Tag Archives: fashion

Make acid great again: why you should still dress for resistance.

ImageWomen in Munich demonstrate against the ‘maxi’ looks featured in the approaching autumn and winter fashion in 1970.  

Fashion, specifically subcultures with their distinguishable style, and various articles of clothing, as means to resist have been utilised by protestors of all sorts. While subcultures role in the society have changed and style became somewhat neutral, there’s still few politically charged fashion items that exist as a medium that helps us to challenge political and social constructs.

Fashion as a form of protest and resistance has been going on for decades. From women’s rights activists in 60s to different subculture representatives: the teds, the mods, the punks’… By styling themselves in various different bold fashions and wearing certain articles of clothing – people have utilised fashion as a method of resistance, showcasing political and social affiliations.

Looking at the fashion scene nowadays, it’s quite evident that the subcultures have changed – became less definable. While the decline is obvious, some even suggest the death of subcultures as we know it (tribalism in a form of protest). And I wouldn’t beg to differ. The information age, homogenous culture, as well as the lack of teenage rebellion, are to be charged guilty, as James Gill offers a few reasons behind the shift. Of course, later identifying the real causes of the change: ‘increased equality and representation, increased fragmentation of society, a decline in absolute poverty in western society.’

Subcultures merely became a style and various daring and innovative everyday youth fashions are continually being put on the map. But is the daily, even the ‘ballsiest’ style itself, still being implemented as a tool of opposition, demonstrating one’s political and cultural associations? My answer is – hardly. Judging from the social media practices, the style has somewhat become more of a self-esteem boost tool (‘doing it for the likes’) or means to demonstrate one’s creativity, taste, status quo, and perhaps even the ability to follow the trends.

Photographed by Phil Oh/Vogue 

So, if style became politically and socially neutral does it mean fashion is no longer applied as means of protest? Not at all. Various clothing items are still being worn up to date to embody the resistance. Think the most recent hot item, the pussy hats. Pussy hats enabled brands, designers behind it, and the wearers to show their political and social stance. Similarly, hijab (Anniesa Hasibuan teamed the hijab with flowing gowns) sent a powerful political message right from the centre stage of the fashion week; Not long after the President Donald J. Trump’s executive order to restrict entry from seven, predominantly Muslim countries.

cc Christian Siriano NYFW finale/Getty Images

Pussy hats and the hijab and perhaps other few clothing items definitely made into resistance’s fashion books. But here, another important hero exists. Continuing to fight the fight as a medium for protest messages. It’s been with us from around 80s and has an interesting history, transforming from an undergarment to the subversion icon… And that, my friends, is a t-shirt!

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters | Via ELLE/Getty Images

Following women’s march after Trump’s election, and the march year after, we’ve sees fashion industry’s moguls use its platform to raise awareness and empower; while using a T-shirt as a medium for messaging. Think Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut Dior Collection’s star “We should all be feminists” tee. Brands like Dior and others like The Christian Siriano “People are People” are now taking the wardrobe staple and embracing it as a means of political messaging.

At Creatures of Comfort. Photo: Andrew Toth/Getty Images

But let’s take a closer look at the t-shirt’s transformative story, starting with its genesis. It was a mere undergarment up till 1920 and around that time author F.Scott Fitzgerald was the first one to name the undergarment as T-shirt in his novel, This Side of Paradise. Though as a stand-alone outer-garment tee was popularised by the likes of Marlon Brando, specifically by his role as Stanley Kowalski in A Street Car Named Desire. And, of course, the Hollywood’s heartthrob James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. A spike in t-shirt sales after movie releases illustrate that both actors played a big role in altering t-shirt’s reputation. It became a pop product! But then again, who cares? Only around the early 80s, the humble tee has evolved from the wardrobe basic or the pop item to a medium for political and social messaging. Katherine Hamnett and Viviene Westwood were one of the first designers that recognised T-shirts potential communication power.

