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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Bamboo bras to hemp pants

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Two years after releasing his debut album, adiposity side effects Jeremy Warmsley is back with this cheeky taster of what’s yet to come. It’s not as if we need any more of these quirky male singers but this half English, half French philosopher chances his luck with help from his poetical lyrics and sweet melodies.

‘The Boat Song’ sees Warmsley dueting with Emmy the Great on a tale of the love sick and the sea sick. The trouble with this little folksy number is that it sounds old before it’s time. It’s one thing taking a ‘traditional’ approach to song craftsmanship and another sounding like your middle-aged parents around the piano at a family get together.

Much more agreeable is the cover of New Order’s Temptation, turning their synth sound on its head with this heartfelt, paired down piano version. Maybe I’m just biased due to a pretty big crush on Joy Division and, like the lyrics say, I really do have grey eyes, but Warmsley has definitely made this his own without straying too far from the original.
This stopgap single is not to be included on his forthcoming album followers should be clamoring to get hold of this little taster.

Ozard, medical Mr TTT, troche Bubblegrump, look Choco and Naked Malfi are just a few of the adorable little creatures you can find on the recently devised online design boutique Nora Does. Born all over the globe from Japan to America, these limited edition little gems are made by independent designers and artists from Sarah Ray to Friends With You.

Paper toys, quirky USB’s and charming badges are just a few of the potential additions to your humble abode and wardrobe. And, for all you talented arty ones out there, Nora Does welcome submissions of your own work to sell online.

Well worth a gander.

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A space age set greets you upon walking into the exhibition room at LCF, abortion instead of the normal display of graduate’s work, there is a wall of postcards and 7 giant softly lit light boxes. It transpires that the postcard of your choosing should be placed on the light boxes for you to interactively view the portfolio of your chosen graduate. In this way, LCF aims to give as many graduates the chance to be seen. Although a clever idea, we found several postcards that looked promising but revealed less impressive portfolios. Likewise, there were probably postcards we didn’t pick up on the glance of the inviting image and could have missed out on discovering the future of fashion.

Hidden in the mountain of postcards we did find one or two gems. In the Design/Clothing section Jourdan Caroline Hammond’s postcard stood out for its eye-catching structured surrealism and her portfolio revealed more delights. Her fascination lies in the ghoulish rather than the girlish, as pieces used graphic lines and stark, minimal colour whilst models faces were morbidly replaced by deer heads. Junko Masuda’s take on fruit, made 5 a day exceptionally easy to digest, with a juicy cherry bag calling card which when placed on the glass uncovered more fruity offerings.

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A favourite in the Design/Textiles was Samantha Whittle’s tent dress with woodland animal prints topped with chiffon icing. Layered collars and cute buttons added a child-like quality resulting in wearable dresses rather than fantastical creations. Similarly, Shoko Ishikawa’s pleated folds and subtle whale prints, resulted in a killer take on origami. Delicately feminine blouses stayed on the right side of librarian prim and were enticing without flashing any flesh.

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Design/Footwear provided a playground for the designer’s imaginations to run away. Tengiz Chketiani’s macabre marriage of taxidermy and footwear would have Bjork at the top of the waiting list. Admittedly the shoes would be tricky to run for the bus in, with doves in flight and wild roses upon your feet, but they would make an amazing collectors piece. Sae Rom Jun seemed to take inspiration from a night at the pub. Reclaimed materials were used to create shoes topped with curls from Fosters cans and heeled with cone shaped wood, resulting in an extremely wearable design.

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Often playing second fiddle to Womenswear, we pulled out a few new talents in the field of Menswear category. Tae-Hyoung Kim inventively draped and flowed oversized cardigans and vests paired with knee length shorts. These grown-up schoolboys looked remarkably chic in their simple knit shapes and bowler hats. Shouting a little louder than the rest Robin Murray Switzman’s zig-zag prints wouldn’t look out of place within the pages of a comic. The ‘Biff, Bang, Wallop’ clothes translate into fun and fresh pieces in the usually sober world of menswear.

