Amelia’s Magazine | Dans La Vie: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Review and Interview

Dans La Vie by Sarah Underwood
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Sarah Underwood

For Dans La Vie’s new A/W 2013 collection Invisible Enemy, Threat Found Japanese designer Rira Sugawara revelled in a mish-mash of fabric textures and the bold yet intricate prints that she has become known for. But this time she eschewed the brightness of previous catwalk shows, choosing instead a sombre theme inspired by cyber attacks: the head of the Mona Lisa appeared in swirling prints, but models sported sinister balaclavas, gothic black lips and giant crosses as they stomped down the catwalk to a suitably dark soundtrack.

Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans La Vie by Chloe Douglass
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Chloe Douglass

With an academic background in both print design and art history Dans la Vie takes inspiration from Pop Art and traditional Japanese printing techniques to create collections centred on the concept of ‘Clash Beauty’. A few days before her catwalk show Rira Sugawara answered these questions.

Dans la Vie London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans la Vie London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans La Vie by Angela Lamb
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Angela Lamb

Your collections are certainly not for shrinking violets, what are the main characteristics of the women who wear your clothes?
Intellectual, independent and strong woman who have a strong outlook on life I can see wearing my clothes.

Which public figure do you dream of dressing?
When I was growing up Madonna was a huge inspiration to me, so to dress her would be a dream come too. I’d also like to dress Azealia Banks, Jessie J and Rihanna: they would also be great.

Dans la Vie London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans la Vie London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans La Vie by Claire Kearns
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Claire Kearns

You’re from Japan but have lived in France and have traveled a lot- which place has influenced you the most?
I find inspiration in every city and every street I visit. Paris brought me fashion intelligence based on the philosophical spirit to be liberated through culture and diversity. In New York I experienced the exciting energy, and in Milan, an abundance of new techniques

What led you to move to France? How easy was it for you to get used to the classic French style compared to typically edgy Japanese fashion?
I moved to France to gain experience in a fashion atelier, I feel it was one of the best moves I ever made as it was after this that I set up Dans La Vie. I think the French style influenced me a lot, it wasn’t hard to get used to at all.

Dans la Vie  London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans La Vie by Sarah Underwood
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Sarah Underwood

Would you ever consider taking part in any of the main Fashion Weeks other than London? How about Tokyo, since your collections seem to reflect the city’s renowned street style?
One of the key elements of my collection is ‘Clash Beauty’: pushing the boundaries of conventional beauty. London enables me to push these boundaries, I would consider showing at other Fashion Weeks including Tokyo as the Street Style is like no other. However I want to concentrate on London for the time being.

Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans La Vie by Isher Dhiman
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Isher Dhiman

Which other designers inspire you?
Alexander McQueen was such an inspiring designer: I love the structure of his pieces and the way they were made.

Do you ever incorporate current trends into your collections?
Yes, I try to incorporate current trends into my collections as much as possible, at the moment everywhere you look is print!

Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie A/W 2013. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Last season you used prints from Jasper Jones’ ‘Target’ painting from the late 60s, and Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Brush Stroke’ and ‘Explosion’. What artwork has inspired or will be included in A/W 2013?
The new collection entitled Invisible Enemy, Threat Found is an altogether darker collection and has older influences such as Italian Renaissance Art, with inspiration being drawn from Botticelli.

Categories ,Alexander McQueen, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Angela Lamb, ,Azealia Banks, ,Botticelli, ,Chloe Douglass, ,Claire Kearns, ,Clash Beauty, ,Cyber Attacks, ,Dans La Vie, ,gothic, ,Invisible Enemy Threat Found, ,Isher Dhiman, ,Italian Renaissance Art, ,japanese, ,Jessie J, ,Madonna, ,Milan, ,Mona Lisa, ,new york, ,paris, ,Pop Art, ,print, ,Rihanna, ,Rira Sugawara, ,Sarah Underwood, ,Street Style

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Amelia’s Magazine | An Interview with Fashion Blogger turned Fashion Designer Coco Fennell

Kiss Me Coco Fennell by Jade Boylan
Kiss Me Coco Fennell by Jade Boylan.

