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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Kelly Goss, aka Rock ‘n’ Needle

Kelly Goss, founder of womenswear label Rock 'n' Needle, is a self-confessed tattoo obsessive, but she doesn't have any herself. I caught up with her to talk tattoos, PVC and Henry Holland…

Written by Matt Bramford

Alternative Fashion Week Day 4 2010 Nicole Gill
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

By Day 4 at Alternative Fashion Week things start to go a little hazy – and the other bloggers who were so keen earlier in the week seem to have all gone quiet so it’s much harder for me to cross check my facts and be sure that I have the right credits for the right designers. Do let me know if I’ve got it wrong or I’ve missed out a link.

As I arrived a bevy of scantily clad beauties were lining up for a photo call at the back of one of the dressing tents. They were modelling the lingerie designs of Nicole Gill, doctor more about whose collection was described as being inspired by the Balinese Barong dance, whatever that is. Now, I’m no specialist on Balinese culture but I’m fairly certain that they don’t dance in their underwear or wear corsets. Non obvious influences aside, these were sexy pieces for sure. Bemused labourers looked on.

Alternative Fashion Week Day 4 2010 Nicole Gill
Alternative Fashion Week Day 4 2010 Nicole Gill
Alternative Fashion Week Day 4 2010 Nicole Gill
Alternative Fashion Week Day 4 2010 Nicole Gill
Alternative Fashion Week Day 4 2010 Nicole Gill
Lingerie by Nicole Gill.

Inside Crispin Place Alex Seroge was ready to go, lined up with his models in an imposing group. Apparently an amalgamation of middle eastern and Persian influences, there was also something of the Edwardian country squire-ess to this collection, which mixed tweeds with exotic head wraps and prints in every shade of spice.

Alternative Fashion Week day 4 2010 Alex Seroge
Alternative Fashion Week day 4 2010 Alex Seroge
Alternative Fashion Week day 4 2010 Alex Seroge
Alternative Fashion Week day 4 2010 Alex Seroge
Alex Seroge.

Next up with a fabulously-over-the-top-despite-being-all-cream collection of big knitwear was George Strood; props to her models for posing so perfectly with the shaggy knitted bag. And loving the shaggy trousers, inspired by Mr Tomlinson the fawn in Narnia?

Alternative Fashion Week day 4 2010 George Strood
Alternative Fashion Week day 4 2010 George Strood
Alternative Fashion Week day 4 2010 George Strood
Knitwear by George Strood.

The University of Derby passed by without me particularly noticing – apart from this one fabulous piece, like a wearable lampshade made from a giant spidersweb.

Alternative Fashion Week day 4 2010 Derby

Barnet College also showed with Zero Waste – from the title I can only presume it was all recycled. I liked this lady because as she was standing on the steps waiting to go onto the catwalk I realised that she had a cupcake tattoo on her bum. Taking the fetishising of cupcakes to a whole new level!

Elif Muzaffer hails from Turkey, but graduated from Ravensbourne last year having specialised in womenswear and textiles. Titled A Struggle Within, a love of print was obvious in this elegantly presented collection of tailored coats and long ballgowns worn by willowy models. I loved the colour range, all deep juicy oranges and sultry shades of deep blue and violet. Elif emailed me to thank me for my interest that evening and wisely set up a blog last week after I queried how I could link to more of her work. Take note, other designers that I am struggling to write more about in these blogs!

I found the sports menswear collection by Thomas Lovegrove unoriginal. When Kim Jones first put the bright back into menswear a decade ago it was smart and new, but now it just looks tired and done. You can find sportswear like this in any high street shop these days.

Alice Barcham paraded a collection of tailored whites inspired by the Sydney Opera House crossed with Audrey Hepburn and LuaSarcy showed some dreadful wedding wear. Well, not dreadful, but just weddingy. i.e. not very exciting. Certainly not what I would call fashion at any rate.

On the knitwear front Gemma Maher showed a delightfully understated collection called Firebird, inspired by the ballet apparently. Can you see the connection? Not sure I can but anyhoo.

At the nearby Brady Centre in Tower Hamlets a team of designers had been beavering away under the name A Team Arts and for awhile it all went a little crazy backstage. What I could deduce was theirs was quite frankly bonkers. A tiny innocuous looking blonde girl stood by her three crazy orange and brown outfits featuring pop-sock festooned polystyrene balls growing carbuncle-like in every direction.

