Amelia’s Magazine | Simon Ekrelius: New S/S 2012 Season Interview

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Natalia Nazimek
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Natalia Nazimek.

Simon Ekrelius has been slowly building a reputation for his futuristic yet feminine style. Here’s a peek into his new S/S 2012 collection Bar-Red, page and a chance to find out more about his unique vision.

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson.

What brought you from Sweden to set up your studio in London? 
I first discovered London in 1993 and since then I have been back and forth. My designs work better in London than in Sweden, healing where people are very careful with their wardrobe. In 2002 my partner Tom and I decided to move here and settle down.

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
All photography by Marc Lavoie.

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Sampo Lehtinen
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Sampo Lehtinen.

You have a wonderful way of making futurism seem eminently female and wearable – what inspires you and how do you keep this look fresh each season?  
I’m inspired by many things other than fashion; architecture, painting, sculpture and artistic movements in general. I don’t look at the work of other fashion designers because I can’t help but be affected, which is not good for my creative process. I also tend to avoid fashion magazines, which helps to keep my head clear and enable me to work hard on my feelings for the next season. I decide what I really like and what I feel will work, bearing in mind that it’s easy to go way too crazy and futuristic. It’s important to find the right balance – that’s what fashion is all about.

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Natalia Nazimek
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Natalia Nazimek.

What in particular is the new season’s collection Bar-Red based on and what does the name refer to?
I think that back in 1919 people were maybe experiencing similar things to what we are going through now, so Bar-Red is based on the Bauhaus movement, mainly with regards the geometric forms used in architectural design. I like the way that the Bauhaus integrated different forms in order to construct a new kind of style and I translated this into our time so that the collection is not completely retrospective. Bar-Red is so named because it can also mean Barred. The shape of a Bar is rectangular and the colour Red is the main colour in the collection, plus the words Bar and Red work together perfectly. I used bar-shaped objects in my prints such as cigarettes and there are big chunky arrows pointing at naughty areas or sometimes just away.

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Sampo Lehtinen
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Sampo Lehtinen.

You showed in Ottawa this season which is quite exciting – how did this come about?
I was asked to take part by the organisers of Ottawa Fashion Week and at first I did not even believe they had a fashion week. Plus it was during Paris Fashion Week, which was very awkward. But they wanted me to come so badly that they offered me a very good package, so then I just couldn’t say no, especially since the economy in Europe is so tough now. I met members of the Swedish embassy when I was over there and that was interesting because they want to import more independent Swedish design to Canada.

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius by Gareth A Hopkins
Simon Ekrelius by Gareth A Hopkins.

Will you be showing again in London anytime soon? We loved your last catwalk show with On/Off here. Any London based plans that we can share with readers?
Yes, absolutely, I’m planning to do an exhibition again next season at London Fashion Week. Perhaps I will share space with another designer to see how that goes, and after that I’m sure that I will be back on the catwalk again. But it all depends on the sales I’m afraid…

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Lesley T Spencer
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Lesley T Spencer.

What is your preferred music to listen to when you are working and have you discovered any new musicians or bands recently that we should know about?
I’m just putting together a playlist on Spotify, and it features Grace Jones, Best Coast, Fever Ray, The xx and The Knife. When I am working I sometimes listen to 6 Music, but sadly I don’t have much time to really discover new bands.

Simon Ekrelius Bar-Red SS 2012 - illus
Illustration by Simon Ekrelius.

Your fashion illustrations are beautiful – how do you ensure this side of your work practice stays alive?
I do my illustrations as I go along. I create them in my head and then if I have a pen, some colours and a bit of paper they will come out automatically like a machine. So I will always illustrate as long as I am creatively productive. They are not always pretty – sometimes they are just a few lines that will help me to remember what has come into my head.

Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson
Simon Ekrelius S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson.

What are your future plans for the Simon Ekrelius brand? 
Aww, this is a difficult one! I think for the moment I just want to get a better relation with buyers abroad and perhaps one boutique here in London to stock Simon Ekrelius exclusively. But then of course it would be great to eventually do my own shows in Paris or London, with high level production so that I can explain my stories properly in all areas. After that I would like to have my own place (to sell from). But first I need to focus on finding buyers.