KatharinePhoto: Press Association – Thatcher Meets Hamnett

Katherine Hamnett’s has been producing slogan T-shirts since the 1980s. Her t-shirt “Choose Life” was worn later by belate George Michael in the Wham! music video Wake Me Up Before YouGo-Go. But she really made political history in London fashion week in 1984; By infamously greeting then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher wearing her “58% don’t want Pershing” tee. Designer initially, didn’t plan to go because of her strong disagreement with M. Thatcher’s policies:

‘I couldn’t stand Thatcher and I wasn’t going to go, because of what she’d done to the trade unions, to schools, and because of the Falklands War.’ – She mentioned in her interview with Vogue in 2017.

In the end, Katherine attended the reception wearing a T-shirt protesting the installation of U.S. nuclear warheads on UK land. Her last-minute decision to take the opportunity and stand up for her dogmas not only made a political history but also put the wardrobe basic onto resistance fashion’s map. She became one of the biggest politically charged t-shirt advocates.

1117368Westwood wears the controversial Destroy T-shirtvia wordpress.com 

Following up, Vivienne Westwood produced a tee decorated with a red Nazi swastika, an image of Christ on the cross, the word “DESTROY” and Sex Pistols Lyrics in 1977. This lawless shirt outlined the start of her and her partner’s brand known for the “punk” politics. The tee was meant to challenge fascist ideologies, status quo and illustrate standing up to the older generation and dictators.

Both Katherine and Vivienne have cleverly utilised t-shirt as a medium to show their political and social standing, opening up a debate. And only here you can start questioning the effectiveness of two things: wearing a politically charged t-shirt and opening up a debate.  But let me ask you one thing, isn’t silence – the accomplice of the abuser? Of course, unless your silence is hiding hate comments.

The T-shirt has taken on a role as a signifier, a statement of intent for the wearer,” says Dennis Nothdruft the curator of T-shirt: Cult, Culture, Subversion exhibition in London. “It has developed an amazing power to communicate and to create a dialogue between the wearer and the world.”

Spreading the right message in public spaces might be just a temporary empowerment… And of course, merely wearing a T-shirt won’t change anything, unless it’s going to be followed up with an effective call to action. But opening up a dialogue is, without a doubt, an important first step towards a better future. Inequality, misrepresentation, poverty and other constructs that continue to exist, illustrate that there’re still so many things we need to improve and fight against.

Sarah Mower wrote in the February issue of Vogue: “as the lids are blown off in all directions on sexual harassment, racial injustice, gender pay inequality, the rolling back of women’s rights, the gap between rich and poor… fashion (or clothing; we can debate what we should call it) isn’t on the sidelines in this: it’s a constant ally in times of trouble, a medium open to infinite nuances of meaning in the hands of ingenious people to show their beliefs.”

So why “Make Acid Great Again”? Because inequality in all forms continues to exist. Because not having an opinion is making you part of the problem. Because by merely showcasing your political and social stance you are taking a first step towards  the better future. And as history show us, t-shirts seem to be a fantastic medium for powerful messages. Start here!

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TEEN CLUB: Ethan on Fashion, Modelling & Being Yourself

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Photo by @chris_edfi for ASOS menswear

I remember meeting Ethan for the very first time over at our Hype Influencers’ BMW experience. He was carrying a skateboard with him while slowly approached the rest of the group — he immediately stood out from the crowd with his fresh and witty style, and laid back attitude. I remember thinking that this kid definitely has really good people skills, and I think for this exact reason I levitated towards the guy. It wasn’t long before I found myself enjoying Ethan’s company, kicking back with tunes by the late Prince, and exploring the city in a convertible. Later his smooth dance moves put my own to shame and from then on we really started getting to know each other. Ethan joined in at our Hype Influencer night a couple of days later and after hearing his opinions about lifestyle, skateboarding and art, I decided to catch up and ask him a few questions about his own ifs and buts, does and dont’s

Barbara. What’s your story?

Ethan. My name is Ethan Robert Richards, but people call me Bushy, ’cause of my eyebrows. I’m 20-years-old, I was born in Leicester, but grew up in London. As you can imagine, I’m so happy we won the league, this has been a good year for Leicester and for me. I guess my passions are fashion, skateboarding and I guess art in general. I am a full-time model and an amateur street skateboarder.

B. What are your favourite cities for enjoying life?

E. That’s a hard question. Thanks to my amazing mum, I was able to travel a lot as a child, but I would have to say Florida and New York, also Montserrat and Saint Lucia — they may not be cities, but they are beautiful places. My mum’s side of the family are actually from Montserrat.

