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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration launch party illustrations: meet Jenny Robins

Illustrator Jenny Robins excels at drawing in a live situation - here's her wonderful creations from the afternoon of the ACOFI launch party...

Written by Amelia Gregory


Illustration by Aysim Genc

Did you know that we’re all buying a third more clothing than we did a decade ago? Yep, mind you read that right. A third more in only 10 years. And are you also aware that today’s average household contributes 26 items of wearable clothing to landfill every year? Tallied up, pilule that’s well over 600,000 garments in the UK alone. Can you visualise that waste? It’s A LOT.

The appropriately-named Trash Fashion exhibition is a relatively small presentation with a big message. Be honest, you can’t remember the last time that ‘textiles’ sprang to mind when thinking of world waste and pollution. Something along the lines of ‘oil’ or ‘water’ or ‘plastic bottles’ would be up there; never the words ‘clothes’, ‘dyes’, ‘fabric’. And yet, it’s a big deal. For example, a huge 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution is down to textile dye. The truth is that the concept of waste produced by the textiles industry is dangerously underestimated. Fact.


Illustration by Ankolie

Okay, so I didn’t predict a fashion-related exhibition at the Science Museum either. And, in its allotted space, Trash Fashion did rather stick out like a sore-thumb. One also is required to walk through the entire ground floor to actually reach the exhibition, which features steam trains, outer-space and other extravaganzas along with a large population of noisy children. As it was a Saturday, immersed in engines and spaceships, I’m guessing either über-nerdy kids or über-nerdy parents. However, I just used the word ‘über’ twice in one sentence so I’m clearly the nerd here.

Moving on, I learnt shed loads about ‘designing out waste’ in the fashion industry by wandering through. For one, I learnt that an initiative, led by Central Saint Martins, is being developed. An idea that started with a small mat of cellulose being immersed in green tea in order for it to grow into usable fabric. Fabric that is literally living and breathing. It turns out rather like leather and, having a feel of the fabric myself, couldn’t believe that it came from some bacteria bathed in green tea. Weird. Anyway, it turns out that, at this early stage, the so-called ‘Bio Couture’ is way too heavy and gooey to wear and would practically disintegrate in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s a damn-good start – the product is natural, non-toxic and compostable and scientists are working on developing the idea further all the time.


Illustration by Stephanie Melodia

Another part of the exhibition that I found enthralling was a project hosted by the London College of Fashion called ‘Knit to Fit’. It puts forward the concept of ‘Mass Customisation’, something that I could definitely see materialising in the near future. It starts with an individual having a 3D Body Scan done by a special computer that reads all, and even the very intricate, measurements of the body. This information, along with personalised details such as colour and pattern, is then transmitted to a fairly new machine in the textiles world that, before one’s very eyes, produces an entirely seamless 3D garment. No off-cuts. No waste. Considering that fashion designers are known to leave a whole 15% of the fabric they work with on the cutting-room floor, these are absolutely imperative pieces of technology in the movement towards sustainable and efficient textiles of the future. The idea is that, in the not-too-distant future, the average shopper will be able to stroll into a clothing store and have a custom-made garment made there and then that is unique to us and, most importantly, will leave absolutely no waste.


Illustration by Caroline Coates

Without a doubt, the most immediately imposing feature of the exhibition was a large, flamboyant dress, made out of 1000 pieces of folded scraps of the London Metro newspaper. It stood tall at the entrance and its grandeur seduced a small crowd to gather around and take photographs.
In my opinion, however, it just isn’t enough to rip up a few copies of the London Metro, origami fold them into numerous pieces and make a dress – not to wear, but to make a statement. Not to dismiss the skill that goes into constructing such a fiddly garment, or the fact that it DOES make a pretty huge statement. It relates waste and fashion to one another, which is crucial, through something impressive and, ironically, quite beautiful. But it’s been done. I’ve seen countless garments like these, designed for that shock-factor yet completely un-wearable. It’s time to stop representing the problem and to instead turn to the solution – to science. And this, bar the newspaper dress, is where ‘Trash Fashion’ came up trumps.

So, despite being a little late-in-the-day with this one, might not be worth trekking all the way to South Kensington to see this exhibition alone. If you do, time it in with a trip to the National History Museum or the V&A, both right next door. After all, it’s free entry. You’ll just have to hurdle past the children screaming at steam engines and Apollo 10 and I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Trash Fashion: designing out waste is supported by SITA Trust as part of the No More Waste project and is free to visit at the Science Museum in London.

