided is that Hanna is in charge of making sure that the collection sustains its major theme and style in the cuts, the silhouette and the core design. Emilia designs all R/H prints and creates the colour world of the collection. Designing the collection is always a random group of unique situations so it’s hard to say who had the first idea. We sometimes have the same ideas, maybe because we spend so much time together. It can be that another one comes up with an idea that the other one then continues. We both design first by ourselves and then start to combine the ideas together. We like to play with the contrasts of masculine and feminine through mixing soft materials with rough details. 

RH Label SS 2011 moodshot
R/H Label S/S 2011.

What’s your biggest sources of inspiration?
We get our inspirations from different fields of life. It can be a picture in a local newspaper, a certain mood in a movie, colours combined together and seen somewhere, people you might meet and their style, atmospheres in the city at different times of year, from each other, different historical eras, artists, female anatomy, photography, music and musicians. Very often music actually!

RH Label SS 2011 leggings
R/H Label S/S 2011.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
We like to use fine materials such as silk, silk-cotton, bamboo jersey, wool, cotton and ecological reindeer leather. Most of the materials that we use in our designs are natural and the reindeer leather that we use in R/H garment details comes from Lapland of Finland. In R/H jewellery we use materials like silver, ceramic and birch wood. We produce our jewellery mainly in Finland but also in the UK. All clothing production is done in Tallinn, Estonia. The factory is very close to us and makes great quality garments. This way it is ecological and at the same time very convenient for us. Working with a quality factory that is close to where the label retails is definitely an ethical choice.

R/H Label A/W 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label A/W 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

What was the best part about our trip to Moscow? What was the most important thing you learnt?
We loved the trip to Moscow! It was so educational and at the same time so much fun. We got so many new friends and got to know a little bit of Moscow. Everybody was friendly and warm and everything was so well organised. The most important thing that we learned was that there are many fantastic designers in the world and they all share the same kind of passion and problems that we have been facing. Toby Meadows‘ lecture about the fashion business in general was very important for us.

RH Label AW 2011 black dress
R/H Label A/W 2011.

Where do you go and what do you do to relax?
We both love to travel. We also share a love for the sun as it is a rare luxury up here in Finland. We love to do picnics in the summer time in Helsinki by the sea and in the winter we go to sauna to relax. We listen to a lot of music, read books, draw or go to see a good movie. We spend time with our beloved ones and travel to our summer cottages to relax. We drink wine with our friends and have long analysing discussions about different fields of life. We both love to laugh and dance!

R/H Label A/W 2011
R/H Label A/W 2011.

What are you working on next?
We just opened the R/H Label webshop and now we are working on the R/H Spring/Summer 2012 collection. We would love to do some collaborations with different kinds of companies – not particularly fashion – so that is something that we would like to start looking into as well. We are also looking for a place to run a little shop in the centre of Helsinki. So we’ll keep you guys posted about that. 

Finally, who would your ideal stockist in the UK be?
We are still looking for one to find us! 

Read my previous article about R/H Label or visit the R/H Label website and R/H Label online shop. Keep an eye on these girls! I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them in the UK soon.

Categories ,Emilia Hernesniemi, ,Estonia, ,finland, ,FInnish, ,Hanna Riiheläinen, ,Helsinki, ,HollyMae, ,jewellery, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,Lapland, ,Michalis Christodoulou, ,Moscow, ,R/H Label, ,Reindeer, ,Sam Parr, ,Tallinn, ,Toby Meadows, ,University of Art and Design Helsinki

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Amelia’s Magazine | R/H Label, fashion design from Finland: meet Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi

Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi RH Label
Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label.

I met Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label on my trip to Moscow, click where they came by train (very jealous) to pitch their brand to a panel of experts for feedback, website of which *ahem* I was one. The girls studied together for six years at the University of Art & Design Helsinki, and have forged a strong partnership which made them a delight to hang out with during my stay in Russia and I was utterly charmed by their playful style, for which they are the best ambassadors. In the first of two blog posts here’s a summary of what R/H Label are up to.

RH Label by Fawn Carr
RH Label by Fawn Carr.

R/H Label was named for a combination of the girls’ surnames, and was founded only last June in Helsinki after being in the planning for way longer, both girls having studied and worked in fashion at home and abroad after graduation – I actually met Emilia a few years ago when I borrowed clothes from Agency V, where she worked as a PR. Small world eh? They took this time in the industry to learn about the commercial sides of the business and analysed what they could do best when starting their own label: clever girls. It is no surprise that their designs perfectly encapsulate the Agency V aesthetic; playful, colourful, printed. All good things in my book!

