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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.

Sir Philip Green is able to dodge huge tax bills by sending Topshop profits to his wife in Monaco. UK Uncut closed down the Oxford Circus flagship store in protest against billionaire tax avoidance tactics in the face of huge cuts.

Written by Amelia Gregory


Heart / Target by Patrick Thomas. All images courtesy of Outline Editions.

Outline Editions’ pop-up shop is tucked away behind stalls on Berwick Street Market, prostate healing but the bright shop front is still hard to miss. Decorated by graphics wunderkind Kate Moross, mind inside the shop is a virtual “who’s who” of Britain’s graphic art world. This was part of what founders Camilla Parsons and Bill Tuckey wanted to achieve – having both spent years commissioning art works for music and print, they saw a gap in the market for a place where these artists and illustrators could show their work in a more permanent manner. ‘We have taken the high-end graphic artists and put them under one roof,’ says Camilla Parsons.

And the list of contributors to Outline Editions’ pop-up shop really does demonstrate that these are some very sought-after graphic artists and illustrators. Starting with Kate Moross, whose name is known from Dazed & Confused, Topshop and Vogue – all the way to Anthony Burrill, the so-called godfather of graphic arts. Universally known for his ‘Work Hard and Be Nice to People’ poster, his work has been seen everywhere from Tate Modern to the Underground.


Robin by David Foldvari

The shop on Berwick Street in Soho shows a mixture of works from the newly commissioned love-theme, which was unveiled on 2 December, and works from ‘Into the Forest’, which opened in November. The shop also has prints from last summer’s London-themed show.

‘We have commissioned a range of graphic artists and illustrators who work in music and pop culture,’ says Parsons, as she shows me around the space. ‘Many of these are one-off works that we have commissioned, all signed and in limited edition.’ She shows me the works by by David Foldvari; ‘he’s a very big name, you’ll recognise his style as you open a paper or magazine’, and HelloVon; ‘we chose him as his thing is animals. Look at it – it’s incredibly detailed and realistic, but also a bit spooky.’


Bird by HelloVon

The works commissioned by Outline Editions were themed, but Parsons says the artists appreciated the chance to create works with a large degree of freedom. ‘They do a lot of commercial work and this was unrestricted, so they found it exciting.’

Also on the wall is works by Supermundane; ‘he’s very prolific’, Kate Moross; ‘the girl of the graphic art scene’, and Klaus Haapaniemi; ‘he does very high end work.’ We stop a while next to Takayo Akiyama’s nautical chart of London, an intriguing little piece which shows the detail of London planet set on a globe, as if it were the only thing in the world. For those of us who live here it feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it.

London Nautical Chart by Takayo Akiyama

While initially focused on established names in the graphic world, Parsons doesn’t rule out the possibility of taking on more unknown names. ‘As time goes on we will start to encompass lesser known names. The main thing is to make sure the work is accessible. We cover all forms of graphic arts. The cement is that they all work in music, fashion and pop culture.’ The accessibility also extends to pricing: works start at £15 and go up to £185.


By James Joyce.

The Central London location for the pop-up shop was a deliberate move to bring the graphics genre to a wider audience. ‘There are lots of print collectives in East London. We wanted to bring it out West, to take it to a new audience. … We wanted to incorporate people with a variety of styles as well, to show something to everyone’s taste.’

‘Our premise is to keep it exciting and fresh, and to keep doing new things,’ says Parsons. She already has a few aces up her sleeve for Outline Editions’ next projects. She makes me promise not to say too much, but it’s hard – it sounds excellent and I for one can’t wait to see what comes next.


Pelican by Jamie Portch

‘Love in the Forest’ runs until 31 January at 94 Berwick Street, Soho, London W1. The works are also available on the Outline Editions website. For more information see our listing.

Heart / Target by Patrick Thomas. All images courtesy of Outline Editions.

Outline Editions’ pop-up shop is tucked away behind stalls on Berwick Street Market, viagra 100mg but the bright shop front is still hard to miss. Decorated by graphics wunderkind Kate Moross, viagra inside the shop is a virtual “who’s who” of Britain’s graphic art world. This was part of what founders Camilla Parsons and Bill Tuckey wanted to achieve – having both spent years commissioning art works for music and print, they saw a gap in the market for a place where these artists and illustrators could show their work in a more permanent manner. ‘We have taken the high-end graphic artists and put them under one roof,’ says Camilla Parsons.

And the list of contributors to Outline Editions’ pop-up shop really does demonstrate that these are some very sought-after graphic artists and illustrators. Starting with Kate Moross, whose name is known from Dazed & Confused, Topshop and Vogue – all the way to Anthony Burrill, the so-called godfather of graphic arts. Universally known for his ‘Work Hard and Be Nice to People’ poster, his work has been seen everywhere from Tate Modern to the Underground.


