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Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards

The International Student Awards for Sustainability in Fashion

Written by Creative-Idle


Following their super successful appearance at Barfly last week I made my way to a west London location to meet the Plastiscine girls. On the way, sales I’m trying desperately to remember my French from school to impress them. On a trip to Paris with my friend Ruth, shop there was no way we would have got by without my “C” grade, I’m sure I can think of something amazingly French to say. I arrive and briefly they are all there, hugs and an ipod charger are exchanged and then drummer Ana and bass player Louise are whisked off back to Paris. I’m sure they are going to have to get used to this whisking about business. So, I was on a very bizarrely patterned couch (see photo above) with lead singer Katty and guitarist Marine. I thought I’d open with my French skills…

K: Bonjour

K: Cava merci, Vous parlez francais?

Non, that’s my limit
K: That’s good enough!

(Really?! That’s all that I could have come up with?! I should have revised more.)

You guys played Barfly last night, how do you find London crowds?
K: We really enjoyed the crowd yesterday because it was very busy, so we were really happy! We had a lot of friends in the crowd so they were dancing and jumping! It’s always good to have people reacting when you say something. In Paris people are so quiet, just at the back with their arms crossed and watching. They are interested but they just don’t move.

So it’s good to be here and have the crowd reacting.

There seemed to be a lot of French folks in the audience, That must have been nice?
K: Yeah, I was really surprised! When I asked, “Who is French tonight?” there were quite a lot of people shouting!

plass 019

So, How did your story begin?
K: Marine and I met in high school when we were 15 or 16. We started the band because we watched lots of bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes. We loved them, they had so much energy onstage, they were young and we thought we want to do the same thing. So we started the band and a few months after we were already doing some gigs in bars in Paris. We actually learnt our instruments on stage because we just wanted to play! We didn’t care if we could play, all we wanted was to play and get on stage and get into it!

So, you began by doing covers?
K: When we started we did a few covers, but we were very interested in doing our own songs. We did some covers from The Strokes and other bands for a while then we started doing our own songs, thats what really interested us more rather than covers.

A lot of your influences are English so do you guys find it more natural to write in English?
Both: Defiantly
K: Because all the songs we listen to are in English it is very natural to write in English, but sometimes we do write in French. We get direction from people saying we should say things this way because it’s a better way to say it in English. But yes, its natural because the music we like is English and American, we were never really into French bands

I read that French radio have restrictions (a percentage of French radio has to be French songs)
K: Yeah, so its quite difficult for us to be on the radio in France because we may be French but we sing in English. We are not in the same category as big international bands like the Artic Monkeys, But then we don’t sing in French so we don’t fit into that category either, so its quite difficult to be on the radio.

You worked on your album with top producer Butch Walker what was this like?M: We went to Malibu to record the album and it was amazing, it was really beautiful and we were in the this big house all together and in the morning we would go to record together or go swimming. Everyday we got to work together! It was interesting because it was the first time we were working with someone American. When we are French we don’t know if we would get along or have the right words to express, so we had a really long talk with him and he said what he likes and we said what we like. Butch is really passionate about music.

He’s worked with a wide range of people from Katy Perry to Weezer and now you guys
K: Yeah, he has done a lot of very big pop stars and he also works with acts because he really likes them, he’s done a lot of indie bands like Hot Hot Heat.
M: He was very honest, he said I do some stuff for money I do some stuff for passion and you are a passion for me.
K: He told us that from the first time he saw us playing on stage at Coachella he fell in love with us.

So what acts are you into right now?
M: Lots of stuff, lots of English acts, I love the Jamie T album, I think it’s amazing. I like Metronomy, Katty loves Florence and the Machine. Also I love Eagles of Death Metal, we went to see them in Paris. We like lots of old and new stuff.

“Bitch” was on “Gossip Girl”, this must have been a massive deal for you?

K: I think we didn’t really realize when we did it! It was such a big thing to do! When we saw it on the internet were like “that’s weird!”. We watch the programme, we know the characters and the story so when we arrived we wanted to know what was happening! We were playing on stage at a ball so we couldn’t hear what the actors were saying! It was nice because all the actors came to us to say “hello” and Leighton Meester who plays Blair came up with our album and she wanted us to sign it!

How did this come about because it’s as if the song was written for “Gossip Girl”?
M: No, its on the album so they heard it on the album it was picked out because it worked really well. We recorded it back in February.

You have a great relationship with nylon can you tell us a little more about this?
K: Marvin Scott Jarrett ,the editor in chief at nylon, he is so passionate about music and he always puts a lot of bands in the magazine. I think he wanted to launch a label and so he did it with Nylon, Nylon Records. We are the first band signed because he really liked us and I think he thought we were a good image for the magazine. He knew of us because in Paris fashion week we were on the cover of a magazine, from this he got in touch with our label, at the time which was Virgin, he contacted us we came to NYC to play at a party for the magazine. Then when we came back again he had the idea for the label and wanted to sign us.

