uni

Class of ’14

It already feels like a lifetime ago since I left University and like many graduates out there, I face the inevitable long term adventure of job/internship hunting. As happy as I am to be 'out in the real world' I will always miss the somewhat simplicity of education. Not that I am saying that University was totally easy but it certainly has a bubble about it and provides a time for self expression that will always meet hindrance in the real world, at least if you're not made of money. A girl has got to eat.
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NIL BY SOUTH S/S ’15

 

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Here are the final series of images shot by Emma to showcase my graduate collection. What do you think ?
Images and copyright Emma Barrow (www.emma-barrow.com)
Hair by Jodie @ EnvyRWY (www.envymyhair.co.uk)
Models Jake Juster & Serg Bojorean

NIL BY SOUTH S/S ’15 Behind The Scenes

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Back in June I got the opportunity to once again work with the lovely Emma Barrow, this time she was shooting my graduate collection. My collection worked on themes of masculinity and approached the inevitable feminisation of mens fashion, the overall looks kept colours simple and looks were contrasted against each other. I thought using two models in a look book style editorial would highlight this perfectly. We chose the location to highlight the bright colours and keep the youth feel of the collection. After Jodie was done with hair we were done in a few hours. Great test shoot overall and the final images will soon follow!
Thanks to Jodie @ EnvyRWY for the hair (www.envymyhair.co.uk)

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BOUDICCA : MOVE / Exhibition @ PCA

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I’ll be honest, prior to this exhibition I had never even heard of house of Boudicca. Alas promises of free gin do not go unheard throughout a college and next thing I knew I was in the exhibition space with a rather liberal gin and tonic enjoying the alcohol… and the art.

This display shows many of their inspirations and outcomes of their most recent collection, the clothes themselves are beautiful but there is something about Boudicca that sets is apart from most collections, you can really feel the story and the drama with each outfit and also the skills and time that went into making it. It celebrates fashion away from fashion as a product and instills this idea that dressing should be stylish and personal and not necessarily fashionable for the sake of being in fashion. There is a lot of black which is standard art influence and you feel instant connection with the intricacy of the Haute Couture, I dread to think how much it all costs, but this exclusivity is not about pushing a product, it’s about embracing an idea, that mass production is essentially a load of pap –  and that is what had me sold.

 

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Menswear Editorial x Emma Barrow

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Keen to gain more experience in the styling field, I took on my first editorial shoot on Tuesday, working again with the ever talented Emma Barrow.  Sourcing garments in Plymouth is never easy but I gave it a good shot and I am sure the final results will look great, I seem to have a thing about men showing some skin and I’m glad that Emma had a similar vision (a key theme in my dissertation was men and their perceptions of their physicality)  Tracie from Envy hair salon was also on shoot to keep model Warrens hair looking top dollar, luckily men do not require make up (not that I agree that women need it). I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and hope to work with Emma again over the summer.

For more of Emmas’ work please visit http://www.emma-barrow.com

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Ken?

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Start talking about male fashion icons and names from David Gandy and David Beckham to Cary Grant often pop up in conversation. Pick up a male magazine and see how they tell you about the elegance of celebrities in their suits, a 10 page spread parading black and navy tailoring similarly to Nuts magazine parading women in lingerie. Head a bit more mainstream and you might read someone gushing about the 'edginess' of Nick Grimshaw and suggesting items from Topman. Pick up a lifestyle magazine and see how abstract shapes work with street wear creating a subtlety in 'cool' dressing, a modern alternative to to the bore of your parents.
To me, male fashion , in terms of consumer choice, seems to be a lot simpler than female fashion. With such an elaborate history in pioneering 'new' forms of dress, I feel men today are completely let down. Of course it is okay to like the classics, or to be the practical dad who wouldn't know style even if it came in a Haynes manual but generally male style seems to be well, very mechanical. Spectacular subculture has been a mans' game over the last 50 years, giving us statement styles and innovations that the fashion industry has appropriated  to give them now classic style status. Women over the last century have adopted every form of male dress and made it their own whilst men seem far too scared to identify with anything too effeminate. Of course there are some fabulous men out there, but will the hegemonic male ever be dandy again? Is it true to assume, like the carry on generation before us, that a man who dresses that little bit, different, is gay?
Where are the Kens that I dressed as a child? Countless women can identify themselves with Barbie. But who lists Ken as an idol? He was the ultimate dandy with a wardrobe the village people could only ever dream of. He has the woman of his dreams and the six pack to match. Yet Barbie, in her big and beautiful white wedding dress, would take one look at his pink plastic suit and run off with action man.
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Line Up.

