Back in the USSR: An adventure through fashion film

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On the streets of Moscow in 1985

Recently LCF’s Nilgin Yusuf (Programme Director of Media for the Graduate School and Course leader of MA Fashion Media Production) touched down in Moscow to talk about Fashion Film to a new generation of creatives. The trip brought up memories of her first ever visit to the enigmatic city, 29 years ago. The fashion media production course leader and former Sunday Times Fashion Editor told us about her experience of old and new…

Arriving in Moscow in 1985 as a 19 year old art student was like being deposited, courtesy of Aeroflot, on another planet. I was on a two week art trip in respectively Moscow and Leningrad and after recovering from the extreme food-poisoning encountered on the plane, I was left to consider the vastness, strangeness and otherness of this city. Then, it was still a Communist state so queues for everything, a trudging workforce, haggling hotel maids, Moskvitches and snow.

It had a strange and powerful beauty; a sense of enormous scale. I was taken by the unabashed masculinity of a city like Moscow which seemed more authentic than the coy and prettified Leningrad (Peter the Great was obsessed by Venice and built his city not on Rock and Roll but the Italian capital). Being Western consumers, we sought out trophies: cool Russian watches that cost a few pounds, furry headgear or bold, modern posters extolling the workers or classic Russian movies. Neville Brody had introduced us to Russian Constructivism via The Face and we revelled in the real deal.

In Gum, the traditional shopping arcade, my pals & I happened across a shop that sold magnificent, engineered and reinforced womens girdles that were more Gaultier than Gaultier. We all came back with crushes on Mayokovsky, the 1920s Russian revolutionary poet, who we recognised as the first rapper. My friend even did her dissertation on him.

On my return, I headed to a three month internship at Vogue where a call came through the main office: “Does anyone know anything about this Russian designer called Slava Zaitsev?” asked a fashion editor. “I do..I was at his show last month in Moscow.” I was then invited in to be interviewed for the Channel 4 News, an occasion that my Dad lit a cigar for.

Twenty nine years later, I was invited by the British Council to a two day event exploring Fashion film. It would take place in Tsvetnoy, Moscow’s finest and trendiest department store. This was an amazing invitation and the event was well attended by a smart, media savvy audience.

Twenty nine years is a long time. Moscow was no longer alien territory but familiar, like Milan or Paris. Once, there was East and West, now, it’s one long Euro Zone. There is plenty of everything, instantly and a fiesta of brands: Macdonalds, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, BMW. Those hallmarks of capitalism – posters that invite you to buy, buy, buy – are everywhere, filling up the spaces which were once gaping and cavernous. I sought out traces of old Moscow. I scanned the city for hammers and sickles or statues of workers but they were rare. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t fail to impress, though.

I was ordered to buy a fur hat by my twelve year old and to do so had to go into a tourist shop which sells impressions of Russia to the west: painted wooden dolls, communist badges and tourist kitsch. Down the road was a second hand book market where my Russian student, Olya, my guide for a day found a 1950s book of Mayokovsky poetry. Twenty-nine years ago, there had been no fashionable department stores, no internet and therefore no fashion film. But I treasure the sense of adventure, discovery and other-worldliness. Something you won’t find in Starbucks.

Fashion Textiles Graduate sells unique designs at Secret Garden Party Festival

Nicole Parkauskas, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles

Nicole Parkauskas, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles

BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles graduate, Nicole Paskauskas, has won a £500 scholarship to bring her unique jewellery pieces to the Secret Garden Party Festival. We caught up with the new graduate, whose work was seen on the LCFBA14 Runway, to find out what festival goers can discover on her stall…

LCF News: So how did this all come about?

Nicole Paskauskas: I’ve been going to Secret Garden Party Festival for about 4 or 5 years now so being a massive fan of the secret emporium tent I always wanted to get involved with them. The festival were offering scholarship places for stalls worth £500 and since the tickets were completely sold out I thought, now is the perfect time to apply!

LCF: And what will you be selling at the festival?

NP: My jewellery has come about through a natural progression – I sold it at LCF’s College Shop, and it was also featured on the BA14 Runway. It’s jewellery made using the same braiding techniques that I developed during my final year at LCF. Selling it on stalls was just the next step towards starting to develop my brand.

