Talented Friends: Mindy Nettles

I've been thinking about taking the blog further. Interviewing people seemed like the next step. Since I've got ridiculous amounts of creative friends, I've decided to introduce a regular feature called "Talented Friends" to the blog where I'll be doing mini interviews with illustrators/photographers/designers who are the future of the fashion world.

First up is Mindy Nettles. I met Mindy during my year at Middlesex Uni doing Fashion Design, Styling & Promotion. She instantly stood out as her personality was as big as her talent. What I love about Miss Nettle's work is that she uses mixed media - check out the divine embroidered pieces. She's just been commissioned to do an illustration for Lovebox Festival magazine so expect to see more of this lady very soon.

*Have you always been creative? What made you decide to pursue a path in fashion/illustration?

Always. I doodle constantly, draw religiously, it's been constant and obsessive. Whilst doing my foundation at CSM I did a rotation in fashion promotion, and I found what I had been looking for - a marrying of artistic ideals to the glamour of fashion. I think for anybody with an artistic persuasion and subscription to Vogue it couldn't really get any better.

*Who or what inspires you?

I'm always looking for new techniques to inspire me. I have no patience for the proper way of doing things. I refuse to read instruction manuals on principle; your own way is always the best way. When I was a first year student I spent an evening trying to put together an Ikea wardrobe, I had no tools. Who has tools? I put the thing together with a Nutella jar (hammer) and a knife (screwdriver). It sat in the corner of my ram-shackle Stepney student house with a persistent lean to the left (just like me) and I liked it all the more for it. I think too much time spent on technical perfection is time wasted, creation should be enjoyed and the vibrancy of it's conception will shine through. Inspiration for me comes from life, I love magazines and fashion websites but ultimately, I think that looking at what others have done clouds what it is you truly want to do. Those ideas have already been realised but your own thoughts and interpretations of what others might see as menial. Trivial events are what births originality.

*Who’s work do you admire?

I have true admiration for writers and a blanket envy for people who can succinctly relay an idea through language, especially poets, whose job I see as being quiet similar to my own. Taking an idea or a story and trying to re-tell it in a burst, a paragraph or through an image. E.E.Cummings, James Joyce, Philip Larkin, if I'm looking for something to make me think and re-engage me with a project I'll turn to them. I have constant admiration for their clarity and conviction Larkin wrote;

"The trees are coming into leaf

Like something almost being said;

The recent buds relax and spread,

Their greenness is a kind of grief."

One day I hope to create something that conveys effortless beauty like that quote.

*What’s your favourite piece you’ve done?

It's always the piece I've just finished. If it wasn't in some way better than the last it would be in the bin.

*What’s the worst stylistic faux pas you’ve ever made?

I think when you grow up with an interest in style it's inevitable you will get it wrong countless times in that eternal search for a statement look. I regretted dying my hair green when I was 14 but it would seem that this look is back in favour, so the circle of fashion continues...

*Who would you love to collaborate/work with?

I love to put images to words, so perhaps spoken word artists like Scroobius Pip, Kate Tempest or poet Don Paterson. However all collaboration can bare unexpected fruit and I'm always open to offers and ideas.

*What are your plans after graduation?

My dream is to be able to fund myself doing what I love, creating imagery, collaborating, illustrating. So I'll be chasing the dream, trying to get galleries to hang me, unsuspecting by-standers to buy me and magazines to publish me. I may spend the rest of my life being unspeakably poor, but so very happy.

Check out her blog for more info and recent work


Fashion in Motion: Osman

After years of missing out on Fashion in Motion tickets, I finally managed to get my mitts on some for the Osman show. Pretty handy since I managed to miss Osman's show during London Fashion Week too.

Set in the Raphael gallery of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the guests were treated to a beautiful display of dance and movement to traditional ethnic sounds by a male & female dancer as an introduction. 
Dressed in navy with stunning drapery and subtle gold embellishment, it sent the tone for the rest of the collection.