Now I must admit I am a bit of a sucker for your standard six straight figures in a row with your lovely designs just floating off their shoulders, but that really isn’t me. People always tell you that when it comes to your portfolio you just need to express your true self, which in evidence seems a load of pish, most fashion design portfolios all look the bleeding same, which is weird because all of our design journeys and outcomes are unique, yet we feel we have to lay them out in a standard ‘fashion portfolio way’.  Of course I am guilty. White background, check, obscure shapes behind drawings, check. I would love to see a portfolio with out a white background or sketching over bodice photos. Maybe one day I will but I can definitely feel my work going in a certain way because it feels like it should be done that way, which completely defies the object of a creative portfolio. This ending up in there is unlikely but it’s good to see yourself progress. So here is my line up. 5 outfits to make in 6 weeks, no pressure.

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Thursday Afternoon : Totnes

 

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I can not understand how someone could visit Totnes and not make a B-line for the cat cafe. It was the first of it’s kind in the UK and I am just sad that there are not a lot more! There are six cute cats to meet there and there are also lots of other cute places in Totnes to explore of an afternoon,

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Plymouth In Fashion : Styling For St Luke’s Hospice

 

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Model : Rosie

Photographer : Dom Moore

Stylist : Jessica Vincent

Clothing Provided by St Luke’s Hospice, Ebrington St

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Model : Rosie

Photographer : Dom Moore

Stylist : Victoria Parnall

Clothing Provided by St Luke’s Hospice, Ebrington St

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Model : Rosie

Photographer : Dom Moore

Stylist : Charlotte Stocker

Clothing Provided by St Luke’s Hospice, Ebrington St

 

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Some great shots captured from the St Lukes styling shoot on Tuesday, all photos by Dom Moore.

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On Location : The Bread & Roses

 

Candles in glass bottles… forever a classic.

So today I was on shoot styling for St Lukes Hospice & The Plymouth Herald in conjunction with the ‘Plymouth in Fashion’ week in May. The shoot took place at the Bread & Roses on Ebrington St, which is the only community hub/cafe/pub and art space in Plymouth. They have not been open too long but it really is a lovely place and I hope it stays successful for a long time to come. If anything I am just sad I do not go there more!

The shoot was organised as a collaboration between those involved in fashion in Plymouth to promote, well, Fashion in Plymouth. St Lukes hospice run an amazing vintage themed charity shop on Ebrington St which provided us with our clothing for today. Jess and Vicky, also third year fashion students, styled this shoot along with myself. It was great fun planning our looks and I always forget what gems you can find when you really look in charity shops. If you haven’t been in you really need to.

On another note, I really hope something else half cultural turns up on this street, it’s right next to the art college and shopping mall but just seems to always be forgotten about. It even has a church of Scientology (who on earth belongs to this in Plymouth I would love to know….

 

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Mob wife material. Vicky Parnall styles it up with vintage glamour.

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Topshop eat your heart out. Smart and Seventies. Jess Vincent hits those trend nails bang on the head. You need to see the shoes that went with this gorgeous suede dress. Watch this space.

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A peek at the styling table, those Louis Vuitton trainers are now back on sale in St Lukes for a very good price. Sadly they are way to big for me, if only shoes were as easy to take in as clothes!

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Neon tribes. Inspired by African & Asian summer, styled by yours truly. I didn’t even realise the Bread & Roses had a green and red theme going on.

