Last week I was asked to take some photographs for the Leeds branch’s “Handmade with Love” in-store event. The focus was around Vivienne Westwood’s ethical collections which are handmade by local artisans in Kenya. The event featured a new collection of beautifully colourful and vibrantly patterned bags including an event-specific bag that allowed customers to choose their own patterns, straps, designs and colour schemes.
Below I have attached a copy of the interview from the London Conduit Street store with Marketing Director of Ethical Fashion Initiative, Robin McAndrew. The interview was hosted by journalist and TV presenter Billie JD Porter and talks about the brand’s “Handmade With Love In Kenya” ethos.
A big thank you to the staff at the Vivienne Westwood Leeds store for hosting a fun event. Also, if you would like to learn more about this project you can click this link to take you to the Vivienne Westwood website where they have spoken about the materials, the artisans and the history of the project as well as shop the latest collection of “Handmade with Love” in Kenya bags:
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!
The other day I attended the London Collections: Men showcase at the Harvey Nichols store in Leeds with my friend Jessie Pink. This event was a brilliant way to network with a lot of top London menswear designers in my hometown (with the cocktails flowing).
The designers that were showcasing their latest collections were; Katie Eary, Casely Hayford, James Long, Mr Hare, Lou Dalton, Bernstock Speirs, Lee Roach and Christopher Shannon.
Being able to chat with the designers about their collections was incredible, especially since you don’t often get chance to do so at LC:M in general due to hectic schedules but here I was able to have a gossip with many of my favourite designers including Katie Eary who created one of my favourite collections of LC:M back in June and James Long who was the first menswear designer I was able to attend a runway show of.
The event was a great atmosphere with free drinks galore (which is always a good sign) and the chance to check out some incredible pieces and a chance to chat to the menswear designers about their inspirations and such.
I really fell in love with Katie Eary’s hoodie (which I wore in my photograph with her) and Mr Hare’s metallic trainers.
The event was a brilliant opportunity to meet some of my heroes in the menswear fashion scene (and have drinks and a laugh with them in the process).
After the event at Harvey Nichols finished, we all went out for drinks and kept the party going (with many a drink swilling its way around my body).
I would love to meet up with the designers again at some point and attend their next LC:M runway collections.