Imagine a bunch of women who would like to change the way “women media” are made. Fed up with diet articles, celebration of the same stars, tips to be “perfect”? Well, you have to read Reductress, a sort of hybrid webzine; as if Reddit had met a DIY group on Pinterest (yes, we wrote that). We had a chance to ask 5 fire questions to their founders. And they rock.
Reductress seems pretty cheeky and pretty badass: do you already have some enemies?
We made a point of bringing enemies to the table right from the start. The mistake a lot of people make is trying make enemies along the way en route to success. The sooner you make enemies, the sooner you have the searing motivation of hate to guide you. Some of our enemies include: the patriarchy, harem pants, climate change, carbohydrates, and Josh Groban. Just kidding, we love Josh Groban and the patriarchy.
Do you consider yourself as feminist? How could we guys help feminism?
We’re feminists with a capital ‘F,’ by which we mean we’re the pretty kind that people like. Just think of a cool woman you know who’s doing cool things for womankind and we’re basically that. Some ways that guys could help feminism would be: giving us more compliments on the street, telling us what we want, and taking care of all those boring jobs in society by being CEOs and politicians so we don’t have to be. Thanks men! XOXOXO
What was your biggest achievement so far with Reductress?
This interview is up there. Also, one time we were eating at a restaurant and Alec Baldwin sat down at the table next to us. True story. Call his agent.
Fashion can change the world: do you agree?
Yes, theoretically if someone “fashioned” a device to resolve poverty, global warming, and corporate greed, then yeah, fashion could change the world. And if you think about it, chambray shirts come pretty close to achieving all of those things. But seriously, all you have to do is look at Beyoncé or Lupita Nyong’o and it’s like, “Fashion is worn by people who are making change in the world.” And if we’re still talking about them, let’s throw Michelle Obama’s arms in there.
Visit our website at reductress.com and click on all the advertisements while you’re there. You won’t regret it.
Meeting Quy and a bunch of other encounters in Vietnam made us want to launch this crazy project: meet all the Creatives in Vietnam under 30 and report about the Trend.
Nguyen Danh Quy is one of this rare breed nowadays in Ho Chi Minh City. Well-cultured, well-traveled, professionally ambitious and demanding, yet incredibly cool and humble. After a few years studying in Germany, he was offered a position as Deputy Managing Editor at Elle Vietnam. In a blossoming economy – still partly hit by the worldwide recession, Quy is a learner. Passionate and dedicated to researching, understanding the fashion industry, he also aspires to transmit these pioneering know-how and knowledge to students finding Fashion Marketing Bachelors barely starting to exist since 2012.
Our talks have led to a common lecture at local elite university RMIT for a class of Fashion Market, and more to come. Here are the man’s answers to a couple of questions.
- When did you decide fashion was your way?
3 years ago when I was staying in Germany, I got an offer to be Deputy Managing Editor of Elle Vietnam magazine. My passion for fashion and luxury industry has grown very much since then, as well as my knowledge of fashion industry. There’re still so many things to learn about the industry, all the creative people, super talented designers etc. and all that keeps me staying in fashion.
- Which brand impressed you the most and triggered your passion?
I always have the tendency for brands with minimal aesthetics and casual chic such as Jil Sander, COS, Bottega Veneta, Hermès. However, since the last three years, I have been totally in love with everything Phoebe Philo created for Céline. I think I’ve found what I truly love and the beauty I believe in. She has reinvented Cool and all of her designs, including accessories, represent what I envision cool and beautiful are.
- How do you see the future of fashion design in Vietnam?
I see the determination and great efforts of everyone (from fashion magazine people to designers, creative directors, buyers, retailers) to make local fashion industry be more professional, more active – in general, for better. I also think fashion design in Vietnam has a bright future, if it can be more international and follow certain rules of the industry as other professional fashion industries in the world.
- What do you bring from your experiences abroad?
Fairness, Professionalism, Open-mindedness – I try to bring different perspectives of aesthetics (Western view vs. Asian view) into my work. Additionally, when I view photographic work, I also try not to forget to look for emotions, something new that those images can evoke.
- What would you share from Vietnam to the world of fashion to improve it?
Our readers are very flexible and open to new ideas, new ways of seeing, feeling and portraying beauty. They can love a local celebrity and/or a model as much as an international ones. I think, they are all very eager to learn and experience more from the fashion world. Therefore, I hope there’d be more and more luxury brands coming to Vietnam in the time to come.