Categories ,6 Music, ,architectural, ,Bar-Red, ,bauhaus, ,Best Coast, ,Buyers, ,Fever Ray, ,Futuristic, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Grace Jones, ,illustration, ,Lesley T Spencer, ,london, ,London Fashion Week, ,Marc Lavoie, ,Milly Jackson, ,Natalia Nazimek, ,onoff, ,Ottawa Fashion Week, ,paris, ,S/S 2012, ,Sampo Lehtinen, ,Simon Ekrelius, ,Spotify, ,Swedish, ,The Knife, ,The XX

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Amelia’s Magazine | The 2013 FAD Awards: London Fashion Week Catwalk Review

Stephanie Kitchen by Warren Clarke

The Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) Awards are always an end-of-fashion-week treat. After five days of the freshest fashion talent dominating the catwalks at the Fashion Scout venue, FAD looks even further into the future at the best of the country’s undergraduate talent, based each season around a different theme.

Louis Anderson-Bythell – all photography by Matt Bramford

There could be no better a theme in this age of global change and austerity than ‘Future Optimism‘, which was the brief for this year’s students. Over 100 undergraduates submitted work for the competition, with fifteen entries showcased at this climatic event.

Anna Kim by Gabriel Ayala

Here’s a quick photographic rundown of the fifteen entries:




Stephanos Konstantiou by Laura Hickman













And so on to the winners. It must have been a tough job for Hilary Alexander, Fashion Scout’s Martyn Roberts, Topshops’ Geraldine O’Brien, FAD’s Claire Muldoon and our pal Milly Jackson (who won the 2011 Award) to choose a winner.

Sitting at the end of the catwalk is fantastic for shots of models but not so fantastic if the awards action takes place at the opposite end.

One of my personal favourites, Nneka Okorie‘s glorious menswear, took one of the runner up prizes. Her slick trench-coats with digital printing techniques brought both expert tailoring and vivid colours to the catwalk and I loved the discrete details of city skylights on a backpack and trouser hems.

Stephanos Konstantiou took the other runner up prize with his futuristic neoprene collection with rigid cutaway details. His laser-cut houndstooth pattern was completely original, and I enjoyed the sharp silhouettes that his collection projected. Nneka and Stephanos both take home five hundred quid and an industry placement. Well done, pals!

The winner, described by Hilary Alexander as ‘unanimous’ and ‘one to watch’ for the coming seasons, was, deservedly, Stephanie Kitchen. A final year student at Bath Spa University (always a good show at Graduate Fashion Week), Stephanie’s innovative cycle wear earned cheers when it first appeared at the beginning of the show and rapturous applause when it was announced Stephanie had won. This collection brought together wearability, sustainability, style and functionality all in one. The cycle sunglasses were a hit, too.

Stephanie wins £1000 and an industry placement and her designs were also shown at London Fashion Weekend. I don’t think this will be the last time we see Stephanie on the London fashion catwalks.

Winner Stephanie Kitchen by Milly Jackson for FAD

Categories ,2013, ,Anna Kim, ,Awards, ,Aysha Simpson, ,BA, ,catwalk, ,Chelsey Crossland, ,Estela Nevinskaite, ,FAD, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Gabriel Ayala, ,Hilary Alexander, ,Joseph Horton, ,Kimberley Phillips, ,Laura Chittenden, ,Laura Hickman, ,London Fashion Week, ,Louis Anderson-Bythell, ,Lucinda Roberts, ,Matt Bramford, ,Matthew O’Brien, ,menswear, ,Milly Jackson, ,Morwenna Darwell, ,Nneka Okorie, ,review, ,Robert Mills, ,Stephanie Kitchen, ,Stephanos Konstantinou, ,students, ,sustainability, ,undergraduate, ,Warren Clarke, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Menswear Day Catwalk Review: James Small