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Photos by @deesixish

‘I want to create something beautiful — I love being a canvas for something someone has created. I’m inspired by my desire to explore and see the world, and by people doubting me at the beginning.’

B. What kind of places do you like to spend time at with your friends?

E. Anywhere we can skate or if there’s music. If I were to recommend places to go, I would say The Blues Kitchen — their wings are amazing — and places to go out, Ace Hotel or Visions Video Bar.

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Image from @bushybroweth

B. How would you describe your personal style in three words?

E. Cool, simple and edgy.

 

B. Anything exciting you have planned for this year?

E. London Collections Men is next month, and I have a skate advert that I shot coming out soon. To be honest, I try not to plan too much — I like to take each day as it comes.

B. Let’s talk modelling. What inspires you?

E. My love for art, I guess. I want to create something beautiful — I love being a canvas for something someone has created. I’m inspired by my desire to explore and see the world, and by people doubting me at the beginning.

B. Can you tell us what led you on this path?

E. My friend Meldon told me to go to this casting, ’cause he said I would get it, and I did.

‘My goals are to inspire people to live their dreams, anything is possible. I didn’t have the easiest time in school — I want people to understand that there is nothing wrong with being different.’

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Photo by @vickygrout for i-D Magazine

B. What’s your #1 good photo tip?

E. My good photo tip would have to be — treat the camera as your best friend. Let it compliment you.

B. From all of your photoshoots, which one stood out as being a real highlight and why?

E. The one I did for Pause Online. It was my first shoot for a magazine — it made me realise I had a future in modelling.

B. Do you have any limitations? Would you model any kind of clothing at all?

E. No. And I guess it depends if I agree with what the company stands for.

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Photo by @photographybysiri for ASOS menswear

B. How has social media helped you?

E. It has helped me a lot, it allows me to make a living doing the things I love — and funny enough the first time I got scouted was at a party.

B. What tips would you give readers hoping to grow their own following?

E. Be yourself.

B. Where do you see yourself in, let’s say, the next couple of years?

E. My goals are to inspire people to live their dreams, anything is possible. I didn’t have the easiest time in school — I want people to understand that there is nothing wrong with being different.

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Image by @eddyline for OurStory Magazine

B. What do you think about the industry’s beauty standards?

E. I think things have changed a lot in the past couple of years. Modelling is about being unique and standing for something.

B. What does get you the job: — look or attitude? Or both?

E. I think a bit of both. I’ve always been sociable and good with people, but i I think my look has gotten stronger with time.

B. What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of taking this path?

E. Free boards, clothes, food, travelling and I’ve met some amazing people.

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<- Image by @iamelikem | Image by @deanmartindale ->

FOLLOW ETHAN’s Hype Profile and Instagram for more from him!

You can find this post on Medium.

Wet lashes, bronze feet: oh we surrender to the heat

The built up tension and your hand brushing my hip, gliding down the spine and resting on the arched back.

It is warm, so warm that we are bound to fall for each other, all of us, 20-someones. Even if it’s for a short time, even if it is for the swimming season. For those three months, we are more attracted, more thirsty. We enjoy this heat.

Climb up, jump around, lay on top of each other, breathing deeply and drinking coke with ice. Extra ice with shaved ice cream.

Your blue eyes and washed off cream in the background of the sea. Sand in between wet hair stripes, toe nails playing with the heart strings.

Full moon, half moon, night.

High eyes. Sleepy eyes. Ecstatic flight.

Bronze skin and wet eyelashes.

I catch your eyes catching mine.

I would like to keep you,

for some time.

