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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Squatting a school to reclaim it for the community

Community led action shaming the quick-fix money making council...

Written by Grace Beaumont

With our current fixation with everything 80s and 90s, tadalafil it’s easy to see why the 60s have become a little side-tracked, a little blasé, and so ‘a few’ years ago, when the shift dress silhouette was last in vogue. But what do we know, as a common consciousness, about the 60s anyway? Twiggy was hot, the Beatles were big and sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were prevalent, right? But isn’t that a little bit one-dimensional and something we could have learnt from Austin Powers?

foale-and-tuffin-spotlightImage courtesy of Fashion & Textiles Museum

Fast forward to 2009 and to the Fashion and Textile Museum, who in their continual efforts to thrill and excite (as well as educate), are exhibiting a retrospective: Foale and Tuffin: Made in England. No doubt the aforementioned names mean very little to those unfamiliar with this great exhibition. However, this design duo was heralded as responsible for “Youthquake”, the creation of a youth movement encompassing teenagers who wanted to dress, shop and live differently from their parents.

Upon graduating from the Royal College of Art, the two designers decided, with only £200 to their names, to open a new shop aimed at a younger clientele. Following their own tastes in constructing simple shift dresses, trouser suits and biker jackets, their clothes were soon selling out. After Woollands stores started stocking their brand, Vogue’s new darling photographer David Bailey shot some of their pieces, and stardom was born, with their clothes gracing the editorials of Vogue, Queen, Honey and Nova.

IMGP1121

All photographs courtesy of Becky Cope

Despite starting out by utilising their RCA background for constructing high fashion garments in high quality fabrics, they soon began to adopt a simpler, stream-lined approach more suited to their customers. Major trademarks of the pair include their creation of trouser suits for women, their use of light lace, their peter pan collars and graphic, pop prints inspired by the art of the period. Particularly famous is their double D pocket shift dress, a reference to Double Diamond ale advertising of the time.

IMGP1111Pieces that feature all of these signature trademarks are well-represented in the exhibition, with its layout mimicking their store off London’s iconic Carnaby Street. Mannequins showcase their most popular and successful designs, such as the navy lace dress with key hole neckline and peter pan collar, as well as some of their most radical, such as “Geoff’s Jacket” inspired by their boyfriends’ clothing. Sportswear was also an early inspiration, reflected in their range of light weight, coloured jersey dresses with white piping detail. Liberty prints were also important, utilising them in their designs through to the 1970s.

IMGP1122The key to their reign of success, from 1962-1972, seems to lie in the fact that they were catering to a previously ignored market and tapping into the consciousness of the period in doing so. Indeed, Tuffin has commented for the exhibition, “We made our own clothes and we realised there was a gap. So it was very much that people would make their own clothes, people would dress themselves and style themselves with bits and pieces… and we sort of jumped in and made the bits and pieces for them.”

IMGP1110When the design duo finally hung up their measuring tape, it was only to pursue families and other personal dreams. This landmark exhibition is highly significant because it dispels the myth of a singular London youth explosion more commonly associated with Quant and Biba, and instead showcases the diversity and range of changes taking place within the decade that brought us so many freedoms.
With our current fixation with everything 80s and 90s, cheap it’s easy to see why the 60s have become a little side-tracked, viagra approved a little blasé, more about and so ‘a few’ years ago, when the shift dress silhouette was last in vogue. But what do we know, as a common consciousness, about the 60s anyway? Twiggy was hot, the Beatles were big and sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were prevalent, right? But isn’t that a little bit one-dimensional and something we could have learnt from Austin Powers?

foale-and-tuffin-spotlightImage courtesy of Fashion & Textiles Museum

Fast forward to 2009 and to the Fashion and Textile Museum, who in their continual efforts to thrill and excite (as well as educate), are exhibiting a retrospective: Foale and Tuffin: Made in England. No doubt the aforementioned names mean very little to those unfamiliar with this great exhibition. However, this design duo was heralded as responsible for “Youthquake”, the creation of a youth movement encompassing teenagers who wanted to dress, shop and live differently from their parents.