I discovered via good old Facebook that my talented ex intern Jenn Pitchers has been creating bespoke print designs for gorgeous curvaceous dresses made by the blogger turned fashion designer Coco Fennell, so of course I had to check them out. Here Coco describes her career move and how she hooked up with Jenn.

Coco Fennell by Amyisla Mccombie
Coco Fennell by Amyisla Mccombie.

What is your education and what brought you to this point in your fashion career?
After school I did a great graphic design course in East London which then led me on to art direct a magazine where I met Jenn Pitchers, the illustrator who I work with on my prints! 

Coco Fennell Louie_Banks

Did being a blogger first help you to launch your own label and what has it taught you about the business?
Yes for sure, working on my fashion blog made me realise that what I really wanted to do was design dresses and that with the internet it could be possible. It showed me that it wasn’t impossible to have an online shop to start a label with low overheads when you don’t have terrifying things like shop rent to deal with!

Coco Fennell new tricks
What does your blog focus on, and has the focus changed since you started your own label?
Yes I think so. I probably blog more about editorials and look books where as before I was focusing on key pieces to buy. It’s just like an online scrapbook. I love that I can find great websites I blogged about ages ago which I would have otherwise forgotten. 
Coco Fennel Veronica Rowlands
Coco Fennell by Veronica Rowlands.

What is the process of working together with Jenn to create your unique print designs?
I come up with a theme, pull together lots of imagery and then we meet up, talk about it, Jenn sketches up some awesomeness and we go from there! 

Coco Fennell kiss me
Why was it so important that you create your own bespoke print fabrics and what do you think makes them so different to anything else on the market?
I’ve always loved designers like Jeremy Scott and Swash and when I met so many illustrators working at the magazine it inspired me to make some of my limited edition pieces in cool, unusual prints.

Coco Fennell by Rebecca Rawlings
Coco Fennell by Rebecca Rawlings.

What else inspires your designs?
The female form is the first thing because I want to achieve a flattering shape – if the dress isn’t flattering then girls don’t feel as wonderful as they could and I don’t think there’s any point in making something that doesn’t make you feel good! I love 60′s and 70′s designers too like Biba and Ossie Clark.

coco fennell 1
How have you managed to acquire such a good relationship with celeb fans such as Daisy Lowe, Pixie Lott and Bip Ling?
I’ve just been lucky enough to get in touch with stylists and have been even more lucky that the girls like my dresses so have worn lots of different pieces.
Gypsy Heart Dress by Jamie Wignall
Smokin' Hot Babe Dress by Jamie Wignall
Gypsy Heart Dress and Smokin’ Hot Babe Dress by Jamie Wignall.

Who is the model in your current look book and how did you achieve that amazing hair? what was the inspiration?
She is such a babe! She’s called Mimi Wade and she already had that amazing green hair we just added in some yellow extensions. I love big Dolly Parton hair!

coco fennell  2
How many collections do you create a year?
Around three, but it depends. I haven’t really been making set collections so sometimes there are bits inbetween.

Coco Fennell, Circus,Circus by EdieOP
Coco Fennell: Circus,Circus by EdieOP.

What are you aspirations for the future?
I want to grow my brand: promoting fun, friendliness and a positive body image! I love brands like Nasty Gal and Wildfox and the way they work – I aspire to build something like that. There’s a big aim to set myself!

Find Coco Fennell‘s collection online here.

Categories ,70s, ,Amyisla Mccombie, ,biba, ,Bip Ling, ,Blogger, ,Coco Fennell, ,daisy lowe, ,Dolly Parton, ,EdieOP, ,Fashion Designer, ,illustrator, ,Jade Boylan, ,Jamie Wignall, ,Jenn Pitchers, ,Jennifer Matignas Pitchers, ,Jennifer Pitchers, ,Mimi Wade, ,Nasty Gal, ,Ossie Clark, ,Pixie Lott, ,Print Design, ,Rebecca Rawlings, ,retro, ,Veronica Rowlands, ,Wildfox

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Stratis Kastrisianakis, co-founder of Nakedbutsafe magazine

nakedbutsafe front cover-NATALIA-ZAKHAROVA
Nakedbutsafe magazine is a beautiful new arts, fashion and photography magazine with a conscience, produced in Greece, printed in the UK at Principal Colour, and available worldwide. Co-founder Stratis Kastrisianakis explains the thinking behind the creation of his new publication in more depth:

Nakedbutsafe dreaming of another world
Nakedbutsafe dreaming of another world
What does Nakedbutsafe mean and how did you decide upon the name for your new magazine?
Nakedbutsafe means that our magazine tries to be ‘naked’ from any form of ties and connections to standard industry pressure points like PRs etc… which makes it highly independent. I think readers don’t trust magazines and the media in general any more because there is no more news, only commerce. Magazines today (including many so called independent ones) are just sales platforms for major brands. As a freelance photographer I witnessed last minute calls from major brands in Paris to an otherwise quite credible publication, asking for clothing items to be used on the cover shoot even when they had nothing to do with the theme of the shooting. Additionally ‘naked’ means naked from any form of post production that cannot be done in the dark room. This could have made the magazine feel a bit nostalgic, but this is not the case. We celebrate photography and our research into young artistic and photographic talent shows that there is a strong trend towards not using post production. We want our fashion photographers to enjoy the process of taking photos in the moment, and not to rely on the lab. Naked is also naked from any fear of press censure. We encourage freedom and the breaking of boundaries every day, not just in the magazine. The choice of name was a natural decision from the state of mind we found ourselves in at the start of 2011.

Nakedbutsafe your joy is my low
Nakedbutsafe your joy is my low
Nakedbutsafe your joy is my low
Who is behind Nakedbutsafe? Can you tell us a short history about its creation?
Myself (Stratis Kastrisianakis) and my partner Manos Samartzis are the creators and driving force behind the magazine. We do everything in house from design to proofing, and from art curating to monitoring distribution and sales. Happily we are blessed with many talented friends and old collaborators that jumped on the idea of giving a hand to a project that started out shy but now is a full time commitment. One day in december 2010 myself and Manos were so frustrated by a commission that we decided NOT to work for these kind of publications any more. So nakedbutsafe was born out of frustration. Then we started a task of entering into a world that already seems so natural, even though it was all news to us back then. We chose to work with consultants and not actual collaborators so we could keep the schedule under control (it is hard to ask people to work for free under pressure) and so that we would not offend anyone’s artistic expression by rejecting them. Nakedbutsafe is 100% an in house process with 95% of its material shot especially for us. Today things have changed dramatically. Every day we get requests from artists and collaborators of every kind that want to be part of nakedbutsafe. This is all very exciting. Our new roster is a very selected list of young and emerging talent in their fields.

Your press release speaks about living life with intellectually fulfilled integrity, how is this best manifested in the magazine’s content?
Our take on lifestyle aims to show people that we are humans with brains and not just simple forms of life who react to outside influences. We do not need toys and wealth to live a rich life. Wealth comes from bettering our lives. There are alternatives out there that will create conditions for a new experience. We don’t just need things to show off to other members of our circle. Our planet is a wonderful thing and it is ours. Freedom from needing stuff but encouraging new experiences is our biggest tool towards independency from the media promoted garbage that fills our lives. This is clearly stated in many parts of our magazine – we want it to be a magazine that is read and not just a coffee table item. Magazines are not decorative items.

How difficult has it been to launch a magazine in Greece in this time of financial crisis?
Amazingly difficult and challenging. But also this is one of the reasons why we manage to keep editorial integrity. Once you hit the bottom you can only go up. Also the anger that exists inside everyone in Greece right now has transformed itself into a creative force.

I love the statement that you ‘appreciate illustrators, but not the ones who call themselves photographers’. Why is it so important to you to use images that are not airbrushed?
See my previous answer for part of this explanation. All readers, even non industry ones, are so familiar with post production that they have lost their trust in the colours of a sunset, of a fruit and eventually the beauty of human form. It’s a crime. We are living in the era of temporary plastic surgery through imagery.

