West Side Story became ‘East Side Story‘ in this glorious romp through American youth culture with a British twist, taking inspiration from the 1961 film and Saul Bass‘s iconic graphics. Any collection inspired by Saul Bass’s iconic graphics gets my vote.
I settled into my perfect standing spot, sandwiched between a guy wielding an iPad (give over) as if it were a shield and a speaker belting out Gee, Officer Krupkee. The entrance to the catwalk had been daubed in Richard Woods‘s signature woodprint, and just inside I noticed a huge sign saying ‘SMILES PLEASE’ with a cheeky felt-tip drawing of a grin. Well, it would have been rude not to, and so I grinned as wide as I could as the first model appeared.
The masculinity of the Jets and gang dress codes were first explored – cropped denim jackets and oversized bomber jackets featured enlarged JET BOY motifs on the reverse. Models were styled with slick quiffs and huge smiles – oh, hang on, the sign was for them! What a brilliant idea. It took all my strength not to start weeping as each handsome devil appeared, grinning and genuinely enjoying themselves.
From the streets to the gym; up next came polos, cardigans and shorts in Richard Woods‘ aforementioned print. Dreamy colours – mint green, lilac and Shark blue were indebted on the press release to the Ndebele tribe and West Side Story cinematographer Daniel L Fapp.
No SIBLING collection would be complete without chunky knits and a hint of leopard print, and die hard fans weren’t disappointed on either count. Cardigans and cropped jackets in blue peppered the sportswear, as did a thick, black mesh knit at the beginning of the show.
The most dramatic pieces combined scoobie strings (yes, like the bracelets) with American track and field sportswear shapes to create show-stopping tops and shorts in white, neon greens and acid pink.
A knit emblazoned with a ’5′ emblem in stars closed this fifth anniversary show, SIBLING‘s best yet IMHO.
Sometimes I look at fashion week press releases with the same disdain that I do art gallery captions. I have absolutely no idea where some of the designers (or press personnel) get their ideas from. I often stifle giggles as I read them, waiting for somebody to pop out and say ‘we had you there, didn’t we!’ And so it was highly refreshing when I arrived at Xander Zhou, my final show of this London Collections: Men season, to find not a rigid press release but a selection of thought-provoking words. Words like ‘personal’ ‘cosmetic’ ‘online’ ‘variety’ and, erm, ‘Thai boxing’ flooded a sheet of purple card.
I have to hold my hands up and say that I didn’t know much about Xander Zhou before this show. It turns out he studied industrial design in China and fashion design in the Netherlands, both of which have clearly had a resounding effect on his collections.
I was back inside the Old Sorting Office for the last time and by this point I’d worked out where the best spot was. An obscure, celestial soundtrack and a model clad in a beige latex blazer and shorts launched this S/S 2014 collection, which was to explore the internet and cyberspace through a range of futuristic garments. A selection of latex aprons followed, in muted colours, worn over crisp white shirts. Thin white garters worn on thighs and detachable collars completed these looks.
The collection then took a curveball direction into smart, dark tailoring with futuristic elements: double-breasted overcoats toyed with proportions and featured elongated sleeves; discrete checks, almost invisible to the naked eye, were constructed into sleeveless jackets and loose-fitting trousers.
More surrealist tailoring followed, including waistcoats with differing lengths and blocks of complimentary colours. Jackets nipped in at the waist to give a slightly feminine silhouette, styled with basic leather slip-ons.
Then came the most dramatic pieces. Show-stopping knee-length coats hammered home Xander Zhou’s internet-based inspiration, featuring images such as Google search pages, Facebook symbols, internet memes and dramatic photography – a masterclass in print.
More tailoring closed the show; pastel-coloured playsuits featured black highlights, but it will be the printed coats that I remember this show for.
Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins borrowed legendary designer Raymond Loewy‘s slogan ‘you must create‘ to launch their label back in 1995. The brand constantly evolves, better known by the acronym YMC, but the ethos behind Loewy’s words resonate through the heart of the clothing label even today.
A YMC show feels a bit like respite on the London Collections: Men line-up. The Corbusian mantra ‘form follows function’ runs through the core, and to judge them against Craig Green or Astrid Andersen would be totally missing the point. Relaxed tailoring with a modern edge, minimal silhouettes and unassuming, stylish, wearable separates have become the brand’s signatures.