As part of the exhibition, there is an interactive competition whereby members of the public can submit photos of their ‘refashioned’ old garments, before and after, and could land their new design a spot in the exhibition. To upload pictures of your customised clothes go to www.flickr.com/groups/trashfashion


Illustration by Aysim Genc

Did you know that we’re all buying a third more clothing than we did a decade ago? Yep, buy you read that right. A third more in only 10 years. And are you also aware that today’s average household contributes 26 items of wearable clothing to landfill every year? Tallied up, patient that’s well over 600, buy 000 garments in the UK alone. Can you visualise that waste? It’s A LOT.

The appropriately-named Trash Fashion exhibition is a relatively small presentation with a big message. Be honest, you can’t remember the last time that ‘textiles’ sprang to mind when thinking of world waste and pollution. Something along the lines of ‘oil’ or ‘water’ or ‘plastic bottles’ would be up there; never the words ‘clothes’, ‘dyes’, ‘fabric’. And yet, it’s a big deal. For example, a huge 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution is down to textile dye. The truth is that the concept of waste produced by the textiles industry is dangerously underestimated. Fact.


Illustration by Ankolie

Okay, so I didn’t predict a fashion-related exhibition at the Science Museum either. And, in its allotted space, Trash Fashion did rather stick out like a sore-thumb. One also is required to walk through the entire ground floor to actually reach the exhibition, which features steam trains, outer-space and other extravaganzas along with a large population of noisy children. As it was a Saturday, immersed in engines and spaceships, I’m guessing either über-nerdy kids or über-nerdy parents. However, I just used the word ‘über’ twice in one sentence so I’m clearly the nerd here.


All photographs courtesy of Lois Waller/Bunnipunch

Moving on, I learnt shed loads about ‘designing out waste’ in the fashion industry by wandering through. For one, I learnt that an initiative, led by Central Saint Martins, is being developed. An idea that started with a small mat of cellulose being immersed in green tea in order for it to grow into usable fabric. Fabric that is literally living and breathing. It turns out rather like leather and, having a feel of the fabric myself, couldn’t believe that it came from some bacteria bathed in green tea. Weird. Anyway, it turns out that, at this early stage, the so-called ‘Bio Couture’ is way too heavy and gooey to wear and would practically disintegrate in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s a damn-good start – the product is natural, non-toxic and compostable and scientists are working on developing the idea further all the time.


Illustration by Stephanie Melodia

Another part of the exhibition that I found enthralling was a project hosted by the London College of Fashion called ‘Knit to Fit’. It puts forward the concept of ‘Mass Customisation’, something that I could definitely see materialising in the near future. It starts with an individual having a 3D Body Scan done by a special computer that reads all, and even the very intricate, measurements of the body. This information, along with personalised details such as colour and pattern, is then transmitted to a fairly new machine in the textiles world that, before one’s very eyes, produces an entirely seamless 3D garment. No off-cuts. No waste. Considering that fashion designers are known to leave a whole 15% of the fabric they work with on the cutting-room floor, these are absolutely imperative pieces of technology in the movement towards sustainable and efficient textiles of the future. The idea is that, in the not-too-distant future, the average shopper will be able to stroll into a clothing store and have a custom-made garment made there and then that is unique to us and, most importantly, will leave absolutely no waste.


Illustration by Caroline Coates

Without a doubt, the most immediately imposing feature of the exhibition was a large, flamboyant dress, made out of 1000 pieces of folded scraps of the London Metro newspaper. It stood tall at the entrance and its grandeur seduced a small crowd to gather around and take photographs.
In my opinion, however, it just isn’t enough to rip up a few copies of the London Metro, origami fold them into numerous pieces and make a dress – not to wear, but to make a statement. Not to dismiss the skill that goes into constructing such a fiddly garment, or the fact that it DOES make a pretty huge statement. It relates waste and fashion to one another, which is crucial, through something impressive and, ironically, quite beautiful. But it’s been done. I’ve seen countless garments like these, designed for that shock-factor yet completely un-wearable. It’s time to stop representing the problem and to instead turn to the solution – to science. And this, bar the newspaper dress, is where ‘Trash Fashion’ came up trumps.