To continue the costume design theme someone had decided to turn men into dragons, with one poor model entirely covered in what can only be described as a large knitted spotty body sock. The poor fella inside mumbled something to me about having been street cast and not knowing what he had let himself in for, but hey what the heck no one was going to see his face.

This wee girl was not so keen on having her picture taken, but she’d created some pretty amazing jewellery/accessory pieces out of laser cut shapes.

Someone chose to subvert traditional English tailoring and Lorraine’s batik Afrochic outfit was worn by the most amazing model – check out her absolutely loving up the camera. A photographer’s dream.

Renata Suchanova not only has a fabulous name but her website sports a pretty fabulous collection of purple clothing. It’s a shame I can’t find any snaps of her collection at Alternative Fashion Week – did I miss it? Was it incredibly different? I’ll probably never know…

Serbian Mila Popovic was found cursing the volcano – she had travelled overland to make the catwalk on time and was sounding harassed. Next to her the make up artist Maya was sporting the most fabulous henna arm tattoos. I liked Mila’s eclectic collection The Flowers of Romance which is co-designed with sister Tijana, and featured bright patterns mixed with traditional tailoring. According to the little booklet she raced off to give me their Cash for Trash showroom is to promote “eko design” though I am not sure in what way.

UCreative from the University for the Creative Arts in Rochester closed the day with Metamorphosis/Transformation and another flurry of young girls in a melange of creamy ruffles. Make up artist Phoebe Daziel explained that she used lace to spray paint directly onto the faces of some of the models.

Jam jars

My next crafty recycle project is not quite so ambitious or labour intensive as last weeks weatherproof bunting, click but I want to include some easy instant ideas too.

Jam jars have got to be some of the most overlooked and underused objects in our kitchens, and they have, like, a gazillion potential uses. My fondness for jamjars (and I would definitely call it fondness) began at university. Necessity bred invention and my jam jars found them selves reinvented fancy dress masks, pen holders, food containers, shot glasses, tea light holders, door stops, bowls, bee traps and potential weaponry against baddies/ pissed house mates.

My favourite reincarnation of the humble jam jar is as water tumblers. Just steam the labels off and pop em in your cupboard. That’s it. Crafty, free and endlessly self replenishing. Jam jar glasses again originated from student necessity, but I have come to respect their unique utilitarian charm.

If jam jar drinks glasses clash against your neat modernist aesthetic, then maybe you could use them at summer barbeques and parties. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about your verging- on- alcoholic friend smashing your favourite Habitat glasses against your patio.

Jam jars also make quite fetching photo frames too.

Just spray the lids a colour of your choosing and pop your pics in.

Photos inside jam jars

You could add stuff to the jar too, if you fancy it, like keepsakes, fabric scraps, pressed flowers, whatever really.

Jam jars stuffed with pretty bits

And remember that for each jar you turn in to a water glass or photo frame, you are saving money by not buying glasses and photoframes elsewhere, keeping them from landfill and preventing energy being used to recycle them. Captain Planet would be proud.

It is a sad indictment of my life when I admit this but I would be genuinely excited if you could enlighten me with further potential uses for jamjars below. I am always excited to hear about new uses for old things.

Until next time cherries

My next project is not quite so ambitious or labour intensive as last weeks weatherproof bunting, information pills but I want to include some easy instant ideas too.

Jam jars have got to be some of the most overlooked and underused objects in our kitchens, stuff and they have, more about like, a gazillion potential uses. My fondness for jamjars (and I would definitely call it fondness) began at university. Necessity bred invention and my jam jars found them selves reinvented as pen holders, food containers, shot glasses, tea light holders, door stops, bowls, plates, bee traps and potential weaponry against baddies and pissed house mates.

My favourite reincarnation of the humble jam jar is as water tumblers. Just steam or soak the labels off and pop em in your cupboard. That’s it. Crafty, free and endlessly self replenishing. Jam jar glasses again originated from student necessity, but I have come to respect their unique utilitarian charm.

If jam jar drinks glasses clash against your neat modernist aesthetic, then maybe you could use them at summer barbeques and parties. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about your verging-on-alcoholic friend smashing your favourite Habitat glasses against your patio.

Jam jars also make quite fetching photo frames too.

Just spray the lids a colour of your choosing and pop your pics in.

Photos inside jam jars

You could add stuff to the jar too, if you fancy it, like keepsakes, fabric scraps, pressed flowers, whatever really.

