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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Let’s say No to Mass Production

Cambridge Design Collective

Written by Camilla Sampson

Do you have a band that soundtrack your life? The music of your memories?
Mine was, cure treatment is and always will be The National, a band who’ve been playing in the background of my first loves, lost loves, sad times, happy times, party times, sleep times, journeys on planes, journeys on trains, moving in-s and moving out-s.

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Last night, after almost 5 years of unadulterated adoration and no less than 3 missed opportunities to see them , I finally saw The National, and it was knee-knockingly, breathtakingly amazing.
So amazing in fact, I broke a few of my cardinal “What Not To Do At Gigs” Rules. Nominally, these are:
1. Thou shall not sing along (aloud or mouthing along silently; they’re both as bad as each other)
2. Thou shall not join in group clapping (I’m not really a crowd participation kind of girl)
3. Thou shall not sway with your eyes closed (it looks creepy)

Having left the Royal Festival Hall in between lamenting the loss of my gig misanthropy and watching A Skin, A Night in bed (I really like The National- if you hadn’t noticed by this point) I began to ponder how to write about a band you’ve loved for such a long time, so here it goes.

(A Skin, A Night trailer)

Playing songs from their last two albums (Alligator and Boxer) and an EP (Cherry Tree), as well as covering new songs like the excellent ‘Runaway’, I noticed that one of the most striking thing about The National was their ability to depart from their records, which are, even at their most upbeat are still darkly contemplative and reflective, live however their energy is palpable, their most melancholic songs live are shot through with electricity and flourish. The National are a lot more prolific than the 2007 ‘overnight’ success of Boxer would suggest, and their familiarity with their extensive back catalogue allows them to embellish upon their records, making the live show full of exciting little twists and turns.

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Somewhere amidst these sonic twists and turns, I recognised The National’s ability to change the mood of not only what they were playing but also the mood of a packed out auditorium of people. Their music soars and swoops, murmurs with melancholy, heard in both Berringer’s voice and Newsome’s string solos, before crescendo-ing into a clattering wave of emotional intensity on the drums, guitars and brass. ‘Fake Empire’ ; Boxer’s opener starts with a simple, lilting piano melody and builds up to a full orchestral smorgasbord and was definitely a stand out favourite for me alongside ‘About Today’ from the aforementioned Cherry Tree EP whilst faster songs including ‘Mistaken for Strangers’ and ‘All the Wine’ pulsated with a dark emotion. The National are undoubtedly a honed and well oiled team from the drums and brass section to Padma Newsome’s dexterity on the piano and strings and it is this that enabled them to take such hairpin turns throughout their hour and a half long set, whilst retaining the interest of a legion of loyal fans, which is no mean feat.

And what of Mr. Berringer as a front man? I always had a rather specific image of him as a shy and brooding wordsmith, yet he commanded the attention of the crowd with his vocal range; from his trademark seductive baritone murmuring (‘Green Gloves’), to top-of-lungs anguished shouting (‘Abel’).

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The National create a totally unique soundscape, both live and on record, a soundscape filled with towering skyscrapers and empty parties, of drunk men in dead end jobs and the women they once loved leaving them. Ok, so it ‘s clearly not the Disneyworld of soundscapes but there is a real honesty and sad beauty to the images they create that inspire empathy and awe (both lyrically and melodically) in the stoniest of hearts.

So now as one of the converted to eyes closed, body swaying dancing at gigs, I unabashedly say that The National didn’t let me down live and I will continue to soundtrack a new lot of adventures with their music. Make them yours!

(Video for ‘Apartment Story’)

Monday 10th August

UN Climate Change Talks

The U.N. Climate Change Talks in Bonn, try Germany begin a series of informal intersessional consultations today. These are part of the run-up to Copenhagen in December, page and this particular series can be found webcast live here

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Illustration by Sergio Membrillas

Tuesday 11th August

The Yes Men

The Yes Men film shows the hoaxes perpetrated by two US political pranksters. The promotion team describe the film as “so stupidly entertaining” that it will reach and motivate thousands of people, page thus “adding even more juice into a movement that is trying to save civilization itself, among other modest goals.