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Image-making presents some of the most visually arresting postcards and had our greedy mitts grabbing for handfuls. Showcasing all the fun of the fair, Jooyoung Lee’s self styled photographs bring colour to the familiar grimy streets of East London. Party hats and paper shapes entice the viewer into a make believe world of colourful escapism. Away from the streets and into an ethereal woodland wonderland, Luke Christopher Castillo turned ballerinas into butterflies. The elusive creatures, with fleshy toned clothes and candy floss hair look like they could easily flutter away. Blink and you’ll miss them.

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The Looking Glass reflects many talented individuals who have unfortunately been stifled by all the fancy technology. Rather than a platform for student’s work, it felt like a trade show, where every designer was just a commodity. Whilst forward thinking, the idea seems detrimental in not seeing the physically finished product.
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I was under the impression that music was supposed to warrant feelings. Be it loathing or loving. In the former, generic making you curse the day you ever heard that loathsome band’s name – and the latter compelling you to get excited and dance around like an escapee of an asylum, or whatever it is you do to express your excitement. I’ll concede that most albums lie in the less extreme, liking or disliking being the general sentiment. With a small space being reserved for ambivalence, which is where Picturebox comes in, playing their self proclaimed blend of lo-fi pop. However lo-fi, surely their debut album ‘Beans & Bones’ was not supposed to feel like a session band playing in the pub. An above average session band, but still, the over-all sense is of inoffensive background music.

There is nothing wrong with this blend of bluesy tinged garage and melodic pop; but it’s music that just doesn’t go anywhere. They play their instruments well – melodies are nicely arranged, lyrics are well written – but none of these elements approach noteworthy significance, as songs seem to just plod along. Occasionally mediocrity gives way to moments of promise. Not quite the warm fuzzy feeling, but close. Songs like ‘Jennifer’s Brother’ and ‘Beans and Bones’ stick in your head a little bit more, with sliding guitars which definatley work well, even if they become ever so slightly repetitive. ‘England has Perverted Me’ is nicely melodic, but in places slips into boring territory, and I could imagine ‘The Accuser’ being used on a BBC 3 drama series.

Inoffensive middle of the road music serves its time and place. For me, badly sung along to while on a car journey, whilst taking breaks from eye spy. Many bands have made successful careers out of peddling inoffensive offerings, but there is usually a certain je ne sais quoi accompanying it, which elevates these sing-a-long bands to something infinitely more appealing.

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Fashion and photography are a match made in creative heaven .Their relationship has delivered a catalogue of iconic images over the years, visit capturing the designer’s masterpieces and voicing the mood and style of the era.

This summer Kingston College are showcasing work from their National Diploma in Fashion and Clothing and HNC Photography courses. The show enables us to see the garments up close and personal next to its photography equivalent.

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Although close in proximity to my home, price this was my first visit to Penny School Gallery. Upon opening the small gate at the entrance I immediately heard the hum of numerous voices in conversation, help alongside the slop of apples falling into glasses. After being greeted by a smiling student with a wonderful choice of Pimms, wine and juices, I started to scour the room. A camera at the far side filmed the large crowd of attendees as if we ourselves were part of a catwalk show of our own. It was amusing to watch people as they bashfully ducked or caught secret sneak peaks at themselves on the screen!

In the main area I was pleased to have the opportunity to look through the student’s sketchbooks. I recall at art school being enthralled by them, often finding them an arena where you see the artist/designer’s imaginations and thought-processes in a beautifully refreshing and honest way. Seeing how the ideas develop and how they are noted down through scribbles, sketches and tear- outs was truly fascinating.

After several minutes spent contemplating in a world of my own, my thoughts were distracted by a beacon of orange to my right, forcing me to whirl around and face Michelle Liu’s New Genre hooded dress coat. Putting my prejudices towards the famously difficult-to-wear colour aside, I have to say I was impressed with how the garment looked on the runway film playing next to it.

Another piece which caught my attention was Anna Melkova’s hooded dress with its luxurious pink quilted lining against an embroidered black outer. Becky Hensman and Sarah Glover’s designs, although muted and predominately monochrome, both captured popular trends. Their use of PVC and silk created a sort of sexy work- wear appeal.

In terms of wear-ability and personal taste if Id had a larger bag I would have whisked Kelly Hyland’s dress away (joking of course!). Its feminine tie straps and hand printed designs soaked in gloriously fresh and summery hues, would team perfectly with a pair of my gladiator sandals at home.