For the stall I’ve recycled off cuts of old furniture and scraps of wood and painted them white to build a sculpture that I can hang my braided jewellery from. I had no money to spend on proper stands so it really forced me to put some thought into it!

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#ClothesToDieFor – the Centre for Sustainable Fashion lead the debate

Image Credit: BBC/Quicksilver Media/Taslima Akhter, Photographer: Taslima Akhter, Image Copyright: Taslima Akhter

Image Credit: BBC/Quicksilver Media/Taslima Akhter; Photographer:
Taslima Akhter; Image Copyright: Taslima Akhter.

Following an eye-opening documentary on BBC 2, ‘Clothes To Die For’, the Centre for Sustainable Fashion hosted a tweetchat to debate the crucial topics raised by the programme.

The programme highlighted the experiences of those affected by the Rana Plaza factory collapse disaster in 2013. Talking to followers on @sustfash and with thoughts from the centre’s Director @dilyswilliams and @LCFLondon, as well as members of the fashion industry, the team explored what should be done to prevent this kind of tragedy.

In the same week, Dilys Williams also gave an interview to London Live, calling for a fashion system which respects those who make what we wear.

LCF’s Asger Juel Larsen wins International Woolmark Prize European Heat

Asper Juel Larsen - Winner of Woolmark Prize European Heat

Asger Juel Larsen – Winner of Woolmark Prize European Heat with his oversized cream coat. Photo: Vogue.co.uk

LCF 2011 MA Graduate Asger Juel Larsen was successful at winning the European heats for the International Woolmark Prize this week. He will now move on to the final where he will face off against four other menswear designers from Australia, America, Asia, India and the Middle East.

Copenhagen based designer Asger, a BAMA Fashion Design Technology: Menswear graduate, beat nine other names to be honoured in the first dedicated men’s category of the prize’s history. To win the regional semifinal competition, designers were tasked with creating a look made from Merino Wool to show to a panel at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris.

One judge, director of menswear at Hermes, Veronique Nichanian, commented on Larsen’s excellent delivery:

Asger’s presentation was very structured and well-articulated, his research on fabrics and textures was elaborate and accomplished. The decision was made as one voice.

The decision to crown the London College of Fashion graduate’s oversized cream coat (pictured above) was unanimous according to reports. Other judges on the men’s board included James Leaford, Fashion Editor of GQ France; Sarah Andleman, Creative Director of Colette; and Tim Blanks, Editor-at-Large of Style.com.

Asger was lauded for his “commercial understanding and application of Merino wool” – his oversized cream jacket taking centre stage at the proceedings.

Asger must now design a capsule collection in Merino wool to be showcased during London Collections: Men in January 2015. Success in the final round would see the designer walk away with an additional 100,000 AUD (£54,000) along with the opportunity to be stocked in retailers such as Harvey Nichols in London, Colette in Paris and 10 Corso Como in Milan.

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The House of Worth: Portrait of an Archive

The House of Worth: Portrait of an Archive

The House of Worth: Portrait of an Archive by Amy de la Haye & Valerie Mendes

Professor of Dress History and Curatorship, and Centre for Fashion Curation co-director, Amy de la Haye has co-authored a book on the House of Worth Archive with her V&A colleague, Valerie Mendes. The book was 6 years in the making and is published by the V&A, where both have worked as curators.

Charles Frederick Worth was an English designer who made his mark on the French fashion industry in the mid 19th Century and is widely considered the father of Haute Couture.

Their monograph brings together hundreds of photographs selected from the V&A’s unique archive of over 7,000 official house records. The images used capture the Worth style and offer fascinating insights into the daily routine of the House. The book tells the intriguing story of their acquisition and their historical context, and describes Worth’s international clientele of elegant women of wealth and power, from Lillie Langtry and Sarah Bernhardt to the Duchess of Marlborough.

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MA Costume Design for Performance Featured on primetime Italian TV

Viola Cesa De Marchi – MA Costume Design for Performance Graduate

On 7th July, Rai 5 in Italy (One of Italy’s mainstream Television networks), showcased some of our MA Costume Design for Performance talent on their hit show Ubiq. They follow one of our students, Viola Cesa De Marchi preparing for her performance in Shakespeare’s Tribes at the Victoria and Albert Museum and also speak to the Course Director Agnes Treplin.