Tuesday is the satellite event – live from Sheffield, it’s a simulcast event screening of THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD and live q&a with the Yes Men beamed via satellites from Sheffield Showroom. Cinema-goers will have the opportunity to put their questions live and direct to the film’s stars from their respective cinema locations.

20.30, at the following London cinemas:
Odeon Panton Street, Clapham Picture House, The Gate Notting Hill, Greenwich Cinema, Ritzy Brixton, Screen-on-the-Green
More cinemas on the screenings page of their website.

Wednesday 12th August

Green Spaces & Sticky Feet

A creative exploration of the nature beneath our feet as we roam around the gardens – to help us understand why green spaces are important and how we can make our buildings greener. This is a workshop for children of all ages, who must be accompanied at all times by an adult.

2.30-4.30pm
St John-at-Hackney Churchyard Gardens

Contact – The Building Exploratory – 020 7729 2011 – mail@buildingexploratory.org.uk
www.buildingexploratory.org.uk

VESTAS : National Day of Action

On Friday the 7th August the bailiffs went in and the occupation of the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight ended.

In response to this a National Day of Action in support of the Vestas workers and to keep the factory open, for Green Jobs and a Green Energy Revolution, was declared. There will be actions all around the country organised by a diverse range of groups.

Or contact your local CCC group, or Union – or if you want to organise something in your area there is some advice from Jonathan Neale, of the CCC Trade Union group

The campaign to Save Vestas has not finished, it has just started and with it comes a campaign for a step change in the creation of Green Jobs and the Green Energy Revolution !

6.30pm
Outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Contact – info@campaigncc.org – savevestas.wordpress.com

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Illustration by Jeffrey Bowman

Thursday 13th August

Journey Deep Into the Heart of Remembrance

A spiritual celebration and experience, honouring our regal beauty with sacred song and dance. Dances of universal peace, Taize singing, Bhajans & Kirtan, native American sweat lodge, Zikr & Sufi practice, Breton dancing, Tibetan sound meditation, yoga, tribal dance, ancient ways of the British Isles, chant wave and more…

You can find more details www.hounslow.info

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

Saturday 15th August

Fly by Night at Totteridge Fields Nature Reserve

Let the London Wildlife Trust take you out trapping, identifying and recording moths on the Totteridge Fields Nature Reserve. Come and see how many species of moths visit the fields at night. Please wear warm clothes and sensible footwear. Bring a Torch, Notebook and pen. You may also want to bring a flask.

Free car parking in sports ground car park adjacent to the Hendon Wood Lane entrance.
Nearest tube is Totteridge & Whetstone
251 bus stops on Totteridge Common near the junction with Hendon Wood Lane.

8.30-10.30pm
Hendon wood Lane entrance to totteridge Fields Nature Reserve
Contact – Clive Cohen – 07973 825 165 – notinbooks.conservation@btinternet.com

Monday 10th August
The National at Southbank Centre, ailment London

The National are one of my favourite all time bands. Their music full of deep seductive murmuring and soaring strings, cure The National build a beautiful soundscape full of urban discontent and lost loves.

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Tuesday 11th August
Devotchka at Cargo, London

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that Devotchka have wandered straight out an Eastern European shtetl with their romani/ klezmer-tastic music. In fact they’re from Colorado and you probably recognise their orchestral treats from Everything is Illuminated and Little Miss Sunshine.

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Wednesday 12th August
Woodpigeon at Borderline, London

Woodpigeon is whispery folk with beautiful strings and brass. Perfect for a summer evening.

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Thursday 13th August
Circulus at The Lexington, London

Tired of the ins and outs of modern life? Do you want to return to a simpler time? A medieval time? Go see Circulus then! They’re quite obviously as mad as a bag of prog listening cats but they sing about fairies and have lutes- what couldn’t be awesome about that?

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Friday 14th August
Forest Fire and Broadcast 2000 at The Luminaire, London

Lovely country folk from Brooklyn’s Forest Fire and tinkly electronica from Broadcast 2000 are set to make this night special!

