Amelia’s Magazine | Things That Go Bump in the Night

The ICA has always struck me an odd gig venue; with it’s white lights and shiny floors, viagra 100mg symptoms but on Friday 22nd May, pilule something exciting was rumbling in it’s deep dark underbelly and I went home prepared to eat my hat…
I didn’t know too much about Comet Gain before the gig, viagra 40mg and expected them to be over-shadowed by the rest of the line-up, but they held their own in spectacular fashion with their unique blend of Northern Soul and lo-fi, to create a danceable but refreshing rock n’roll.

The Bats

Putting age before beauty, the Bats were on right before young whipper-snappers Crystal Stilts; the most magical inhabitants of New Zealand since hobbits. Having been around since the early 80s and having released a string of consistently good records they seemed to have avoided become publicly known and are quite the cult institution. The crowd at the ICA, myself included, are, blown away by their awesome crashing and soaring folky rock, with Crimson Envy going down like a treat. They have the look of the modern day Pixies (kinda old), with a sound that veers towards early Yo La Tengo or Low.

The Bats

Whilst loving the Crystal Stilts’ debut album, I’m always sceptical of hype bands, but Crystal Stilts most definitely deserve their hype. From the first note, their post-punk, melancholic wall of bassy noise and murmur vocals enrapture the audience. Their single ‘Love is a Wave’, the second song played is a butterfly in the stomach shoe-gaze fest of blurry noise and the rest of the set follows to form.

Crystal Stilts

It is perhaps over easy to compare Crystal Stilts to My Bloody Valentine and their shoe-gaze peers, (it seems that a lot of Brooklyn bands at the moment are being shoehorned into a neo-shoe gaze poor fit) and whilst an element of that is present; mostly from Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Psychocandy, Crystal Stilts are more indebted to the Velvet Underground in their sustaining of a glorious continous noise, and the tuneful grumble of Brad Hargett’s voice is not dissimilar to Lou Reed. Whilst having roots buried in a deep and fruitful musical heritage, Crystal Stilts manage to create something unique to themselves. A band not to be missed.

Crystal Stilts

Photos appear courtesy of Roisin Conway and Cari Steel

Last week I wrote about skate brand CTRL, what is ed and Finnish streetwear is making us giddy all over again with Daniel Palillo, viagra a Helsinki based designer who has recently hurtled into the fashion world. His designs are distinctively relaxed, salve and when I interviewed him he said simply that he likes that “people actually wear the clothes”, citing street style sites as a really positive influence on fashion.


Daniel’s designs are curious, seeing an emphasis on ease and comfort coupled with often a dark and strange aesthetic. The focus is on oversized silhouettes, cut-outs and graphic prints, and there’s a lot of interest in wearability. I think it’s a hard thing to couple both notions of fashion and comfort without sacrificing one for the other, and it’s a delicate balance to strike.


Daniel’s designs, like the CTRL boys, extract the relaxed and unselfconscious element of sportswear as well as making them stylish and progressive. Daniel says that “it’s important for me to feel cosy” and I think it’s an enjoyable philosophy in terms of an aesthetic, seeing clothes that look familiar and worn, but simultaneously edgy.


In a post-Beckham universe with the media heralding the triumph of the metrosexual male, skinny jeans, brogues and hair gel, it’s refreshing to see a designer who sends his models down the runway in beaten up pairs of sneakers. Daniel believes that “clothing should be more than a collar shirt and chino pants”, instead making way for the wardrobe for the moody younger brother who has emerged from his room, tousle-haired and sore-thumbed from too much videogaming, only to head off down the street to cause some trouble somewhere. The graphic prints recall 90s videogames like PacMan and Frogger, juxtaposed with relentlessly modern silhouettes. His Spring/Summer ’09 collection was inspired by ice hockey players and sailors, but equally he says his ideas can be generated by the epic act of hitting search into Google Image.



This younger brother has got a black side, though. The sense of familiarity is complicated by the movement into the darker realms of nightmarish fairytales, aliens, ghosts and monsters of the videogames themselves. It’s a darkness that Daniel says is influenced by Finland itself, maintaining “we are very pessimistic people here. It’s dark for all the winter, so I guess it affects the way we work.”


I think the pessimism is countered by something else, and a lot of people have found the tragicomic element of Daniel’s clothing one of the most extraordinary facets, as with the print of the eerie skull with a bouffant hairstyle, an example of two totally non-sequitar ideas that are difficult to respond to with any clarity about how it makes you feel. This is an idea reflected in his interest in playing with proportions of the human body, with his models often striking unnatural poses that impress the sense of distortion from the garments themselves.