The New Underground section saw Zaina Ahmed, Alex Gibson and Jennifer Withnall take inspiration from the S/S 08 collections with hemlines rising to an alarming height. Like Luella and Mui Mui the dresses combined cute and sexy – a great look for the young fashion savvy.

All the students showed some promise whether it is was through great craftsmanship, their ability to tap into trends or classic styles, innovative ideas, capturing a mood or idea through image or enhancing the appeal of the designs. It will be exciting to see how they progress over the next few important years, and who knows, they may someday be able to hold the flag for British fashion.

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Being in Exeter for a few days, mind I decided to take a slice of Devonian arty goodness in the form of Axel Antas‘ exhibition at Spacex Gallery. Originally from Finland, Axel Antas is the latest artist to be influenced by his natural environment, which is so distinctive of South West art.
On first walking in, there was a room with a delicate pencil sketching of woodlands. The faint markings lead you to believe there may be fog in the way, leaving a ghostly feel.

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Passing into another room, there is a series of photographs taken in the Catalan Pyrenees. Bird boxes placed in natural landscapes apparently ‘represents man’s failed attempt to converge with the landscape.’ There is a bare loneliness to the photos and the bird boxes add a surprising addition to the otherwise untouched landscape. It as if man’s hopes to engage with nature by building bird boxes has failed as it is gaping apparent they are not meant to be there. All the results are oddly discomforting, with the man made boxes looking frail and sad.

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‘Intervention’, a series of photos taken of park landscapes with an added fake mist, enhances the otherworldly melancholy world he is so preoccupied with. He explains the fake mist as his attempt at ‘mimicking nature and momentarily changing the landscape.’ With a film screening of a picturesque park in spring, with hardly anything happening, you feel as if you are sat at a park bench in a private reverie, contemplating the peaceful view in front of you. Similarly around the corner is another larger screening of a foggy area where the screen gradually becomes clear to reveal woodlands.

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I left the Spacex Gallery at odds with what I had just seen. There is a simplicity to his work and a lingering loneliness that hangs like the mists he artificially introduces to his works. Added to this, the deadening lack of noise in the gallery is palpable which only leaves you feeling isolated, which is surprising since the exhibition space is tiny. The pieces work well together and it is as if the mists spread it’s silent tentacles into your consciousness without you knowing it! Not exactly an upbeat way to spend your afternoon, but definitely worth a peek for those wanting to engage with hauntingly romantic and poetically beautiful pieces.

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Infectious as German measles and channelling Orange Juice, medications Wave Machines slice of pop pie is destined to have you running to the shops to buy it.

With a jingle as catchy as ‘Smelly Cat’, Wave Machines walk the tightrope of cheese, but balance it out with a synth-bass heavy and loopy keyboard melody. Twangy guitars, an inane chorus and cowbells also feature to make this as good as ice-cream.

Wave Machines have been called Liverpool’s third best new band, and judging by this piece of rhythmic joy they will be ousting the un-named bands from the top spots. A big claim, some might say, but Wave Machines have set sail and it’s definitely full speed ahead. Plus, if The Zutons are included it shouldn’t be too difficult.

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I was so confused about this band to begin with. First of all by their name, sildenafil but let’s not get into that because who can really say what makes a good or bad band name; and then secondly by the fact they’re from France, but they sound so American. More American in fact than the sound of a severely obese man’s gut rumbling with pangs of hunger because he’s only on his 15th corn dog of the day. Put it this way, they sing about Jack Nicholson, in a style that’s somewhere between The Beach Boys and Johnny Cash and one of them is called Alex Banjo. How much more American can you get?

All this however is best ignored, as there is a lot of substance beyond all this baffling geography. Primarily in the fact that it meets one of the most important criteria for a good album – you can happily listen to it from beginning to end.

Individually tracks like ‘See The Future’, ‘Jack Nicholson style’ and ‘Time Bomb’ stand alone as really great songs, perhaps because they’re more buoyant than the rest of the album. That’s not to say the more sultry songs aren’t any good, they make the album well balanced – like the best of movies you’re taken from the lowest lows to the highest highs with very little time spent in between.