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My Iphone couldn’t handle the colours on this pastel rockabilly outfit. So here’s the version. Rosie liked this outfit so much she bought it!

All in all today was a lot of fun, can’t wait to show you the professional photos!

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Fashion In The City : Plymouth Guildhall

 

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Models Lesha & Lucy posing for a snapshot backstage

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Lesha wearing the amazing hand crafted creation by Stacie Clark www.stacieclark.blogspot.co.uk/

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Shameless plugging of my own first outfit of my collection, modelled by Serg.

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Emma looking great in Motorbike inspired womenswear by the ever talented Layla Brown www.laylafashion.tumblr.com

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Unisex design modelled by Sam and created by Rosie Andrews www.rosiekandrews.tumblr.com 

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More questions on the relevance of gender with amazing design by Jessica Vincent www.jdvmensweardesign.wordpress.com/

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Outfits created by ED fashion students at Plymouth College of Art

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Bayleigh wearing a beautiful bridal inspired creation by the talented Amy Lethbridge www.twitter.com/Amylethbridge1

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From L-R Designs by the amazing Ali Gabriel www.twitter.com/AliGabriel333

Stefani Nurding www.stefaninurding.com ,

Chloe Hayfield www.chloehayfield.tumblr.com ,

Brittany Abi-Nader www.facebook.com/AbiNaderApparelfashion ,

Kinga Aradi www.twitter.com/KingaAradi

& Victoria Illyssa Parnall http://victoria-illyssa.tumblr.com/

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Our stand from the event!

photos by Fatima Khan

Firstly big thanks to everyone who made the day possible! It was lots of organising on my part but you can never achieve anything without the help of others! We did not raise as much as hoped on the stand so I might need to brush up on my VM skills however we now have more in the kitty of our HE fund than before and every little helps, the show was good fun and I hope everyone enjoyed it, we are now very excited for our graduate show in May. Tickets are on sale from Plymouth College of Art so if you can it will definitely be worth your time! The outfits that had been on display for this event consisted of the first look from the graduate collections and also a micro collection of garments from the FE/ED Students at the college.

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Sustainable Swing [Tags]

 

As a third year fashion student you are expected to brand and create a six piece collection that is on par with brands that have been established for quite some time whilst trying to be innovative, aware of your eco footprint and cost effective to the fact that you are ultimately a student living on noodles. To do things well you do have to be a bit crafty, the cost of a fashion degree is insane, especially if you have a perfectionist streak that constantly warns you away from the cheap fabrics (sometimes they work, more often they don’t). One of my major bug-a-boos with branding came with care labels, if you are mass producing a line of 500 pairs of trousers, care labels are pretty easy to come by. If you are creating 17 different garments then you don’t have much leg room in terms of creating individual ones. Of course there are crafty ways you can create them yourself (Test strip of mimaki anyone?) but to be honest I just wanted someone else to do it for me. In the end I left the fibre content off of my care labels and I am secretly praying that my garments are indeed safe to be handwashed…

But every cloud has it’s silver lining and whilst my OCD struggles to come to terms with generic care labels, I realised that creating branding for a small collection can have it’s advantages. I have collected swing tags long before I started uni and I am always impressed by a flashy one (Sad maybe, but you definitely think it too), Coco De Coeur even issued sweets with theirs! So I had to be a bit flashy, if I do not need to mass print 500 labels on card then I wont, in fact I liked my idea so much that even on a large scale I think I would put in the pennies for these.

Mix tapes. Maybe a bit hipster but I actually don’t mind hipsters (Over the age of 20 anyway). They were surprisingly harder than at first thought to find, as I scouted every charity shop in Plymouth to no avail, luckily if you’re after something old or strange little Camden will always oblige. Anyway I love a good mix tape and would be very impressed if I bought a jumper with this attached, what do you think? I’m planning on recording some mixes on these so will have to have a good ear orgy on soundcloud to scout for some artists I would like to promote and for those who can’t bear the thought of analogue, maybe I will provide a digital link too.

