These are strange days indeed. As we move further into 2012 the geo-political landscape is altering at lightening speed. Many are calling this a peak moment as all our problems start to go critical. We face the combined realities of a global Climate Crisis, nuclear crisis, financial crisis, peak oil, food shortages, a cancer epidemic, multiple wars, and a deepening quagmire of multi faceted social issues.
Previously environmental experts and reporters often used the prefix “looming” but as we stare down at the beginnings of extensive global systems collapse it is clear that it is not looming in the shadows anymore – but clearly here already. It is 2012 and we are on the on-ramp of radical change. Continue reading
Transcend the percieved boundaries of size, season, gender, form and status – celebrate craftsmanship, handwork and fabric, the intrinsic quality imbued in things through the love and hands of their makers. Accept and integrate the polarities of function and adornment, and incorporate the totems and talismans which add meaning to our existence and define our tribes. Clothes that are defined by the spirit of the wearer and teh present moment, that grow and evolve developing patina, texture and lustre through use. Allow our clothes a future, to be part of an on-going process in our lives, not finished statements – appretiate the creases and signs of wear, the wrinkles and traces of our lives on our bodies and our clothes, the charm of the imperfect, the impression of the body through cloth giving life each time it is worn. Go beyond the constant quest for the new, and respect what we are and what we have, cherish and re-cycle the old and used within our lives, value familiarity and love born of intimacy. See the beauty of things with our own eyes, even if it is at odds with accepted values. That which is inside as well as what may be outside, the beauty of the spirit as well as the body – things that reflect the joy of being alive, the beauty of the soul, that are life enhancing and affirm our integrity. Be open to change and blend the new technologies with the best of the past into the fabric of our lives.
Words by Ray Harris
My thoughts turn to love as Valentines Day comes round again. Actually I realise that I have been musing on love’s complexities almost non-stop for the last 5 years. It is the well, which nourishes all my ideas and ideals. Be it love of the land or love of justice, love of good design or love of humanity – ultimately all my work is inspired by love. It seems clear to me that if the world can learn how to create with love we will make better leaders, better communities, better buildings, better clothes, better systems, better parents – and, yes, better lovers…
But as it is Valentines Day I will be looking in depth at Romantic Love.
Like it or not humans are hard-wired for Love. The language of Love has inspired some of our greatest works of Art, Literature and Poetry as the great creators of each generation soared on the wings of Love. Be it unrequited, ignited or blighted; there are more songs devoted to the subject of Love than any other. Indeed you could say that the modern pop song is now more resonant to the population than Poetry or Art and when the energy from a song resonates it can have a profound effect on the listener. Love is a crucial part of being human, it is what keeps us sane and the lack of it, shown to us via violence, self-harm, Narcissim and other character disorders, is a grave concern. But Love is no basic emotion, it has a physical kick as hard as any mule. When Love comes calling you FEEL it – there is no mistaking its presence.
A wise person once said ‘just because a person can Blog doesn’t mean they should.”
While the status and indeed reach of many bloggers continues to rise and rise it still proves to be a highly complex area.
The uniquely 21st Century phenomenon known as blogging continues to enthral and amaze me. The fact that we have free speech and a democratic world-platform (via the internet) gives me great hope. While toothless Fashion Editors continue to kiss Ass just to keep Advertisers happy the free Fashion Blogger (or any other blogger for that matter) can tell it like it really is. Fashion blogs are now widely regarded as an essential part of the fashion industry and many fashion bloggers now command significant income and front row status at the shows, as designers understand how considerable their influence really is.
The Sartorialist is probably the best known fashion blog, founder Scott Shuman has in the past 6 years had a huge impact on Planet Fashion and along the way managed to produce a best selling book, shoot major campaigns for Burberry and DKNY and has been mentioned in TIME magazine as one of the top 100 style influencers.
Schuman understood the unique interface between Internet, Art and Commerce. Though his posts are not hugely intellectual, he has touched a generation via his thoughtful imagery. For those who want to get to grips with the deeper workings of blogs and ways to earn money on line this link is excellent. Continue reading
Last week Silvio Berlusconi resigned after 17 years in power.
Italy (and indeed Europe) continues to be in a profound state of flux but this resignation is more potent and pivotal than anyone is able to grasp at present. The significance of the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand in 1914 only became clear long after the event – I believe that it will only be in hindsight that we see the monumental importance of this moment in modern European history.
Italy has always been at the epicentre of beauty and drama – it is absolutely part of their make up. Italian culture has richly influenced the world bringing us exquisite and captivating Art, literature and Architecture. It was Italians that brought us Leonardo Da Vinci, Marco Polo, Federico Fellini, Pasta, Galileo, Sophia Loren, Dante and Anna Piaggi. And remnants of the Holy Roman Empire still stand today as magnificent reminders of Italy’s powerful past. Italians with their passion and originality have made the world a better and a brighter place.