RH Label by June Chanpoomidole
RH Label by June Chanpoomidole.

Whilst the Finnish design scene is strong on the international stage, the fashion scene is something new, and so for them indigenous inspiration comes from the likes of well known furniture designers Alvar Aalto and textiles supremo Marimekko who mainly produces textiles for the home. IVANNAhelsinki is one of the only major Finnish fashion designers to have a profile abroad, as well as Laitinen menswear which has a high profile in Milan and Paris.

Hanna Riiheläinen of R/H Label in Moscow
Hanna Riiheläinen of R/H Label in Moscow.

But now is an exciting time because there is a new generation of creatives coming through. Ones to check out include fashion photographer Susanna Majuri and Helsinki based illustrator Laura Laine. Emilia and Hanna work with creatives across lots of disciplines and are inspired by Finland’s location between the east and west – a place where different visual aesthetics easily meet and mingle. Functional solutions come over from Sweden, but there is plenty of rich decorative detail to play with from the eastern side.

RH Label SS 2011 blue dressRH Label SS 2011 jacket leggings dahlia
R/H Label S/S 2011.

RH Label SS 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label SS 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

S/S 2011 was R/H Label’s first commercial collection, inspired by Dolly Parton, Mickey Mouse, Black Magic and the Nordic Summer Sky. You don’t get much more fun than that! It features a mix of local reindeer leather and bamboo jersey and all the bespoke prints were digitally printed onto silk – they like to create every element of the collection. I particularly love the purple sky and dotty dahlia prints, and was thoroughly enamoured of their ceramic eyeball necklace, created in collaboration with a local ceramics studio.

RH Label AW 2011
R/H Label A/W 2011.

RH Label AW 2011 by Michalis ChristodoulouRH Label AW 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label AW 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

For A/W 2011 they were inspired by Dragons, Mountains, Acrobats and Vagabonds. Another rich inspirational mash up! Role models that helped to inspire the collection included the strong character of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, and Finnish author Sofi Oksanen. Lots of black is offset again with bright prints in louche easily wearable shapes.

RH Label AW 2011 coat
R/H Label A/W 2011

Production is mainly done in Tallinn, Estonia which is 80km away, but the reindeer bags are made in Helsinki and they are keen to do more with local materials. Interest in the collection has been quick and enthusiastic and as well as stocking at home in Finland they already have stockists in Berlin, Vienna and New York. Naturally Agency V has been looking after press, which is also going pretty darn well for such a new label.

RH Label AW 2011 jumpsuit
R/H Label A/W 2011

Now they just need to figure out a way to grow the brand organically whilst retaining their creative control… it’s all about achieving that balance, which is why they came to Moscow for advice. In my next blog Hanna and Emilia answer a few questions. In the meantime take a browse around the R/H Label website and R/H Label online shop. Let’s hope they find stockists in the UK soon.

Emilia Hernesniemi RH Label
Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label talking to Michael Salac of Blow PR.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Acrobats, ,Agency V, ,Alvar Aalto, ,berlin, ,Black Magic, ,Blow PR, ,ceramic, ,colourful, ,Dolly Parton, ,Dragons, ,Emilia Hernesniemi, ,Estonia, ,Eyeball Necklace, ,Fawn Carr, ,finland, ,FInnish, ,Helsinki, ,IVANNAhelsinki, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,Laitinen, ,Laura Laine, ,Lisbeth Salander, ,Marimekko, ,Michael Salac, ,Michalis Christodoulou, ,Mickey Mouse, ,Mountains, ,Nordic Summer Sky, ,pr, ,prints, ,R/H Label, ,Reindeer Leather, ,Riiheläinen, ,S/S 2011, ,Silk, ,Sofi Oksanen, ,Stieg Larsson, ,Susanna Majuri, ,Tallinn, ,University of Art & Design Helsinki, ,Vagabonds, ,Vienna, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Royal College of Art MA Degree Show 2011 Review: Textile Design

Emma Lundgren by Natasha Waddon
Emma Lundgren by Natasha Waddon.

Textiles were displayed amongst product design at the Royal College of Art 2011 degree show – fitting, health as many textile designers showed practical applications for their textiles on cushions, trunks, tables and more.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley
Emma Shipley had produced an intricate print collection from fine pencil drawings that captured the patterns of nature… and some curious beasties. I’d love some of this on my wall… Follow Emma Shipley on Twitter.