Jam jars stuffed with pretty bits

And remember that for each jar you turn in to a water glass or photo frame, you are saving money by not buying glasses and photoframes elsewhere, keeping them from landfill and preventing energy being used to recycle them. Captain Planet would be proud.

It is a sad indictment of my life when I admit this but I would be genuinely excited if you could enlighten me with further potential uses for jamjars below. I am always excited to hear about new uses for old things.

Until next time cherries

Jam jars

My next project is not quite so ambitious or labour intensive as last weeks weatherproof bunting, buy but I want to include some easy instant ideas too.

Jam jars have got to be some of the most overlooked and underused objects in our kitchens, and they have, like, a gazillion potential uses. My fondness for jamjars (and I would definitely call it fondness) began at university. Necessity bred invention and my jam jars found them selves reinvented as pen holders, food containers, shot glasses, tea light holders, door stops, bowls, plates, bee traps and potential weaponry against baddies and pissed house mates.

My favourite reincarnation of the humble jam jar is as water tumblers. Just steamor soak the labels off and pop em in your cupboard. That’s it. Crafty, free and endlessly self replenishing. Jam jar glasses again originated from student necessity, but I have come to respect their unique utilitarian charm.

If jam jar drinks glasses clash against your neat modernist aesthetic, then maybe you could use them at summer barbeques and parties. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about your verging-on-alcoholic friend smashing your favourite Habitat glasses against your patio.

Jam jars also make quite fetching photo frames too.

Just spray the lids a colour of your choosing and pop your pics in.

Photos inside jam jars

You could add stuff to the jar too, if you fancy it, like keepsakes, fabric scraps, pressed flowers, whatever really.

Jam jars stuffed with pretty bits

And remember that for each jar you turn in to a water glass or photo frame, you are saving money by not buying glasses and photoframes elsewhere, keeping them from landfill and preventing energy being used to recycle them. Captain Planet would be proud.

It is a sad indictment of my life when I admit this but I would be genuinely excited if you could enlighten me with further potential uses for jamjars below. I am always excited to hear about new uses for old things.

Until next time cherries

Jam jars

My next project is not quite so ambitious or labour intensive as last weeks weatherproof bunting, cialis 40mg but I want to include some easy instant ideas too.

Jam jars have got to be some of the most overlooked and underused objects in our kitchens, dosage and they have, like, a gazillion potential uses. My fondness for jamjars (and I would definitely call it fondness) began at university. Necessity bred invention and my jam jars found them selves reinvented as pen holders, food containers, shot glasses, tea light holders, door stops, bowls, plates, bee traps and potential weaponry against baddies and pissed house mates.

My favourite reincarnation of the humble jam jar is as water tumblers. Just steam or soak the labels off and pop em in your cupboard. That’s it. Crafty, free and endlessly self replenishing. Jam jar glasses again originated from student necessity, but I have come to respect their unique utilitarian charm.

If jam jar drinks glasses clash against your neat modernist aesthetic, then maybe you could use them at summer barbeques and parties. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about your verging-on-alcoholic friend smashing your favourite Habitat glasses against your patio.

Jam jars also make quite fetching photo frames too.

Just spray the lids a colour of your choosing and pop your pics in.

Photos inside jam jars

You could add stuff to the jar too, if you fancy it, like keepsakes, fabric scraps, pressed flowers, whatever really.

Jam jars stuffed with pretty bits

And remember that for each jar you turn in to a water glass or photo frame, you are saving money by not buying glasses and photoframes elsewhere, keeping them from landfill and preventing energy being used to recycle them. Captain Planet would be proud.

It is a sad indictment of my life when I admit this but I would be genuinely excited if you could enlighten me with further potential uses for jamjars below. I am always excited to hear about new uses for old things.

Until next time cherries


Illustration by Pieter de Groot

When did you found Rock ‘n’ Needle and why? 
It was in 2008. I started designing and making clothes alongside studying at The Fashion Retail Academy. Although I was studying fashion retailing I still had a passion for making clothes. I wanted to design under a name and came up with Rock ‘n’ Needle. I started organising photoshoots in London through Model Mayhem and received a great response. This inspired me to develop the clothing into a brand. I took part in a fashion show in Mayfair which led to exhibiting at FaCshion exhibition. I really enjoyed taking part in these events and decided to set up the brand full time once I’d finished my course.  ?