Italy became the self appointed fashion capital of Europe after the second world war when, having backed the “wrong side” the Italians endeavoured to recover both national pride and economic stability by implementing a brilliant PR strategy known as “reconstructioni”. Huge tax incentives were given to fashion designers and creatives of all kinds in order to secure Italy as the new creative capital for peacetime. As La Dolce Vita, Ferreagamo, Gucci, Monica Vitti and Missoni, Ferrari and Fendi all exploded into our consciousness we welcomed the alluring new Italian Fashion ideal and forgave them for their fascist transgressions. Continue reading
According to a report this week by Rueters nearly 300 Cambodian garment workers fell sick on tuesday August 23rd 2011 at a factory producing goods for Swedish company H&M. Police reported that a total of 284 workers collapsed at the factory in Kampong Chhanang, and confirmed that workers smelled something bad coming from the shirts before fainting.
It seems that the mass fainting is a double edged sword, brought on by extreme toxicty from the garmens ( unconfirmed reports say it is to do with pesticde spray) combined with workers suffering from malnutrition and exhaustion.
Union Representative Norn Leakhena said ” The factory’s boss had forced workers to work an extra 4 to 6 hours a day for the past few months”. An executive for H&M confirmed the Kampong Chnnang facility produces knitwear for H&M. He said poor health was an underlying cause of the fainting. “The workers’ health is poor. They don’t eat breakfast and come to work very tired.” Now if H&M really cared they could provide on site breakfast for workers and decent working conditions and fair pay. We know this is possible as many garment factories already do this. Continue reading
The home, while providing warmth and shelter, is also a form of self-expression. Our castle, our platform, our playpen. A blank canvas on which to play. A place to uniquely express our humanity. But, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide “good taste” has seeped perniciously into our lives, changing the way we inter-act with our homes. John Betjeman called it “Ghastly Good Taste”. Cheap mass production, a steady TV-diet of home make- overs and the plethora of gorgeous interiors magazines have combined to powerfully persuade us to conform to the current notions contemporary good taste. But when a lampshade at Ikea or a kitchen in a Jiff commercial start to look desirable – you know you are in trouble.
Happily not everyone is obsessed with appearances. There is an exotic minority with quite different priorities, and these people form a movement I have dubbed the Negligencia. The enlightened few that have transcended trends, laughed in the face of housework and turned their backs on polished floors forever. It takes true self-confidence to be a member of the New Negligencia; to live as you feel – not as you ought. This small band of men and women are interior Anarchists and they don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. Continue reading
The sickening Mass of mass-production combined with an ever-shrinking personal budget is forcing the consumer to think and act differently. We currently have a vacuum, and as we know from our great philosophers; nature abhors a vacuum. This means we are at a crucial and very interesting stage in terms of cultural dynamics.
We have betrayed our young, they are variously locked in their rooms plugged into a computer, lying in a pool of puke after a binge, or rioting in the streets. Whatever they are doing they are often depressed frightened and angry – and rightly so! Their future has been stolen and they are mad as hell. What is needed now is a radical new expression for what the kids are feeling now; fashion for the people by the people. Hoodies wont cut it – Top Shop etc.. is boring. We/They have seen it all before. We need a true fashion revolution. And we need it now. Last time we had this much cultural dissatifaction we got Punk, before that Glam Rock, the Hippies, and the Bohemians. How will humanity respond to the crushing dispair of looming Economic and Ecological distaster and the endless limitations now being placed on them now?
It is too soon to say what that new cultural expression will be. There are rumblings and strange new directions already being felt on the wind. I dont believe the new look will be a one-size-fits-all affair. This is a global village with many tribes so it is healthy to see many expressions. While obviously destructive, I believe the recent Riots in London also had a creative edge – it looked like an experiment in extreme shopping to me and I am sure we will be seeing more of this in the coming A/W season! There are of course still morons who follow trends (Will balaklavas be big on the runway this season as art imitates life?) but the coolios know instinctively how to be authentic and we need fashion to be led by authentic designers and the kids themselves – not a bunch of creepy self-styled trend predictors. When fashion is at its best it is organic, wild and wilful. We need to learn to think for ourselves and be less uptight. To mix metaphors and stand up for what we believe in. Continue reading
Destruction, catastrophic damage to humans and enviroment and loss of eco systems is happening on a mass scale everyday. THIS IS ECOCIDE!
A slow mass suicide that is effecting every man woman and child, every part of our globe and all animal species. On September 30th we are staging a mock Ecocide trial at the UK’s Supreme Court in London when a judge, jury and barristers will test the crime of Ecocide as if it was already law. Ecocide is the environmental equivalent of genocide and last year the British Lawyer, Polly Higgins proposed to the United Nations that it should become the 5th Crime Against Peace, alongside Genocide itself, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Crimes of Aggression. Her book Eradicating Ecocide, Laws and Governance to Prevent the Destruction of our Planet has just won The People’s Book Prize 2011! Continue reading