I love the style of this band. They seem to rip off so many people you can’t work out exactly who they’re trying to emulate. So in conclusion, I’ve decided it’s best not to think too hard about it, and just enjoy it for the fact that it gets my feet a tappin’.

The Brick Lane Gallery opened their space up to street artists (accepting submissions via email) a while back, dosage resulting in the first ‘Free For Wall!’ exhibition last month. David Le Fleming, more about Gemma Compton and Sunil Pawar were amongst the raw talent showcased in the last exhibition, but the gallery must have been in-undated with creatives hopefuls because yesterday saw the sequel of ‘Free For Wall!’ with the aptly titled ‘Free For Wall! part 2′. This time around we were promised ‘a strong selection of artists’ which would include ‘very new faces from all over the world’, so I was really looking forward to the private view.

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Entering the gallery a huge Max Wiedemann canvas immediately grabbed my attention. With dripping bright colours sending up the glossy magazine lifestyle, it was a knock out start to the exhibition.

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After such a vibrant impact on the senses, it was great to discover more intricate works were on display too. Having a soft spot for collage I was really taken with Brazillian creative, and sometime tattoo artist, Rodrigo Souto‘s cut and paste series. The sacred and the sensual were naughtily combined, along with stamps and postcards that lent a nostalgic feel.

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Ben Lawson‘s intricate, almost scientific, beetle drawings and Jenism’s detailed tarot illustrations were also worthy of note for their delicate aesthetics.

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In the not so delicate category came the work of Agent Provocateur, an artist from the stencil and spray can school of graffiti. With an image of a transvestite Prince Charles on the loo (entitled Royal Flush), I’m sure Agent Provocateur raised a few eyebrows and evoked a few chuckles. However, after seeing many a Banksy inspired stencil around Shoreditch, it’s a ‘satirical’ humour that I am personally becoming a bit tired of.

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It’s always interesting to see how galleries go about showcasing street art, since graffiti is such an urban creature and can be difficult to contain. The Brick Lane Gallery had an interesting way to deal with this challenge however, mixing pieces sprayed directly onto found objects with others classically contained within gold frames. The unusual relationship between street-art and high-art was not lost on printmaker Since, whose playful images of famous artists brandishing spray cans captured the juxtaposition beautifully.

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Well established artist Part2ism (was the exhibition partly named in honour of him?!) was given pride of place with his immense, glistening jigsaw piece dominating a whole wall of the gallery.

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Last, but most definately not least, Carlos Zuniga’s work held my attention before I left the show. From afar this set of illustrations hadn’t looked like much but, on closer inspection, they proved to be some of the deepest and most rewarding images on display. Working with a telephone directory, Zuniga had carefully crossed out names and numbers until features of faces had come into view. It’s not until you look at Zuniga’s website, however (and see that this project is comprised of other works made up of hundreds of local directory pages), that you realise the enormity of what this artist has achieved. Mind boggling!

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The Brick Lane Gallery will be welcoming visitors to live spray painting performances from some of the exhibiting artists on Sunday the 13th. So go, enjoy the exhibition, and then be inspired by seeing how it’s done! Roll on ‘Free for Wall! part 3′!

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Photo: Kenda Benward

Simone White appears frail and attentive, more about eyes wide and thoughtful, generic looking upwards for most of our interview, try as if searching for answers in the empty space above her. She is expressive and reflective, approachable and natural.

When she sings her voice is sharp yet woollen; shrouded in a hollow blouse of silkiness that echoes as it leaves her mouth. She found her ‘true voice’ in New York, after “a really big break up of a marriage. I went through a lot of heartache. It transformed me in a way. I was singing songs I had sung before but that I had cloaked lyrically in a prose style, or that were very literary, carried over from the books I read in my teenage years. I remember singing a song, and thinking: “I’m saying all these metaphors, but what am I really saying?” And [after that] I felt like I was getting to the heart of it, and I stopped being afraid to sing beautifully. All these things I had done stylistically before, through all these fears and insecurities, were just burying my self. Now, this is how it comes out naturally.”

She is currently working on material for a follow-up to ‘I Am The Man’, and will start work recording it in September. ‘I Am The Man’ was released in June last year and was produced by Lambchop’s Mark Nevers – who chose to record it in his house in Nashville.