  Summer

The Shoreditch Fashion Show

fashion-show

FASHION CLUB

The biannual Shoreditch Fashion show this year was hosted by Offbeat in association with Batiste, the UK’s No.1 dry shampoo brand. The night promised guests an élite sneak peek into the work of the UK’s up and coming designers, musicians and artists. Labelling it only as a fashion show would put your name in few folks’ most wanted list, as it was too, a festival exposing visionary and emerging art, experimental music acts, installations and pop ups. Not a mere catwalk, capish?

rtrtrt

GULP FICTION

As me and my mate Gabriele were pretty busy getting flashed by immense amount of lights caused by iphonographers (later on I joined the army) inside the venue, more than few peeps were trying to get within the frames of real cameras and strike ‘the best angle’ poses with a diminutive pout every now and then. I would put a joke about fashion police and even drop A.C.A.B line in this sentence, but no one likes inadequate bastards, so I won’t. Speaking about the venue, choosing Oval Space was a very bright thing to do, as this crib has a kick-ass smoking area, huge-ass bar and this mighty boosh vibe attached to it that just salutes one’s alcohol consumption volumes.

Anyways, place got packed pretty soon and the chick crowd was a clear outcome of the promotion TSFS had done beforehand. Electrifying line-up of musicians, designers and artists definitely aided with that department and attracted few celebs and bloggers. Oliver Proudlock with his modelling girlfriend Grace McGovern, also famous folks like Emily Austen and Marie Claire Holthuizen were also there. But do well-known names guarantee successfulness of the night?

The Shoreditch Fashion Show, 2013, illustration, Illustrated moodboard, rosa crepax, carlotta crepax, CUT

GLORIOUS BASTERDS

Vince Kidd sure did. He certainly added a ‘wow’ factor and caused few week-knee incidents with his husky voice. This kid (excuse my lack of competence) and his strong performance at the show has won himself a position of a new voice crush, not the title one would trust, but still check this guy’s stuff here! I somehow managed to miss out Rufio Summers’ performance, but a safe source (I trust my friend’s taste) has put a word for him as an edgy musician with a voice capable of energising the crowd. Finally, Kill It Kid with their dirty blues and dark pop chick Lydia Baylis were a right-on-spot hand pick that gave a kinky atmosphere and kept everyone excited for the fashion show.

STYLISH PROOF

While I & my friend were chatting up few bloggers and photographers inside the press room, a hubbub has begun on the other side of the doors .When we got big news delivered – catwalk time- everyone went on a craze mode left their Batiste freebie bags full of hair products, cups full of alcohol and rushed out as it was the apocalypse itself coming. And here it goes… Models fiercely stormed in with Marcelo Yarussi’s daring designs, showcased Nicolas Wirth’s intriguing collection and became dreamingly pastel by Christina Tiran’s & Victoria Rowley’s effort. All-black and sharp Maria Zhminko was bravely aesthetical as was Rebecca Morter’s & Gemma Vanson’s celebration of revealed female body. Lastly, personally most anticipated Isabell Yalda Hellysaz flew all the way from Sweden and presented futuristic and masculine fashion sense of hers. Extra attention to details and alternative approach has already gained her a reputation within the industry and eminent face masks well-liked by Lady Gaga herself has rocked the catwalk.

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RESERVOIR OF ART

Wimbledon’s BA Fine Art: Painting student SunYin Xiaowen’s sculpture grabbed my attention instantly. His abstract piece explored the complex dimension of traces and the resultant impact this has on our emotions, whether that be enjoyment or pain. Aphra Shezma’s interactive sculpture facilitated the connection people have with the world around them. While Linda Cieniawskwa explored the ties that exist between two people in relationship, Charlotte Osborne offered a new perspective on our own fragility and Gwenyth Fugard provoked boundaries. All of these fitted ‘’Through the dark, light shall appear’’ theme but I preferred the brighter side with an amazing display of animation work from Dom and Ink that allowed people to colour in and take the hip posters back home (I took quite a bunch). Lastly, on the playful horizon a pop-up salon by Bastille settled down and was prepared to save anyone from a bad hair day.

PicMonkey Collagfffe

THE FINALE

The Show was supported by iconic industry heads including world-renowned fashion designer Julien Macdonald, top model agency NEVS models, and BoxPark, the world’s first pop-up mall. With further support from media partners such as Fashion TV, the global multimedia network leader in fashion and lifestyle content, Don’t Panic, Aesthetica Magazine & ArtLys. The night turned out into a trendy bazaar boasting of various goods and most certainly one hell of a party. Shoot out to everyone who contributed!