The humour certainly throws the melancholy into focus, and he says that “thats definitely the way I look at life. You can find so many funny things in the saddest things in life”.

Categories ,90s, ,Finnish Fashion, ,Graphic Prints, ,Streetwear

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Amelia’s Magazine | EA Burns: an interview with ethical jewellery designer Lizzie Burns

EA Burns, Ancient Rites by Rebecca May Higgins
EA Burns, Ancient Rites by Rebecca May Higgins.

Jewellery by Lizzie Burns first caught my eye on a market stall several years ago, and since then her work has gone from strength to strength. With a new website just launched and her wonderful new collection Ancient Rites now on sale, it’s time to catch up with the woman behind EA Burns.

EA Burns ancient rites
I love the fact that you produce an ethical collection that is also fashion forward – what prompted a move in this direction?
I really felt that (and still do) that designers have a responsibility to work ethically. We’re creative and there’s no reason why a good designer can’t be more experimental and work with less used materials or processes to create pieces which are still exciting but far less poluting or socially problematic.

EA Burns by Jenny Robins
EA Burns by Jenny Robins.

In your former life as a stylist who did you work for? any memorable jobs?
I worked for Mrs Jones (most well known for her white hooded catsuit that Kylie wore) for about 6 years, from work experience while I was still studying to just before I set up EA Burns when I worked much more closely with her. There were many memorable jobs- most unprintable(!)- but I’d say working with the Scissor Sisters back when I was still at uni takes the biscuit, I was on tour with them for 2 weeks at the height of fame, and they were headlining pretty much every festival. At Vfest after their encore with Franz Ferdinand I had to run onto stage to pick up clothes discarded in the moment, and being 20 standing on that stage looking out onto tens of thousands of people cheering for more is something I’ll never forget.

EA burns rings
What did you learn from working with iconic designer Mrs Jones?
Fee (aka Mrs Jones) is a truely inspirational person. Not only is she multi-talented (you should see the furniture she customises, or hear her DJ) but she’s a caring teacher who I was very lucky to have as a mentor. It’s very rare to find someone who is willing to impart the knowledge that they have taken years to acquire. I’ve learnt many things from her but I think the most important would be to stay strong and true to yourself and your vision.

EA Burns by Lisa McConniffe
EA Burns by Lisa McConniffe.

On a personal level why is it so important to consider the provenance of materials in your creations, and are there other ways that your lifestyle reflects ethical thinking?
I’d say that I try to be ethical in my lifestyle, but I’m not militant. I’m a big believer in little changes which everyone could do to make a big difference. Changes like eating less meat, choosing sustainably caught fish, and generally consuming less, caring more and using public transport wherever possible, that sort of thing. To me thinking about where my materials come from is part of this lifestyle.

EA Burns - Ancient Rites
EA Burns, Ancient Rites.

What was the process behind designing Ancient Rites and where did you look for inspiration?
I can’t pin point a particular inspiration, I collect images which I like and often I’ll see a way of doing something, maybe in something completely detached to jewellery, which sets me thinking and I’ll start experimenting with a technique until I can get it to work, then shapes start to form and the jewellery evolves naturally.

EA Burns by Lisa McConniffe
EA Burns by Lisa McConniffe.

Apart from using recycled leather, what other materials feature in your new collection Ancient Rites, and why are they so special?
The material I’m most excited about using is Rhodoid, a cotton and wood based plastic which is biodegradable and doesn’t have any of the health implication or environmental toll associated with petrochemical plastics. It was the first plastic to be developed at the turn of the century and has an amazing history of use in art and fashion, but has somewhat fallen out of fashion and is now mainly used for high end glasses. It’s so diverse and I can’t wait to push it to the limit of what I can do with it, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface with this collection.

EA Burns - span the depth earring
EA Burns, Span the depth earring

How do you find skilled crafts people to create your pieces?
I’ve been really lucky to have been helped by DISC, a mentoring programme which sets up UK designers and manufacturers with each other. They introduced me to various benchworkers, platers and polishers over the UK without which I wouldn’t have been able to make any of my metal pieces.

EA Burns - reach ring
EA Burns, Reach ring

Can you drop any hints as to what we can expect to see in your next collection?
Colour and texture!!

EA Burns began life as a fashion brand, how did you end up being a jewellery designer? Any plans to branch out again?
The early jewellery was quite popular and it just started to make sense. The more I made jewellery the more I realised that the clothes I made were all about the embellishment and that I was actually more of a jewellery designer! I still love making and designing clothes and the intention is always to go back to it, it might not be for a while but it will definitely happen.