Simone’s real break, financially more than anything, has been the use of ‘The Beep Beep Song’ for the Audi R8 TV advert, a track composed on little more than a whim and a coincidence: “I was saying goodbye to this guy that I thought I was in love with, but I sort of knew that I wasn’t. These two cars outside said to the other, they beeped in perfect time back and forth: “beep”, “beep”, like the beginning notes of the song. And I said “Hey! Did you hear that?!” I said “I’m going to write a song about that” and he said “I’m going to as well”. But he never did, and that very day I sat down and wrote it. Sometimes they just come up fully formed – breaking forth like Athena.”

In response to those who accuse her of selling out Simone admits that although she’s an environmentalist she does drive a car, which meant that “with the Audi I think I would’ve really been in a bind if it had been a Hummer. I’ve been offered several other ads, for things that I really don’t believe in and I turned them down. It’s not really a black and white situation” although she says that “my younger self might be more angry about it. But my younger self also totally separated art from money. I worked in restaurants and was a caterer. I didn’t value myself as an artist so I couldn’t ask for money for my art. Two years ago, I decided I was going to make money from what I love to do, and I love to make music, and I wanna be able to support myself on that”

She does however, feel frustrated by negative comments over the ad, since “there’s really no way for musicians to make money anymore…now, when it gets patchy earning money from touring, I fill in with the Audi money.”

This younger Simone described herself as a self-appointed “pauvre artiste”: steady in the belief that art cannot remain pure whilst having or needing a monetary value, that the involvement of money corrupts or devalues art in some way. But she also states that for the whole period she was growing up her father made money without compromising his work: “I should’ve looked at my dad as a really good example; he’s been an artist for thirty or forty years, supporting himself and his family on it. But somehow I didn’t see it even though it was standing right in front of me”

Simone’s mother and grandmother were also performers, “My mum’s on the cover [of the album] with the leopard. They had an act, a burlesque sort of thing. My grandmother had different songs and outfits, she’d sing in different languages. My mum did stuff with her, and then she became a folk singer in her own right, doing folk singing back in the 60s. My mum sang constantly around the house, and I think I thought that vocalising was just a really normal thing.”

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Because of the nature of her family’s professions, Simone led a nomadic childhood, constantly moving from place to place, but for the moment is content in Venice Beach with her boyfriend. “I’ve moved so much and I’ve made my home everywhere, that I just consider wherever I am to be my home. There’s a line in the song ‘I Am The Man’ that says “home is the house you build with your bones.”

Throughout our interview Simone also talks of photography, painting and writing. But with all these creative outlets and mediums, how did she settle on playing a guitar? She replies “I haven’t settled. I still feel like I’m an artist in other ways, it’s just that this is what I’m focusing on. I’ve never really thought of anything I did as exclusive to the others. They all feel like a part of who I am as a creative person.”
I’m bloody glad I’m done with Fashion College. You get strangely used to all the nonsense; convoluted phrases and overused parodying et al. My personal highlight (NB. Sarcasm) was being constantly bombarded with the “cool is obsolete, doctor Nicooolaaaa” card. Yeah, help and I’m sure that’s why you’ve decided to wear a banana on your head today, find not to be ‘individual’ at all, but to blend decidedly into that magnolia wall over there. Hmm.

But please don’t get me wrong I totally loved it, most of the time. It was London, yes! London; or my boyfriend as I like to call him who provided me with my blanket of reassurance and love, the hearty meals (or possibly pasta ‘n’ sauce) my mum would miss making me, and the overwhelming inspiration. One quick pyjama run to the off-licence would never be enough, no matter how hungover/Hollyoaks bound, I’ve always been personally obliged to trawl our cities corners to experience as much as is humanly possible. Underwater art movements, secret cinemas, or even just plain Hamley’s I’d be there lurking in the corner notepad in hand. There is certainly something special that London can offer us, and it’s this all-consuming passion that bleeds into the lives of hundreds of the cities art students making their way through the trials of what can so often be defining years.

