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 | Man Like Me headline the Garage in Highbury Islington on 11th February 2010

Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins
Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robins

Man Like Me headlined a Mean Fiddler gig at the Garage in Highbury Islington on Thursday last week. (I’m sorry but I can’t bring myself to call this venue by it’s new spangly sponsored name…. R. R. R. no I can’t. Sorry. It’s a grim energy drink, that’s all I’m gonna say.) I like Man Like Me – hence their appearance in issue 09 of Amelia’s Magazine, and their contribution to my Positive Futures USB compilation – so I went along to check them out.

Johnny Langer, singer
Johnny Langer, singer

Arriving fresh from singing Schubert with my hands over my ears at my weekly singing lesson (apparently I have a very musical ear which means I am constantly overanalysing and adjusting the tone of my voice, fact fans) I immediately ran into someone I knew at the head of the long line snaking out of the club – I’d totally forgotten that my friend Dan is now part of Man Like Me, so some friends had come down to check him out. I’d sort of arranged to chat with singer Johnny Langer before the gig but this proved fairly impossible in the cramped dressing room which I’d say is designed for four people at a push. Man Like Me are now a ten strong live band. Go figure. Glamourous new female singer Jessie recognised me instantly, remembering that she met me through a mutual friend. Blimey it’s a small world. Looking very fabulous in a short sequinned dress, she was debating what size flower she should wear in her hair. Large, we all agreed. Large suits Man Like Me.

Jessie, singer with Man Like Me
Jessie, singer with Man Like Me


It’s been awhile since I hung out backstage and I had quite forgotten the mania of a young band before a large gig. Amid the vodka tonic jollity they posed against the beautifully beige walls, Johnny musing over how much he enjoyed creating the tune, Oi John What’s Going On, which appeared on my Positive Futures compilation; a song that wasn’t fixated on love or getting twatted, as most of his creations tend to be. One new recruit to the band is Johnny’s dad, himself a record producer. I asked how long he’s been playing with his son. “I’ve been playing with him since he was a baby!” We chortled at how wrong this could very easily sound.

Dan, I like your glasses

My friend Dan joined the Man Like Me circus last year, bringing along his three piece brass section the JJ Horns, and embarking immediately on a seminal trip to Corsica, playground of rich Parisians. From there the next gig they went to was in glamourous Hitchin in Hertfordshire, something of which Dan is particularly proud. Donning suits and dark glasses the JJ Horns are a dapper foil to Johnny’s charity shop aesthetic.

Dan and the JJ Horns
Dan and the JJ Horns

With the band fully psyched to go I headed out into an audience of particularly young looking creatures, whereupon my friend Anna introduced me to her 14 year old nephew (she has 8 nieces and nephews, I am SO JEALOUS. I am not even an auntie yet!) It turns out that this was officially an underage gig and popping back to the bar I chuckled at the changing demographic. Youth, looking suspiciously drunk on sneaked in booze, getting sweaty up front; oldies (music industry and proud parents) loitering with clutched beers near the back.

Bulked up with layer upon layer of clothing, Johnny arrived on stage hidden behind a clutch of Lidls bags before heading straight into a typically lively Man Like Me set. To the delight of the female fans he proceeded to strip off slowly, from trenchcoat to silly jumper to t-shirt saying Deaf School to bare naked slim chest – leaving a pair of boxers and large deerstalker hat for last, stood astride a ladder, proclaiming to the audience. Such was the excitement that within seconds some irritating wench had clambered onto a pair of shoulders and was blocking our view of Johnny. Perhaps unsurprisingly this same lass was then responsible for a stage invasion of one during the final song. What a yawnsome cliche this has become.


Johnny has a delicate feral beauty that can easily command the attention of a large crowd. As a seer of contemporary life he sings of what he knows best: London Town, being a Single Dad (he really is, with a daughter just 3 years old), of Gucci and doughnuts, falafel and crap TV. Things we can surely all relate to (or hope to escape, if you’re a young lad and don’t quite fancy being a father yet) all imparted with a good dose of humour (just check out their videos for a sense of where they’re at) and a jaunty sing-along tune. The presence of the JJ Horns has brought a fatter dimension to their sound, with Dan happily bouncing along to the choreographed dance moves “I learnt them in a night” and Jessie providing an admirable foil to Johnny’s bouncy stage persona.

I last saw Man Like Me at Secret Garden Party a few years ago and I had forgotten how much fun they are live, with a good cache of tunes that move along at a cracking speed. The sweaty audience was clearly in agreement; they obviously have a sturdy fanbase who are looking forward to the release of a new album as much as I am.

Categories ,garage, ,gig, ,Highbury Islington, ,JJ Horns, ,Johnny Langer, ,Live Review, ,London Town, ,Man Like Me

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