Music and Fashion… Let’s keep it alive. Bye bye boring swing tags…

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On Location : Buckland Abbey

 

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On Tuesday I was lucky enough to be involved with PCA’s BA Fashion lookbook shoot, we were not allowed to publish photos of the models from the day so you will have to watch this space! The location was amazing and shots were taken inside this barn as well as outside, if you live in Devon I would say it is well worth a visit, such a beautiful place!

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Julien MacDonald : Backstage @ LFW

 

 

Well this post is a bit overdue… but still relevant. You know you’re a busy bee when you don’t even post about the most interesting stuff going on! Despite being 200 miles away, a few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to do some dressing for JM at his LFW show at the beautiful royal courts of justice. Naturally I was there to work and was not permitted to take photos however there were so many photographers backstage that I’ve stolen a few photos to give you an idea of the experience. It was very organized and you could tell how hard the staff and interns had been working prior to the show. Julian was backstage most of the evening and was as fabulous as ever, they also had the poshest sandwiches and the biggest collection of vita coca I have ever seen. Will definitely take some tips when organizing the PCA show this year, though I must say the difference in budget is a little different to say the least!

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Beautiful dresses, organized boards and rails… what is not to love for an OCD Fashion freak like me?

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Images courtesy of fashionising.com

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I helped these lovely ladies into their dresses and at roughly £25000 a pop, no pressure on handling it safely! They were heavy but looked amazing, maybe not for a night down Revs though…

 

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PCA Fashion Show : Support us via Kickstarter

Anyone who studies fashion will know how expensive it is! Our class is fundraising among many different avenues to make this possible, naturally many event you will be unable to attend but you can still help! Please check out our video on Kickstarter and donate even if it is only £1!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/478902259/plymouth-college-of-art-graduate-fashion-show-2014

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Fabric Shopping : London Baby

 

A bit of marketing genius from Walthamstow market…

Those of you who are fellow janners with a penchant for fashion design will know, that Plymouth is rubbish for fabric ! There is a trusty stall in the market that will supply you with every shade of hideous polyester lining, unlimited netting to make those dreaded hen night ra ra skirts, knock off liberty cotton poplin and some would be amazing neon faux fur if it was just that little bit more better quality. There is a haberdashery in town which has a few gems depending when you go in and a shop on the Barbican that has a few nice but very limited fabric. Dunelm mill will sort you out for Curtains and there is a trade shop in Faraday mill in which I have never been. I imagine this lack of fabric resource to be for the fact that a) the whole market is narrow as no-one really makes clothes anymore and b) if you come to Plymouth you would understand.

That said, the whole fashion department are advised to take regular trips to London, not that I mind, I love London! I only found a few of these places through reading blogs so it makes sense for me to share my favourite haunts with you !

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Walthamstow Market (Walthamstow Central)

I was sceptical when I first heard about how cheap this place is as I do not really associate as London being cheap anywhere however I was pleasantly surprised! Shops selling fabric from 50p a meter and lots of different stock in each shop. It wasn’t really relevant to what I needed in regards to my final collection but will most definitely be going here again for myself. Great for velvets, cottons and jerseys. Also lots of haberdashery and trimmings! Found some really lovely things. Would definitely recommend, although i think it’s good to mention that apparently it is a lot better on a saturday when all traders are on the market, I went on a thursday.

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Dalston (Dalston Kingsland)

From the Dalston mill fabrics website, I was expecting some mass style shop so was very confused after I had bartered my way through the street market to this tiny little shop front. do not let looks deceive you, this shop is massive and has a whole host of different fabrics at all reasonable prices and good quality, I bought some nice navy suiting and waterproofing, would definitely go again.

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Goldhawk road (Goldhawk rd, Shepherds Bush Market, Shepherds Bush)

I read online that there are plans to knock down this whole area, I certainly hope not, there are LOADS of fabric shops along this strip so it seems silly to go fabric shopping without visiting here. You can find pretty much anything and there is generally a good variation. I need to go back on saturday and hopefully find some nice charmeuse! Reasonably priced but all of the shops slightly vary. There are also a few fabric stalls in shepherds bush market which is midway through the street and again reasonably priced.