James Small S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson

I arrived at the James Small show pretty early – such is the bonkers London Fashion Week schedule that some shows overlap and then you’re left with huge gaps in your day. I joined the small but perfectly formed queue and waited for a pal to arrive. The show was delayed, prescription I was informed, because of the knock-on effect of late-runners throughout the day. The queue eventually began moving a mere 20 minutes late, and just as we were about to be let in, we were halted by an impossibly gorgeous PR girl. Her colleague came over and whispered ‘Kate’s imminent, we should hold the queue‘. Now, I don’t know if it was the pint I’d just enjoyed or the onset stir-crazy sensation I was experiencing after 6 days of shows, but I started sweating profusely. It couldn’t be, could it? ‘Calm down, Matt’ I internally repeated. It can’t be. She wouldn’t. It might be a code word. It might be Kate Adie.

Kate Moss by Antonia Parker

Eventually, after much discussion, it was decided that we should be allowed in because this mysterious Kate hadn’t yet arrived. We were escorted individually up the grand staircase of the Freemasons Hall, this Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue, and assigned seats on the front row. Seating was heavily policed, and I enjoyed the personal escort, but it was taking bloody ages and another show downstairs was set to take place pretty soon afterwards. Jaime Winstone, looking incredible with a silver grandma up-do and vertiginous heels, entered the room and was seated with little fuss. Now I love Jaime Winstone, but if ‘Kate’ was a codename for Jaime Winstone, I was about to go berserk.

Kate Moss by Claire Kearns

Kate Moss by Gilly Rochester

The personal escort service soon turned into a scrum; somebody had clearly realised that it just wasn’t practical. I let out a huge sigh as I said to my friend ‘Well, Kate clearly isn’t coming.’ ‘What?’ my friend replied, ‘she’s over there!’ I turned to my left to study the front row. Somehow I had missed the arrival of Meg Matthews, Sadie Frost, Annabelle Neilson, James Brown, Jamie Hince and… Kate Moss. Kate FREAKIN’ Moss!

All photography by Matt Bramford

There was little fuss as I struggled to fight the urge to jump out of my seat, leap across the catwalk, gather Kate up in my arms and force her to take my hand in marriage. It all happened so quickly, and of course, now Kate had arrived, the show must go on.

James Small S/S 2012 by Gabriel Ayala

It was tricky to concentrate on the show knowing that My Kate was mere feet away, but being the consummate professional that I am, I took up my camera and started to study the clothes, being carefully to take a picture of Kate in between each look. The fashion on offer was actually great, and I don’t know why I was thinking that it might not be. The secondary venue at Fashion Scout is actually much nicer – a dark wood arch divides the old stone room, dark wood lines the floor and majestic chandeliers hover above the revellers. Models appear almost out of nowhere. You do lose sight of the models as they bound through the arch, unfortunately, but this ensured enough time to snap Kate excessively.

James Small S/S 2012 by Sam Parr

Hysteria mounted thanks to the special guests: Kate and her entourage whooped and cheered every look and wolf-whistled translucent shirts, which sent roars of laughter through the room. Last season’s sharp tailoring continued this time around, but had been given a more casual feel for the discerning gentleman who manages to looking devastatingly cool without any real effort during the summer months.

James Small S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson

Small’s mainstay silk shirts had been jazzed up with the aforementioned translucency, and romantic florals with an air of Liberty were the most aesthetically appealing pieces in the collection, particularly a shirt/shorts combination with identical print. I’m not sure I’d get away with it, but the model did with aplomb.

Small‘s sharp tailoring was dressed down with white ankle-high sports socks and Vans in varying colours – when I read this on the press release I wasn’t so sure about it, but seeing it in the flesh allowed it to make sense. Rich colours: plum and royal blue, and luxe materials: silk and velvet, made this collection Small‘s most sophisticated yet. Retaining an edge above his competitors with leopard print and camouflage short shorts, it’s Small’s sharp cuts and sophisticated tailoring that really set him above the rest. That and his stellar front row, of course.