Upon graduating from the Royal College of Art, the two designers decided, with only £200 to their names, to open a new shop aimed at a younger clientele. Following their own tastes in constructing simple shift dresses, trouser suits and biker jackets, their clothes were soon selling out. After Woollands stores started stocking their brand, Vogue’s new darling photographer David Bailey shot some of their pieces, and stardom was born, with their clothes gracing the editorials of Vogue, Queen, Honey and Nova.

IMGP1121

All photographs courtesy of Becky Cope

Despite starting out by utilising their RCA background for constructing high fashion garments in high quality fabrics, they soon began to adopt a simpler, stream-lined approach more suited to their customers. Major trademarks of the pair include their creation of trouser suits for women, their use of light lace, their peter pan collars and graphic, pop prints inspired by the art of the period. Particularly famous is their double D pocket shift dress, a reference to Double Diamond ale advertising of the time.

IMGP1111Pieces that feature all of these signature trademarks are well-represented in the exhibition, with its layout mimicking their store off London’s iconic Carnaby Street. Mannequins showcase their most popular and successful designs, such as the navy lace dress with key hole neckline and peter pan collar, as well as some of their most radical, such as “Geoff’s Jacket” inspired by their boyfriends’ clothing. Sportswear was also an early inspiration, reflected in their range of light weight, coloured jersey dresses with white piping detail. Liberty prints were also important, utilising them in their designs through to the 1970s.

IMGP1122The key to their reign of success, from 1962-1972, seems to lie in the fact that they were catering to a previously ignored market and tapping into the consciousness of the period in doing so. Indeed, Tuffin has commented for the exhibition, “We made our own clothes and we realised there was a gap. So it was very much that people would make their own clothes, people would dress themselves and style themselves with bits and pieces… and we sort of jumped in and made the bits and pieces for them.”

IMGP1110When the design duo finally hung up their measuring tape, it was only to pursue families and other personal dreams. This landmark exhibition is highly significant because it dispels the myth of a singular London youth explosion more commonly associated with Quant and Biba, and instead showcases the diversity and range of changes taking place within the decade that brought us so many freedoms.
Foale and Tuffin: Made in England is showing until 24 February 2010.
A group of Squatters have taken up residency in an iconic building, ed Royal Park Primary School in Hyde Park Leeds, cure with the purpose to reclaim the derelict school for the local community and to take a stand against the possible demolition of the building in the future.

s4

Padlocking the gates to prevent police intervention and armed with colourful banners and plenty of determination the group first set up camp in an old classroom right beside the old Headmaster’s office, making sure they held the space until they could gain complete control before the building could be opened and enjoyed by the whole community.

S1

After various bids to the council from the community for the site to be handed over it was, of course, offered to private developers Rushbond PLC for the councils easy fix solution and a quick money making scheme. Thankfully the company had to pull out for financial reasons, and so after being left derilict for 5 years the school isn’t in the best condition and throughout the 30 rooms, including a large concert hall, there is a fair amount of damaged paintwork, plasterwork and flooring mainly due to the lead tiles on the roof being nicked 5 months ago letting in rain water.

But thanks to the commitment from the small group of activists that seem more intent on creating a decent community space than the council the school is now becoming a flourishing space for the local residents and students in the area.

Last week a jumble sale was held by the Royal Park Community Consortium (RPCC), the people who are currently living at the school, to raise funds to restore the building. People of all ages attended to show their support and perhaps with the hope of picking up a few bargains too.

Bright posters and children’s work still feature on the walls inside, as well as that distinct school smell which still lingers to give it an almost melancholy feel. Even tour guides were on hand to lead you around the safer and less damaged rooms and also to explain more about the potential the building actually has.

s3

The concert hall has a stage and would be an ideal venue for gigs and other performances or even as our tour guide describes as a space for children’s indoor sports and activities. There has also been talk of transforming one room into music studio.

The school is currently open to the public daily and welcomes everyone, and there are plenty of ways you can get involved in saving this incredible building. It is easy to become a member of the RPCC, simply go along to one of their frequent meetings, which are advertised on signs at the front of the school and around the area. Help is needed in restoring the building, cleaning and maintaining the rooms and playground and donating building materials. You could even uphold the buildings security and become a night watch-person on the site. To see this building tore down and replaced with a supermarket would be unjust; and hopefully with more support we could soon see the school made into a fantastic site for arts, music, sport and more, to benefit the whole of Hyde Park.

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