Nakedbutsafe let it fall
Nakedbutsafe is published in English. What was the decision about this, and where can you buy the magazine?
English is the most commonly spoken language and the one that suits most of our international team. It was a decision based on practicality. In the future we want to have multilingual articles in the magazine (in their original form) as well as in English, but this will not be the case anytime soon. Pineapple Media and Comag International are the people behind our global reach. We have somehow limited printing numbers (under 15,000 copies) so our reach is global but targeted. In January 2012 we will have full details of where to buy nakedbutsafe but for the moment please check out Where to Buy on our website.

Have there been any difficulties in ensuring global distribution, if so what have you learnt?
Yes. As always a new craft brings excitement and also problems which need to be dealt with. Not knowing the actual distribution locations until the magazine is already in the stores was news to us. Now we know and it’s ok. We are not an urgent magazine to buy in terms of news.

Nakedbutsafe all signs point to no
Why is it important to you to create a magazine from 100% sustainable sources?
I will reverse the question; why is not so important for everyone else? There is too much intellectual garbage out there, never mind actual garbage. Let’s all be sustainable – it will make everyone happier.

How did you discover Principal Colour and why did you decide to use them to print Nakedbutsafe?
Their take on natural and ecological printing was a big attraction, but I also like that Principal Colour is run with an informal mood that is in line with the playful (but still extremely serious) character of nakedbutsafe. They are amazing and I have no hesitation in recommending them to others. I received their press proofs by mistake for issue 1 and there was no difference in quality between mine and theirs.

To read the rest of this article hop on over to the Principal Colour tumblr blog.

Categories ,art, ,brazil, ,Circle of Transformation, ,Comag International, ,eco, ,Greece, ,magazine, ,Maike Ludenbach, ,Manos Samartzis, ,Nakedbutsafe, ,Ned Sewell, ,photography, ,Pineapple Media, ,principal colour, ,Print Design, ,Stratis Kastrisianakis, ,sustainable

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with textile designer Emma J Shipley

Emma J Shipley by Natalia Stuyk

Emma J Shipley S/S 2012 by Natalia Stuyk

It was Liberty of London’s Best of British open day, and I can remember quite clearly the moment that Emma Shipley pulled a selection of fine pencil drawings from her bag. Quiet gasps came from around the table. We all pulled the papers closer to our faces, screwing up our eyes at these exquisite drawings, to see if they were really the work of hand. The excitement doubled when she delved into her case and produced a handful of her intensely detailed and rich coloured scarves. Luxurious, conversational pieces, and undoubtedly delicate works of art.

Gorilla-emma shipley
Gorilla drawing courtesy of Emma J Shipley

She then told us about herself – a graduate from the MA Textiles course at the Royal College of Art, who loves drawing (spending up to 10 hours a day with pencil in hand). At the RCA she won prizes and scholarships, and achieved further recognition when her first collection, Hyper Nature, was bought by Browns – a commendation that most graduates can only dream of. Emma Shipley‘s print collection was spotted in this review of the RCA’s 2011 Textile Design show by Amelia. Emma spoke to me ahead of the launch of her label at London Fashion Week A/W 2012.

Emma J Shipley by Alejandra Espino
Emma J Shipley by Alejandra Espino

I was first introduced to your designs at the Liberty of London Best of British open day – what have you been up to since then?
I haven’t stopped! I won Texprint’s pattern prize, and with this, exhibited my work in London, Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and also visited the silk mill industry area in Como. As well as working on my scarf label, I’ve been pursuing an exciting collaboration with jewellery designer Tomasz Donocik, on a collection of bejewelled silk scarves. These have so far previewed at Garrard and Harvey Nichols, with the full collection to launch at London Fashion Week.

I’m also currently working on an exciting commission for an American fashion corporation, using mathematical algorithms and programming techniques I developed during my MA at the Royal College of Art to produce randomised, non-repeating patterns. Aside from this, I’ve been producing limited edition fine prints from my drawings, and working on some special commissions for fashion, interior and automotive clients.

Emma J Shipley by Fay Newman
Emma J Shipley by Fay Newman

Can you explain a little about your passion for drawing, and how you moved into scarf design.
It’s something that I’ve always done and loved – it comes naturally and is a part of me. Through studying textiles at the Royal College of Art, I began to focus more and more on my drawing, devoting more time to this stage of the design process, to create something unique and full of soul. The drawings have really become artworks, that are translated onto textiles – I felt that these artworks lent themselves perfectly to luxury scarves, which can be collectable pieces and can be seen as a canvas.

