Loving Una Burke

What inspired the London College of Fashion MA graduate to create these leather armour is complex. The ideology behind these clothes can qualify as Grimm Brothers’ fairytales. What’s even more amusing about these armour is that they look like a mix between prosthetic limbs and fetish clothing on a groundbreaking avant garde scale. The collar looks like it’s a bondage version of the lace medici collar; the leather overlay reminds me of Louboutin and Zanotti’s ankle boots… It’s…plain beautiful!

Hasn’t anyone told Rihanna/Beyonce about Una Burke yet? And can I imagine Daphne Guiness wearing this to the Met Ball? (Yes!!) Well, seeing how Burke’s creations have been featured in Vogue, Wallpaper, Guardian etc etc, I hope she’ll soon be a household name…

Incidently, the photoshoot I am running for Felix in Janurary will feature the theme ‘Growing Up’. Una’s skin coloured armour will be perfect for the ‘Childhood’ stage. It feels ‘born’ in a dark kind of way…

See www.unaburke.com for details.

British Fashion Awards. Who will win Emerging Talents?

Anyone who reads my column will know I have a thing for Mark Fast. He has a pair of magical weaving hands. The holes on the knits are stragetically placed to tread on the border between excessive revelation and sexiness (usually the latter). And it is exactly this balance that he has mastered that makes his clothes so exciting. His clothes are not just clothes; they are clothes for strong and confident women.

Most of you must have heard of Mark Fast for his controversial use of size 12 models. However much Mark’s PR tries to paint a positive picture of his moves, I cannot help to wonder if Mark is trying to spark the debate of whether it using curiver models is after all a good thing at all? A same dress has been used on two models – one thin and one fat. If Mark is serious about the whole fat people can still wear my designs argument, maybe he can make adjustments to the curvier models so that the clothes sit nicely on their body? I have nothing against using normal sized models – just do it properly!  And why has he chosen size 0 and size 12 and has ignored all the sizes in between?

The fact that using a range of models will not work for a fashion show for technical reasons, I believe there’s no need for size 0 or size 12 models. If you are going to use tall girls, use a universal size 8-10. That is better than having a smelly toilet as a consequence of using excessively slender models…At the end of the day,  it is a good move for someone to start using curiver models.

At the end of the day, Mark Fast is one of my favourite designers. His collection with Topshop is highly anticipated by me. Actually when I saw one of the Girls Aloud (Nicole) wore my favourite Mark Fast green frilly skirt. I died.

Mark Fast SS10

Another contender for the award is Peter Pilotto. He is famous for his minimalism and simple draping at the front. People has fallen in love with his SS10 designs, at least I have. It is serious (two piece suit and office dress) yet the clever print makes the seemingly minimal clothes not so minimal anymore. It is very pleasant to look at his clothes. They are clean, tidy and refreshing. It’s like going to the countryside of Swtizerland – well trimmed wilderness that is tranquil and soothing.

Peter Pilotto SS10

Estethica

London is always at the forefront of the fashion world. It is no surprise that it is the first fashion capital to come up with an eco-clothing agenda.Estethica supports designers whose design ethos are as creative as ethical.

The idea of ethical does not stop at organic cotton. The production of raw material, the biodegradablity and the conditions of the dress makers are all part of the equation.

Some people may think that eco-clothing are as dull as a vegan’s diet. It is not. From Ada Zanditon’s colour coded origami top to Stamo’s hand pleated silk fabric. They are as creative and beautiful as non-ethical fashion.

Ada Zanditon is a first class graduate from London College of Fashion. She went on to show her collection at Vauxhall Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week.

Unfortunately Stamo didn’t win any awards in Estethica. She should have. Her pieces are theatrical and intricate. Apart from focussing on sustainability, Stamo also tries to preserve the forgotten craft techniques such as head pleating – which is featured in her SS10 collection.

Eco-fashion

I was writing on my column the other day. I spent 5 hours churning out bullshit that fail to even convince myself. You see, I am not a very green person. I’m the anti-carbonist.

Then I realise that unless you’re a vegan or an extremist (humanity), nobody can resist a £1 pair of tights when the very same product is offered in Boots for £3. And this £3 tights isn’t even green.  And the reality is – is a pair of green tights ever going to be £3 in the near future?