This season the YMC boys took over the Old Sorting Office where I’d previously seen Topman Design. I derived pretty quickly that this was going to be right up my straße in comparison. A quietly confident crowd saw striped blazers and bombers with matching shorts, fusing the brand’s utilitarian aesthetic with a fun summer flavour.
These bold opening offerings were quickly followed by the brand’s unmistakable denims, tees and casual shirts. A quilted jacket was given a modern twist with a haphazard, swirling design in Chombray. Crisp, linen shirts featured oversized polka dots and revealed intricate, childlike patterns on the reverse. Sportswear complimented these subtle twists, from tapered joggers to sleeveless bomber designs with zip pockets. Floral shirts were worn effortlessly.
Oversized checks then made an appearance in subtle blues and greens. Basic white t-shirts with luscious marine-blue gradient hems made me yearn for a decent fucking summer.
A range of jackets closed the show: a blue overcoat with synched hood and sleeves, a play on the French utilitarian jacket and an oversized overcoat-cum-poncho with slits in the sides to expose arms.
Many a menswear designer could learn a thing or two from YMC‘s inimitable, laid-back blend of cool.
‘I AM NOT THE ARTIST. YOU ARE‘ declared Matthew Miller‘s press release, distributed along the white benches of the Victoria House, London Collections: Men venue. It was my penultimate show and the fatigue induced by fashion shows had well and truly set in. I needed something to perk me up if I was to make it toXander Zhou at the end of the day.
Miller‘s ethereal show opening was just the ticket. Instead of music, a woman with dulcet tones harped on about the world through the speakers. An intense gent appeared, wearing only white tapered jeans, his back penned with the gallery cliché ‘UNTITLED MIXED MEDIA‘. The philosophy of the art world was to become Miller‘s branding for this season and was swiftly followed by a long-haired model with the same motif tattooed onto his chest. He carried a skateboard and wore jeans of a similar cut, this time in jet black. I liked the drama of it all, but I did ponder how long I could sit watching shirtless models wearing staple denim stroll past.
It wasn’t long, though, before Matty Miller‘s unique approach to menswear came to life. The relationship between fashion and art is a constantly evolving theory. Is fashion art? Is art fashion-led? Miller explored this concept by utilising the stark visuals of a gallery’s environment and interpreting it through clothing. His aim was to bring the haute pretensions of the art world down a peg or two.
Luscious sweaters really perked me up and I would never be able to decide which one to buy. A white crew neck had a subtle off white panel applied to the front and featured a gallery caption square on the reverse. Others carried a circular design making use of the ‘untitled’ motif, this time in a vinyl relief. I really enjoyed those. A stand-alone black version had the crowds launching their cameras into the air; a white version peaked from behind rigid denim. A black sweater with thick monotone blocks descending to white also stood out.
Sportswear is always a key factor in his collections (that’ll be his time at Umbro) and elements of this genre featured on most garments. Paper-like tops had hoods and front pockets. Trousers were cropped at the ankle. Black leather jackets with concrete toggles complimented these looks and reminded us of Miller‘s unique approach to materials.
Shapeless silhouettes in slim, straight fabrics came in a super-light grey, teamed with matching shorts, and this technique saw Miller show womenswear for the first season – smock-like dresses used darts to form angular shapes across chests.
It was left to raw denims, cracked paint finishes and unfinished hems to complete this visually stimulating and thought-provoking collection.
Kay Kwok was actually my first show of the London Collections: Men S/S 2014 schedule. When I turned up on the Sunday morning, I had a bit of a meltdown outside. I’d returned from holidays and suddenly found myself standing in a standing queue waiting to get in to a venue to watch a designer’s show that I knew nothing about. As street style snappers snapped street style snappers and people behind me in the queue had banal conversations about how they’d selected which shoes to wear, I thought, ‘What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here’. It all seemed rather tedious. I yearned to be at home watching the Coronation Street omnibus in my pants, eating Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.