Categories ,Annabelle Neilson, ,Antonia Parker, ,catwalk, ,Claire Kearns, ,combat, ,fashion, ,Floral prints, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Front Row, ,Gabriel Ayala, ,Gilly Rochester, ,illustration, ,James Brown, ,James Small, ,Jamie Hince, ,Kate Moss, ,Leopard Print, ,liberty, ,London Fashion Week, ,Meg Matthews, ,menswear, ,MenswearSS12, ,Milly Jackson, ,review, ,S/S 2012, ,Sadie Frost, ,Sam Parr, ,Silks, ,tailoring, ,The Kills, ,Translucent, ,Vans, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout

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Amelia’s Magazine | Flik Hall: New S/S 2012 Season Presentation Preview and Interview

Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson
Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson.
Flik Hall is becoming a bit of a regular here at Amelia’s, and is it any wonder when the Central Saint Martins graduate continues to deliver covetable collections season after season? Speaking with Amelia’s earlier this year, she enlightened us on her past work with fashion heavyweights House of Holland and Giles Deacon; almost one year on and their influence and handed-down expertise is beginning to shine through more and more.

Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson
Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson.

Flik Hall dubbed herself a novice back then, but with three successful London Fashion Week seasons under her belt, she could have quite easily fooled me otherwise. Since then, print-enthusiast Flik has gone on to create two more delectable collections, continuing to incorporate her love for printed leather and structured silhouettes. The latest collection sees a new direction from the London-based designer, and I was lucky enough to see, hear and learn a little bit more about the creative process behind such bold and imaginative designs.

Flik Hall SS 2012
Flik Hall SS 2012
I first clapped eyes on the new collection earlier this month at the Rendez-Vous Femme trade show in Paris, where Flik Hall was successful in ruffling a few Parisian fashion feathers with her experimental vision. Amongst the vast number of exhibitors, not to mention the throngs of buyers, journalists and trend reporters, there was one corner of the room that instantly caught my eye. Flik’s designs are the definition of innovative. Whilst many designers stick to a time-honoured formula resulting in them fading into a background of summery floral prints and tassels, Flik Hall’s ever-developing penchant for experimentation earns her some serious print-infused brownie points for S/S 2012.

Flik Hall SS 2012

Back in London, the press event for next season’s collection was held at the uber-cool Vyner Street Gallery: an underground platform for emerging talent nestled in the depths of Hackney and the heart of Londons contemporary art district. Walking into the gallery space was like entering into Flik Hall’s world: a world of mythical fantasy. Accompanied by an eerie soundtrack, a short spellbinding film directed by artist Ashley Joiner was projected across the back wall, whilst the clothes on show delivered a sense of femininity juxtaposed with a strong, dynamic edge.

Flik Hall SS 2012
The small, intimate space had a very personal feel to it, and it was a real pleasure to meet Flik Hall, who revealed to me that she didn’t always want to be a fashion designer, ‘I used to want to be an artist when I was younger,’ she disclosed. ‘But my designs always seemed to naturally fall around the figure, so it all eventually transpired into fashion.’ And is it any wonder? With her choice of ethereal colour tones and that trademark use of eye-catching prints, the collection was successful in capturing my attention all over again.

Flik Hall SS 2012
S/S 2012 takes its inspiration from the deep blue sea as Flik Hall looks to the texture and intricate detailing of octopi skin for direction. Never one to shy away from experimentation, it is this imagery that makes up the signature print within the collection incorporating close-up screen prints of octopus skin and tentacles transferred onto soft leather pieces. ‘I’ve always been interested in Roman mythology and mythical creatures,’ Flik explained. ‘I was interested in the octopus and how its fluidity can be interpreted in strange and wonderful ways.’ The result is unexpectedly beautiful prints that call to mind A/W 2011’s equally striking doll arm designs, confirming how Flik can expertly convert creepy connotations into something imaginative and wearable, whilst maintaining the label’s other-worldly appeal.
Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Kate Copeland
Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Kate Copeland.