Can you explain a little about the process that goes into making your scarves? What materials are you working with?
The designs are digitally printed directly onto the fabric using the latest technology, as this gives the best results with all the fine detail in my drawings, as well as being more environmentally friendly than traditional printing methods. Fabrics in the new collection include cashmere, modal and Italian silks.

Emma Shipley
Photo courtesy of Emma J Shipley

You outsource most of your production. What is it like managing this? Any lessons learnt?
Absolutely! The transition from college and making everything yourself, to having small runs of samples made, to outsourcing larger production orders is huge. However I don’t think the lessons can really be taught, and at every stage I have felt that I’ve learnt more and more, which hopefully will help me in the future. In fact setting up my own label straight from college has been a steep learning curve in every way.

Emma J Shipley by Katie Chappell
Emma J Shipley by Katie Chappell

You’ve said that your influenced by Darwinian evolution and nature – can you explain where these influences come from?
It’s difficult to explain my passion for this – I think nature is just something that I’ve always been inspired by and drawn to. It’s such a rich and unending source of inspiration and I think the most spectacular and beautiful things in the world are found in nature. An interest in the theory of evolution has also always been there – for me our inextricable link to all other living things inspires so much wonder and awe

I share your love of Walton Ford – what do you find inspiring about his works?
His subject matter and botanical influences are close to my interests, and I love the way he subverts traditional references (botanical illustration) by adding sinister details and exploring the darker side of nature. I also love the way he plays with scale.

What about the new collection – what can we expect?
A continuation of the natural, scientific and mathematical influences. Vibrant colours as well as bold monochrome. A collaboration with jewellery designer Tomasz Donocik, on a collection of bejewelled silk scarves with silver and gold. New fabrics including cashmere and silk chiffon, and some stunning cashmere jacquard woven scarves.

Emma J Shipley by Alejandra Espino
Emma J Shipley by Alejandra Espino

You are launching your new collection at LFW… What expectations do you have?
Exciting and intimidating…! I don’t know what to expect as it’s my first London Fashion Week – the most important thing for me would be to get a great response to the collection, and also of course to meet buyers from stores I would like to be stocked in.

What else will 2012 hold for you?
Exhibitions and launches of wallpapers and interior fabrics with some big interior companies later in the year.

Emma J Shipley will be showing her new A/W 2012 collection in Somerset House, at the Exhibition for London Fashion Week, February 17th – 22nd 2012.

Categories ,Alejandra Espino, ,animals, ,Browns, ,Como, ,Darwin, ,drawing, ,Emma J Shipley, ,Fay Newman, ,Katie Chappell, ,Liberty of London, ,Luxury, ,MA Textiles, ,Natalia Stuyk, ,nature, ,pencil, ,rca, ,S/S 2012, ,Scarves, ,Silk, ,Texprint, ,Textile Design, ,Tomasz Donocik, ,Walton Ford

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Amelia’s Magazine | Review: Designs of the Year 2012 at the Design Museum

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood ethically produced bags.

The Design Museum‘s flagship exhibition, Designs of the Year, has returned for 2012. I went along to the preview to check out the experts’ choice of the best from multiple design disciplines; including fashion, architecture, product design, digital and graphics. Here’s my pick:

Design Museum designs of year 2012  noma bar
Design Museum designs of year 2012  noma bar
Outline Editions have brought along designer Noma Bar and his Cut It Out dog machine, which is able to cut through all sorts of materials. His artwork is inspired by negative space – he gleefully told me how he has taken to trawling charity shops for interesting things that the dog can chomp through. As well as the wonderful simplicity of his bold imagery I am particularly attracted to the upcycling side of this clever project.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Photolettering
Photolettering by House Industries allows users to create usable type from vintage American fonts. As something of a font fiend I love this idea!

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -GF Smith
GF Smith create beautiful papers (they were used in the first two issues of Amelia’s Magazine in print) and their colourful display was inspired by the microscopic detail of paper fibres. Designed by SEA Design with Field.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -De Designpolitie
Using bold yellow with red and black typography, De Designpolitie of the Netherlands have created a brand identity for the two day What Design Can Do! conference in May 2012. I love that they are not afraid of making a statement!