By Kate Moross

The shop on Berwick Street in Soho shows a mixture of works from the newly commissioned love-theme, which was unveiled on 2 December, and works from ‘Into the Forest’, which opened in November. The shop also has prints from last summer’s London-themed show.

‘We have commissioned a range of graphic artists and illustrators who work in music and pop culture,’ says Parsons, as she shows me around the space. ‘Many of these are one-off works that we have commissioned, all signed and in limited edition.’ She shows me the works by by David Foldvari; ‘he’s a very big name, you’ll recognise his style as you open a paper or magazine’, and HelloVon; ‘we chose him as his thing is animals. Look at it – it’s incredibly detailed and realistic, but also a bit spooky.’


Bird by HelloVon

The works commissioned by Outline Editions were themed, but Parsons says the artists appreciated the chance to create works with a large degree of freedom. ‘They do a lot of commercial work and this was unrestricted, so they found it exciting.’

Also on the wall is works by Supermundane; ‘he’s very prolific’, Kate Moross; ‘the girl of the graphic art scene’, and Klaus Haapaniemi; ‘he does very high end work.’ We stop a while next to Takayo Akiyama’s nautical chart of London, an intriguing little piece which shows the detail of London planet set on a globe, as if it were the only thing in the world. For those of us who live here it feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it.


Love Geometry by Anthony Burrill

While initially focused on established names in the graphic world, Parsons doesn’t rule out the possibility of taking on more unknown names. ‘As time goes on we will start to encompass lesser known names. The main thing is to make sure the work is accessible. We cover all forms of graphic arts. The cement is that they all work in music, fashion and pop culture.’ The accessibility also extends to pricing: works start at £15 and go up to £185.


By James Joyce.

The Central London location for the pop-up shop was a deliberate move to bring the graphics genre to a wider audience. ‘There are lots of print collectives in East London. We wanted to bring it out West, to take it to a new audience. … We wanted to incorporate people with a variety of styles as well, to show something to everyone’s taste.’

‘Our premise is to keep it exciting and fresh, and to keep doing new things,’ says Parsons. She already has a few aces up her sleeve for Outline Editions’ next projects. She makes me promise not to say too much, but it’s hard – it sounds excellent and I for one can’t wait to see what comes next.


Pelican by Jamie Portch

‘Love in the Forest’ runs until 31 January at 94 Berwick Street, Soho, London W1. The works are also available on the Outline Editions website. For more information see our listing.
UKuncut Topshop-police amelia gregory
Topshop, viagra 40mg with your welcoming entrance you are spoiling us…

If you are on twitter you will probably have noticed the mutterings of the #UKuncut hashtag – from small beginnings it has grown to become the standard bearer of the cuts demonstrations. And to think it all started only a few weeks back, cialis 40mg when I got a frantic phone call from one of my friends on the first UK Uncut Vodafone demo. “We’ve got a trending hashtag” he exclaimed somewhat maniacally. “but we’ve misspelled Vodaphone, stuff you’ve got to help us!!” I assured him that a quick glance at twitter confirmed that he didn’t need my twittering powers one iota. And frankly I think it’s Vodafone who’ve got their spelling wrong. Now, thousands of people follow the @UKuncut twitter feed and the #UKuncut hashtag stream is used to communicate between anti-cuts protests up and down the country. Makes you dead proud of your mates it does.

UKUncut by Avril Kelly
UKUncut by Avril Kelly.

I didn’t manage to get along to that first demo due to my head being buried in the creation of my new book about fashion illustration and ethical fashion design, but I have been avidly following the progress of the cuts protests. And when I heard about the next major target for UK Uncut I was most excited: the Topshop flagship store in Oxford Circus. Regular readers of this blog will no doubt be able to guess that I am not exactly a big fan of Topshop – I know too many small designers who have been ripped off, they have an atrocious human rights record, and I find the association with Kate Moss frankly tedious. Suffice to say I won’t be covering any Topshop collections in Amelia’s Magazine in the near future.

UK uncut sinister pics
Photograph by Sinister Pictures.

Instead, I hope to be joining more protests. Why? Well, a while ago the papers exposed Sir Philip Green‘s cunning tax avoidance trick that enables him to siphon vast profits out of the country and safely into the hands of his Monaco dwelling wife. There was a surge of interest and then the news disappeared. But the cunning folks at UK Uncut have decided to resurrect the gripe. Why? For the simple reason that this country is in the grip of savage cuts to almost everything imaginable. And yet the very rich are able to take our money out of the country: it is the very reverse of the ethos behind the resurgence of local currencies triumphed by Transition Towns. If you use the Brixton Pound in Brixton it enables local money to stay in a local area, enriching the lives of everyone who partakes in the local economy. If you use your pounds in Topshop they leak straight out of the UK, benefiting none of us at all.