The security guy in the background isn’t part of Kay’s creative direction, he was an actual security guard. Was going to remove him but I like how his poses change from shot to shot…
All photography by Matt Bramford
When I finally got inside, the venue was ludicrously empty. I couldn’t believe it. What was all that al fresco fuss about? I decided to dust myself off and get on with it, and when the lights dimmed and the music started, I realised that this wasn’t such a bad place to be after all. Yeesh, I go on, don’t I? Anyway, let’s talk about Kay Kwok.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Kay Kwok graduated from the London College of Fashion only last year. He’s already establishing himself on the London fashion menswear scene with a little help from the endorsement of GQ China. This S/S 2014 he brought his blend of ‘cosmic fashion’ to the collections.
Opening with a wide v-necked tunic top and fitted trousers, this would turn out to be a multifaceted collection. A sea of garments revealing bare chests with this familiar v-neck design followed: beiges and blacks were used heavily for blazers, jackets and further tunics.
Kwok relies heavily on futuristic, architectural forms. T-shirts featured apron-like overlays and wide-leg trousers continued up to the chest with geometric panels. Rigid leather jackets and trousers transformed the shapes of models.
Later came graffiti-like acidic prints, with which, I’m told, Kwok is more closely associated. These were cleverly applied to long coats and accompanying trousers: at first carefully on sleeves, and then with abandon across all garments. Futuristic footwear came courtesy of fellow LCF graduate Youngwon Kim.
As the finale walked past I felt like I’d witnessed two separate collections – both of which were equally exciting. Comparisons have been drawn with J.W. Anderson but I think Kay Kwok‘s aesthetic is a more appealing one and he’s a welcome addition to the London Collections line-up.
Katie Eary pretty much started the current leopard print menswear trend. Back in 2010, she had boxing models head-to-toe in it. Her love affair with the design continued on Monday at her S/S 2014 offering.
As is standard at Katie’s shows, it seemed like everybody in London had descended on Victoria House. I’m always sceptical when you’ve got a standing ticket and it’s a printable email – there’s no way of policing who presses print and tries their luck. I actually saw one guy with about 12 fresh print-outs in the queue, dishing them out to his pals like they were Wonka’s golden tickets; their eyes lighting up at the sight of the pink-flamingo-in-a-wig design. When we finally did get inside, it was by far the busiest I’d ever seen that venue.
Standing next to a speaker is one of my favourite things during fashion week*, and as a preview of one of Kanye West‘s forthcoming tracks from new album Yeezus penetrated my eardrums, I wondered if I’d even get out alive. At least it wasn’t Coldplay.
Anyway. A mixture of models began to appear and there was no hidin’ that pink flamingo. Each print induced flashbacks to a Charlie le Mindu show that I had since managed to supress – have a look here and you’ll see why. Emblazoned across shirts, isolated on tees, this flamingo was a versatile motif that seemed to work across all garments that it was applied to; I’ll be damned if I’m not sporting a flamingo-in-a-wig t-shirt by the end of next summer.
Other print patterns included the aforementioned leopard print, Katie’s signature, this time in red and black with a linear gradient application, fading to translucency on slim-fit polo shirts and fading to black on oversized rucksacks.
Both patterns appeared on trousers and shorts with combat pockets and were styled with Nikes in similer colours and Katie Eary-branded skateboards.
Peppering the mens showcase were a bunch of super sexy ladies with candy floss wigs and poker faces. They sported designs not dissimilar to the mens’ range – flamingo head scarves, racy leopard-print translucent kaftans and coral bikinis that they could actually fill.
I’ve left some shows baffled about what season I’ve just witnessed, but there was no mistaking at this show – Katie Eary predicts a red hot summer.
This week’s wet Monday was brightened up considerably by a trip to the Royal Collage of Art’s first work-in-progress show of 2011 – and before you ask, seek no, online I was not suffering from “Blue Monday” or the notion that yesterday was the most depressing day of the year. As Ben Goldacre (Bad Science) discussed over on his blog yesterday, the concept of Blue Monday was made up by a PR company, with the aim to sell more holidays in the months after Christmas and is being perpetuated by journalists reconfiguring press releases into actual articles, without through fact-checking, a type of writing describe by Goldacre aschurnalism.