Last season’s dark and moody colour palette of black, and more black (don’t get me wrong – I am a fan of black), has been overthrown next season with only the smallest dose of raven undertones to be seen. ‘I like to mix it up quite a lot with a dark collection followed by a lighter collection, my aim is to keep it fresh,’ said Flik. Keeping in with next season’s sea-theme, innocent whites and delicate creams are highlighted with muted sea shell tones of pink, peach and lilac, whilst rich sand and deep petrol blue give added depth to the range. When asked about the creative process behind each print that she creates, Flik Hall explained that the whole process is very hands on, ‘I take lots of pictures, print out lots of images, collage them and then distort them,’ she said. ‘It’s just all about trying to figure out what’s right for me.’

Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Kate Copeland
Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Kate Copeland.

A delicate contrast to that of previous collections, next season offers a more feminine approach that is both ethereal and elegant. Layered silk and trademark printed leather was seen next to metal eyelet details: a representation of octopi suckers that reinforces Flik’s creative mind and attention to detail. Describing the collection as ‘ambiguous, sensuous and wet‘, Flik Hall has turned to opaque and sheer fabrics that contrast each other on narrow skirts and floor-length dresses, while her original flare is highlighted by the careful use of wetsuit-inspired Neoprene. As something that in my opinion could quite easily have gone horribly wrong, Flik pulls it off with structured mini dresses and voluminous jumpsuits that maintain a sense of femininity, whilst reconfirming that dynamic edge the label is beginning to be known for.
Flik Hall SS 2012
Though colour and print have been replaced with a more romantic aesthetic, Flik Hall‘s structured silhouette remains. The adoption of Neoprene is a clever addition to an already inventive collection, marrying structured shapes with semi-transparent fabrics. The overall desired effect is successful as I can’t help but conjure up swirling images of the deep sea, whilst one glance at the model’s intricately placed hair – mirroring that of curling tentacles – is enough to confirm the key influence of the mythical half-octopus-half-human creature known as Cecaelias

Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Alia Gargum
Flik Hall S/S 2012 by Alia Gargum.

I was mesmerised once in Paris, and mesmerised all over again in London; Flik Hall is constantly pushing herself forward and thinking outside of the box. Even if she does insist on keeping the label small and exclusive, S/S 2012 sees a stellar collection from one of London’s best up-and-coming designers that predicts a promising future for the Flik Hall brand.

Categories ,Alia Gargum, ,Ashley Joiner Central Saint Martins, ,Cecaelias, ,film, ,Flik Hall, ,Giles Deacon, ,House of Holland, ,illustration, ,Kate Copeland, ,london, ,Milly Jackson, ,Neoprene, ,Octopus, ,paris, ,Rendez-Vous Femme, ,S/S 2012, ,Vyner Street Gallery

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Accessory Designer Hope Von Joel from Eye of the World Designs

Eye of the World by Milly Jackson
Eye of the World S/S 2012 collection by Milly Jackson.

Hope Von Joel is a multi-talented knitwear designer, more about stylist, see fashion editor and accessories designer. But just how does she do it all? Read on to find out more about Eye of the World Designs.

Hope, you studied knitwear at Central Saint Martins and have also worked with the likes of Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh and Charlie le Mindu. As a stylist you’ve been a fashion editor for Super Super and now at Fiasco Magazine. What prompted the move into accessories design and was it a steep learning curve?
During my time at Central Saint Martins I worked at the houses of McQueen and Pugh on knitwear and design. These where both invaluable experiences and have definitely shaped by view of fashion to this date. It was a pleasure to see how the Design teams worked on the process behind such imaginative and wonderful collections. Styling wise yes I have previously worked with Charlie Le Mindu on his catwalk collection and Look Book; his creative flair is addictive and he is definitely a very capable and imaginative designer and business man! Styling for me is a great pleasure, I have worked on all sorts of projects from editorials for Elle Girl, Vogue, Oyster etc, to various fashion shows and big creative advertising campaigns – it’s a job with many different dimensions. I am always thrilled to work with clothing and accessories which break boundaries and challenge perceptions of the female form.  