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum‘s High Arctic display to highlight the fragility of the environment was represented with a tiny model. This immersive gallery installation must have been quite mesmerising in situ.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Mary Katrantzou
Representing the very best of British fashion was an outfit from Mary Katrantzou‘s seminal A/W 2011 collection: great to see the digital detailing and remarkable cutting up close.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Suno
Suno of New York was a new ethical fashion discovery: they work locally with artisans to create highly desirable collections – the first one used vintage Kenyan textiles but more recently they were inspired by the subtle colours and abstract designs of Art Deco illustrator George Lepape.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Vivienne Westwood
And then there’s Vivienne Westwood grinning gleefully from beneath her bird’s nest hair. Her Ethical Fashion Africa collection is created out of scrap materials by marginalised women in Nairobi. The outcome? Typically colourful designs with outrageous slogans embroidered out of Masai beads.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Bethan Laura Wood
I was most intrigued by Bethan Laura Wood‘s incredible Moon Rock table, made using colourful kitchen laminates. Her Totem lighting was also on display. Miranda Williams previously spotted Bethan‘s beautiful work at London Design Week, for this talented lady also makes jewellery.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Thixotropes by Troika
Thixotropes by Troika are huge spinning LED sculptures that combine art and science. Hypnotic!

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Studio Bertjan Pot
Heracleum is a hanging light by Studio Bertjan Pot – designed to imitate the branching form of a plant.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -The Comedy Carpet
The Comedy Carpet in Blackpool is a huge 2,200 sq metre granite installation designed by Gordon Young with Why Not Associates. It features jokes and catchphrases in glorious decorative fonts of all sizes. I am very impressed that such a thing was commissioned!

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Hovding Invisible Cycle Helmet
Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Hovding Invisible Cycle Helmet
The Hovding Invisible Cycle Helmet is designed for stick in the muds such as me who refuse to wear a bike helmet. It contains an airbag that sits around the neck and is only activated should an accident occur.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Orb-It
The Orb-It is a small hand held rechargeable vacuum hoover by Black & Decker. It looks very cute, but I’d like to see it in action.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Kokoro & Moi
Stockmann packaging by Kokoro & Moi has a delightfully playful Finnish quality.

The panel of judges encompasses a diverse range of artistic talent, which explains the chaotically eclectic nature of this exhibition. Despite some arbitrary choices (I mean, there’s so much good design out there, where do you start?!) Designs of the Year offers a great chance to discover some exciting new design from a wide range of fields. My one wish would be that more designers begin to incorporate sustainable practice into their work: one of the wall infographics depressingly stated that only 19% of projects on show have been designed to be sustainable. It will take more than that to sort out this mess we are in.

Find out more information at the Designs of the Year 2012 website.

Categories ,2012, ,Bethan Laura Wood, ,Black & Decker, ,Blackpool, ,Cut It Out, ,De Designpolitie, ,Design Museum, ,Designs of the Year, ,digital, ,Ethical Fashion, ,Ethical Fashion Africa, ,fashion, ,Field, ,Fonts, ,Furniture, ,George Lepape, ,GF Smith, ,Gordon Young, ,Granite, ,Graphics, ,Heracleum, ,High Arctic, ,House Industries, ,Hovding Invisible Cycle Helmet, ,Laminates, ,Lighting, ,Mary Katrantzou, ,Moon Rock, ,National Maritime Museum, ,Noma Bar, ,Orb-It, ,Outline Editions, ,Photolettering, ,Print Design, ,Product Design, ,review, ,SEA Design, ,Stockmann, ,Studio Bertjan Pot, ,Suno, ,The Comedy Carpet, ,Thixotropes, ,Totem, ,Troika, ,typography, ,What Design Can Do!, ,Why Not Associates

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Amelia’s Magazine | Introducing the printers of Amelia’s Magazine: Principal Colour

Alan and Martin Principal Colour by Kellie-Black
Alan Flack and Martin Darby of Principal Colour, help illustrated by Kellie Black for the launch of ACOFI.