Pay your Taxes Ross McEwan
Illustration by Ross McEwan.

Why is it that the richer people get the more greedy they become? Surely once you’ve earnt your first billion there’s little reason to keep chasing more? But no, the super rich, chums of our millionaire Con-Dem cabinet (Philip Green has the audacity to advise on austerity measures) together avoid £25 billion in tax by removing it from the country. One argument says that if the UK was to make it less amenable for large businesses to run their services here they would simply take them elsewhere. I fail to see the logic in this: Philip Green runs a British company, Topshop. He isn’t about to pack up and ship it over to Dubai never to be seen again, is he?

topshop riot by kellie black
Topshop protest by Kellie Black.

So it was that on a cold Saturday morning I jumped out of bed and sped into the centre of town. I missed the first noisy influx into the store by a few minutes and the main entrance was already blocked by security. However, although I very rarely get sucked into Topshop these days, I know well that there are several entrances so I zipped straight in via the side door.

UK_UncutTopshop2_byAlisonDay
UK Uncut Topshop Protest by Alison Day.

Inside about thirty protestors were already staging a sit in, chanting as bemused shoppers gazed on, uncertain what to do. They were a mix bunch from different movements, including climate activists and peeved students. “Philip’s Green’s taxation could pay for our education” was but one of many clever chants I heard.

UKuncut Topshop-amelia gregory

Within moments I was hustled straight back out the main entrance due to my very large camera, but I just went right back around and came back in with my iphone camera instead. Eventually I heard these magical words over the tanoy system: There has been an incident: please exit the store immediately. And so it was that we were able to close down the main branch of Topshop for well over an hour on a busy Saturday in the run up to Christmas. The sour faces of thwarted shoppers peered down at us as the streets got busier, but most of them seemed fairly content to visit Urban Outfitters next door instead. A gaggle of protestors then spread up and down Oxford Street, shutting Dorothy Perkins and BHS (both also part of Philip Green’s Arcadia empire) and revisiting Vodafone. In fact, just the threat of our arrival was enough to close most stores before we even got to them.

UK Uncut sinister pictures
Outside BHS. Photograph by Sinister Pictures.

As I was twittering through the protest I received a reply from a small fashion brand that has a concession in Topshop – But what about the independent labels that are losing business? – she said. I do think that if you get into bed with a corporate brand you can expect to experience the pitfalls as well as the bonuses, but our quibbles are obviously not with the independent designers who stock Topshop (and at any rate in this case she definitely supported us) or the workers in the store, who may well have lost income if we had blocked the entrances more effectively and they had been told to go home.

Abi Daker - Topshop protest 2010
One Woman Topshop protest 2010 by Abigail Daker.

It is very hard to protest without some unwanted fallout, which is why I so love this inspiring one woman protest: whilst we were causing mayhem at Oxford Circus Bryony went along to her local Wandsworth Topshop equipped only with flyers and chocolate, and on the purchase of a Breton top politely explained that she would not be able to pay the VAT because she didn’t trust Philip Green to give it the HMRC. She handed out information to the other customers and chocolates to the confused employees as they tried to accommodate her request by calling head office. What a clever way to raise awareness in a totally calm and collected manner, but the real success has been in the telling of the story – which has been bouncing around on the #UKuncut hashtag, attracting glowing comments from others who may well be inspired to do the same.

UKuncut Topshop-amelia gregory outside

For naturally this story is far from over: the students are still revolting on the streets and UK Uncut have announced yet another day of action: this time I urge you to join them and protest against the greedy fat cat billionaires who are currently free to move the money we spend on their products out of this country and away from where it might be put to good use. On Saturday 18th December Topshop and Vodafone will be targeted in high streets across the UK. Find out all the details here.

Find out how fashion should be made and sold in my new book, Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, featuring the very best in ethical fashion design.

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5 Responses to “Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.”

  1. [...] quick editorial illustration to go alongside this article on Amelia’s Magazine.The illustration shows a very polite protest at the Tax misadventures of [...]

  2. [...] Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment [...]

  3. [...] Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment [...]

  4. Against the bookies says:

    I will be there, time the taxpayers took whats coming to them…..I am trying to get a protest against all the Bookies in the UK as I feel they are taking over our streets and breaking up are community…would anyone be interested?

    Let me know, see you saturday.

  5. A normal person says:

    Topman have now opened an ‘Alias’ called The General store in Spitalfields and Covent Garden. This is suppose to be their more up market / top end store = A challenge to the independents in the areas who do actually pay ALL their taxes in England and who could do with your support. Spitalfields have some great stores in Dray Walk, Brick Lane, Spitalfields market already. Covent Garden have many independents too. The General store is only a guise to try and get accepted as an independent feeling store. Think for yourself what this is all about.

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