Amelia’s Magazine | Edinburgh College of Art: Graduate Fashion Week 2012 Catwalk Review

Graduate collection by Farah Saffari

Edinburgh College of Art always have much to offer at Graduate Fashion Week. Weird and wonderful, expert craftsmanship, innovative use of materials and new silhouettes, Edinburgh always seems to make it appear dazzling effortless.

They were all wonderful, frankly, but here are some of my favourites:

Jacob Birge

All photography by Matt Bramford

Jacob caused a striking stir as the show’s opener, featuring futuristic shapes and wide brimmed visor hats. Industrial colours lifted dresses, which were more like armour.

Raj Mistry

Graduate collection by Raj Mistry

Raj’s expert menswear collection really stood out. He married sportswear with engineered shapes with luxurious materials for outerwear; zips and drawstrings in contrasting colours were nice details.

Farah Saffari

Graduate collection by Farah Saffari

A whimsical approach to fashion was the mainstay in Farah’s collection, inspired by nature and, probably, the beach. Cropped tops, translucent layers and piped waists resulted in mermaid-like creatures rather than models.

Colin Oliphant

Something about Colin’s relaxed tailoring for men that also worked on ladies really stood out; it was simplicity at its best. Subtle lapel-free jackets with crew necks were worn over collarless shirts in muted colours, and a collection like this is always welcome amidst a sea of designers who try to push the boundaries a little too far.

Ainslie Hogg

Juxtaposed to Colin’s subtle collection (above) came Ainslie Hogg’s weird and wonderful experimentation with material and shape. It was the kind of collection, akin to Michael Van Der Ham, that shouldn’t work but completely does. Materials of various textures and densities were combined in hap-hazard fashion to create striking ensembles.

Katarzyna Krzywania

I simply loved Katarzyna’s hooded overcoats with contrasting geometric shapes.

Dan William James Prasad

Graduate collection by Dan William James Prasad

Dan’s menswear was a perfect blend of old and new – a sort of updated period novel hero with contemporary, aesthetic fabrics in the place where tweeds and heritage fabrics might be. High-waisted trousers and structured jackets featured in this richly-coloured collection.

Katie Bremner

What’s not to love about Katie’s ethereal world? Her fringed frocks in garish colours, embellished with hearts, added both fun and thought provocation to the show. Not a collection for the supermarket, but for the fashion-forward at the very least.

Marie Leiknes

Pages from Marie Leiknes‘ graduate collection sketchbooks

Marie creates new silhouettes from marvellous knitwear in vivid colours. Millinery had an Eastern influence, whilst the garments themselves featured triangular wool formations and contrasting colours.

Riona Horrox
Riona might have looked to 1990s hip hop for inspiration for her premium menswear. Oversized coats with digital prints were decorated with wool trims or worn with hoods. Orange and copper highlights glared from a general colour palette of black and grey. Riona went on to win the Menswear Award at the Gala Show yesterday evening (more to come on that soon) – and quite rightly so.

Louise Bennetts

Louise’s collection consisted of parachute-like dresses and capes in varying shades of orange – warm tones that brought life to paler structures. Layered translucent materials created interest, and bold black lines that divided up the garments added yet another dimension to this highly polished collection.

Emma Hardstaff
Emma closed the show with her collection of dreamy quilted numbers with vague digital prints, some of which were disguised with translucent fabric. The prawn-like head pieces, whilst attracting attention, were a little unnecessary – but it was a collection worthy of closing the show nonetheless, and gained much deserved recognition at the Gala Show. Bravo!

Three cheers for Edinburgh, as always! Hip Hip…

Categories ,2012, ,Ainslie Hogg, ,catwalk, ,Colin Oliphant, ,Dan William James Prasad, ,Earls Court Two, ,ECA, ,Edinburgh College of Art, ,Emma Hardstaff, ,Farah Saffari, ,Graduate Fashion Week 2012, ,Jacob Birge, ,Katarzyna Krzywania, ,Katie Bremner, ,knitwear, ,Louise Bennetts, ,Marie Leikes, ,menswear, ,Michael van der Ham, ,Raj Mistry, ,review, ,Riona Horrox, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Port Eliot Festival 2014 Review: Books, Food, Comedy, Craft & Fashion

Port Eliot Festival by Maia Fjord
Port Eliot Festival by Maia Fjord.

I’ve been meaning to take in Port Eliot festival for several years but it has always been just that little bit too far away. This summer we were able to attend, thanks to a holiday in Cornwall with family.

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Once more we were blessed with a weekend of near perfect sunshine, ideal for wild and muddy swimming in the adjacent river, and the grassy banks were packed when we arrived on Friday afternoon. It’s a relatively small festival, which meant that we could pop up our tent quite close to the action. Beyond the main tented areas we traversed overgrown rhododendron paths, frolicked in a full sized maze and emerged with a spectacular view of the impressive aqueduct beneath which a couple of stand up paddle boarders were dwarfed.

