After sitting around today watching old GossipGirl episodes (which I love love love) I was weirdly inspired by Jenny Humphrey. I know right, how cliche. In season 2 Jenny is all about starting her future, creating her own designs, becoming the next big designer.
But putting the big dreams aside and coming down from the clouds in to reality, what actually caught my attention was how she always made sure she was her own brand ambassador.
I know that sounds simple and completely obvious but for someone so young who was just starting out, people kept on noticing and mentioning (obviously for character and plot development purposes) that sporting her own designs showed how serious she was about her future. Something I sometimes take for granted.
Often when I go out as soon as I mention I’m a seamstress the first thing a person will say is “Oh I can tell you’re into fashion, you look very stylish and well put together…” and then they always go on to ask “Are you wearing anything you’ve made today?” Like I’m this magical genie that can make everything from jeans to coats. Mostly I say no and show them pictures of my work/point them to the website. Or they’ll see that something I’m wearing has a hole/rip in the seam and ask why I haven’t fixed it myself.
Mostly I don’t because of the principle. If I drop 100 quid on a coat from Zara and a couple months later its ripping at the seams after hardly being worn that is just a joke. Shame on you Zara. Its a weird type of personal protest that only I understand. Time to stop being so stubborn.
So I’ve spent today working on my own clothes that need altering/fixing/remaking. The picture includes a few examples – A leather and boucle jacket, a fur scarf, a Zara coat…. Hopefully I’ll put some more photos up soon in Projects…
When it’s broke times and you need something new to wear a good bargain feels like the best thing in the world.
Strolling through Kilburn market me and my friend Ash found a little stall where a lovely Nigerian woman was trying her hardest to get us to buy some fabric that was on sale. Most of them didn’t really catch our eye. But then one was hanging from the ceiling and had some pretty interesting patterns on it… then she showed us a bag made of the same fabric which looked so dope we needed to know the price. And when she said “For you girls £15 for 5 yards” all we could say was “Auntie thank you so much!” about a million times.
So I took the fabric home and made 2 dresses, one for myself and another for Ash, completely different but suited our styles and personalities. This picture was styled and taken by my friend Olivia who is a vintage hair stylist. I’m like the token black girl on her Instagram page @vintage_hair_girl
Pictures of dresses up soon on Projects
‘Instead of referring to any particular tradition, One Hundred Hassocks consists of twenty black hassocks and eighty in various greens. Black speaks to/reflects the void of grief, amd the greens are about renewal’ Description of Installation by artist Grace Adam
This summer I got to work with artist Grace Adam.
Her installation ‘Modes of Remembrance: The Act and Art of Remembering’ is being shown in St Giles Church, Covent Garden.
So in May I got a text asking if I was able to make 100 church hassock covers. After quickly googling what they are I was super excited to work with Grace.
The job spec involved 20 black covers and 80 green going from light to dark. I decided to choose several interesting different types of fabrics and textures including velvet, shot taffeta and brushed satin.
It was a mad rush, repeating the same steps 100 times over and over again, with only one casualty. My hands have never felt so crippled but they, along with a poor impaled finger, soldiered on like warriors. But seeing them laid out made it all worth it.
I look forward to working with Grace again in the future!
More pictures located in Projects.
Shepherds Bush Market
So on a trip to Shepherds Bush market today for some fabric research I came across this amazing wall, devoted to leather.
Beautiful, smooth, pungent smelling leather.
My obsession with leather comes from spending a lot of time with artist Holly Thoburn who managed to wear leather in the most classy way. She was making it chic before the whole trend started. Leather trousers, leather shirt, cropped boucle and leather jacket, leather rings etc…
I decided to do my A2 Level final project based on her and her style. It involved hand cutting a lace pattern in to leather, to be sewn on a leather cotton and lace dress. My teacher said it couldn’t be done in 2 weeks. She ate her words.
Since then every time I smell, see or touch anything made of good quality leather my mind goes to this little happy place where anything is possible.
I was so distracted that when the shop assistant came and asked me if I needed any help my immediate reaction was to blurt out: “just let me finish taking pictures of this amazing shrine to leather pleaaaase!” He backed away slowly like I was a mad woman so I had to excuse myself gracefully and tried to leave with my dignity intact…
So this is Hannah. I met her 2 years ago when she moved to London from Sydney, Australia. I think I was like the 5th African she had ever met. See I had no idea that they’re not so used to seeing people of African descent Down Under. Who knew? I just assume we’ve slowly spread around the world.
So long story short she became one of my closest friends and after my initial plans of trying to marry her off to a british citizen so she could stay forever failed and her visa ran out I wanted to give her something special to take home.
I had to come up with an elaborate plan to get her measurements, get her to try it on and fit it to her without her having any idea it was intended for her. However, after the second fitting she caught me unprepared and simply asked in her sweet innocent tone “so who is this skirt for?” Couldn’t lie, had to admit it and she said “Now I’ll have a piece of Ghana to take back home!”
Needless to say there were tears. But anyway I hope to experiment more with traditional clothes and western styles. More to come…
So this is Chelsea. She’s a freelance dancer, has the most hair I’ve ever seen on one head and is so lovely!
She needed some costumes made for a dance competition and last minute her inital plans fell through. I met her a week before her competition and promised that I would make the impossible possible. Which involved not sleeping for 3 days, breaking every sewing machine needle I had, listening to Bastille, Lorde and Lana Del Rey on repeat, and being completely wrecked for about 3 weeks afterward. But it was completely worth it for the look of joy on her face alone. She looked like a superhero, it was like helping Wonder Woman get dressed. It may have been the most stressful couple of days in my life but when she sent me these pictures of the final effect I’m not gonna lie, I started to tear up just a little bit…
Made to measure leotard. Designed by Chelsea (freelance dancer)