The programme (shot by videomaker Piers Sanderson), was created to join costume design students from the London College of Fashion, Central Saint Martins, and other creative schools, to create ‘Shakespeare Tribes’ and claim ‘territories’ in the Victoria & Albert Museum back in May to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the playwriters birth. During the V&A’s Shakespeare’s Tribes event, Costume Design students from the above colleges showcased live performances, short films and a costume exhibition, with the tribes being defined by specific dress, behaviour and performance codes. Shakespeare Tribes is part of the SharedSpace project in cooperation with the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.

This was a truly fantastic piece of international press coverage for our MA course, so many thanks to Agnes, Viola and all those who helped make the performance exhibition a huge success.

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Fashion Illustration secrets from the BA14 Runway Show

Following LCF’s BA14 Summer Season we saw tons of beautiful images all over social media from students, graduates and industry alike.

However, one set of images really caught our eye – Megan-Ruth St Clair Morgan, BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration student, dropped us a line to say she had live illustrated the BA14 Runway Show. We couldn’t overlook such wonderful work so we asked Megan to tell us the secret to creating beautiful fashion drawings in super short bursts of time…

LCF News: How do you manage to create these beautiful images in such a short space of time? We reckon you must have only a few minutes from when the collection hits the runway to when it disappears off the scene!

Megan: Well that’s something I ask myself all the time and get asked all the time! I think I would say lots of practice… It’s using quick ways of getting the image onto paper that helps. I use a water brush, watercolours and fine liners to create drawings. I also add in the use of a few big markers to create big marks from time to time. Let’s just say I like shows where the models walk slow! Read the rest of this entry »

LCF’s Dr. Shaun Cole awarded PhD for his thesis, ‘Sexuality, identity and the clothed male body.’

Dr Shaun Cole,

Dr Shaun Cole, Director of the Graduate School’s Culture and Curation Programme

Director of the Graduate School’s Culture & Curation programme, Shaun Cole has completed his PhD titled ‘Sexuality, Identity and the Clothed Male Body’, and is now Dr. Shaun Cole.

Shaun’s thesis draws together his key works: Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: Gay Men’s Dress in the Twentieth Century (Berg, 2000); and The Story of Men’s Underwear (Parkstone International Press, 2010) – and two chapters in edited books – ‘Butch Queens in Macho Drag: Gay Men, Dress and Subcultural Identity’ (2008) and ‘Hair and Male (Homo)Sexuality: Up-Top and Down Below’ (2008).

By examining the major themes of sexuality, identity, subcultural formation, men’s dress, masculinities, clothes and the body, his thesis presents a comprehensive investigation of these relatively neglected areas of fashion study and dress history.

Interview: Alumnae Tina and Nikita Sutradhar of MIUNIKU, LVMH Special Prize winners

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Since graduating from BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology Womenswear in 2013, sisters Tina and Nikita Sutradhar have made a dream debut into the fashion industry with their Mumbai-based label MIUNIKU. Claiming the Innovation Award for their final collection at the LCF BA13 Catwalk Show was just the beginning of a spectacular run of success that has seen them lift the ISKO™ Denim Diffusion Award, reach the semi-finals of the H&M Design Awards 2014, and be awarded a Special Prize in the prestigious LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers.

The sibling design duo were selected by some of the biggest names in fashion to take the LVMH Special Prize, including Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquière, Phoebe Philo, Riccardo Tisci, Kenzo’s creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, and LVMH executives Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie and Pierre-Yves Roussel. The award comes with a €100,000 prize fund and a year of mentoring from LVMH.

We caught up with Tina and Nikita to find out how it feels to win and what’s next in the sparkling story of MIUNIKU…

How does it feel to be awarded the LVMH Special Prize alongside Hood By Air, coming just second to Thomas Tait, who you previously interned with?

It feels quite amazing! We don’t really have the words to express it. It’s quite surreal! Interning at Thomas’s really gave us confidence to do our college projects better. We are so happy that Thomas won the main prize. His work is absolutely brilliant and it feels like a family win, to have won second to him alongside Hood By Air.

What was the LVMH finalists judging panel like?

