irritation of the oyster, creates the pearl

first year fashion design student blogging about things….

Month: February, 2012

Rastafarian culture – London

Adopted in the UK during the 1980s but actually originating in Jamaica in the 1930s. The rastafarian culture was exposed to society through reggae music and artists like Bob Marley. Followers were influenced by traditions linked back to the religion but it was also used as a way of finding solace during political hardship for black youths in Britain. People were likely to be seen wearing clothes matching the colours of the Jamaican flag, hair in dreadlocks and smoking cannabis.

Those that immersed themselves fully within the culture adopted the religious beliefs right through to altering their eating habits. But obviously the most controversial tradition that remains is the drug use. Members of the culture claim that cannabis is sanctioned in the bible and helps free your mind, bringing you closer to god. In terms of the use in Britain during the 80s it was probably one of the more ‘lighter’ substances in use. Alongside all the raving, techno and acid scene, cannabis, although still a problem, I dont think it was yet deemed as much of a concern like it is today.

The subculture continues to grow today,  in both it’s lighter and extreme forms, across the globe. Reaching countries including Japan, many parts of Europe and America.



Midnight Express

Today Joe gave a presentation on the LE PEST C factors concerning the 1970s. A few things that stood out to me which I wish to cover begin with wanting to find out what the term “midnight express” means. I now know that it was the name given to a book written by Billy Hayes in 1977 and a year later a film adaptation was produced.

Upon searching for what the term midnight express may stand for I was faced with two very different interpretations. According to Wikipedia under the description of the film the term is described as an attempt to escape from prison by inmates. According to urban dictionary the term is described as an act of sodomy that can be performed at any time of the day but holds more significance when performed during the midnight hour…….I’ll leave that one with you!

Like most film adaptations the actual ratio of facts versus fiction was low in terms of facts. Oliver Stone who penned the adaptation explained that his reasoning behind changing so much of the information was so that the film would enhance the viewer’s senses while creating an awareness on human rights and abuse suffered in foreign countries.

The film went on to be remembered as one of the first of it’s kind to portray foreign prison culture and provided wisdom to the society on drug related charges even though by the 1970s the use of recreational drugs had become somewhat acceptable.


Burberry Prorsum A/W 2012

Today saw the showing of Burberry Prorsum’s A/W 2012 collection at London Fashion Week. I was personally blown away with it and felt it deserved to shared everywhere.

Military influences are evident in the colour palette and traditional tailored jackets with also an injection of classic Burberry check, tweeds and stripes which created a perfectly acceptable collision of town and country.

Hope you enjoy!


East meets West

When asked to describe something significant from the 60s, nine times out of ten people will mention the summer of love and hippies! Although all that flower power was interesting does anyone understand where the ingredients for this culture change emerges from?!

Like most things the hippy culture was publicised and brought to society through iconic people of the time – musicians, intellectuals and even politicians. I discovered that popular musicians, The Beatles were inspired by a trip they took to India in 1968 which was then penetrated into Western society through their music and choice of clothes. For example a jacket originally worn by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was then made famous in the UK by The Beatles and dubbed ‘the Nehru jacket’. It resembled a tailored, fitted suit like jacket and measured to hip length. Followers of the hippy culture would wear the jacket with beads in order to represent their cultural style.

Another fashionable trait to reach Western culture from the East was tie-dying. Originating from an Indian resist-dying technique called bandhani which in Hindi means to dye or bind. The process consists of binding small areas of fabric and dipping into coloured dye in order to create circular patterns and motifs.

Even further west poet Allen Ginsberg was introducing Eastern religion to Americans. There was a large interest amongst rebellious youths in art, culture and religion in America during the 60s. Influences from Indian culture was welcomed through Ginsberg’s lecturing periods in colleges.

Typical Nehru jacket


Pure London

This week there was no class, instead we were allowed to visit the Pure London trend show at Kensington Olympia. Having never been to a trend show this was quite exciting. There was a presentation on next seasons trend forecast from an industry expert at WGSN, 100s of independent brands showcasing their next season collections, shows throughout the day and freebies!

Although many of the brands will probably make their way into high street stores as concessions, many of which I dont tend to shop in, there were still a lot of other elements for me to take away. Seeing the type of colour ways on display, fabrics and prints and also accessories and footwear trends provided me with my own inspiration to build design ideas and my next season wardrobe.

Held twice yearly, I will definitely be in attendance for the next one.

Some (badly photographed) images below of an afternoon show by WGSN.





‘La Pretiosa’

In last week’s class it was briefly mentioned that a new handbag has been created following the emergence of a Leonardo da Vinci drawing.

Intrigued by this I managed to find some articles online detailing the story. Italian designer Gherardini has recreated a handbag design originally drawn by renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th Century. The drawing was originally found in 1978 but after being overlooked for more than 30 years, art historian Alessandro Vezzosi has republished the drawing which is now being brought to life by Gherardini.

The limited edition bag named ‘La Pretiosa’ which means precious will be on sale in March 2012 and only 99 pieces will be available. All will be handcrafted in Florence, Italy out of calfskin leather and brass and each will come with a book on Da Vinci.

In relation to what we are learning in class this type of news represents how designers across the globe and influenced and driven in design by all manner of concepts. This one being art and an artist. It is also clear that designers embrace and value their cultural history and will frequently take inspiration from this when considering new collections.

Below are images and a short video demonstrating the construction of the unique bag.


A trip to Paris

Last night I arrived in Paris, -4 degrees and somewhat cloudy! A city I’ve never been to but fully appreciate why it is championed for classic fashion. With some of the most influential and powerful designers emerging from this city I felt eager to soak up everything.

While here something I definitely want to capture are elements of architecture and outdoorsy things that have previously inspired designers in collections. I want to understand how the environment can be channeled into design and shape. The current climate is great starting point as arctic conditions are also inspiring many designers with their A/W collections for 2012. French designer Roland Mouret  being one of them is noted for being inspired by the coldest winter on French record in 1947. Referred to as the “big freeze” then Mouret began thinking of ideas of layering and folding garments in order to protect the body in a sort of military fashion but cleverly transforming the garments into elegant, feminine and soft pieces. And not only using the inspiration in the silhouette but executing it into the colour palette too.

Below are images of his recent collection showcased at Paris Fashion Week.