So I am back. Back to see what all the other ‘fashioners’ have been getting up too for the last three years in the form of the London College of Fashion Graduate Exhibition. And it is quite clear London may have touched quite a few of the other kids as well. There is a distinct energy, overt futurism in its display and conduct, and a cool sense of deep misunderstanding. I’m a bit nervous and jerky; it’s all a bit too clean and sensible. The three years I spent here were chaotic, pressured and the word unorganised doesn’t even cut it. Here I am confronted with a slick electronic system to view individuals work via unique image-chip cards that when placed on what looks like a huge light box, show more of the individual’s selected imagery. It’s clever, certainly innovative, and I come around to being a bit proud actually. With the wheel of imagery gleaming brightly in front of you, you gently turn the card to rotate the wheel and in turn view another image. Of course, this all goes completely tits up, I get all huffy because I can’t do it and my friend takes delight in telling me to “treat it like a baby’s bottom.” Pretty much describing my whole experience at LCF (the messing it up bit, not anything to do with baby’s bums probably).

But they don’t fool me. As soon as I stare intently into each chip card, I no longer see the dull mechanics of how we see an image on a light box but what it can really reveal. Sure, I don’t know these people, or what exactly they are trying to represent, but they sure as hell mean something to someone. After all there is a limit to how much this small token can hold, and what I see before me is purely what that person has selected. It’s no big retrospective, just a snippet; and I make a nice large judgement. The Image Making section is my personal favourite. There are some peculiar images, bunny head costume/whip/sadomasochistic attire (Grete Laus, fashion Styling and Photography) alongside some mesmerising sketches, namely etched female face suffering at the hands of a vigorous paintbrush (Beatrice Boyle, Fashion Illustration). Design/Clothing holds pretty much the crutch of the exhibition, taking up two thirds of shelf space. But rightly so, from the robot-esque delirium under a metallic world vibe (Jourdan Hammond, Fashion Design and Marketing) to concept – Lego (Hoon Chung, Product Design and Development) there’s a bit of a mix (designer) bag. And then I come across names of the people I have spent three years of my life battling with and against; the promotion section. Personalities seem to scramble for freedom and I find myself intrigued and excited to see how the ‘others’ shape up. Judgement: pretty impressed. I for one can vouch for how much we busted our backsides. Hard labours evolved into a smart little package thrust onto a sensitive manoeuvring system (no, I have not got the hang of it yet) which makes me feel all grown up, and proud again.

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But then it all comes flooding back. After closer inspection I can see a mish mash of our work on display. Black and white portfolio copies, scattered magazines and final project PR campaigns recklessly abandoned; forgotten to display with care or acknowledgement. And then I hear a girl explaining her work to an admiring public (or mum): “It’s just that cool is soooo obsolete.” So I’ll break it down for you: It’s a fashion exhibition of graduate work in London. Go.

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Keeping our ears to the green ground as ever, more about we stumbled upon LMB, the south-east London based textile recycling company. Keen to save us from our foolish annual million tone textile throw away, LMB gather our dated fashion disasters and distribute them to developing third world countries.

Of particular interest to our peepers while having a snoop online was their work with London based fashion students and designers. From knitwear to hankies, those skilled eco aware fashion people are sourcing LMB to gather recycled materials for their varied creations.

Inspired by all things bohemian, Hackney based Nicole Frobusch of Nixie Clothing evokes an air of seventies craft employing sustainable and vintage fabrics for our groovy youngsters.

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Recent fashion graduate Gemma Leakey also keeps a keen eye on LMB’s fabric mountain, stashing hankies to create charming dresses as displayed at Selfridges.

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From bamboo bras to hemp pants mastermind and founder of Eco-Boudoir Jenny White, the planet friendly, luxury clothing and home-ware brand has sourced LMB for her extravagant cotton cushion designs.

Knitwear is not alone either. Central St Martins graduate Davina Hawthorne fetches the wooly treasures, constructing muddled layered jumpers made to measure at her London studio or viewed on the delightful Natural Store. Even those cringe worthy christmas jumpers our nan knitted are gathered by Vamp, the design, event and party planners and are snipped and whipped into jolly cushions the time of good will.

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Speaking of good will, we are very excited to hear that LMB will be opening a store to sell second hand clothing and textiles in Brick Lane next year.

Let us know your thoughts and we’ll keep you posted!

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