Once I realised this, it took me 5 minutes to churn this out:

I was in Primark the other day and they now make ‘bags for life’. The irony, eh? You buy a pair of Primark knickers and don’t really expect the seams to stay stitched for 24 hours. A bag for life that carries your big Primark shop? You’ll probably get home with just a big handle on your shoulder. No bag, and definitely forget about your shopping.

So what do you do with this wrecked pair of knickers anyway? You bin them. What about the dress which was burst at its seams? You got it for £10; a sewing kit costs £5. You’ll most probably go and buy a new dress. As a result, we all contribute to the clothing related waste in Britain.

The colossal amount of wasted polyesters, viscose and herbicide rich wool amount to the weight of 240,000 double-decker buses every year. On this small island, one of the most populated countries in Europe, it is not the immigrants we’re up against. It is the avalanche of unwanted clothing that is eating up our habitable lands. And it starts from our overflowing wardrobe.

Throwaway fashion’s horrific environment and humanity track record needs no repeating. You can smell the benzene on Primark’s accessory floor and feel the child labour in the buttons.

The reality is, how many of us can resist a £10 trendy new look? A new outfit boosts your confidence like nothing else, it makes you feel new. There’s no rehab for throwaway fashion. No one can help you.

The bottom line is, the more consumers care about eco products, the more the industry is willing to cater to them. So you need to know that eco-fashion is not just about H&M’s organic and fair-trade cotton range. It is about the environment – treated cotton is hard to degrade; polywhatever plastic is toxic to the environment.

Ethical manufacturing allows you to trace your woolie jumper back to the sheep that has produced the yarn (then you know the farmer isn’t keeping his herd in a cardboard box). nd you will also find that the company pays decent wages to its workers. Beautiful Soul, a company that upcycles vintage Japanese kimono, allow asylum seekers in the UK to make friends and learn English while making money by producing eco-friendly garments.

Last but not least, our photo shoot is the final proof against the common belief that anything ethical is boring. The craftsmanship and the creativity that goes into these garments is just as good as in “non-ethical” fashion. If not better.

And yeah, I think I didn’t sell my soul out there. Above were the pics from the shoot.

Acne x Lanvin

Out of many examples in the past where designer/high street collaboration comes to a crash, Lanvin/Acne certainly doesn’t dissapoint. Alber Elbaz’s designs for Acne launches today, pieces are available from Acne’s Lavin site starting today. Adorable pieces, absolutely a pleasure to look at, if not a Christmas treat. Designs have retained the subtle elaboration look executed in simple and precise cut. The latern sleeves that Alber popularised in his SS09 collection is also available for you to take home at £475.  Unfortunately for most items you will not be able to choose size. I guess it is a risk a die heart fan is willing to take. Pieces start from £220 (a plain denim shirt). And as I am writing this, more and more pieces have “out of stock” slashed over its picture. Go quick!

I’d say this is my favourite piece so far. Retained that Lavin’s little black dress glamour with top notch Acne denim fabric. It looks great on, has great cut and only a fraction of the proper Lanvin price. At £440. Also comes in white

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Snobbish Slouch

I dressed slouchy yesterday. I have been reluctant to try this hot trend of the season. Somehow, slouching conveys a hint of a waning positivity. Slouching connotes a sad woman who has seen happier days. As an act of reminiscence, she dresses in her partner’s old clothes. The confidence that can be relayed by our beautiful conture is pared back with just a pair of baggy harem. Talk about the jokes that designers and magazine writers play on us.

I adapted the style to my mood. I tucked in a low cut tank top into a pair of black velvet Marlene Birger high waisted slouchy. The tank was low cut enough to show off my cleavage, and on my neck a vulgar and conspicuous gold necklace. I wore an oversize dirty green silk shirt open buttoned, and tucked the front into my trousers as if I am one of the Backstreet Boys. I put so much gel on my hair that I look right out of the shower. That wet look Agyness Deyn channelled for Armani eyewear.

I have to say I don’t feel superb in the outfit. What I felt is an air of arrogance around me that says, “I have that spare £4 to buy fashion magazines.”