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Port Eliot is not your average festival; here the usual music takes a back seat to other offerings: literary, foodie, comedic, crafty and fashionable. Thanks to some well placed connections it has built a bit of a reputation as the fashionistas’ festival, and despite the distance from London the big names return year after year. It was telling that (in comparison to my adventures at Green Earth Awakening) all the people I ran into on the site were friends I know from working in fashion.

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I liked the mix of activities, but it took awhile to get used to the workings of this festival, where queueing is a prerequisite for popular talks and workshops (I am very bad at queues, and never more so now that I have a toddler in tow). My partner tried to hear Martin Parr speak on several occasions (about his new film, which was also showing) before we finally tracked him down on the Sunday at the Dovegrey Reader tent, where the audience could sit out on the grass (and knitting is de rigeur). Lucky then that Martin Parr was speaking so many times! And obviously taking the opportunity to snap away at this most middle class of festivals. The favourite thing I took from his talk was his admission that he takes huge amount of photos, because most of them are crap. I have always believed it’s all in the edit so it was good to hear that Martin thinks so too.

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I didn’t have so much luck joining an Anthropologie workshop, having arrived at the allocated time to book a class, only to find they were already full. Instead I learnt how to crochet (at last!) with Ros Badger at The Badger Sett.

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Plenty of authors were on hand to talk about and then sign books but I only caught small parts of many talks due to toddler demands. Viv Albertine talked very engagingly about her new book Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys which I am desperate to read (Luella Bartley spotted in the audience), and I enjoyed listening to Richard Benson talk about rural life and his new book The Valley, but not so much Gruff Rhys on his US adventures (he didn’t engage). Susie Bubble was front row for a chat with fashion designer Simone Rocha and I bought a signed copy of Babette Cole’s new children’s book, inspired by her lodger, pictured above in dreadlocks and bunny ears.

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In the beautiful Walled Garden the fashion set held arty sewing workshops and a catwalk show for tweenies. I admired a clever bunting made from colourful hair weaves and the dexterity of The Flower Appreciation Society, ensuring that many ladies at the festival sported beautiful real floral headdresses.

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Every time we tried to get to the kids’ Hullabaloo area I got lost in the winding labyrinth of paths. Once there we discovered plentiful crafty workshops, theatre productions, a bouncy castle, puppet shows and comedy. Speaking of which, I managed to contain Snarfle for long enough to hear most of Robin Ince’s genius set.

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The main house was home to displays of crocheted tea cosies, cakes, flower arrangements and scarecrows. We didn’t visit the foodie tent but admired the stage set up from afar. Instead we frequented the Hix pop up in the Orangery, with food supplied by Fortnum & Mason. It was a pricey meal but we enjoyed the incongruous silver service. Elsewhere we dined on Cornish seafood, wood fired pizza and local ice cream. Food was a definite highlight!

Port Eliot Festival 2014 Review-the odd folk
Port Eliot Festival 2014 Review-love nor moneyy
Port Eliot Snarfle and Sheepie
In the early evenings Snarfle and I headed to the smallest music tent, where he jumped around to the ramshackle and rather brilliant The Odd Folk one night and electro powered drum n bass anthems from sister act Love Nor Money on the next. He is now obsessed with ‘rock guitar’ as well as banjo. Thank goodness his Sheepie doubles as a guitar/banjo/ukelele stand in.

Categories ,2014, ,Anthropologie, ,Babette Cole, ,books, ,Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys, ,comedy, ,Cornwall, ,craft, ,crochet, ,Dovegrey Reader, ,fashion, ,festival, ,Food, ,Fortnum & Mason, ,Green Earth Awakening, ,Gruff Rhys, ,Hix, ,Hullabaloo, ,knitting, ,Love Nor Money, ,Luella Bartley, ,Maia Fjord, ,Martin Parr, ,Orangery, ,Port Eliot, ,review, ,Richard Benson, ,Robin Ince, ,Ros Badger, ,Sheepie, ,Simone Rocha, ,Snarfle, ,Susie Bubble, ,The Badger Set, ,The Flower Appreciation Society, ,The Odd Folk, ,The Valley, ,viv albertine, ,Walled Garden

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with The Flower Appreciation Society

The Flower Appreciaiton Society_introducing
Ellie and Anna are not your average florists…. inspired by a mutual love of flowers, illustration and all things English, they formed The Flower Appreciation Society, supplying beautiful and unusual arrangements to a multitude of customers from their studio space in Hackney. And that’s not all they do: Ellie also runs knitwear label EDE, and Anna is a nearly qualified midwife. Inspiring indeed. Ellie explains:

The Flower Appreciation Society big lilac display
I studied Textiles at Manchester and Anna studied illustration at Brighton. After being made redundant twice in one year, I went back home to Wales and spent the summer helping my Mum (who is also a florist) with all her weddings. When I returned to London I decided I wanted to continue working with flowers. I started working at The Scolt Head pub in Hackney and met Anna. She had just finished a year long floristry course (which she’d found incredibly uninspiring) and we instantly became friends when we realised that we shared the same aesthetic and love for all things floral. It all started very organically. Anna was asked to do the flowers for a friends wedding and I offered to help. From then on we started doing weekly flowers at the pub and then decided to design our own website. The Flower Appreciation Society was born.