Finishing on Wednesday, 19th January, the Work-In-Progress show is a great opportunity for current BA Students, graduates and the public to see the developing ideas in the fields of Fashion, Textiles, Metalwork and Jewellery, Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, and Photography. Whilst the photography and the filmmaking are breathtaking, warranting a trip to the RCA by themselves, I will mainly be focusing on the Menswear and Womenswear Year Two students.
Tariq Mahmoud’s shoe was inspired by watching the penguins at the penguin pool of London Zoo. The unique presentation of his shoe within a fish bowl with a couple of toy penguins for company, was certainly eye catching, drawing your attention to the similarities between flipper and shoe.
The RCA Interim show is a fantastic opportunity to see how ideas circulating within contemporary fashion are being dissected by students studying the craft. Aleksandra Domanerskaya’s oversized mac in a traditional plaid is a great example of how classic shapes are constantly being reinvented.
In recent seasons, knitwear has exploded across the menswalk catwalks, from James Long’s to Morgan Allen Oliver via Sibling, designer after designer have reinvented a fabric which was once solely associated with 1970′s knitwear patterns. I loved Cherie Newing’s take on the ubiquitous fisherman’s jumper.
Menswear Year 2 student and intriguing illustrator, Sol Ahn displayed this breathtaking combination of a triomphe d’oeil shirt and cardigan with fabrics to match the illustrations!
In Womenswear Knit, Ruth Hill’s simple orange block print dress in an incredibly fine knit, was beautifully reminiscent of the artist Paul Klee.
Lily Kamber’s fantastic mixed media pieces used found objects to create pieces of jewellery more at home in the art deco settings of William Morris…
In the M.Phil research section, I came across the wonderful work of Jungeun Lee. Lee’s experiments with synthetic fabrics – creating garments without the need for pattern cutting, sowing, knitting or weaving – reminded me again of the ground breaking A-Poc (A piece of Cloth) and Issey Miyake’s latest venture, 132 5, an “experiment in steam pressed polygons of material” (thanks Fashion Ed, Matt Bramford!). Lee created her pieces by molding hot synthetic fibres into a 3D Structure.
Hurry up! What are you waiting for? Head down to the Royal College of Art before 5.30pm Wendesday 19th January.
Visit the Royal College of Art’s website for full updates on their upcoming in-progress shows and public lectures. I’m particularly looking forward to the collaboration between RCA MA Curating Contemporary Art and Goldsmiths MFA Curating students, Testing Ground: Time Scale.
Christopher Raeburn studied at Middlesex University in London, treat where a really good technical tutor made him keen to attend the hallowed Royal College of Art, order from which he graduated in 2006. He has become well known for his upcycling of military fabrics, although he has worked with everything from Eurostar uniforms to hot air balloon material. He sources parachutes, leather jackets, tents and ponchos from military surplus warehouses around England, but has increasingly started to import pieces from Europe so that he can make bigger runs. The military inherently overproduces so there are huge volumes of fabric and garments that will never be used – dead stock that Christopher is happy to make the most of. In fact most production processes are inefficient so there is always likely to be pre-consumer waste; for example, 10% of the parachute fabric that is made fails opacity tests. Christopher is able to give that fabric a new lease of life. Most recently he worked with windproof cotton from some forty year old Swedish snow parkas. Occasionally a company will contact him about a specific material they think he might like to use, which has been a great way to keep his collections fresh and innovative.
The military inherently overproduces so there are huge volumes of fabric and garments that will never be used – dead stock that Christopher is happy to make the most of. In fact most production processes are inefficient so there is always likely to be pre-consumer waste; for example, 10% of the parachute fabric that is made fails opacity tests. Christopher is able to give that fabric a new lease of life. Most recently he worked with windproof cotton from some forty year old Swedish snow parkas. Occasionally a company will contact him about a specific material they think he might like to use, which has been a great way to keep his collections fresh and innovative…
I love Agi & Sam. A recent collaboration with Topman, ‘The Owls‘, featured a range of football-kit inspired clothing and gave a taster of things to come. I am hoping that ‘The Owls’ was a nod to Sheffield Wednesday. I couldn’t give two hoots (geddit?) about the team, but I love that city.