So, despite being a little late-in-the-day with this one, might not be worth trekking all the way to South Kensington to see this exhibition alone. If you do, time it in with a trip to the National History Museum or the V&A, both right next door. After all, it’s free entry. You’ll just have to hurdle past the children screaming at steam engines and Apollo 10 and I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Trash Fashion: designing out waste is supported by SITA Trust as part of the No More Waste project and is free to visit at the Science Museum in London.

As part of the exhibition, there is an interactive competition whereby members of the public can submit photos of their ‘refashioned’ old garments, before and after, and could land their new design a spot in the exhibition. To upload pictures of your customised clothes go to www.flickr.com/groups/trashfashion


Illustration by Aysim Genc

Did you know that we’re all buying a third more clothing than we did a decade ago? Yep, information pills you read that right. A third more in only 10 years. And are you also aware that today’s average household contributes 26 items of wearable clothing to landfill every year? Tallied up, that’s well over 600,000 garments in the UK alone. Can you visualise that waste? It’s A LOT.

The appropriately-named Trash Fashion exhibition is a relatively small presentation with a big message. Be honest, you can’t remember the last time that ‘textiles’ sprang to mind when thinking of world waste and pollution. Something along the lines of ‘oil’ or ‘water’ or ‘plastic bottles’ would be up there; never the words ‘clothes’, ‘dyes’, ‘fabric’. And yet, it’s a big deal. For example, a huge 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution is down to textile dye. The truth is that the concept of waste produced by the textiles industry is dangerously underestimated. Fact.


Illustration by Ankolie

Okay, so I didn’t predict a fashion-related exhibition at the Science Museum either. And, in its allotted space, Trash Fashion did rather stick out like a sore-thumb. One also is required to walk through the entire ground floor to actually reach the exhibition, which features steam trains, outer-space and other extravaganzas along with a large population of noisy children. As it was a Saturday, immersed in engines and spaceships, I’m guessing either über-nerdy kids or über-nerdy parents. However, I just used the word ‘über’ twice in one sentence so I’m clearly the nerd here.


All photographs courtesy of Lois Waller/Bunnipunch

Moving on, I learnt shed loads about ‘designing out waste’ in the fashion industry by wandering through. For one, I learnt that an initiative, led by Central Saint Martins, is being developed. An idea that started with a small mat of cellulose being immersed in green tea in order for it to grow into usable fabric. Fabric that is literally living and breathing. It turns out rather like leather and, having a feel of the fabric myself, couldn’t believe that it came from some bacteria bathed in green tea. Weird. Anyway, it turns out that, at this early stage, the so-called ‘Bio Couture’ is way too heavy and gooey to wear and would practically disintegrate in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s a damn-good start – the product is natural, non-toxic and compostable and scientists are working on developing the idea further all the time.


Illustration by Stephanie Melodia

Another part of the exhibition that I found enthralling was a project hosted by the London College of Fashion called ‘Knit to Fit’. It puts forward the concept of ‘Mass Customisation’, something that I could definitely see materialising in the near future. It starts with an individual having a 3D Body Scan done by a special computer that reads all, and even the very intricate, measurements of the body. This information, along with personalised details such as colour and pattern, is then transmitted to a fairly new machine in the textiles world that, before one’s very eyes, produces an entirely seamless 3D garment. No off-cuts. No waste. Considering that fashion designers are known to leave a whole 15% of the fabric they work with on the cutting-room floor, these are absolutely imperative pieces of technology in the movement towards sustainable and efficient textiles of the future. The idea is that, in the not-too-distant future, the average shopper will be able to stroll into a clothing store and have a custom-made garment made there and then that is unique to us and, most importantly, will leave absolutely no waste.


Illustration by Caroline Coates

Without a doubt, the most immediately imposing feature of the exhibition was a large, flamboyant dress, made out of 1000 pieces of folded scraps of the London Metro newspaper. It stood tall at the entrance and its grandeur seduced a small crowd to gather around and take photographs.
In my opinion, however, it just isn’t enough to rip up a few copies of the London Metro, origami fold them into numerous pieces and make a dress – not to wear, but to make a statement. Not to dismiss the skill that goes into constructing such a fiddly garment, or the fact that it DOES make a pretty huge statement. It relates waste and fashion to one another, which is crucial, through something impressive and, ironically, quite beautiful. But it’s been done. I’ve seen countless garments like these, designed for that shock-factor yet completely un-wearable. It’s time to stop representing the problem and to instead turn to the solution – to science. And this, bar the newspaper dress, is where ‘Trash Fashion’ came up trumps.