Osman's signature look "juxtaposes tradition with modernity, precision tailoring with sensuous draping, and draws upon ethnicity and costume of ancient and global cultures."
All outfits were in block colours with details such as gold collars, corsets and bright accessories to make the garments come alive.

As I'm absolutely obsessed with jewellery, shoes and accessories in general, my favourite was of course the to die for shoes!


Enchanted Palace

As I walked through the gates of the park on my way to Kensington Palace, I was taken back to my childhood. The familiar swings in the playground, my favourite hide & seek spot and the beautiful pond in the background where I used to feed the ducks.

The feeling of being a little kid again didn’t leave me as I took my first few steps into the Enchanted Palace exhibition to be greeted my childish writing on the walls telling me which way to go. On my arrival I was given a little booklet of clues. I had to find names of seven Princesses hidden away in certain rooms, which made it feel like a treasure hunt.

I’ve been to Kensington Palace before and was amazed at how a few props and the right lighting could completely transform a place. Most rooms had an eerie blue/purple hue that worked well with works by William Tempest, Stephen Jones and Aminaka Wilmont. The grand gold room in the centre took my breath away. Works by Boudicca hanging from the ceiling like chandeliers fitted in well with the rest of the interior. The room with a giant lantern in the shape of a dress by Echo Morgan was one of my favourites as there was a massive wardrobe full of different sized drawers. These drawers were filled with beautiful drawings, etchings and jewellery from around the world. Of course seeing a Victorian style dress by Vivienne Westwood close up was a highlight in itself.

I'd recommend this exhibition to anyone who had an imaginary friend as a child, believed in fairytales and wants some of that magic back in their life.

Enchanted Palace exhibition at Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX - until 2nd January 2011

Give a little, Live a lot.

Remember Mary's Charity pop-up Shop at Westfield last year? Well she's doing it all again this year in Westbourne Grove - but on a permanent basis. 

The shop will be the first of a series of "Mary's Living and Giving shops for Save the Children" which will officially open its doors to the public in London on Saturday 22nd May at 11am. The first permanent shop for Save the Children opened in Stockbridge, Scotland in December 2009.

The Westbourne Grove shop won't just be focusing on fashion and accessories. It'll be a mix of designer & highstreet fashion and lifestyle with local talent, such as homemade jams and works of art. Yellowdoor PR has also designed a pretty snazzy interior to give the shop a boutique feel.

The shop has already received some amazing donations including a Mulberry 'Alexa' bag, Aquascutum trench, Charlotte Olympia shoes, Agent Provocateur underwear set and a Marc Jacobs dress.

Marc Jacobs dress

AP underwear set

Mulberry 'Alexa' bag

Charlotte Olympia shoes

Donations are of course crucial for this to work, so have a rummage through your wardrobes, bake some cupcakes or paint a pretty picture and bring it with you next time you pop in. You can also volunteer at the shop. You never know you might even get to meet Mary herself!

‘Mary’s Living and Giving Shop for Save the Children’ 177 Westbourne Grove, W11 2SB


The Live Issue Launch

Last night I dragged myself and my friend Kristen to the Live Issue Launch and boy am I glad I did! This wasn't one of those boring fashion parties where there's nothing to do but get pissed on the free booze and see if you can spot any celebs/anyone you know. At this party you could actually interact - like getting your mug drawn by an illustrator and then get interviewed for Sketchbook Magazine or photocopy your face/boobs/feet to go up on the wall. They also had some snazzy displays of Pam Hogg's and Rachel Freire's works.

Some guy at the bar asked me what I thought about the party and I honestly think it's brilliant idea (think the guy was a bit weirded out by the whole event though). I always feel like I should "behave" myself when I go to a fashion party and that just sucks all the fun out of it. Isn't fashion supposed to be fun though? Also unless you're a well known Editor of a magazine, getting to sit front row at a fashion show is highly unlikely. You're usually a few rows back/standing and can't see the details of the garments. The Live Issue let people have a proper look at the clothes and feel the texture.

The goodie bags weren't bad either!