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Saturday 15th August
Spaghetti Anywhere and Colours at Barfly, London

Here at Amelia’s HQ we often find ourselves listening to Spaghetti Anywhere‘s myspace selection of pretty indie pop, and it never fails to brighten up a dreary office day.
Also playing are Colours the South Coast’s answer to My Bloody Valentine, offering up a delicious slice of Shoegaze with Pavement-y undertones. Brilliant stuff all round!

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the depths of 180 The Strand, sildenafil where this year’s On|Off catwalk be, Bernard Chandran is about to present his S/S2010 collection. I’m excited.

I saw Chandran’s A/W collection back in February. It was incredible, and I was concerned that this season’s couldn’t live up. I need not have worried.

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Yet another diverse and inspired collection, the first model appeared wearing a silk muzzle with a graphic pattern. These unusual face decorations featured prominently in the show. Printed, bejewelled, moulded from the shape of the face – it was clear they were making a statement. “It’s my reaction to climate change,” Bernard told me afterwards. It’s a provoking image we’re accustomed to seeing – during the SARS crisis and more recently with the swine-flu pandemic. Chandran has translated this evocative image and created masks of beauty.

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Dresses were striking, bold statement pieces, in hues ranging from ochre to pewter. Folds and flaps created geometric silhouettes, showcasing Chandran’s skills as a craftsman, and revealing a possible Hussein Chalayan influence.

Other pieces consisted of simple shift dresses enveloped by folded, dynamically-cut fabric, creating exaggerated shoulders and wing-like forms, apposing the contours of the female form.

I loved this glittered interpretation of the bustier. Fashion-forward women only, need apply:

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Patterns on masks and clothing had been translated directly from objects that surround Bernard in his day-to-day life. A stunning linear print in amber and black had been taken directly from “a basket that people give [Bernard} flowers in!” Bernard recalled. Looking again at the print makes sense of it – it appears almost photographic.

Another key look was the Chinese coolie hat, worn by a handful of models. Bernard in interesting in their form. “I like the way they fold, the way they are created – which can be said for a lot of my work,” Bernard told me. “The way an envelope folds, for example – like here,” as he gestured to a photograph on the wall backstage of a structured, geometric dress.

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The more feminine consumer need not worry, as the show also included elegantly draped smock dresses and sumptuous blouson skirts, in chiffon, with organic, natural prints. These pieces were the most surprising considering his A/W 09/10 collection was so bold and striking. “Sometimes you just have to,” Bernard laughed.

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There were so many different looks in this collection. It may sound as if the pieces were too disparate but this was not the case, as one after the other complimented each other, almost magically. Take the structured dress with exaggerated hips, fast becoming Bernard’s signature, juxtaposed with the softer sheer fabric pieces draped effortlessly over the models; juxtaposed with the hooded smock reminiscent, again, of an envelope; the prints and tones of each piece somehow beautifully transforming into the next.

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Soul singer Estelle is a huge fan of Chandran’s work, shunning major fashion houses to wear his looks at awards ceremonies, so it was no surprise to see Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams and Beverley Knight wide-eyed on the front row. A Bernard Chandran woman is a glamorous, confident, ostentatious creature. It’s time this design hero took centre stage on-schedule. Sort it out, BFC!

All photographs and text by Matt Bramford
The 25th London Fashion Week began yesterday in its new haunt of Somerset House. Turning up to register, viagra there was the expected photo crush as numerous street style photographers selected those most fashionably dressed to stand before their lens. Not surprisingly London Fashion Week has been a lesson on how to be scarily on trend. Leather studded Jackets check. Harem pants in black and multiple prints. Check. Statement shoes check.check.check. Big Power Shoulders. Check. The most amazing outfit –outside the catwalk- was on the front row at Ashley Islam (more to come on this collection later). Sitting next to Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child immaculat in Vivienne, sildenafil was a rather beautiful man with an Anna Wintour bob,
complete with a dress made from nails. This often disregarded material was transformed into the ultimate disco dress, that tinkled out of shows.

On|Off presents their off schedule designers at 180 the Strand. Down in the industrial stylebasement, the catwalk appeared from behind plastic sheets and the ever ready crowd of journalists, photographers and buyers took their seats to view collections from Prose Studio, Yang Du, Michela Carraro and Joanna Vaderpuije.