So, despite being a little late-in-the-day with this one, might not be worth trekking all the way to South Kensington to see this exhibition alone. If you do, time it in with a trip to the National History Museum or the V&A, both right next door. After all, it’s free entry. You’ll just have to hurdle past the children screaming at steam engines and Apollo 10 and I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Trash Fashion: designing out waste is supported by SITA Trust as part of the No More Waste project and is free to visit at the Science Museum in London.

As part of the exhibition, there is an interactive competition whereby members of the public can submit photos of their ‘refashioned’ old garments, before and after, and could land their new design a spot in the exhibition. To upload pictures of your customised clothes go to www.flickr.com/groups/trashfashion

Eliza Newman by Jenny Lloyd
Eliza Newman by Jenny Lloyd

Eyjafjallajokull. How did you say that it your head? The impressive word refers to the glacier on top of the volcanic mountain (remember the ash cloud?) in Iceland. Understanding the perils of uninformed pronunciation, click Icelandic native Eliza Newman, health wrote a little song on how to actually pronounce the word. It featured on the Al Jazeera News channel and has since become one of Al Jazeera’s most popular news pieces ever.

Ta daa:

Eyjafjallajökull – Eliza Newman performed on Al Jazeera News
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Eliza Newman | Myspace Music Videos

But there is far more to Eliza (Geirsdóttir) Newman than chuckling at our pronunciation shortcomings. She plays violin, ukelele and piano, and is also a trained opera singer. Her song; ‘Ukelele Song for You’ was one of the most popular in Iceland in 2009. The tune is about ‘attracting trouble’, ‘broken promises’ and forgiveness. With ukelele strumming and high pitched notes, it’s lighthearted in its sound, contrasting with the seriousness of the topic. This is refreshing and conjures up thoughts for me, of Blue Valentine, and the heartbreak within the love and jovial moments. The uke can be (in a touching folky way) deep! It’s a pleasure to listen to:

Previously Eliza was the lead singer of girl group, Bellatrix and the rock band, Skandinavia. Through Bellatrix, Eliza and Co. released four albums on Björk’s Bad Taste label, signing to Fierce Panda for their fourth album release. They also headlined the Carling Stage at the Reading Festival and co-headlined a tour with Coldplay. These days Eliza is a solo artist and promotes Icelandic female artists by being part of the Trubatrix movement, which encourages gigs and album releases around Iceland.

Eliza-Newman-by-Mina-Bach

Illustration by Mina Bach

Eliza’s second album, Pie In The Sky, is out on April 4, on Lavaland Records . Watch out for my review. For now here’s a little interview with Eliza:

Could you describe your music? Its beyond words, like touching heaven with your inner ear! Or just a kind of quirky pop style sweet on top but dark underneath muhahaha!….

Do you write your own music? Yes I write all my stuff and have always done , that’s the only way to go.

What is your inspiration?
Cats.

How do you feel about having one of the most popular songs in Iceland, ‘Ukulele Song For You’?
It feels great , very unexpected and a pleasant surprise. Icelandic people have good taste in music!

You play many instruments and are a trained opera singer, when did you start playing music and singing? 
I started playing the violin at seven and studied that until I was 15 then I started a band and didn’t feel like practising violin any more. I started singing the day I started my first band. Never sung a note before then! Later I went on to study opera and I learned the piano, guitar and ukulele on the way.

Eliza Newman 1 Chloe Cook
Illustration by Chloe Cook

What’s you favourite instrument, musical style?
My favourite musical instrument is the harpsichord and the hurdy-gurdy, I really would like to get my hands on those two instruments to play! My favourite musical style is kind of pop rock indie opera classical hip hop and easy listening : )

Could you tell us about your former band, Bellatrix?
Bellatrix was my first band, we were an all girl band and started quite young, got signed and released five albums both in Iceland on Björk‘s Bad Taste Label and later with Fierce Panda in the UK. The music developed from a punk rock sound to electro pop and we did loads of cool stuff like tour the world, headline Reading and do a tour with Coldplay. Fun and games!