Emma Lundgren by Sophia O'Connor
Emma Lundgren by Sophia O’Connor.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma LundgrenRCA MA degree show 2011-Emma LundgrenRCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Lundgren
I loved Emma Lundgren‘s Scandinavian inspired collection of brightly coloured costume and accessories. Think traditional Sami costume meets the rainbows of the Northern Lights. Lapland reworked for the modern age. Follow Emma Lundgren on Twitter.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Yunshin Cho
I liked the striking surface patterns of Yunshin Cho‘s print, based on the skeleton of a ship. It reminds me of wood laminate and 50s design classics. But her website on her business card doesn’t work… hopefully soon?

RCA MA degree show 2011-Rachel Philpott
Rachel Philpott chose a more avante garde approach: cotton covered with glitter and folded into intricate origami shapes. I don’t know how she did it but it was pretty amazing.

Thorunn Arnadottir by Natasha Waddon
Thorunn Arnadottir by Natasha Waddon.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Thorunn Arnadottir RCA MA degree show 2011-Thorunn Arnadottir
Thorunn Arnadottir chose that favourite contemporary source of inspiration the QR code, beading it into this amazing dress. Follow Thorunn Arnadottir on twitter.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Lauren Barfoot
Dresses printed by Lauren Barfoot hung wafting in the light breeze near the window – dominated by orange and purple shades these designs were inspired by Matisse and Fauvism. She’s well up on Twitter. Go follow her.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Kit Miles
Kit Miles collided classical baroque with digital music for these bold graphical prints.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Hannah Sabapathy
An exploration between the natural and manmade was also the basis for Hannah Sabapathy‘s collection – seen here on an architectural side table.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Jonna Saarinen
Jonna Saarinen of Finland brought a Scandinvian sensibility to her Hundreds and Thousands print collection that was display to great affect on picnic ware and table cloths. Follow Jonna Saarinen on Twitter.

RCA MA degree show 2011-David Bradley
David Bradley explored printing and pleats in some extraordinary dresses. Best appreciated for their technical expertise close up.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Kitty Joseph
Kitty Joseph created saturated colour prints in Colour Immersion.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Marie Parsons RCA MA degree show 2011-Marie Parsons
Lastly, Marie Parsons used traditional stitched quilting as the basis for her final piece – a brightly coloured trunk that juxtaposed digital embroidery and laser cutting of latex on hard and soft surfaces. Her collection was influenced by East End building sites, Mykonos Town and Paris flea market finds.

The RCA Graduate Show continues until 3rd July so I highly recommend that you check it out soon, and get on board with my other write ups.

Categories ,2011, ,50s, ,baroque, ,Beading, ,Colour Immersion, ,contemporary, ,cushions, ,David Bradley, ,digital, ,Emma Lundgren, ,Emma Shipley, ,EmmaEvaCaroline, ,Fauvism, ,finland, ,Graduate Shows, ,Hannah Sabapathy, ,Hundreds and Thousands, ,Jonna Saarinen, ,Katherine Joseph, ,Kit Miles, ,Kitty Joseph, ,Lapland, ,Lauren Barfoot, ,Marie Parsons, ,matisse, ,Natasha Waddon, ,Neon, ,Northern Lights, ,origami, ,print, ,Product Design, ,QR code, ,Quilting, ,Rachel Philpott, ,rca, ,Royal College of Art, ,Sami, ,Scandinavian, ,Sophia O’Connor, ,Stitching, ,Textile Design, ,textiles, ,Thorunn Arnadottir, ,traditional, ,Trunk, ,twitter, ,Yunshin Cho

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Amelia’s Magazine | Meet Essi Kimpimäki: Featured Artist from That Which We Do Not Understand


Essi Kimpimäki is a Finish illustrator who will be featured in my upcoming 10th anniversary limited edition artists’ book, That Which We Do Not Understand. You can also buy her wonderful work as a limited edition print featuring real gold leaf: visit my Kickstarter campaign here to find out more. Essi relocated to Scotland to study at the Glasgow School of Art. She creates textures through the use of ink, rollers, watercolour, paint, sponge and pencils, before scanning her work into Photoshop where she plays around with the colours and arrangements. Shamaness (above) is her contribution to my book and is inspired by ancient Mesoamerican civilisations who believed there was a strong connection between the spirit and visible world. The jaguar was a protective spirit companion for shamans as they moved between the realms and the bird is emblematic of the ecstatic trance state.

strawberry by essi kimpimaki
How did you research the themes for Shamaness, and what was it in particular that appealed to you about the ideas you chose to illustrate?
I have always been really interested in different cultures, of both past and present, all around the world – the further away the better! I find it fascinating how differently people perceive the world we all live in, and especially the more abstract ideas in life, the things we do not fully understand. In my opinion, the old civilizations usually had the most interesting ways of seeing things, which is why I looked at the ancient Mesoamerican cultures for this project, and the way they saw and experienced the connection between the spirit and visible world.

morocco by essi kimpimaki

The colour palette is amazing, where did you find inspiration for such a bold scheme?
Thank you! I work pretty intuitively when it comes to colours; I like using bold colours in my work in general, and I suppose with this one the bright colour palette came naturally with the exotic location deep in the jungle. I also wanted to create a stark contrast between the shamaness and the dark background of the night-time jungle.