Eye of the World Designs
Eye of the World Designs created for Brooke Roberts A/W 2012.

WIth this in mind the move over to accessories designing was quite easy. Having studied the concept of design at Central Saint Martins and seeing what is on offer from the bigger design houses I felt there was definitely a place in the market for sustainable, beautifully designed and hand finished pieces that are also made in the UK. What is nice about this sort of design is the fact that people can follow it from the design to the finished piece. Much of our raw materials are recycled or reclaimed and this gives the buyer a personal experience. I had the opportunity to work with Brooke Roberts because I was styling her collections, and it has been a great platform to launch the designs and see them worn with knitwear, which is another one of my passions.

Eye of the World Designs
Eye of the World accessories created for Brooke Roberts A/W 2012.

How do you juggle your different jobs? 
It’s about time management and everything has its place. The way I work is very creative but things overlap and that’s the joy of London and the creative scene. I am with an agent in London for my styling: Clicks and Contacts. They are a great creative push in that area and the rest I am learning along the way. 

Eye of the World Designs
Eye of the World accessories created for Brooke Roberts A/W 2012.

What’s in a name? How did you come up with Eye of the World designs?
Eye of the World Designs was thought up by my business partner Liam Motyer when we where travelling in South America. It became one of our favourite sayings and can apply to anything and everything. Our love of the organic form of wood seemed to offer a great view point on the world. I like the way it influences everything, very much like fashion; and so our use of wood has stuck.

Eye of the World S/S 2012 belts by Estelle Morris
Eye of the World S/S 2012 belts by Estelle Morris.

What inspires you when you start creating a collection and how do you ensure your ideas are translated into successful accessories. What parameters do you need to consider?
Colour colour colour colour… and wood. We take influences from anything and everything, from organic forms to marbles and glass… really anything that touches us. The colours of wood play a great influence, so if something doesn’t go with wood it’s not for us! This season we have been loving Orchids, Marbles and Wood. We always consider the season, who our customer is and what she is going to wear our accessories for. It’s like playing dress up with your favourite doll, creating a scene, place and style for each particular season.

Eye of the World Designs
Eye of the World accessories created for Brooke Roberts A/W 2012.

Most of your designs use wood – why is this and where do you source your wood from?
All our wood is sustainable, reclaimed or recycled and sourced locally to SE London. The reason we love wood is because Liam is a master craftsmen and his creativity and flair is in his manipulation of wood. We design and hand make every piece together in Peckham, with much love.

Eye of the World Designs S/S 2012
Eye of the World Designs S/S 2012.

Your pieces are notable for being extremely bold. How do you think they are best worn?
With a smile and a confidence that belongs to the wearer. I think that you should wear your clothes and accessories instead of letting them wear you.

Eye of the World Designs
Eye of the World accessories created for Brooke Roberts A/W 2012.

Your collection is styled with knitwear by Brooke Roberts – how does this collaboration work, and does it make you miss the world of knitwear? Any chance of a return?  
We worked with Brooke Roberts on two collaborations this season and last season. Last season I also styled her collections as I have done for some time. Her knitwear is luxurious and beautifully finished and her organic forms lend themselves to wooden accessories beautifully. I would love to return to knitwear and sometime soon I know I will! It’s a love and once you have the bug and the creative knowledge it’s like riding a bike.

Eye of the World Designs Converse
You recently created a special piece for the Converse Bag range. Can you tell me a little bit more about this project and what inspired your design?
Working with Converse was ace, we where asked to design a bag that reflected our love for Back to School. For us school was about movies, skating and moving forwards with speed. So we referenced the movie Back to the Future and created a real treat – a wooden and red flocked bag that combines music and design. Our signature is wood and so it seemed a perfect combination. The wood was all reclaimed and matched the original bags colour and the flocking is a technique that we are perfecting at the moment. We are also flocking wooden hats for editorials, so watch this space. We had a ball making the Converse bag and look forward to more projects in the future.