Eliza Newman by Avril kelly
Illustration by Avril Kelly

What were the highlights of being in the band?
Headlining the Carling stage at Reading and Leeds Festival and travelling the world.

What about Skandinavia?
Skandinavia was my venture into heavy rock! Loads of fun. I was studying opera at the time in London and wanted to do some epic rock music inspired by opera. We recorded an album and did a UK tour and it satisfied my longing to do a heavy rock album, so that box is ticked now!

How does being a solo artist differ from being in a band?
It’s very different because as a solo artist you have to take all the responsibility which is both good and bad. You have no one to blame but yourself haha! You get more freedom to do your own thing as a solo artist but in a band you get more feedback and have to compromise sometimes, both things have their advantages. Having said that, I am very much a band person and enjoy working with others, so I would not rule out joining another band at some point.

Eliza Newman 2 Chloe Cook
Illustration by Chloe Cook

And how is your own music different?
My music is more relaxed then the band stuff I did, I have calmed down quite a bit!

How is the new album in comparison to your last album, Empire Fall (Series 8 Records)?
The new album is more hopeful and has a lighter tone to it with ukuleles, synths and various fun instruments mixing it up. Empire fall was more minimalist and had a darker undertone.

eliz 2

Where do you want to go now in your career?
I would like to go to Japan and play, also keep writing and finding new interesting ways of expressing myself through music, yeah and learn the hurdy-gurdy!

END. Thank you so much Eliza. Helen x

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - laura snoad - design week - tatty devine
Laura Snoad of Design Week sporting her Tatty Devine necklace. She wrote a great write up of the party here: check it out.

Oh dear. My brilliant plans to get all ACOFI launch party blogs online by the end of last week were laid waste by a pre-booked four day trip to Cornwall. Which was just lovely in case you were wondering: so good to feel the wind in my hair on a coastal path again.

Amelia Gregory in Cornwall

Jenny Robins is the illustrator who has worked closest with Amelia’s Magazine to do live illustrations from the catwalk in the past. For this reason she was a natural choice to bring along for the tea party… and she did not disappoint, viagra dosage holding court over by the window all afternoon long and churning out an amazing amount of stunning live artwork right in front of our guests. In fact she did so many I’m going to have to run through them as quickly as possible or I’ll never get onto my next illustrator. All I’ve got to say, story is Jenny, you rock my world.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - alex cox - amelia gregory
Here I am, being interviewed, I am not sure who by!

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - alex cox - don't panic
Here’s Alex Cox of Don’t Panic.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - amisha ghadiali - take a moment
Amisha Ghadiali once again. Read her lovely write up on Elegance Rebellion here.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - amy - tantrum magazine
Amy from Tantrum Magazine – here’s her write up.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - bette davis - oh comely
Bette Davis from Oh Comely – here’s her lovely blog.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - bettina krohn - make lemonade
Bettina Krohn from Make Lemonade – I wonder, am I the Mad Hatter that she references in her write up?

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - carrie - wish wish wish copy
The super stylish Carrie of Wish Wish Wish. The launch inspired her to have a go at fashion illustration herself.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - danielle drown - poppy cleopatra
Danielle who runs a blog called Poppy Cleopatra. Read her write up here.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - ellen grace jones - the real runway
Ellen Grace Jones of The Real Runway which is a great sartorial fashion blog, and she has also contributed to Amelia’s Magazine.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - micheal - anastasia and duck
Michael Ford of Anastasia Duck. Read his blog here.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - michelle Urvall Nyren - probably naomi
Fellow illustrator Michelle Urvall Nyren at work.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - sabrina - the science of style
Sabrina of The Science of Style.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - tamara cincik
A heavily pregnant Tamara Cincik. Read her blog here.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - tatty devine - rosie and harriet
Rosie and Harriet of Tatty Devine.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - tigz rice
Tigz Rice – photographer and social media maven. Here’s her blog.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - tom and crystal - spoonfed
Tom and Crystal from Spoonfed.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium -david alphonso - noisy writing
David Alphonso of Noisy Writing.

ACOFI launch Jan 11-Jenny Robins
Jenny Robins at work.

You can follow Jenny Robins on twitter on @jennyrobins and don’t forget you can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration here, with a special 10% if you use the discount code ACOFI LAUNCH up until the 28th February 2011. Here’s Jenny talking to me via the power of Skype in her youtube interview:

YouTube Preview Image

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