Now let’s have a peek into Quy’s quite fashionable bag.
London has this bubbly energy you can’t defeat. And when it comes to fashion meeting culture, the British capital is massive.
We’ve recently met Tess Rees for a secret project (we swear we’ll share the secret soon ) and we’ve discovered a very interesting designer. Student at Central Saint Martins, Tess is a Fine Artist who says that she “creates fun clothing for the fanciful“.
Something we’re very, very keen to buy as we think that fashion can change the world. And that smiling and dreaming should be written in the fashion Bill of Rights.
“All pieces are 100% lovingly handmade, unless otherwise stated as vintage and all fabrics are sourced in London. All tops are one size only at the moment, this size fits a Size 10 snugly and a Size 8 loosely. As well as producing handmade clothes, Tess aims to find and sell vintage clothes at affordable prices. About 75% of the vintage pieces are found in Charity shops. So whilst spending your money in our online shop you can have peace of mind in knowing you have made a donation to a worthwhile cause.“
How do you create “fun” clothing? Do you need to enter a specific state of mind?
Working creatively everyday makes generating ideas and designs seem like second nature so I wouldn’t say It’s a specific state of mind, it’s more when I think of something I want to wear and can’t find it!
Where does your inspiration come from?
So so many places, I’m constantly doing research for my Fine Art degree so colour and form are always on my mind and this definitely feeds into my clothing and the vintage I search for. Inspiration also comes from my friends and the people around me, I often take what I love most about their styles and try to create something I love and hopefully they would want to wear too! My Granny is also a major influence, she gave me an Ostrich feather fan and a gold chain mail handbag last Christmas! An enormous stack of Vogue Paris’ sit in the corner of my bedroom that remain as a souvenir of a subscription she gave me years ago and I still look through them occasionally.
Your T-shirt can give a super-power to a customer: what is it?
Oooh if I could create a top that doubles as an invisibility cloak I would be one very happy lady.
What’s next for your young brand?
I’m currently working on some content for the website which will hopefully be launching very soon. Long term plans are to develop a recognisable visual style that will hopefully result in a collection rather than sporadic designs being made here and there!
It had been a while since I didn’t have a breakthrough momentum in London. Not that the place is not energetic anymore, but things tend to sometimes look a bit the same…
And there came Steven D.R Skippen, Founder and Shoe Artisan at Shoeshine UK that I met at Monsieur London. I had never experienced such a sensation on my feet, through my shoes; I had only used automatic machines in some hotels here and there. Then I understood what bespoke and talent mean. With his own hands, Steven knows how to transform your shoes into YOUR shoes.
We can make a bet: if I were a brand collection director, I would directly hire Steven to create a capsule collection.
Hi Steven: when did you star shining shoes?
I started shining shoes over 14 years ago I literally fell into it as a stop gap but to this day am still shining shoes. For 13 years my big red chair has been installed in the lobby of The London Hilton on Park Lane, my hands have had the opportunity to dwell on the shoes of the Sultan of Brunei, The Dalai Lama, Mike Tyson, the King of Jordan, Jean Claude Van Damme and the great football star, George Best.
I started Shoeshine UK in October 2000“originally at The London Hilton Metropole but quickly transferred to The London Hilton on Park Lane. I brought a style of shoe care that the UK had never seen before and have cared for many icon’s shoes”.
Using just our bare hands and the best products available regardless of cost we are revolutionising the industry and need people to understand the difference in what we do to others.
It requires very strong skills as you have a pretty unique approach: you use your own hands. How did you learn?
I only received one weeks training as to do what I now can achieve takes years of trial and error. I have perfected The Art of Shine and patina (colouring of leather with dyes) in effect never accepting that I can never improve and always striving for perfection.
I do all my work with my bare hands a skill not seen in Europe and achieve far superior results because of this.
Shoeshining is an amazing bespoke service: can we “book” you for special events?
Yes I do many private events my past CV includes Tommy Hilfiger, Esquire magazine, Browns fashion and Monsieur London. As you can imagine we are a very sought after service due to how unique we are.
What are your favourite products for shoeshining?
I only use the finest ingredients Saphir and Angelus products renowned as unbeatable in our profession. It begins by feeding the leather with three different creams a combination of Beeswax, mink oil from Saphir, Lord Sheraton leather balsam and Ultra Creme, then a leather massage, followed by applying a multitude of colours at each location of the shoe; this can darken and lighten at will to emphasize the slenderness of the foot.