Categories ,Ancient Rites, ,DISC, ,EA Burns, ,eco, ,ethical, ,Franz Ferdinand, ,Jenny Robins, ,Lisa McConniffe, ,Lizzie Burns, ,Mrs Jones, ,Rebecca May Higgins, ,Scissor Sisters

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Amelia’s Magazine | EJF Eco-Chic Pop-Up Store

I popped along to take a sneak peek at the Environmental Justice Foundation’s Pop-up store on Carnaby Street yesterday. It’s the latest in a series of pop-ups by the EJF, and and it’s fabulous.

Nestled at the end of London’s most swinging street, online the store spreads over two floors, treatment and has been kitted out by Honest Entertainment, who have used only recycled merchandising pieces and props to create a wonderfully whacky space. Huge hand-painted tea-cups swing from the ceiling and the sets are loud and vibrant, the perfect setting for the clothes on offer.

The EJF’s t-shirt project has run for a few years now, with designers getting on board slowly but surely, and it’s these pieces that form the central focus of the downstairs space. The fashionable roster of designers includes GIles Deacon, Luella and Zandra Rhodes, to name a few – all creating their own design in their own style. They’re available for ladies and gentlemen.

I spoke to Larissa from the EJF about the project, who was happy to regale the hilarious story of how the project started. On her first day with the charity, she was asked to market a box of Katherine Hamnett t-shirts. (Hamnett, by the way, is a huge supporter of the EJF). ‘I was photographed wearing the t-shirt to post on an e-newsletter,’ Larissa told me. ‘Me and a colleague, usually found scaling ships in Sierra Leone and arresting pirates, were begrudgingly photographed wearing them.’ Was it a success? ‘No! We didn’t sell one!’

The answer was to photograph Lily Cole wearing the t-shirt – after which, they flew off the shelves, and the t-shirt project was born. I’ve seen a few of the designs in the past, but there were a few I didn’t recognise. I mentioned this to Larissa. ‘We don’t work in seasons,’ she informed me. ‘We don’t encourage throwaway fashion, so we add to the collection rather than replacing it.’

Devon Aoki photographed by Eric Guillemain

Max Rogers photographed by Matthew Eades

On the second floor of the space, there’s a host of eco and environmentally conscious brands, a lot of which we’ve covered in the past. Eco-chic fashion has really come a long way in the past few years, and thank heavens the days of hemp sacks are oh-verrr. You wouldn’t have a clue that these clothes are any different to what you’d find on the high street ,visually; the only differences are that they’re not produced by children forced to work in sweatshops, and the clothing uses totally environmentally friendly fabrics. It’s fashion with a conscience.

Some of the brands up for grabs include our mates at Veja trainers who continue to produce high quality, eco-friendly footwear…

..Beyond Skin, who produce 100% vegan vintage-inspired stilettos, using only the highest quality faux leathers and suedes…

Worn Again, who work with the big corporate companies and make creative products from decommissioned Eurostar uniforms and retired Virgin hot air balloons, for instance:

…and many, many more. Make sure you pop along to the pop-up shop – it’s great destination for all fashion fans. Keep an eye on the listings section where we’ll feature the EJF’s upcoming events, too.

Categories ,Beyond Skin, ,Carnaby Street, ,EJF, ,Environmental Justice Foundation, ,Giles Deacon, ,Honest Entertainments, ,Katherine Hamnett, ,Lily Cole, ,Luella, ,Save The Future, ,T-shirts, ,Veja trainers, ,Worn Again, ,Zandra Rhodes

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Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair 2011: James Jarvis speaks at Mokita

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, viagra dosage where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. His job is a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, more about when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids’ books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, viagra so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints. Available to buy online here.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit so to keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print. All images courtesy of James Jarvis, more can be seen on Flickr.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March. Read a more in depth article about Mokita here and my transcript of a conversation with Sam Arthur of Nobrow here.

Categories ,Amos, ,Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop, ,atp, ,Character, ,Coca-Cola, ,Graphic Artist, ,illustrator, ,James Jarvis, ,Jim Jarvis, ,KK Outlet, ,Mascot, ,Mokita, ,Outlet, ,Pick Me Up, ,Plastic, ,Roger Hargreave, ,Silas, ,skateboarding, ,Somerset House, ,streetwear, ,The Face, ,Toys, ,Wisdom of Caleb

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