 

 

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Berwick St, Soho (Oxford Circus, Picadilly Circus)

This street has a few lovely shops but cloth house is definitely my favourite, lots of nice fabric you don’t really find anywhere else and student discount when you spend over £10! What is not to like? Its very pretty inside. Also check out so high so ho next door, there is nothing in regards to fabric but what a great shop !

Where are your favourite fabric sources?

 

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Happy New Year !

 

So it is now January 3rd – Hangovers are dwindled, sale rails empty, public transport resumed and I’m slowly starting to know what day of the week it is again, safe to say the new year has began ! (Unless your Chinese). I know there a lot of neigh sayers online hating on the “New year, new me” spirit that seems to spread via Facebook and Twitter at this time of year, but they can keep their opinion I say! Of course you do not need to wait for New Year to change things about your life or about yourself, however it is a natural milestone in my eyes and therefore a great time for reflection on the year just passed, 2013 had many a good time and many lessons learned! But out of every teeny bit of useful and nonsensical information my brain absorbed last year… I guess the biggest lesson I learned was that if you don’t learn from your lessons they will come around again… essentially, you can’t ignore your demons, you must fight them, if you ever plan to be a better version of yourself. You can’t cheat your Universe… it knows…

2014 is going to be a hard year, but for the right reasons…In 6 months time I’m going to have a bound dissertation in hand looking at a 6 outfit collection with a (hopeful first – realistic 2:1) BA under my belt, what will I blog about then? The perils of a graduate fashion student on the hunt for that little thing called a job?… Most likely. Like many graduating fashionistas, I plan to move to the big L in the summer, a massive feat in its own right, and I do worry about money, I mean it can’t keep you happy but sometimes you just need a few quid to keep you going – any student of fashion knows how expensive our course is, what they don’t tell you is that it is so much worse when you leave! So I think some proper scrimping is in order this year! I’ve just bought a new laptop so here’s to hoping I can afford the internet in 6 months time… I’ve just finished Christmas temping at Topshop which has paid for said laptop, 100ml Juicy Couture LA LA and my Christmas shopping, my next student loan has been budgeted for fabric and my BK wages pay my rent and tide me along with the odd takeaway and night out… Maybe my resolution should be to start playing lotto every week?

Iris Van Herpen : Art Meets Fashion

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Last Thursday I was lucky enough to visit the Iris Van Herpen exhibition at the Calais lace museum in France. Iris’ vision and use of textiles is most certainly innovative – creating pieces that have to be seen IRL to be able to truly appreciate them. She takes inspiration from the magnification of things that cannot be seen with the naked eye and also the translation of emotions.

One of my favourite collections features dresses made from the inners of broken umbrellas to create a strong structure yet seemingly moving garments. Another dress uses flexi-glass to create the illusion of the wearer having water splashing around them.

I look forward to seeing her future collections and as a designer she remains an inspiration to anyone who favours a different view for the use of materials for garment construction.

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New Palace Theatre : RIP Dance Academy

 

 

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For those of you that share my Janner roots, you will know all about the ‘beautiful eyesore’ on Union St, last known as ‘Dance Academy’ until an infamous raid ensured it’s closing in 2006, yet formally known as the ‘New Palace Theatre’ which was built in 1898. The building has been derelict since it’s closure as it’s future has been uncertain, there are currently people renovating the building to a safe standing (grade II listed, so no chance of a tear down luckily) and I was lucky enough to have a look around inside (Urbex is another great interest of mine aside from fashion). It’s quite haunting to walk around such an old and beautiful space and also sad to see it’s decline, albeit amusing to still see full bottles of reef left around. This was a spontaneous visit so please excuse the 4S photography.  If you are interested in seeing some professional photos there are many urbex forums out there.