Brushes to me have no effect. If you applied cream to your face would you use a brush? I like to penetrate the leather with my bare hands giving care and a deep shine at the same time”. Believe what you see not what you read, redefining a dying artform.
I know you have dozens of projects: when will we see your own range of products?
You are right my projects are endless. Establishing my patina service is paramount and trying to make people understand that not all shoeshiners are the same.
Regarding a product range this is just around the corner and has taken a long time due to getting it perfect.
What can we wish you?
Why use a service that gives you a result that you could get yourself at home when you could use a service that would change your perception of shoeshine forever? The public are not aware of the differences and this is why shoeshine is sadly at the lowest point it has ever been. Its time people saw what shoeshine really could be like”.
Steven D.R. Skippen in brief:
Years in profession -14 years
Favourite shoe company – Berluti, Santoni, Gaziano Girling, Giacopelli, Pierre Corthay, Stefanobi, Septieme Largeur, Edward Green, JM Weston, Cleverley, Marc Guyot, Carlos Santos, Aubercy, Emling and Loding
First job in profession – London City Airport in 2000
Favourite products-Saphir, Angelus, La Cordonnerie Anglaise and Lord Sheraton
Greatest inspirations – Dandy Shoecare, Landry Lacour and JM Le Gazel for patina and Stephen Reynolds for shoeshine.
Experience – London City Airport, Bloomberg, Lehman Brothers, KPMG, Harbour Exchange Tower, London Hilton Metropole, The London Hilton on Park Lane, Dunhill, Marks club, George club, The Office group, Whites Club and Goodwood festival.
Meeting Georgia May Jagger was one of the biggest privileges I had as a style blogger. As the face of the Mercedes-Benz GLA campaign, we met her backstage before SIMONGAO catwalk, who’s supported by the German brand as he won the China Young Fashion Award, 2013.
I was expecting a tense meeting, overwhelmed by pushy PR people – it had nothing to do with that. Georgia May Jagger is a beautiful and simple young woman. With dreams, expectations, stories to tell…and a lot to come.
Born as the youngest daughter of Mick Jagger and supermodel Jerry Hall, Georgia May could have been another rich kid on the block. But she’s far more than just a bright heiress. She’s only 22 and she already has this magic glow of big, big stars. Bay Garnett who arranged one of my favourite shootings with GMJ probably summarized the aura of the stellar Jagger:
“I love how Georgia looks like a girl as opposed to a model in the pictures”
How do you get ready for a shooting?
I just try to entertain myself. I’m laughing about whatever I’ve done before.
The last Mercedes Benz campaign is called “always restless“. A perfect match with you as you seem to be a nightbird but not necessarily a party-girl. What is your favourite moment of the night?
I love sunrise, I love 4 in the morning. If I don’t go for sleep for 3am, I stay awake as it’s my witching hour. It’s been a tough week because I need to wake up at 5am thus.
I watched the New Year’s Day’s sunrise. I like to start the New Year fresh with the new sunrise.
After modeling, is there a specific creative field you want to explore?
I went to a school for arts and specifically photography. We call it modelography: models take photos of the models. Hopefully I’m going to go into that. I’m not really into the fashion side of it, I’m more into portrait. I stopped last year when I started start full time modeling. I like Helmut Newton for fashion pictures as it goes beyond fashion, there is a scene… I like Richard Avedon as well!
What’s your power song at the moment?
I have a ladies playlist, Mr Big Stuff, Donna Summer, I like a good disco tune.
We were pretty impressed by the commitment of the Museum of London during London Collections: Men. As if there was (finally!) a city which tries to gather the general public with the world of fashion. A statement which is confirmed by the massive involvement of the Museum of London in social media: a new role for cultural institutions seems to rise; becoming and documenting the pulse of a city which tends to consume history.
Beatrice Behlen, the Museum of London’s Senior Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts, accepted to offer us some clues on London and Great Britain fashion history…enjoy.
How do you think British fashion is positioned regarding the other main places (Paris, NY)? what makes British creation so singular through history?
I think that despite globalisation, Paris, New York and Milan still have a distinctive identity and style. British fashion is more fun, more irreverent, more influenced by the street than American and continental fashion in my belief. I think that’s been pretty much a trend since London was swinging in the 1960s. Earlier – from around the mid-19th century onwards – Britain was known for tailoring. But not just for men. Women came here to order their country tweeds and riding outfits. Even before that there were periods – particularly in the eighteenth century – when Britain and the rest of Europe were heavily influenced by French styles. But even then English fashions were different. They were more influenced by a love of nature and the countryside, rather than the urban.