Two enormous owls sat amongst the crowds at their S/S 2014 show last Sunday. Yes, I know I’m behind. I was genuinely surprised when the show began with mostly all black looks. Agi & Sam are renowned for their glorious use of colour and so it seemed a bit curveball. A speckled black suit worn over a crisp white shirt appeared first, styled with visor shades. An oversized black shirt came next, featuring a discrete monochrome pattern.
It wasn’t before long that the design duo’s inimitable prints appeared, though. This season inspiration had come from public transport seating patterns, the bloody geniuses. If you want to look like the back seat of the number 8 bus, as I certainly do, then Agi & Sam are for you. Rich fabrics carried hallucinogenic patterns in vibrant colours, some discrete, some so obvious that even the models wore large black visors to protect their eyes. All trousers maintained a clean cut with a tapered leg, cropped at the ankle.
When did you last hear an amazing story? A tale of derring-do, helpmedical or grand ambition, shop heights scaled, ambulance depths plumbed – simple stand-up human decency or quiet unassuming endurance or some quirky ingenuity fit to inspire generations to come. The kind of stuff they used to sing songs about, and still do.
Sat around their dining table one evening, David and Clare Hieatt pondered. They were rubbing their chins over what they could really do about the things they cared about. They’d started howies back in 1995, something of an awesome inspirational-type clothes company in itself, but this was clearly not enough. From that evening of reflection, they figured that the world’s Doers are the best people to inspire people to go Do something. In David’s words, ‘They show us what is possible. They leave a trail that we can follow. Knowing how they did it helps us to connect the dots about how we can do it. They give us the inspiration, the final push we need to go and do our thing. Whatever that might be. From starting a new business, to inventing something that hasn’t been done before to fighting for your cause, doers seek.’
And so the Do Lectures were born – a series of talks by people who have Done stuff, and might well Do more, if we let them up and at it – a few days gathering each year to share ideas and stories, to meet other fantastic Doers, and thereby get these stories out and about in the world. Here are a few Qs – the As courtesy of David Hieatt – that might give you more of an idea.
Why do people get involved with the Do Lectures?
There isn’t a set of talks like it in Britain. The talks have sustainability at its heart. Their reason to exist is to make a positive change. The speakers do not get paid but we do cover their expenses. Speakers come from all over the world to tell their story. They want to share their learning, they want to share their new ideas, they want to share their journey. They want to tell the world about the change they have made or are seeking to make. It might be a small tent but there are some big ideas being shared. They have a story to tell. People remember stories. They forget facts.
How do you choose your speakers for the Do Lectures?
We spend the year researching the speakers. We find out who has written the most interesting books, written the most thought provoking articles, who is doing the bravest thinking in their field, and then we pull from that research and start to compile a short list. We already have some of the speakers booked for next year. We also have a number of Do mentors throughout the world. They report back to us from time to time. They tell us who their doers are in their part of the world. They we literally get on the phone to the people we are going to invite. Even in the second year, an invite is starting to carry some kudos.
What is the most unusual topic for this year’s Do Lectures?
Maybe, Mount Everests binman. Or a school that aims to create chaos and not order. Maybe the man wants to change how concrete is made. Or maybe the man who’s doodles have ended up on the big screen for what could be the biggest film of the year: Where the Wild Things Are.
Where do you see the Do lectures in 5, 10, 20 years’ time?
In 5 years – There will be a series of How to Do books. That cover the subjects that the talks cover from clean tech to inventing to climate change. Global talks. The talks will take place all over the world. From Sydney, to Bangalore, to Stockholm, to Tokyo, to San Francisco, to Beijing. The talks will over time become an important set of talks, respected throughout the world. In 10 years – The aim for the Do Lectures over the next decade is to build a world resource for Doers and to supply that knowledge for Free for the world to use. To make a positive change. In 20 years – To build A Do school. There will be a physical and a virtual library available free to the world.
So here’s a gathering with a difference. At one thousand pounds a place, you’re less buying a ticket, more contributing to the speakers’ expenses and the future free distribution of the lectures. David and Clare are thinking big – what is fast becoming a respected annual event should attract over a million people across the world this time around to get inspired for free. If you can go, I most humbly and slightly jealously urge you, go. And if a back seat is the order of the day – well, don’t make a habit of sitting there. Once this year’s stories are out and available, I think there’ll be more than enough get-up to go. Yes, I surely Do.