I have been working with Kent based lithographic printers Principal Colour for 8 years now, ailment ever since Martin Darby and Alan Flack so kindly helped me to produce the very first issue of Amelia’s Magazine in print way back at the start of 2004. Over the years my harebrained ideas have inevitably demanded that each new issue utilise a new print technique, and they have patiently helped me through all the most difficult of production issues. Die-cut, flocked, scratch ‘n’ sniff, Swarovski crystal encrusted, glow in the dark, metallic, holographic, foiled, 6 colour, different papers for different pages… the list of my requirements went on and on. And then I went on to produce two books with Principal Colour, Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration and Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (both in the shops now) – and these also featured awkward production challenges, including embossing accurately over print and pearlescent effects. Yup, I have been anything but an easy customer, but I am always sure of what I want to produce and Principal Colour are always more than happy to help me achieve things which even they have never heard of or tried to do before. Working with Principal Colour has been absolutely essential to everything I’ve done in print, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with such delightful people – I fully believe that good relationships are the key to a sustainable and happy business.

Now, after several years of nagging, I have finally persuaded Martin and Alan to embrace the wonders of Social Media, with me at the helm. Because Principal Colour do a lot of high end lithographic print design alongside their bread and butter jobs, my output for them on social media will concentrate on interesting design for print, as well as tips for the best outcome using lithographic print techniques. Much as I adore the internet, my heart will always lie with quality print design, and since I really enjoy the whole production process I shall relish the process of discovering more. Why not join us to learn more about the secrets of print, for there is a lot to share.. and believe me, however big the internet gets, print design ain’t going nowhere.

You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Our first blog on Tumblr is a Q&A with director Martin Darby about the history of Principal Colour and what makes the company tick…

Categories ,Alan Flack, ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,Crystal Encrusted, ,CYMK, ,Die-cut, ,Facebook, ,Flocked, ,Foiled, ,Glow-in-the-Dark, ,Holographic, ,Kellie Black, ,Lithographic, ,Martin Darby, ,Metallic, ,Miss Pearl Grey, ,principal colour, ,Print Design, ,Printers, ,scratch ‘n’ sniff, ,Swarovski, ,Tumblr, ,twitter

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview about Lithographic Print Design and Production with Ornan Rotem of Sylph Editions

xu lei brochure by Ornan Rotem of Sylph Editions 2
Meet designer Ornan Rotem of specialist art book publishers Sylph Editions. Over the last five years he has worked on a series of upscale book and brochure design projects with high quality lithographic printers Principal Colour of Paddock Wood, Kent. I spoke with him to find out more about how this relationship works, and what it takes to produce something wonderful in print.

A Labour of Moles, Cahier Series by Sylph Editions
A Labour of Moles, The Cahier Series by Sylph Editions.

What dictates your choice of paper and print? And how important is fine quality in a publication – what decides this do you think?
In all of our of publications, paper and printing technique is paramount. It seems to me that the more people rely on the web the more the nature of printed material will be positively affected. A lot of printed material can look mundane and outdated compared with its web counterpart. Gradually, the web will take over and its printed sibling will either be marginalised or become redundant, like the telephone book. At the same time the computer screen is a great leveller: everything ends up being seen through the glassy filter of monitors of varying quality. This gives a new lease of life for books if they offer a satisfying physical or tactile experience, if they are publications that are a pleasure to behold. I would even go so far as to say that the ubiquity of the web creates an unprecedented quest for good quality printing. Our goal is to match the look of a publication with its content so that they enhance each other. This seems to me to be crucial: it isn’t just about finding pretty paper or getting it to look nice, it is about the ability to make use of the unique possibilities that the printed medium offers in order to enhance and bolster the content. For example, if I want to convey to you that a text is meant to be read, it has to be conveyed through its physical qualities; that is to say: legibility-driven of typography, paper that isn’t too bright and that doesn’t have any reflections, proportions and sizes that relate to the human body, etc.

In the Thick of Things Cahier Series Sylph Editions
In the Thick of Things, The Cahier Series by Sylph Editions.