Would you call Savile Row history?
I think Savile Row is very relevant at the moment. Even though few people can afford a bespoke or even a made-to-measure suit, it sets a benchmark in terms of fit and craftsmanship, but also provides something to rebel against and subvert. We live in rather conservative times and it is not surprising that the suit and Savile Row have made a comeback. Not that the suit ever went away, but it seems to be more readily adopted by a younger audience these days.
Will the Duchess of Cambridge’s outfits end up in an exhibition at the museum one day?
The outfits of the Duchess of Cambridge will certainly be displayed in the future. We would not say no if they were offered to the Museum of London! But I doubt they will come our way. The Royal Collection is all too aware of the appeal of fashion exhibitions and has staged a number of these over the past few years at Buckingham Palace – including a display of the Duchess of Cambridge’s infamous wedding dress. I think that is where we are most likely to see these garments go on show. I would almost be more interested in clothes worn by fans of the Duchess. A dress, say, that someone bought because the Duchess had worn something similar. It’s the stories behind and attached to garments and ensembles that interest me.
What’s the role of a museum in the British fashion industry: is it a promoter or is it a curator?
Museums can be both promoters and curators of fashion. We want to be able to tell the story of the development of fashion, but also more generally, every day wear. As such, some of our work involves making sure we collect and preserve the right objects. Obviously, putting contemporary design on display also promotes it. The jewellery designers in our Made in London: Jewellery Now exhibition are also represented in our museum shop. But when planning for the design of the exhibition, we were adamant that it should not look like a jewellery shop display. We wanted to create mini-installations allowing visitors to step inside the mind-set and creative worlds of these seven young London designers. There is a slight danger in being too involved in what’s going on at present. You don’t want to lose your critical distance.
What has changed in the way you curate fashion?
There is more emphasis on contemporary fashion now. Especially over the last twenty years. It is shame that there are not as many exhibitions about nineteenth century dress, or indeed dress from earlier periods in London. This is something that seems to be more prevalent in France and Germany for example. There seems to be a view that visitors will not be interested in clothes they cannot relate to now. Yet I’m not sure I entirely agree. The use of moving images is another big change. I realise that it seems so natural now, but even twenty years ago the technology was too clunky to achieve this easily or to a large scale. I really like that you can now see clothes moving next to the actual object. That’s always been a big problem with fashion: you have to display it on a static mannequin. The challenge is how to overcome the restrictions that this can place on the dynamism of display.
I’ve listened to Martin aka The Home Current two times. The first time during a vernissage for the launch of Ghosts of Gone Birds’ brilliant book by Chris Aldhous. And the second time for The Jacuzzi Club. Amazing vibes, tribal samples, a very eclectic DJ who could be the right fit between Carl Craig and afro-beats.
We had a chance to ask him few questions. Enjoy.
Hi Martin: who are you by day and who are you by night?
By day a conservationist working for Thames21 to protect the waterways of Greater London. By night co-founder/owner of record label Second Language, DJ, musician and vinyl collector.
The Guardian talks about a “slashers” generation: do you consider that you’re one of them / us?
I believe quite a lot of people qualify as so called ‘slashers’ and I would have thought this would have been the case for decades if not centuries. Look at George
Washington: General, president, visionary, break-dancer. It’s hardly a new thing.
Where do you get your inspirations?
From different people, cultures and sounds. And from nature. Oh and from the internet.
What do you think when you mix?
Usually something along the lines of “did I close the window/disconnect the iron before I left?”
What can we wish you?
A long, healthy and happy life – and that I come across an affordable copy of Lata Ramasar’s The Greatest Name That Lives 12″
OK guys: if you had told me about knitting few years ago, I would have Laughed Out Loud. Come on grannies.
But the thing is that I was wrong.
Knitting and DIY in general is a sort of precious escape, a daily achievement with meanings. And with Social Media, this whole trend became a digital daily telling.
I had a chance to ask few questions to the 2 Jen behind Stitch and Story. And it’s dramatically inspiring.
When did you start Stitch and Story?
Stitch & Story began in Feb 2012, founded by two friends – both called Jen! It started off naturally with us wanting to share our passion in knitting so we began blogging about all things woolly. In April this year, we’d taken this hobby and created a business with the mission of showcasing knitting in a more contemporary, fun, and easy-to-learn way.