How did you find out about the open brief and why did you decide to submit?
I think I first saw it on my Twitter feed. I have admired Amelia’s Magazine for a long time but never had the chance to even try to contribute to it, as it wasn’t in print anymore at the time I discovered it. So when I saw this opportunity, combined with the inspiring theme, I obviously had to give it a go!

deer by essi kimpimaki
What are your favourite subjects to draw and why?
I’d say my favourite subject to draw is definitely faraway places. There are so many places in the world that I’d like to see (but I’m pretty sure I’ll never see them all unless I win the lottery..), so I guess researching and drawing these places is kind of like alternative travelling to me. I don’t overly enjoy replicating an existing place right down to the comma, but I rather try to create an image that will hopefully convey the atmosphere of the location to the viewer.

Sketches for children’s book.

You also make your own screen prints, what do you love most about the process of creating art this way?
I currently work mostly digitally, but definitely want to get back to screen printing soon! Working digitally is faster and more cost efficient, but it’s just a completely different experience. When screen printing, you get so much more involved in the process, you are actually creating something tactile with your hands. I also find that screen printing can be pretty stressful at times; when things start going wrong, they really do go wrong, and you can’t fix it as easily as you can with Photoshop. But I guess this also adds to its charm! You can also end up with happy accidents that actually make the work better and more interesting. And seeing and feeling the lovely texture of the finished print definitely makes it all worth it.

You are originally from Finland but now reside in Glasgow… why did you decide to study in Scotland and what has kept you there?
At least at the time there weren’t really any illustration only degrees available in Finland, you had to study graphic design as well, which I wasn’t interested in. I also just wanted to live abroad again (I had previously lived and worked in England for a few short periods), so returning to the UK was an easy and natural choice for me. Because of the high tuition fees in England, I ended up looking at art schools in Scotland, decided that Glasgow seemed like a nice city, and that’s pretty much how I ended up here. My intention was never to stay here after graduation, but I guess things rarely go as you plan! I have my friends and boyfriend here now and I also find Glasgow an inspiring, exciting and friendly city to live in. If only it was located somewhere sunnier, though…

How much of an inspiration does your homeland remain, and how do you think your Finnish roots affect your approach to work?
I honestly don’t know; I’m not aware of actively being inspired by my homeland, but then again, I guess these things often happen subconsciously. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I read this from, but someone wrote that due to our location, Finnish culture is a mixture of West and East; more ornamental and romantic aesthetics from the East, and minimalistic and graphical approach from the West and Scandinavia. I think this is something I can relate to regarding my own work, so maybe that is where my roots show.

What are you working on at the moment.. can you give us any sneak peaks?
I’m actually preparing for the Christmas period at the moment; folding cards, cutting cardboard, packing prints, sending out orders. I have just received my Christmas cards and a few other new prints from the printers, ready for the Christmas market I’m attending next month. In addition to this, I’ve been doing some very early sketches of the main character cat for a children’s book that me and my friend are working on!

Don’t forget to visit my Kickstarter campaign if you like Essi’s work. Her print is for sale right here. Read about the creation of the print on her blog here. 50% of profits (after print, packaging and shipment costs are met) go to the artist, so if you like what you see, go support her!

Categories ,Essi Kimpimaki, ,finland, ,FInnish, ,glasgow, ,Glasgow School of Art, ,illustration, ,illustrator, ,interview, ,Kickstarter, ,Mesoamerican, ,scotland, ,Shamaness, ,Spirit, ,That Which We Do Not Understand

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Long Lost Friend: Special Edition – an interview with Husky Rescue

Husky rescue the long lost friend album cover
The latest album from Finland’s Husky Rescue celebrates ten years of releases with Catskills Records and is a continuous musical exploration, blending Marko Nyberg’s melodic electronica and folk-tinged vocals with compositions by Antony Bentley and charismatic vocals by Johanna Kalén. The album is accompanied by a high-concept instrumental collaboration with Bentley, made to coincide with a New York exhibition by designer and long-standing Husky Rescue collaborator Kustaa Saksi. Husky Rescue describe the inspiration behind The Long Lost Friend: Special Edition.