One of Amelia’s Magazine‘s favourite graduates from the Central St Martins MA back in March was knitwear designer Morgan Allen- Oliver, treatment with a selection of horse jockey- meet- Soviet minimalist graphic patterned jumpers. We caught up with him to find out how the last few months have been treating a designer with very British sensibilities.
Hi there! How are you doing? You have nice hair.
Hello, approved thank you. I think both my hair and I are feeling the effects of a rather busy couple of weeks!
What have you been up to?
Well I’ve had my brothers wedding in Somerset, diagnosis where I was making waistcoats for the wedding party, and then I’ve been at the Avalon Camp, the charity I work with (a week in a very rainy, muddy field with 32 children, trying to give them a summer holiday!!) then straight back to London to reacclimatise to city life!
You graduated in March – what have you been up to since then?
I needed a break. It was 18 months of near hell, I loved almost every minute of it but it was emotionally, physically and financially draining – I loved it! Then after a couple of weeks lying in a darkened room, I went back to my old uni, Ravensbourne, to help some very talented young designers pull their collections together ready for Graduate Fashion Week. It was fun but strange at the same time – working so hard only to see someone else get the glory! I have not done that before but I suppose it gets you ready for the real world! Then I started doing some work for Christopher Shannon and Natascha Stolle, sort of knitwear consultancy I guess you could call it? This has actually been very beneficial and given me a lot of creative freedom.
Describe your design aesthetic in three words.
British. Elegant. Me.
Who do you see wearing your clothes?
It is odd, but I always have my friend Ed in the back of my head when I design – I think, “would he wear it?” Then I go with it. I also see my clothes as really easy-to wear, and could work on anybody who wants to wear them – as long as they are happy, I am happy. I think that as long as people are confident in their clothes, they will look good! Man that sounds cheesy!
Who do you admire within the industry? Any other heroes?
A strange choice but I am always really excited to see the new Miu Miu shows when they come out. I know it is mainly womenswear and not my forte, but there is always something fun and new that really gets me. Every now again Burberry come out with some beautiful knitwear that makes me wish I had designed it!
As stupid and as lazy as it sounds, when I was in my last year at Ravensbourne, no one was doing it so I thought it would be a good way to stand out, and it was. You need to stand out in fashion, however possible! But as I got more into it, I actually started to like it and really enjoyed the process, designing as I knitted and being so much freer than when I was working with wovens. I must have enjoyed it I guess as I went on to specialise in it at St Martins!
As a knitwear specialist, are you pleased to see a lot of recent students showing an interest in knitting?
I really am. It was amazing that only two years after I left Ravensbourne as the only only pure knitter, there were six or seven people doing it when I went back, all of whom were doing some of the best and most beautiful work I have seen. I was also really pleased to see so much on show at GFW. I sat through nearly all the shows and the knitwear was definitely the highlight in most shows.
Morgan’s BA collection from Ravensbourne
Now for the important question…you inherit 5 million dollars the same day aliens land and say they’re going to blow up the world in two days… what do you do?(Editor’s note: definitely not lifted from anywhere)
Well I don’t believe in aliens. But if I inherited 5 million pounds (we are in England!) and then the world ended that night, I would probably be too panicked to come up with a coherent plan, so would no doubt waste my time thinking about what to do!
Who or what is your greatest enemy?
Time. There is never enough and I waste it terribly.
Who would you ideally like to work for, and what’s the future for Morgan Allen-Oliver?
I want to work for one of the classic British houses. I feel that is where my style sits best. Then who knows, one day go out on my own? When I was younger, and still finding my style, I always thought New York was the place for me, and actually in the past week, two opportunities have come up over there, but we will wait and see!
To get in touch with Morgan (and maybe get yourself one of those jolly nice jumpers) pop him over an e-mail by clicking here.
Like trojan horses in thrift store suits, edAndy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno are the corporate world’s bêtes noires, find causing mayhem and creating chaos in the buttoned up business sector. Seeing that they describe their favourite hobby as posing as the heads of corporations that they hate, this the results of which have caused losses of millions of dollars on the stock market, you can see why these men strike fear in the otherwise impenetrable world of big business.