Who’s Stitch and who’s Story in your duet?
Our name doesn’t represent anyone but rather, an idea. Knitting is a way of embedding our creations with emotions and memories i.e. on all the careful time spent crafting; the cakes and coffee accompanied with curious minds; and the victory of finishing your hand-knitted item, quirks and all! We want every knitted project to be meaningful, whether it’s for gifting or for yourself – there’s just a great sense of achievement in having knitted an item yourself and that adds to the richness of stories behind handmade products and thus, every ‘stitch‘ knitted builds a ‘story‘…!
Knitting…how come it’s now fashionable?
Like other recent boom in household crafts such as baking and sewing, the return to needles and yarn has been seen as a wider backlash against the superficiality of modern life. While manufactured goods can be functional, durable, beautiful, even inspiring, the very fact that they are mass-produced makes them disposable. In its uniqueness, a handmade item such as a knitted item carries the imprint of its creator. The very fact that you’ve made it means no one else will be wearing the same thing as you!
What are the best tricks to start knitting?
If you’re a total beginner, watch our online video tutorials! We have a short 10-seconds clip for every stitch so you’ll have the confidence to start knitting. Our DIY, all-in-one knitting kits are also a great project for wannabe knitters because they have everything you need including simple instructions and patterns.
What are your plans for the coming weeks?
We’ve had a very busy winter having just launched our online store along with doing several popup stores in London, including at Piccadilly Circus and Westminster. At the same time, we’re also planning for our first trade show at Top Drawer in January (12th-14th) and creating our S/S14 knit kits collection. We also need to finish off our Xmas knitting for our friends and family…everyone’s getting jumpers this year!
Any final word?
Knitting isn’t just for grannies – come and join our online knitting circle and be part of our story! :o)
We had a massive crush for Saranda Walgaard, a Dutch fashion / lifestyle blogger with a strong emphasis on collage, daily treats and cool moments. We had a chance to chit chat with her. And it sounds promising.
When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging at the beginning of 2012, I actually had tried to blog before but I just did not have a great idea about how everything worked and so I first started reading other blogs a bit more. After a not so great start, I think I posted 15 items during the first year of my blog, I decided to begin blogging again in January 2013. I deleted some of the posts I found were not so good, I redesigned my lay-out for the first time, decided to leave reactions at the blogs I was already reading and I did a couple of brainstorm sessions about my topics. I started blogging mainly because I needed a creative outlet. I am a very sensitive person, who likes a lot of different things, loves to be creative and I also really love the write. I just felt like blogging was something that was meant for people like me. Reading other peoples blogs inspired me and by blogging and sharing things I liked I got the opportunity to also inspire people.
I really like the creativity, the many possibilities I have, even within my niche, but also the network I am creating in the fashion industry! I made a lot of fashionblogger friends already within a short amount of time. Everyone in the field is just very open, fun and friendly. We all help each other achieving our goals!
Could you define a Dutch fashion identity?
I think Dutch women really like easy fashion. UGG’s are actually very popular in Holland, although there are also a lot of people who think UGG’s should be forbidden haha.
But yeah, I think easy is the word. Of course the ‘fashionistas’ tend to put a little more effort in their looks but overal casual outfits, with a chique or edgy twist are most popular in Holland, besides that you can also see some Scandinavian fashion influences which are growing in popularity.
Who are the local designers we should discover?
I personally love Olcay Gulsen the designer from Supertrash, also the collections from ByDanie and Nikkie Plessen are very cool! Besides that you probably all know Victor & Rolf and Jan Taminiau makes the most gorgeous royal gowns! Concerning bags I would go for an it-bag from Vlieger & Vandam, Smaak or Fab.
Fashion can change the world: do you agree?
I think this is a very hard question hahaha, I do think fashion can change a person. By dressing yourself in the right items you can really get a confidence boost, which then can help you over come your struggles etc. But can fashion change the world, I don’t know. Fashion is one of the most popular arts and therefore it can maybe support things like emancipation, but I think fashion in that kind of situation has more of a support role. So yes fashion can help change the world but I don’t think it can change the world on it’s own.
What can we wish you in the future?
At the moment I am looking for a job, next to my blog. Since I am not a very big blogger yet, I am still growing a lot and have a lot of things which I can get on a higher level, getting a job (within fashion / social media / online marketing or PR) is necessary and can also help improve my blog. In the future I would love to have my own social media / marketing agency or try to combine styling with personal coaching.