What states of emotional intimacy (or lack thereof) have informed the current album?
Tricky question but, oh, many – and in many ways.
In our case, rarely does any certain event or emotional experience get translated to a song as such. Sometimes it happens fast, sometimes slow, but it takes a while for things to find their place and context… And finally it’s like the album is telling you that it’s complete, thematically speaking or as a musical entity.
There’s all these experiences that are gathered along the way, maybe forgotten but lying around. And then a melody or sound comes along, then a weaving of sounds and then you suddenly realise what prior experience or feeling of yours the music is beginning to convey.
In the case of this album, it perhaps ended up conveying feelings of nostalgia and longing, musings about the unquestionable force of friendship and also about struggling to remain a child, despite being caged in an adults body.
Finally, of course there’s a remarkable level of intimacy in sharing a creative process. It takes a lot of trust and affection from your peers for you to be able to bring bare-bones lyrics or some early formless musical idea to the table in the first place.

Who is the long lost friend of the album title and how did you get back in touch? 
I’m sure all of us have a slightly different take on that. But the album title came to Marko during the making of the album, after he got back in touch with a friend of his after a really long silence. But just as well it could be any childhood friend you used to build tree houses with, or a lost loved one, or – as in the case of the title track – the long lost friend trapped within yourself, the true you, that you’ve been waiting to come out with a bang.

How was it produced and who was involved with its making?
The album was produced in studios – or wardrobes or pencil factories – in Helsinki, Stockholm, Berlin and New York. The core was us three: Marko, Antony and Johanna. The three of us work in a remarkably seamless formation where anyone can bring in any little fragment and it often would end up taking us somewhere special. But to generalize a bit, Marko is definitely the producing mastermind, Antony wrote most of the lyrics with some key contributions from Johanna. And everyone brought in their share when it comes to melodies or arrangements but Marko is most organized in keeping it all together.
Also we had some wonderful friends helping us out here and there: A close friend and long time Husky member and collaborator Ville Riippa and a string duo called Akkajee, just to mention a few.

Your longstanding collaboration with illustrator Kustaa Saksi has produced some amazing album artwork – in what way have you worked together on The Long Lost Friend?
It is a long-term friendship I’ve been lucky to have in my life. We’ve known each other for over a decade now. We start working together in the early stages of the process, sometimes sending some sketches and demos back and forth and I think we’ve both inspired each other. We always have. Recently Kustaa has been working on a large project called Hypnopompic, involving dreamy and surreal tapestries and rugs, which he has exhibited around the world. When he opened his Hypnopompic exhibition in New York, he asked us to make a music performance for the exhibition which turned out really inspiring. At last the process kind of turned upside down: first came Kustaa‘s artwork, then music to go with it.
Kustaa had complete freedom regarding the illustrations on this album cover. I like the way nature is portrayed. There’s also all these insects and other inspiration that are a kind of continuation on the world of the Hypnopompic project.

How has Husky Rescue evolved over 10 years of music making?
If one were to listen to all the albums I’m sure it’s quite clear that the evolution has taken many turns. But it comes from a place of freedom of form, there hasn’t been effort to keep it within some certain constraints. Even this Special Edition release alone contains quite a sonic journey in itself.

What have been the biggest highlights and pitfalls?
The biggest pitfall must of been when the tyre on our tour van broke twice on the same trip.
The highlights… the release of the first album – and actually every release after that. It’s never self-evident that it all comes together – that an album gets completed, then released – yet so far one release has always happily led to the next one.
Kustaa Saksi-Husky rescue
What is it about extreme countrysides that is so appealing?
There’s nothing more fantastic than experiencing big cities while knowing you can soon escape to the wilderness or to the silence of a countryside cabin by a still lake and stare at the open fire. It has a grounding effect. It’s a place of low disturbance, of sharpening of the senses and calm. It can make you stop and look at a dewdrop in awe. And it reminds you of who’s the boss, how in fact it’s Mother Nature who is in charge. Quite like surfing does.

Where do you hope to work and live next with your travelling studio?
Many places!

The Long Lost Friend: Special Edition by Husky Rescue is out now on Catskills Records.

Categories ,Akkajee, ,Antony Bentley, ,Bentley, ,berlin, ,Catskills Records, ,finland, ,Helsinki, ,Hypnopompic, ,interview, ,Johanna Kalén, ,Kustaa Saksi, ,Marko Nyberg, ,new york, ,Special Edition, ,stockholm, ,The Long Lost Friend: Special Edition, ,Ville Riippa

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