PicMonkey Collagett

LFW CLOSING PARTY

London Ethnic & Fashion London were hosting a Closing party for Fashion Week in aid of Capital FM’s charity ‘Help A Capital Child’ at one of London’s most extravagant venues – Rise The Superclub and I have been invited to attend the event as a blogger.

Fashion party was raising funds for Capital FM’s charity ‘Help A Capital Child’. DJs, live bands, catwalk shows, a bar, free drinks for guests on entry, a celebrity memorabilia auction and raffle to raise funds for the charity and finally a dancefloor until late was plated to the ones who attended.

‘Partying for a cause’  was never my thing, but I was sort of bribed by the idea of two juxtapositions meeting at a point of a party. The theoretical formula should go like: fashion+charity=party and in the memory of maths I decided to see how it works when applied practically.

September 17th 

Flashing lights and zero amount of available couches combo wasn’t great for my dying feet (killer heels), so I rushed to the bar  to order a glass of my favorite – gin&tonic. I found some sort of barrier to lean on and  then got myself slowly absorbed into the world of fashion…  While skimming through people’s outfits, faces and fabrics I rediscovered my own closet and my head was already making a train of thoughts for new mix’n’matching marathon for my wardrobe.

One formula leads to another one, isn’t it?

Dozing of didn’t last much, since live performers ended whatever they were doing (have to admit, didn’t like Justin-Timberlake-wanna-be’s singing ) and then the show began.

Catwalk shows spotlighted some of the London Ethnic Fashion House’s home-grown London Fashion Designers, including Soumia Ghouini , Rabbit Hole London , Carlotta Actis Barone and Rebecca Suanli-Goh , who have been featured previously at London’s Graduate Fashion Week and London Fashion Week shows.

Each designer had unique approach to fashion and personal tendencies but I would also like to give some credit to the DJs. They have done  great work, functioning as a glue to make the catwalk and the party duo happen. I won’t go into the details about the fashion designs itself, simply because I am not an expert of that kind, so I leave this for the wardrobe gurus.

And at some point the fashion + charity thingy ended.  And to be fair the premises were abandoned by the press/designers pretty fast. Either they are no good at maths, since they just got to know a single figure of the formula (fashion), or they don’t give a crap and just did what they were paid for. Consumerism whispers that the second case is probably more accurate. I never understood were charity is positioned, probably cause I wasn’t really listening to the people on stage. And we all know how charities are interconnected with speeches on stage. Finally,  free drinks helped to forget about the emptiness of the venue for only a short period of time and I had to stop my mathematical research at this point.

The formula doesn’t work. Maybe, by singling those three subjects out you can say that the event did succeed, everyone got what they came for. Fashion masses- fashion itself, people that came for charity – donated their money and party people – did got a bit of a party (I assume it got busier when I left).

I have to admit, my grades were pretty average in maths.

Dash Magazine: Issue Launch Party

DASH Magazine is the London-based illustrated magazine on fashion and fashion art. Published biannually and distributed worldwide, DASH is aimed at opinion formers of all genders with an interest in fashion and art-related fields. It is its strong focus on fashion illustration – a previously under-appreciated art form currently celebrating a vivid comeback – which makes the magazine one of a kind. Visually unique and with in-depth editorial content, DASH Magazine provides seasonal coverage as well as a launch platform for emerging talent from the fields of illustration, photography, the arts and journalism to showcase, and thus gain exposure, for their work.

September 11th Dash Magazine: Issue Launch Party

Venue doors open up and we are welcomed by  photographers and a freebie bag with sample magazine plus other trifle paraphernalia that I didn’t bother to check. And suddenly my face had a petite grin on it. I love free stuff, especially food (gotta admit it sounds chintzy). Anyways, the party just exploded, when I was about to finish my first cigarette. There was definitely a good-hip vibe going on, with familiar first-rate tunes in the background and chick crowd chatting. I am most certainly sure that free alcohol still has effect on my blood circulation, but shoot out to Dash for the good time. It is upsetting that the little nibbles never reached me, though.

Photo Diary: Chapter 2

Blazing sun merges through my skin and spreads around, leaving ultra violet traces. Continues searches of  shades to shelter myself. And my body yet is boiling. The water reflects my sweating forehead. Ah, i can’t escape it. Ah, I am captured. Venice, Sacile, Milan.