Eye of the World Designs Converse bag
What’s next for Eye of the World?
Well the world is our oyster. We hope to make more bespoke accessories because we love making extravagant pieces, which we have done for a few mega editorials that will be out in some big publications shortly. We are also now working on an A/W 2012 collection that will sparkle you all away. Eye of the World Designs continues to collaborate with all sorts of people. Our master craftsman Liam is creating some pieces with furniture makers Hendzel and Hunt for Designersblock and also for Selfridges. Lastly but most excitingly Eye of the World Designs for Brooke Roberts are now available to buy at Browns Focus and bespoke pieces are available directly from us.

You can follow Hope Von Joel‘s exploits on her blog, and don’t forget to take a peek at the Eye Of The World website too.

Categories ,accessories, ,Alexander Mc Queen, ,Back to School, ,Brooke Roberts, ,Browns Focus, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Charlie le Mindu, ,Clicks and Contacts, ,Converse Bag, ,Designersblock, ,Elle Girl, ,Estelle Morris, ,Eye of the World, ,Fashion Editor, ,Fiasco Magazine, ,Gareth Pugh, ,interview, ,knitwear, ,Liam Motyer, ,Marbles, ,Milly Jackson, ,Orchids, ,Oyster, ,Peckham, ,Reclaimed, ,recycled, ,S/S 2012, ,Selfridges, ,stylist, ,Super Super, ,sustainable, ,vogue, ,wood, ,Woodcraft

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with fashion designer Ramil Makinano

Ramil Makinano‘s Graduate Collection illustrated by Milly Jackson

I first saw the weird and wonderful work of Ramil Makinano at the Toni&Guy Hair Show during London Fashion Week last month. The show, which I very much enjoyed, was all about hair as you can imagine; the clothes were selected to compliment the hairstyles and were pretty basic. That is, except for the final pieces. Vibrant colours and odd shapes flooded the runway, and as a result of my review, Ramil got in touch to introduce himself. I couldn’t wait to find out more about this unique designer.

I met Ramil on a chilly Monday evening at Bar Music Hall in Shoreditch. It had been hard to pin him down, and I was about to find out why. Born and raised in the Philippines, Ramil moved to London fifteen years ago on a nursing scholarship with the NHS, despite being thoroughly passionate about fashion from an early age. ‘It was a good way to move away,’ Ramil told me as we took a seat with our beers. ‘I was interviewed in Manilla, and was one of the first few people to be brought over by the NHS.’ Ramil’s passion for nursing and inevitable need to fund his collections still see him working at St Thomas’ Hospital at weekends.

Ramil Makinano‘s Graduate Collection illustrated by Maria del Carmen Smith

After 8 years working as a nurse after qualifying in London, Ramil decided to return to his desire to become a fashion designer and had naturally heard of the world’s most famous fashion school – Central Saint Martins. By this time Ramil had obtained British citizenship and secured a place on the foundation course, professing to the degree specialising in print.

It was whilst studying at Saint Martins on a sandwich course that Ramil undertook placements with some of fashion’s greatest talent, experiences that he remembers very fondly. Internships at Matthew Williamson, Elisa Palomino and Diane Von Furstenberg allowed Ramil to fully explore his penchant for print. As I rub my hands together hoping for some juice on these fashion figures, I’m only slightly disappointed when Ramil has nothing but great things to say about the designers. He tells me a story about Von Furstenberg calling all the interns to the rooftop apartment of her 14th Street studios for lunch. ‘We were just sitting there, having lunch, on the roof, with Diane Von Furstenberg. It was INCREDIBLE!’ he exclaims. He attributes his successes whilst studying to course lecturer Natalie Gibson. ‘I owe her so much,’ he tells me, ‘she’s an incredible woman.’

Ramil Makinano‘s Graduate Collection illustrated by Estelle Morris

We move on to talk about Ramil’s breathtaking final collection that I saw at the Toni&Guyshow and that he presented during the CSM presentations in the summer. He digs out his portfolio and comes across a little nervous when talking me through it. ‘I feel like it’s a job interview!’ says Ramil. I feel like Diane Von Furstenberg for a mere moment, and I’m not complaining. Ramil’s inspiration for his collection came from two disparate sources – Medieval armour and Margaret Thatcher. Well, not that disparate when you consider satirical cartoons of the Iron Lady in Medieval garb, I suppose.