You have been working with Principal Colour for awhile now – how did that relationship start and what has been the best aspect of this relationship?
We have been working with Principal Colour continuously for the last 5 years. Not only that, but we have been working on a vast array of projects: from simple A5 leaflets to limited edition books – and everything in between. The way it began is typical of Principal Colour. I designed a very intricate calendar that had to be finished a few weeks before Christmas. I engaged one of the better known UK printers (who have since gone bust) and initially everything was going fine. One day, I ring up to make sure we are on course only to be told that they simply won’t be able to do it before January. Needless to say I was appalled by this callousness. I asked Justin Hobson of Fenner Paper if he could think of some other printer who could save the day (and my reputation too). Alan and Martin called me up and I drove out that to see them after a brief introduction. They began working on the job straight away. They had to work weekends and do some of the binding in house so as to meet the deadline. I was so impressed by this kind of dedication and the quality of their work that we have been working ever since. This, I must say, was not a one-off event: it has been characteristic of everything we have done over the past years. You ask what the best aspect of the relationship is? It is the feeling that I am not just handing over a job, but that we are doing it together, that they care about it as much as I do, whether its a leaflet or a book. This is something quite commendable. 

xu lei brochure by Ornan Rotem of Sylph Editions
xu lei brochure by Ornan Rotem of Sylph Editions
xu lei brochure by Ornan Rotem of Sylph Editions
The Xu Lei exhibition brochure is very unique and interesting – can you tell us a bit more about the design and production of it?
I was asked to do a brochure that will celebrate this much feted Chinese artist. The brief was do to something that would not only be informative, but also covey the richness and special qualities of his art. I was looking into different kinds of folds: there is Trish Witkowski‘s encyclopaedic Fold Factory where one is spoilt for choice, in fact, completely spoilt. At around the same time I met a very talented young designer, George Hadley, who showed me a leaflet he had produced using this fold and I felt it just made perfect sense because this fold would allow me to create a brochure that functions both as a booklet and a poster. However, working out the mechanical details wasn’t that simple and we had to make several dummies (with Fenner Paper) to try it out before it actually worked. It can easily go wrong if the paper is not the right stock or the right weight, and the die must be serious precision work. Armed with his endless and unwavering patience, Alan worked out the details and we created what I think is a marvellous publication.

Text on Textile Cahier Series Sylph Editions
Text on Textile, The Cahier Series by Sylph Editions.

I understand you have also been printing the Cahiers Series at Principal Colour: 16 editions over 4 years. How did this series come about and what paper and print techniques are used?
The Cahier Series was set up jointly by Sylph Editions and The Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris. The underlying idea was to set up a publication series dedicated to translating and writing. It is a natural collaboration, since we have the production and publishing capabilities as well as being very interested in literature and more specifically in translated literature. The university, on the other hand, sits at the hub of intellectual activity with far-reaching ties and commands the respect from many notable figures. From a material point of view, all the editions are identical: they are between 40 to 44 pages, always printed on Neptune Unique Soft White 105gsm with a ColorSet cover and dust jacket printed on the beautiful Cordenons Chagall (all supplied by Fenner). They are always three-hole-sewn and always have a fifth colour to identify them. So the format is a very closed format; on the other hand, the actual printing and the printing techniques is like a showcase of current techniques. We use single gatefolds, double gatefolds, metallic colours, duotones, tritones, spot varnish, tip ins, bellybands – you name we do it. I very much like this idea of expressing oneself within the confines of a strict and closed framework.

Hop on over to the Principal Colour tumblr to read the rest of this interview with Ornan Rotem, including what he considers the best advice for anyone working with print design production and two exclusive videos that show in detail how the Xu Lei brochure folds…

Categories ,Alan Flack, ,Art Books, ,Bellybands, ,Booklets, ,Brochures, ,Colorset, ,Cordenons Chagall, ,Double Gatefolds, ,Duotones, ,exhibition, ,Fenner Paper, ,Fold Factory, ,Justin Hobson, ,Lithographic Print, ,Martin Darby, ,Metallic Colours, ,Neptune Unique Soft White, ,Ornan Rotem, ,Print Design, ,Print Production, ,publishing, ,Single Gatefolds, ,Specialist, ,Spot varnish, ,Sylph Editions, ,The Cahier Series, ,The Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris, ,Tip ins, ,Trish Witkowski, ,Tritones, ,typography, ,Xu Lei

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