We were like, ‘Are we dreaming?’! This was the first time that all of the judges were together in the same room. But as daunting as it may sound, they were really nice and easy to talk to.

Why do you think you have had so much success so quickly after graduating from LCF?

We are really thankful to God for this. We are also ever so grateful to LCF. Everything from the tutorials with Rob Phillips, Liliana Sanguino, James Pegg and the guest tutors, to the way the units were designed, helped us to shape our brand identity. To get a chance to see your collection on the runway is quite amazing and the Showtime platform really opened doors for us!

What will you do with the €100,000 prize fund? And what do you hope to learn from the year of mentoring?

We will use the prize fund for the business. So everything from making the next collection, to presenting it, moving to London, renting a studio space, etc. We really value the mentoring as well, we hope to learn how to go about the business and it will help us to make sure we are on the right track.

Tell us about your work environment: where is your work space and what is it like?

At the moment we are working from home in Mumbai. So we use our dining table for cutting and there are 2 sewing machines and an iron. When we move to London we will set up a proper studio to work from.

How many people are working in your company and how do you produce your collections?

As of now it’s just the two of us and we will be hiring two local seamstresses to help us out.

How would you describe your brand aesthetic? Does your brand have a particular philosophy?

Our brand aesthetic is a balance between clean lines and graphic details. A mix of minimal and maximal elements. We don’t have a particular brand philosophy, but making well-finished garments with good design value is our priority.

What do your family think of your brand and your amazing success?

They are really happy! Many people thought it was a waste of money to go abroad and study fashion instead of studying to be a doctor or engineer. It was difficult for my parents to fund our whole study, but this is what we have always wanted to do and they have always been supportive! So they are absolutely ecstatic and really excited.

What’s next for MIUNIKU?

Our next step is to make our SS15 collection. We are planning a small presentation in Paris and we are also invited to show our next collection in Dubai in the end of October as a part of the Vogue Italia Dubai Fashion Experience. So we are really, really excited about what lies ahead!

Thanks Tina and Nikita! We can’t wait to hear about your next success!

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LCF designers host pop up shop at Ram Place Fashion Market

Emily Carter, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles

Emily Carter, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles

LCF students and alumni will be hosting a stall at the Barbican’s Ram Place Fashion Market over the next two weekends. At the pop-up space you will find a selection of limited edition products for sale, showcasing work from our design students and BA14 graduates.

Exclusive and affordable products will be available from a range of courses including BA (Hons) Fashion Jewellery, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles and BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories: Product Design and Innovation. Designers include talented first year accessories student, Daniel Thompson who will showcase his leather backpack which can be made to order; Class of 2014 BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles graduate Nicole Paskauskas, who will be selling her new collection of accessories ‘Wrapped’; and another new textile graduate, Emily Carter, who will be selling her intricate flora and fauna fine pen illustrations and silk scarves.

There will be an abundance of jewellery to entice and excite, with Ariel Chen selling pieces from her BA (Hons) Fashion Jewellery graduate collection ‘Dark Opulance’ alongside Rachel Yeung’s delicate metal work and Qian Yang’s ‘Pearl Necklace’ collection, and not to forget the beautiful handcrafted glass bead work of Vidhi Chandiramani.

There will be something for everyone, so pop in to see us to pick up a unique gift or special treat!

Industry and alumni advise the Class of 2014 for LCF’s tweetchat: #LCFBA14 – What next?

The LCFBA14 Employability tweetchat. Photo: Iris Bjork, BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Photography

The LCFBA14 Employability tweetchat. Photo: Iris Bjork, BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Photography.

This summer season, the Class of 2014 have proven that they’ve got creative talent, fresh ideas and a determination to succeed but what happens next? How can they make their ambitions a reality in the fashion industry?

@LCFLondon and @LCFCareers discussed exactly that with top recruiters and LCF alumni who have already made those crucial steps into the industry. Here’s what we discovered…

How do you secure that first big role?

Recruiters were hot on the topic of giving that all essential advice for landing your first role:

LCF students have the chance to be involved in lots of schemes via LCF Careers which help them to secure placements, work experience and paid internships, as well as get coaching from industry mentors. Alumni spoke about the importance of these opportunities and making the most of them whilst studying in order to enter the industry with a better sense of what you want to do and how to achieve it: Read the rest of this entry »