Yesterday I had the pleasure to attend a series of talks from some of my favourite working professionals in the fashion industry.
The event was arranged @FashionInLeeds and @LeedsIntFest and has had small catwalks, talks and presentations from a wide variety of fashion and technology based talent which started on the 22nd of April and runs through to the 30th.
The three speakers I had the privilege of listening to were; Lulu Kennedy MBE who is the founder of Fashion East and MAN, bold print designer and collaboration queen Katie Eary and “Remade In England” sustainability designer Christopher Raeburn.
The first of the three speakers I attended was Christopher Raeburn who is best known for recycling military materials such as life rafts, maps and parachutes. He talked us through some of his fashion films and his inspirations behind his collections and materials. The ‘Meridian‘ video from his Spring/Summer 2015 collection was a visual masterpiece using CGI to recreate his garments and showing an artistic story of the materials used in a somewhat Matrix style of dressing.
(Side story… The last time I met Christopher Raeburn, we were locked out of an Agi & Sam after party (with Agi) and had to tell the doorwoman that the person who was left outside with us was actually the person hosting the party.)
Katie Eary spoke heavily about her career building around collaborations and the importance of building an identity and the opportunities others can give you to build a brand. Katie has collaborated with some incredibly diverse brands including; Kanye West, KFC and IKEA. She spoke a lot about her groundbreaking collaboration with IKEA as the first fashion designer to work with this homeware giant and about the long process of designing home furnishings, plates and bedding.
I have been such a fan of Katie Eary’s work. She was one of the first designers I had the pleasure of seeing during my first ever season of London Collections: Men (now known as London Fashion Week Men’s – christ I still hate this re-branding) and I still remember her bright pink flamingo collection to this day.
Lulu Kennedy MBE is a woman I have wanted to meet for quite a long time but never had the chance to. Fashion East and MAN are two incredibly influential and important companies to grace the British fashion scene. I’ve been lucky enough to attend many of the Fashion East and MAN collections and these showcases have been a great source of inspiration to me as I have inspired a lot of my work around some of these designers who have been spotlighted through these companies. Charles Jeffrey, Katie Eary, Bobby Abley and Gareth Pugh are all designers who I have used as inspiration for various photo shoots and visual projects.
With these talks being relatively small in numbers (and the fact they were hosted inside a shipping container in the middle of Briggate high street) meant that as a group we had the opportunity to talk to each of the guests and have quite an intimate Q&A. Though this was a huge bonus for me, it was a shame to see such influential speakers be in the presence of such a small crowd. Events and talks like these in Leeds are definitely infrequent but are highly valued. Leeds College of Art is an incredibly established art school and with many other designers and artists coming from the Northern territories of England I believe it should have more of a direct address in these areas as a lot of focus (naturally) is on London and London art school graduated designers. I always enjoy listening to designers, artists and industry professionals talking about their careers and experiences and I definitely feel that these events would not go amiss in Leeds.Please, please, PLEASE can we get more incredible speakers like these heading to Leeds in the near future, not just for my sake but for the hundreds of fashion students and industry workers Leeds has to offer!
I don’t think I have heard of such controversy and media attention from one magazine cover and I don’t often write about things like this, but with such media attention, I thought I should throw my opinions into the mix of what, why and how?! The closest I remember to such attention for a publication cover was Miley Cyrus’ reinvented image on the cover of V magazine last year but even then, the #Kimye cover has proved to hit a bum note with a lot of people. I don’t really know what Vogue’s intention was for using this celebrity duo as their cover stars for the April 2014 cover but something tells me that it was a way to attract a wider/newer audience to the Vogue magazine market or a clever PR stunt to attract as much media attention as physically possible (and lets be honest, it didn’t do Miley any harm).
I think what really looks out of place is that Vogue have decided to throw a hashtag ‘#’ on the front cover to make the magazine look ‘hip‘ and ‘down with the kids‘, whether this cheapens Vogue’s brand identity or not, people will definitely be talking about this and most probably using the hashtag. Whether or not the pair are the #WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple or not does not necessarily mean they should be placed on the cover of such an iconic fashion publication, I would have much rather seen Barack and Michelle, Kate & Wills or Brad & Angelina… Even Steph & Dom from Channel 4’s Gogglebox would have made a much more appealing cover!
I personally don’t like this cover and whether it was all for PR or to attract a new audience, all that can be said is that it falls flat, it looks relatively cheap and it doesn’t do the magazine any favours (much like Kim in the chosen dress), but if like the idea of Kanye West hugging what looks like a large meringue, this could be the magazine for you… Oh Anna, what happened?!