The exploits of Andy and Mike, otherwise known as The Yes Men, make up “The Yes Men Fix The World”, the optimistically titled documentary which details their journey into some of the biggest, baddest corporations in the world. Before you think that these two are merely time-wasting pranksters, bare in mind that they only go after the organisations which have blood on their hands, and their ultimate mission is to “expose the corporate greed which is destroying the planet”. Their tried and tested manner of political activism is done by ” criticizing those in power with a smile and a middle finger”, a disarmingly effective method which always delivers. The film details one of their most infamous and audacious hoaxes yet – impersonating a Dow Chemical spokesperson on the BBC. A little back history to put this in the correct context; in 1984 a chemical plant in India which was owned by Union Carbide (since purchased by Dow Chemical) leaked 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate which spread into the city of Bhopal. Called the worst industrial disaster in human history, the effects were far reaching and horrific. Over 500,000 people were exposed to the gas, and 20,000 have died as a result. It is estimated that 120,000 people still suffer from ailments caused by the leakage, which include blindness, extreme difficulty in breathing and gynecological disorders. Babies born since have been blighted with disfigurements. Since Dow Chemical purchased Union Carbide in 2001, they have refused to clean up the side, provide safe drinking water or compensate the victims, saying that the settlement reached by Union Carbide had fulfilled the financial and moral responsibilities of the victims.
With this in mind, the dogged determination of The Yes Men to focus in the spotlight on Dow by any means possible is quite understandable. In 2004, Andy Bichlbaum appeared on the BBC as Jude Finisterra, a Dow Chemical representative, accepting responsibility for their actions, pledging to clean up the site and compensate the victims.
The fallout was fast and unexpected – Dow’s share price fell 4.2% in 23 minutes, causing a loss of $2 billion in market value. This leads to a Yes Men realisation. As they explain; “we have created a market system that makes doing the right thing impossible, and the people who appear to be leading are actually following its pathological dictates. If we keep putting the market in the driver’s seat, it could happily drive the whole planet off a cliff.”
The film follows Andy and Mike around conferences as they try to explain the ramifications of this situation. Of course, the methods which they employ to do so are not always legit (but funny for us). For example, pitching the concept of a ‘golden skeleton’- which represents lucrative skeletons in the closet, to a London Dow Conference. Surprisingly, those attended loved the concept and afterwards scrabbled to be given skeleton key chains and memorabilia.
The documentary also unveils SurvivaBalls, (which can best be described with photographic examples) on a unsuspecting audience. While they may suspiciously look like fat suits, they in fact “Save managers from abrupt climate change – an advanced new technology will keep corporate managers safe even when climate change makes life as we know it impossible”. As long as the heads of the corporations are alright, eh?
The Yes Men press have this to say about the films release:
COME SEE THE YES MEN GET SERVED?
If you happen to live in the U.K., the Yes Men will be attending the London
preview screenings August 7-10 and will appear live at the nationwide simulcast on
August 11. These are great opportunities to serve the Yes Men legal papers should
you or anyone you know wish to sue them. Please get tickets early to reserve a
seat for these potentially lively events! Note as well that the Yes Men will give
a free “Special Edition” New York Times to anyone who comes to any daytime
screening, or to one of the Monday-Wednesday evening screenings at the Odeon
Panton Street London between August 7-13.
There will also be the chance, a la The Age Of Stupid, to organise screenings in schools and public work places. For full screening dates and times, and to buy advance
tickets, please visit http://www.theyesmenfixtheworld.com/scre
Antwerp has a lot to answer for. It has for the last decade been a fertile hotbed for not only cooler than thou talent emerging from the Fashion Academy but a steady stream of artists, about it photographers, see illustrators and graphic designers. One man who has his fingers in all the fore mentioned creative pies is Frederik Heyman, hospital an Antwerper born and bred, who has been artistically active since the tender age of 7. With not one but two master degrees, one in graphic and illustration design and one in photography, Heyman is more than a hobbyist with a passion.
His portfolio is extensive yet he remains clearly selective about working with people he resonates with; local folk such as Bruno Pieters and Christian Wijnants, as well as red hot publications such as Zoo Magazine (the trendy Berlin based one, not the British poor man’s playboy) Delvaux Magazine, and Mode Depesche.