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The Prose Studio Collection of bold oil slick printed dresses was first down the catwalk. The feminine fluent dresses billowed around the models, falling down from the neck, along the arms and tacking tightly in at the waist to fall once more to the knees.

Remember blowing paint across water’s surface to create marbling patterns when pressed onto paper? Prose Studio’s harem pants felt as if the fabric had been dipped into the solution and hung out to dry. The drapes of the pants were delicately covered leaving the leg fabric bare.

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The collection finished with a free flowing printed white tunic over white marbled dripped leggings.

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Next up were Michela Carraro’s deconstructed geishas complete with rags tied into bondage shoes, big 80′s shoulders remain on the catwalk alongside constructed sheer blouses.

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The shapes and layering were reminiscent of John Galliano’s personal style and diffusion line with an injection of Vivienne Westwood’s pirate’s collection. As the light blue piece sashayed down the catwalk, it suddenly struck.

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What was being offered was a re-invention of a feminine suit, capable of expressing personality rather than smothering it underneath a shapeless blazer. This was a collection representing the intriguing daywear as represented with the gallantly bold, bordering on the garish printed trousers, under tucked beneath the swashbuckling floating blouses held together at the front with delicate stitching. Completed with the bandaged shoes, the piece formed an illustrious silhouette when framed by photographers.

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Third was Joanna Wanderpuije’s elegant collection of modern shapes complete with the return of the perspex stars from the A/W collection, for S/S the stars are attached to the hips of the cotton skirt. Plenty of well cut shorts and printed tanks for effortless lux.

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Leather bra tops – continuing previous seasons’ trends for underwear as outwear- hardened the collection appearing under a cropped print jacket nestling above the high-waisted cream trouser. A splash of colour was provided with the up-pleated tunic dress. The collection was incredible wearable with Wanderpuije’s prints elegant in their application and beautifully sculpted from material.

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Fashion provides the opportunity to dive into new worlds, peer into another’s imagination. It can function similarly to illustration and convey a sense of being in the world and by being idiosyncratic tap into the public consciousness. The last piece from Yang Du‘s collection was one distinctive outfit from the Louis Vitton-esque rabbit ears combined with bold blue and white striped constructed-to-be-slouchy oversized dress.

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The outfit instantly burned into the retina, this was something to wear as unemployment rates soar, it’s warm and it’s bright. This was fun fantastical fashion and I loved the oversized knitted bag that followed the models down the catwalk as if a rather petulant child.

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As with all three previous designers, at Yang Du it was all about the detailing; tunic dresses were altered with cut away bra holes overlaid with fringing. Grinning cartoon faces contrasted wide blue knitted stripes, tight tight dresses were sent down with bold geometric black and white prints. Not forgetting the head adornments.

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A great start to London Fashion Week, a mix of eccentricity and wearable shapes with most importantly the clothes bringing a smile to one’s face.

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For me, web the majority of fashion week involved being squished like a sardine in regimented rows watching models strut up and down a well lit runway. While this is all well and good, sometimes it’s fun to break from the norm…

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nasirmazhar

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from what I can gauge, Nasir Mazhar is a headwear designer, with very theatrical taste.

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To view his presentation at London Fashion Week s/s10 we descended into the vaults of Somerset House, entering a strobe lit room, where at the end of the corridor a stunning and SEXY model posed around a pole in an almost fetichistic nude mask that covered her mouth and eyes……

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This was the opening taste of the world of Nasir Mazhar that is visceral, amusing, unique and downright hot. As I am predominately a photographer, I feel the images illustrate the experience better than anything I could write!

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All photographs by Elizabeth Johnson
DSC_1454

For me, visit web the majority of fashion week involved being squished like a sardine in regimented rows watching models strut up and down a well lit runway. While this is all well and good, sickness sometimes it’s fun to break from the norm…

nasirmazhar2

nasirmazhar

nm3

DSC_1462

from what I can gauge, information pills Nasir Mazhar is a headwear designer, with very theatrical taste.

nm2

To view his presentation at London Fashion Week s/s10 we descended into the vaults of Somerset House, entering a strobe lit room, where at the end of the corridor a stunning and SEXY model posed around a pole in an almost fetichistic nude mask that covered her mouth and eyes……

DSC_1438

This was the opening taste of the world of Nasir Mazhar that is visceral, amusing, unique and downright hot. As I am predominately a photographer, I feel the images illustrate the experience better than anything I could write!