What insires you, page then?
I love tattoos, visit this site although I don’t have any! Tattoo designs work really well with embroidery and there’s so much inspiration from different styles. I am also inspired by music- I’m a huge rock fan, my favourite band being Motley Crue. I love musicians who have an extravagant and iconic image. I also enjoy seeing what’s happening on the streets. To me this is the biggest inspiration – to see what people are wearing now.?


Photograph by Marta F. Andrés

How do you create these tattoo-tastic designs?
 I machine embroider all the designs. It starts with a drawing and develops on the computer until it is ready to be embroidered. There is a lot of sampling involved with the imagery. I use pretty basic fabrics for the clothing, using mainly cotton; the fabric needs to be suitable for embroidery. With the bows I can experiment a bit more, adding PVC, denim and all kinds of colours!  ?

Does your label consider the environment?
 Yes. Any material left over I try and create into the bows and brooches. I hate fabric waste, although it isn’t always easy to incorporate it into something new. I am currently in the process of re-designing the bags, for events such as Clothes Show Live. I’m also designing Rock ‘n’ Needle tote bags which will be available to buy online soon. They will have the embroidered designs on and will use environmentally-friendly cotton.  ? 


Photograph by Ryan Bater

Which other designers or creatives do you admire?
My biggest admiration has been for Vivienne Westwood. I was absolutely delighted that Rock ‘n’ Needle’s first stockist was Ad Hoc on the Kings Road, near her iconic shop. The last couple of years I have been inspired by Henry Holland, who has exploded into the fashion industry – it’s really inspiring considering he started with slogan t-shirts and now has concessions Debenhams. To me, these designers have broken so many boundaries and to have such an incredible influence on people’s wardrobes. ?

What has been your proudest moment so far?
 Last year I was delighted to win ‘VQ Young Learner of the Year’ for Wales: with over 500 entries it was a tough competition! I was nominated by Swansea College and the event took place at The Senedd in Cardiff with the Welsh Assembly Government. Most recently I was in the top 100 of future fashion retail leaders with Drapers Magazine. I entered the competition online and won a place at their Next Generation Academy in London, which was a one day event with industry experts. I felt honoured to be part of it. ? 

What did you get out of your time at the Next Generation Academy?
It was an invaluable day which covered a variety of topics including e-commerce, new technologies and self promotion. Henry Holland gave an interview which was a great insight for me as a designer. I met some lovely people from Success Appointments, and witnessed inspirational talks from Drapers ’30 under 30′ feature. There was a lot of networking opportunities which was really useful as you don’t meet people as influential as this every day!


Illustration by Pieter de Groot

How do you see your collections developing in the future?
I will soon be introducing new-style tops comprising of short sleeved t-shirts and vests. I have also designed a couple of cropped tees for Summer. Next month Rock ‘n’ Needle tote bags will be available to buy, and this Winter I am launching Rock ‘n’ Needle hoodies which will carry the signature embroidered motifs. In the future I’d love to create Rock ‘n’ Needle jeans and lingerie, and maybe even menswear!? ?

Do you have any other projects on the go?
Currently I am concentrating on developing the Rock ‘n’ Needle product range to expand from t-shirts and sweaters. I would love to collaborate with a fellow designer or musician/artist. I am extremely interested in the environment and animal welfare and I’d like to develop my work with these considerations. In the early stages of Rock ‘n’ Needle I have had to be fully focused on the brand, but I’m excited about broadening my scope in the future.


Photograph by Ryan Bater

?What do you do in your spare time?!
 I don’t have much spare time at the moment as I’m exhibiting at Clothes Show Live London in June! There’s so much to prepare and I am launching new products which will be available to buy at the show, and then online on my website afterwards. When I do have spare time I love music and could quite happily spend hours on YouTube! I enjoy going to gigs, reading, going out for coffee and browsing in shops. Most recently I have been reading blogs – and I love Audrey Kitching’s. Her style is awesome and I always feel motivated to create when I have been reading her work!? 

I have to ask – would you ever get a tattoo?
Not in the near future, I love them but I couldn’t imagine picking a design and being happy with it for the rest of my life! I really like Fearne Cottons’ tattoos and I once worked with Ann French, who has some pretty cool ones, which can be seen in some of the Rock ‘n’ Needle pictures. I think you have to be quite a decisive person to have one and when it comes to what I wear or look like I am very indecisive.
  ?

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