When I asked him about his most admired artists he explains that while admiration can have negative connotations for him which in turn can kill creativity once you strive for emulation, he has a lot of respect for certain artists and thinks the prospect of collaboration is tricky when you contend with “egos bumping”.
As someone who explores more than one avenue of expression, I wondered whether he had a preference between creating illustrations and shooting photographs. “I believe for me one is inseparable from the other; there is a lot of crossover. I illustrate my images and the atmosphere by putting it on film and vice versa. I believe I’m more of an illustrator who uses a wide range of media, including photography.” Perhaps the attraction of dealing with a range of medias is that it keeps one’s mind and occupied; Frederik claims that if he wasn’t an artist his life would probably be a lot more structured.
One theme that struck me immediately in Heyman’s work is his use of the human form. I was curious where his fascination with bodies came from, especially when he is in turn quite shy of his own. “It’s not a fascination; it’s more the endless possibilities you have with the tool called ‘a body’. It’s more of an automatic feature that sneaks in rather than a present subject in my work. With the body you can sculpt your image, it can be subtle, or it can support the action from the background. Every little movement or gesture can reroute the atmosphere in an opposite direction.”
When the conversation matured into more of a chit chat, I discover that Frederik is lost without his mobile phone, “I can’t stand the silence of not hearing people in a day passing by”, that he can’t deny the musical presence of the Pet Shop Boys in his life “they are permanently in my top 25 listened to tracks!”, and that his only real nemesis is sleep, “I suffer the physical weakness of body and time. I find the days run too short for all the possibilities.”
His work has received widespread interest from a number of blogs and websites; the diversity of his appeal is to his credit, and I’m sure will mean his success can only continue to flourish. Collina Strada designs some very nice bags. And like most things fashion-related around here at Amelia’s Magazine, physician they have a heart and soul, viagra 40mg with a passionate concern for environmentally friendly fashion. Made from organic canvas and using vegetable dyed leathers, medications these new ‘It’ bags truly deserve the label; they really are so much more than just a bag (if such a thing even exists!)
The genius behind the designs is LA based Hillary Taymour, who has brought her vast fashion and business education from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to her business; covering all aspects of initial design work, production and marketing. Hillary is Collina Strada! Combining her Californian education with her Egyptian background, Hillary’s bags showcase the modernity of American fashionistas mixed with ethnic prints and ethical fabrics no doubt inspired by her African roots. Think zebra stripes meeting modern shapes, expect tribal diamonds printed on envelope bags.
The collection is made with the fashion-forward woman in mind, no surprise considering Hillary’s location. Already celebrated on inspirational fashion blog, rackk and ruin, it’s definitely correct to say that once you have the blogosphere’s support, good things are on their way. Something that makes the bags stand out is their individuality; each bag is different, nothing matches, yet the excellent tailoring and construction hold the designs together.
Inspired by bag-making-legends ranging from Prada, to Balenciaga, to Hermes, Hillary certainly knows her handbag royalty. Alongside her education and background, these formative influences can truly be spotted in the ‘It’ factor to her designs, making functional and modern bags that at the same time stand out as somehow timeless, vintage-look pieces. Look at the effortless draped shape of the Ferra bag, or the dramatic rouching of the Zeba bag, and you’ll see what I mean. Can’t you picture the photos of Sienna, Alexa and the gang parading around London town with these beauties on their shoulders already?
Collina Strada – Where does the name come from?
The name for the collection derived from my name Hillary people call me Hill, in Italian Collina means Hill and Strada means Street.
What was the inspiration behind the collection?
The inspiration for the line was to create a beautiful silhouette with buttery leathers and eco-conscious materials, I wanted to create something beautiful that could allow every woman to show off their individual style.
What do you think makes your bags stand out?
The bags stand out through their unique silhouette with a clean aesthetic, the bags speak for themselves without any added hardware.
What’s in store for the future of Collina Strada?
The future of Collina Strada is expanding, I will be creating functional abstract leather pieces that are not necessarily handbags, I would love to see Collina Strada move forward into a head to toe contemporary women’s collection.
Hillary states on her website that she strives to provide bags that “break free from the rest”. Looking at her 09 collection, they certainly do that.
Written by Becky Cope on Thursday August 13th, 2009 3:48 pm