So you spend a lot of time here and in NYC, would you ever relocate? K: We would love to live in New York! We all love it there! I think people are amazing with us there because sometimes here when people see four girls on stage in a rock band it is weird for them, like there is something fake, something wrong with it, but in NYC they are just like that’s cool its just four girls rocking and they don’t care.

M: Also, I think that in NYC everybody is doing something interesting. We were only there for a few months we already made such good friends and there’s so much going on so much different music. I think it would be good for the band living in NYC for a bit, for inspiration.
K: You walk in the street and you just feel good there, I don’t know what it is. Its such a big city but you still feel safe.

I follow u guys on twitter and I noticed you had a meeting with Topshop today, You guys are obviously into your fashion, Who are your style icons?
K: Yeah we got it all myspace/facebook/twitter there a blog that marines writes on.
M: Yeah we like fashion because we are girls. I love david bowie from the ziggy stardust period
K: I love Debbie Harry, she’s got it all the music the style, she’s amazing

The same thing could be said about these girls, they have the style, they have the music, they also seem to have it all. I glance and notice the smudge of a stamp on my hand from the entry last night, this reminds me that I have not even bothered to wash for our meeting today never mind attempting to dress nicely. I don’t think there is much point in trying around these girls though. They are naturally chic (I think it’s a French thing) with a playful grunge twist. I’m in love with them for the fact that they just decided to pick up interments to be onstage; from viewing them at The Barfly they all seem to be perfectly at home this platform. These beauties armed with the energy and attitude they bring to their performances, their catchy rock/pop tracks and their effortless style is a winning combination for these pop/grunge goddesses to begin a French revolution.

Single “Barcelona” is available now and the album “About Love” is due out early 2010.
On Ying Lai THImage featuring the work of On Ying Lai photographed by Tomer Halfon.

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards held within the swanky top floor of the Mayor’s HQ; London City Hall. Organised by the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, viagra the FFA competition was created especially to award both home grown and international students whose work strives to work towards and highlight sustainability within the fashion industry. Building upon the momentum and success of the awards debut last year, last night saw the FFA celebrate and promote the next generation of emerging talent in eco and sustainable fashion, by awarding students in five categories.

Hosted by the lovely Caryn Franklin; fashion commentator and broadcaster, most memorable to me for her stint on the BBC’s The Clothes Show back in the ‘90s, other speakers included Professor Frances Corner MBE; Head of the London College of Fashion, Dilys Williams; Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion and Lucy Siegle; broadcaster and journalist.

PrizeGiversPrizegivers (L-R): Lucy Siegle, Paul de Zylva, Jo Wood and Duncan Goose. Photography by John Alex Maguire.

With the theme for 2009 being water Lucy Siegle talked us through why this was such an important concept in light of the global water shortage. Some of the horrendous facts and statistics Lucy spoke about really changed my perception of the fashion industry and jolted me and many others in attendance to re-evaluate our personal approaches to fashion and the throw-away culture that we are now so accustomed to. I think what was most scary was how we, as a consuming society are not made aware of the shocking waste of water which is unfortunately currently a bi-product of the industry. Whilst I’m sure the information is out there online and readily available it was great to be able to learn something that I can hopefully pass on to you, loyal readers and everyone I know.

For those who aren’t already in the know here are some of the scariest statistics. Currently 200million litres of water are used globally per second. It is estimated that only 6-10% of this water is used within the home, with industries consuming the remainder. 40% of the global population currently live with limited access to water, whilst 40billion gallons of water is used in the production of fashion each year in the UK alone. Most shocking of all it is estimated that by 2025 over 1.8billion people will not have enough water to survive.

The most valuable thing I learnt was that ‘water is threaded throughout the journey of a garment’ and is used in copious amounts to grow the cotton, spin the yarn, dye, print, produce and even transport the finished article. I learnt how important it is for every individual to take responsibility for their garments as shockingly we as the consumers waste more than the 40billion litres of water used in production by endlessly washing and drying our clothes during their lifespan– proving that the responsibility in part lies with us. For these reasons the FAA is hugely important as without it there would be no one to encourage students to research their production methods and techniques and to challenge the way in which fashion is currently produced, and to strive for a better option. Each winner demonstrated that being sustainable does not mean compromising on style or quality.

Zoe Fletcher SMImage featuring the work of Zoe Fletcher photographed by Sean Michael.

Enterprise and Communication Initiative for a Future Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Zoe Fletcher

Runners up: Ruby Hoette and Julia Crew

Karina Michel SMImage featuring the work of Karina Micheal photographed by Sean Michael.

Role of Materials in a Sustainable Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Varun Gambhir
Runner up: Karina Micheal
Systems for a Sustainable Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Mary Hanlon

Miriam Rhida 3 THImage featuring the work of Miriam Rhida photographed by Tomer Halfon.

Design for a Thriving Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Miriam Rhida

Runner up: Eleanor Dorrian-Smith and On Ying Lai

Emma Rigby 2 SMImage featuring the work of Emma Rigby photographed by Sean Michael.

Water – The Right for All Citizens of this Planet Award
Winner: Emma Rigby

Runner up: Anne Prahl.

You can see the full selection of work from Fashioning the future 2009 at the LCF Fashion Space Gallery until 11 December for free.


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