 

“Chocolate Girl” wears a beautiful dress by…?

luo-jing-mina-bird-cage

She is Lou Jing, the Shanghaiese contestent on the Chinese version of the X-Factor. It is hard to believe that she’s a teenager who’s never stood professionally in front of a camera before. Her glance has practically murdered the camera. 

The dress – beautifully layered and embellished, the dress is sexy yet the teenager’s innocence and dignity is not lost. White for peace;  a little wing is sewed on the chest that signifies “soar”.  The khaki tone of the dress has avoided the boring notion and made the wearer stands out from the dark background. Magnificent dress. By the way, who’s designed this dress?

The photoshoot is everything a showbiz newcomer can ask for; the make up is impeccable, the dress is brilliant, the photographer has done her proud. Just fantastic.

Who is this photographer and who’s designed the set? How old is this girl? I tried to get a profile of Lou Jing. No mention of her age nor her education background. All I know is that she’s “half black and half chinese, born out of an extra-marital affair”. Do I really need to know that?

On the X Factor show, the host introduced her to the audience, “Lou Jing’s presence darkens our eyes and but brightens our heart. Her chocolate skin’s representative of her sunny personality.”

Lou Jing then went on to rap about herself – “Hi everyone my name is Lou Jing, I enjoy singing at my free time and maybe also dance a little. When I’ve got nothing better to do, I enjoy a bit of eating. My aim in life is to stay happy, no matter what other people say”.

She seems such a cheerful young woman. Prancy and contend as a teenager. Just like you and me, she’s no difference. The TV hosts kept on drawing attention to her skin, calling her the “chocolate skin lady”. While the comment seems unintentional and non malicious, it highlights the question awareness of racism in China. Unintentionally, all these hosts have fallen into the racist bag if the show’s broadcast anywere outside China.

No, we don’t care about her dress, her make up, her struggle to fame, what matters to her if she wins this… Apparently the television channel that produces the programme initally wanted to reject her on the show. After considering the national controversy that Lou Jing may cause plus the headliners that she will grab for the show, the bosses reverted the decision and allowed her to come on. In the end, Lou Jing did grab a lot of headlines for the show. Anywhere outside China, it won’t be the colour of her skin that makes headlines – it will be the comment of these hosts that do it. Can you imagine Simon Cowell calling Alexandra Burke or Leona Lewis the “Chocolate girl”? JLS the “chocolate boys”? 

Even the decision to allow her on the show wasn’t about her talent. But the colour of her skin. China, especially Shanghai has come a long way since her colonial days. When a sign outside a posh restaurant once read “Chinese and dogs unwelcome”. The Chinese has welcomed a girl of different ethnicity on the TV screen. Good call for marching your way into racial diversity. Except that the motive behind is somehow perverted and manipulative. Except the “netizens” – people who live their life on the internet, who don’t know if their best friend’s a male or a female – gave the poor girl so much abuse.

In an interview, Lou Jing responded to some rather politcally incorrect questions, such as, “I remember you once said that your biggest dream is to become a host, but while you are pursuing your dream, the color of your skin might bring you some unnecessary trouble, why is that?”

To which Lou Jing answered, “Because some of the netizens think I do not meet the aesthetic needs of the Chinese public. And being a host is the most direct way to present images to the public. It is possible some people will like me and some people don’t, for those who do not like me, I need to spend more effort than other hosts to gain their recognition.”

While some may say how politically incorrect that question was, nonetheless Lou Jing has started the race debate in China. The much needed national education that everyone in China needs.

(I can’t help but to think though,  “girl, stand up for yourself!”. There’s something Lou Jing needs to learn from Leona Lewis.  Tell the interviewer to fuck off. Tell them to learn social decency before he/she comes back and asks relevant and sensible questions.)

If China thinks that an “international event” such as the Olympics and carefully crafted sportsmen uniform; modern landmark such as the CCTV headquarters and demonstration of China’s advance armament are enough to project China’s success on the international stage and to convince everyone that “we’re as good as everybody else”. Maybe it’s not just about the hardware. Her people’s mindset needs adjusting too.