DSC_1448

nasirmazhar4

All photographs by Elizabeth Johnson
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The Four Seasons Charity Show was in aid of Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation. The design brief consisted of buying charity shop clothes and styling or adapting them into something new and stylish. As a textiles student I embraced the customisation route: deconstructing, seek reconstructing, find decorating, this site sewing, pleating, ruffling and so on until I could unveil works which were truly mine.

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The collection made its way down the catwalk, and to my greatest delight, people enquired about buying the pieces. Encouraged by this I am incorporating a recyclable theme into my A2 textiles, which induced designer research. Focusing on using items considered as junk and turning them into fashionable and hopefully wearable pieces. Some of the designers I investigated include People Tree, Katharine E Hamnett’s slogan t-shirts, and Edun. All of their manifestos contain aspects of Fairtrade, organic resources, sustainability or tackling of other global issues.

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Katharine E Hamnett promotes her campaigns on the consumer’s organic cotton (manufactured under tight ethical standards) chest: Free Burma, World Peace to Save the Seas. Hamnett presents her political beliefs and encourages us to do the same.

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Edun focuses on creating sustainable employment in developing countries, specifically sub-Saharan Africa. Just from these two brands you can see the multiple schemes that have been put into place to begin tackling global issues – they just need more recognition.

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I first experienced the concept of eco-fashion – typically – as a younger sister, when presented with my older sister’s hand-me-downs. At the time, I was probably disappointed by the lack of brand new clothing, and yet now the wearing of second-hand has become more fashionable than ever. Take the explosion of vintage clothing and the increasing presence of designers who re-use old clothes to make new creations, such as the brand Junky Styling. In more recent years my interest in eco-fashion has expanded from an initially disgruntled youth to advocator of Ethical Sustainable Fashion.

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This passion for re-making and vintage stems from television shows such as Twiggy’s Frock Exchange, and local fashion workshops, which I help to run as part of The Cambridge Design Collective. The workshops provide tips such as: turning old dresses into handbags, or learning how to distress jeans. The amount of people who have become involved and the techniques I have subsequently learnt demonstrate that we do not need mass production. We just need to get together and be a little more creative!

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In Frock Exchange, Twiggy encouraged the mass consumers of the UK to stalk out previously owned garments and transform them into beautiful bespoke items. The moment which propelled me into a world of eco-friendly fashion arrived in the role of a floral, floor-length Laura Ashley dress. The item was altered into the most amazing mini dress before Britain’s eyes. Energised by the programme I began to participate in clothes swaps and search for the independent retailers of my local town who do not mass-produce.

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My research revealed sustainable resources, such as the amazing Emporium 61, a boutique charity shop, which stocks vintage and even sells top brands such as Miu Miu and Prada. The shop also sells redesigned second hand clothing under the label 50/50. Cambridge has a lot of charity shops, independent outlets and vintage clothing, and yet so few people seem to know about them – something I hope to change by helping to publicise these stores better.

The achievement you feel when an item is successfully given a new lease of life, or at knowing your small decision is one tiny step towards helping the world (whether it be anti-child labour, or increasing climate change awareness), is definitely motivation to decrease high street consumerism. The High Street may hope it doesn’t use slave labour, child labour, unsustainable resources and more – but can you really imagine anything less fuels this mass producer? And what happens to all the clothes that aren’t sold? Huge piles of waste clothing?

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Eco – Fashion requires effort and if we really want to combat climate change and abuse of worker’s rights isn’t it worth it? Especially when you discover a hidden gem such as locally stocked labels: Rutzou or Milly Moy.

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I believe eco-fashion can be fashionable: even London Fashion Week has its own eco-friendly selection in its Esthetica exhibition! Of course some charity shops may still bear the stereotypical musty image, but if you look closely enough and do a little transformation you’d be amazed. If you’re not a designer yourself try a clothes swap, or vintage shopping in the beautiful Brick Lane of London – a perfect excuse if ever I heard one.

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