The Flower Appreciation Society_Christmas
I love your idea! Flowers and illustration have always gone hand in hand, when did you have your epiphany and can you remember when you and Anna decided to combine the two loves?
It all happened very naturally. The Flower Appreciation Society began when we realised that we could combine our love of cut flowers with our appreciation of all things floral. Anna had done an illustration degree, so it seemed very right to use illustrations to add something a little different to our identity.

The Flower Appreciaiton Society_flower letters
How much has growing up around flowers informed your love of them? what are your earliest floral memories?
My mother is a silk painter as well as a florist and a wonderful gardener, my Granny was a gardener and my Great Granny was a florist, so I guess you could say it’s in the genes. The house was always filled with flowers, be it fresh cut flowers or huge beautiful bearded iris’ which my mother painted onto the curtains in the sitting room. l was definitely surrounded by flowers from a very early age. My earliest floral memory has to be sitting on the lawn at my Granny’s house eating rose petals!

The Flower Appreciation Society Anna's edible flower illustrations
What have you learnt from your florist mum?
The most important things I have learnt from my mum are my appreciation and sensitivity to colour and shape. When she was training me she always banged on about the shape of the arrangement (which annoyed me at the time!!) but I’m so grateful for it now as its one of the most important things.

The Flower Appreciation Society bike and bouquet
The Flower Appreciation Society floristry tips
I love that you and your partner Anna have such diverse creative careers – can you tell us more about your knitwear brand EDE?
I set up EDE a year ago. I have always knitted, since leaving university and it got to a point where I didn’t have the time to knit myself anymore, so I decided to employ knitters from the area that I grew up, in Herefordshire. It was very important to me to keep the production in England and even more important to support my local community. I now have 15 knitters who work their magic on my designs and I sell them on my website Anna and I are very excited about our next project, to combine EDE with The Flower Appreciation Society. Big floral prints on knitwear… we can’t wait!! *nor can I*

The Flower Appreciation Society Buttonholes
And Anna: Can you tell us about your midwife training – where will you be practicing once you are qualified and what kind of births do you hope to attend and facilitate?
I’m just about to finish my 3 year training and hope to practice as a midwife part time in London. I hope this will be the perfect balance, half the week delivering babies and the other half arranging beautiful flowers – two very different environments, somehow it works and I love having such a mixed week. I particularly enjoy working with women and their families from all sorts of backgrounds – in an ideal world they all would be lovely straightforward happy births!

The Flower Appreciation Society_flower bonnet
How do your illustrations sit alongside and work with the flower arranging brand?
What’s great is that the illustrations have become an integral part of the brands identity without us even realising that’s what we were doing. 
It’s so lovely for me being able to use my illustrations in this context, having the freedom to set my own briefs and being able to use my degree in a way i never thought I would. I love being my own boss.

The Flower Appreciation Society_pink jug
The Flower Appreciation Society_As you are editorial
All editorial shots by Holly Falconer for an As you are Magazine editorial.

How do you find the local growers who supply your flowers? Are there people growing flowers in London or do you have to go outside the city?
At the moment we buy most of our flowers from new Covent Garden market and get as much as we can from the English suppliers. Our plan for next year is to develop relationships with local allotment growers so that we can source the majority of our flowers within London. 

Very big display flower appreciation
What flowers does England grow best?
Our favourite English flowers have to be sweet peas, delphiniums, dahlias, hydrangeas and of course beautiful wild foliage. 

Are there any particular scents that you love the most and try to include in arrangements?
Obviously there’s nothing better than flowers which smell. Our ultimate favourite is English lilac. 

The Flower Appreciation Society_mothers day 2012
You’ve had some amazing clients: Florence and the Machine, YCN, Bompass and Parr, La Perla, Radley, Yellowdoor, Shona Heath, Lily Vanilli, Waterstones. Who would be your next dream client?
We’d love to start working with contemporary fashion brands such as Mary Katrantzou. It would be a dream to not only have our flowers decorating the catwalk, but also our floral prints/illustrations adorning the models. 

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Why should we all learn to appreciate flowers more – any simple tips to include them in daily life?
Flowers make us happy. We love the whole process, from building relationships and supporting the market boys to visiting amazing venues, to feeling like we’ve done a good hard days work. Just a single stem of a beautiful flower brightens up any room. Buy a coral peony bud and put it into a bottle and watch it open and the colour fade – quite magical.

The Flower Appreciation Society_Ellie and Anna

Visit The Flower Appreciation Society here.

Categories ,Anna Day, ,As you are Magazine, ,Bompass and Parr, ,Covent Garden market, ,EDE, ,Ellie Jauncey, ,ethical, ,Florence and The Machine, ,Flowers, ,Holly Falconer, ,illustration, ,knitwear, ,La Perla, ,Lily Vanilli, ,Local, ,Mary Katrantzou, ,Midwife, ,Radley, ,Shona Heath, ,The Flower Appreciation Society, ,The Scolt Head, ,Waterstones, ,YCN, ,Yellowdoor

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