Pages from Ramil Makinano’s sketchbooks

His obsession with colour, texture and the aesthetic properties of materials is all over this collection. It’s fascinating to see where a designer started with their research and where they finished; where the collection has come from. Ramil leafs through page after page of design inspiration; vibrant patterns, sketches of Thatcher, photocopies of Medieval source material, grabs from movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars. His journey began at the Tower of London, and it is the armoury he saw there, with its bold silhouettes and sense of purpose that inspired Ramil so much. Throw in a powerful woman like Thatcher and you’ve got a seriously ambitious collection on your hands. ‘I didn’t want it to be serious, though,’ Ramil informs me. ‘I wanted to keep it playful; to be fun.’ Even the hardest-nosed critics would have trouble not finding any fun in this set of outfits.

Shapes in the collection are visibly inspired by the curves and sculpture of armoury, constructed from neoprene using techniques Ramil created himself. These are presented in a variety of bold colours, and the ensembles feature playful, almost childlike, prints of rockets and spaceships. It wasn’t a easy task by any means. ‘I had to make at least 8 toilles per garment,’ Ramil explains. ‘I am always seeking perfection.’ We discuss the surge in digital printing. ‘I do like digital prints, but I prefer traditional methods. I spent hours in the studio matching colours, testing colours – I like the interaction between fabrics and dyes that you don’t get with digital methods. I spent my whole student life in the print room, but I have no regrets. It’s not glamorous either, it’s dirty work!’

Ramil Makinano‘s Graduate Collection illustrated by Milly Jackson

So who does he admire? ‘Matthew [Williamson] and Diane [Von Furstenberg] especially – people who are successful in fashion but have their feet firmly on the ground.’ He also likes labels that continue to employ traditional methods – only Eley Kishimoto and Zandra Rhodes, he believes. What else does he get up to? It’s a pretty packed week, researching Monday to Friday and nursing at the weekends. ‘I love London galleries!’ he tells me, ‘because there’s so much to see. The Design Museum, the V&A, the National Gallery – they are all so wonderful.’ He try to persuade me to get a National Trust membership, one of his favoured possessions.

Pages from Ramil Makinano’s sketchbooks

He tells me he’s a ‘child of the MTV era’ and finds much inspiration in the graphics of music videos. It was an MTV show, House of Style, and Style with Elsa Klensch, that are amongst his earliest fashion memories. He tells me ‘I used to fight with my brother all the time because Elsa Klensch‘s show was on at the same time as American Basketball!’

So what’s next for Ramil? He’s currently researching his next collection – A/W 2012 – which promises to be ‘something completely different.’ It will most likely be print-based, but that’s all Ramil can tell me at this stage. One thing he is certain on is that he’s staying put here in London, and currently applying to various fashion bodies in the hope of a debut solo show during fashion week next September. I look forward to seeing his name on the schedule.

Photographs courtesy of Ramil Makinano

Categories ,2001 A Space Odyssey, ,A/W 2012, ,American Basketball, ,Armour, ,Armoury, ,Bar Music Hall, ,catwalk, ,Central Saint Martins, ,CSM, ,Design Museum, ,Diane Von Furstenberg, ,Eley Kishimoto, ,Elisa Palomino, ,Elsa Klensch, ,Estelle Morris, ,fashion, ,House of Style, ,interview, ,Iron Lady, ,London Fashion Week, ,margaret thatcher, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,Matt Bramford, ,Matthew Williamson, ,medieval, ,Milly Jackson, ,MTV, ,Natalie Gibson, ,National gallery, ,National Trust, ,NHS, ,print, ,Ramil Makinano, ,shoreditch, ,Star Wars, ,textiles, ,Toni&Guy, ,Tower of London, ,va, ,Womenswear, ,Zandra Rhodes

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