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Tess Rees: fun clothing for the fanciful

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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!
tess rees

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!
Thanks Tess! you can follow her on Instagram, buy on her website, fall in love on Twitter, like her on Facebook.
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Stitch and Story: the rock’n roll duet of knitting

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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)
Ta!
Jen & Jen
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Aimee Wood: DIY as alchemy of our contradictions

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Aimee Wood, who writes on Clones N Clowns has just released her second book in French “Bandeaux, headbands et bijoux de cheveux” .

Aimee knows how to give amazing advice to customize our clothes, while spreading her own style: poetry, freshness, Londoner.

Do It Yourself seems to explode thanks to online communities and new kits. How do you explain the rising importance of DIY?

I think there is a lot involved in the do it yourself trend, we could talk about the recession, the Internet, the ways of our society… We could analyse the trend to death ! But for a lot of people it has been a lifestyle for a very long time. I remember customising clothes and sewing bits and bobs as a child… For a few years now, we have definitely been seeing more and more of “homemade” and it is now called “DIY” which used to be building sheds as far as I was concerned ?! I think it’s a lot to do with old techniques being used in new ways. New materials, new colours, new styles. The Internet is a great way for people to share their ideas and projects and also for people to buy what they need to get making at home. I think the visual power of the Internet is also a massive part of the attraction.

Young British designers or Central St Martins graduates seem very keen to play with DIY. Do you think that DIY is a sort of political movement? :)

I don’t think DIY is political in every case but I think it is often very philosophical. For some people, making things at home is a way to express nostalgia and a certain disagreement with they ways we consume today. Others might see DIYing as a way to recycle, showing themselves and others that we can be happy with what we’ve got. However for a lot of people, I believe do it yourself is simply a great way to get a fashionable accessory at a cheaper price or with a personal twist. Everyone creates for their own reasons. DIY can definitely serve political movements however doing something yourself instead of buying it ready-made is not necessarily a political statement.

Which advice would you give to start customizing clothes?

I’d say start by getting inspired. Pinterest is great for this but you can also go old-school and just carry a notebook and pen at all times. I’m constantly jotting things down, scribbling ideas, taking quick pics and doodling. When you’re inspired, you’re ready to give it a go. Then I would suggest you start small. Some techniques take a lot of practice so you’ll want to begin with something rewarding to keep you inspired. My final tip is to never say “can’t”. I have met so many people who think they “can’t” DIY. That doesn’t even mean anything. We all do things ourselves all the time ! Don’t be intimidated by the ambitious projects we see online, there are ideas out there for everyone. Remember, the hardest part is getting started !

Have you ever wondered that you could launch your own fashion collection?

Yes… Over and over ! I’d love to launch a brand or collection and as you can imagine I have pages of ideas

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You’re so French MEN! Lessons on how to become a stylish man

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Frédérique Veysset -fashion photographer- and Isabelle Thomas, personal stylist and fashion blogger, with the help of illustrator Clément Dezelus, are currently experiencing a massive success with their new book-guide-UFO called “You’re so French MEN“. Selected men with a certain style (from 23 to 75 years old) illustrate a very inspiring how to fashion guide, through portraits and morceaux choisis to feed their French Touch. From picking the right shirt,  to more lifestyle advice, this book is an open bible for the sort of fashion we love: open, inclusive, teaching without dogmatism. Frédérique and Isabelle accepted to give us some insights.

What are the biggest fears of men when it comes to their style?

Frédérique: When they do worry about their style, men are perfectionist, obsessed even with very tiny details. They learn pretty quickly and are curious. They want to learn the history of clothing and fashion rules. They like to respect them or to distort them with a certain elegance. When men don’t care about fashion, nothing beats them: for some men, wearing a black skirt with pointed shoes is state of the art style!

Isabelle:In our society, image is essential. Paradoxically, taking care of one’s image can sometimes appear suspicious. A lot of people are reluctant when they see someone trying to stand out with style: is he gay? is he a dandy? is he vain or superficial? Certain men can remain feeble with fashion…It’s less risky to be conform, to wear this classic suit with a grey tie! But when men are more confident or control their image, they experience a great pleasure to wear clothes and shoes…They’re definitely more maniac, rigorous, precise than women. Thanks to fashion blogs and forums dedicated to men’s style, we start to get rid of preconceptions.

As a neophyte, how should we start in order to get a proper wardrobe?

Pour un néophyte, par quoi devrait-on commencer pour se constituer un vestiaire?

Frédérique: a nice pair of shoes, actually two first, you can buy them at Crockett & Jones, Caulaincourt, Weston, Peter Sorensen…whatever your style is, just pick quality. And you then need to look after them to make them last!

Isabelle: you first need to reconsider your current wardrobe to get rid of outdated pieces, worn, or that does not fit you properly. A lot of men wear bigger clothes than they should; the jacket fall on shoulders, pants float…Men should see themselves as they really are! Then, men need to buy good basics (a nice white shirt in Egyptian cotton, a raw denim, a dark suite that fits you, jacket and derbies…). Men have then to enjoy, to play with colors, materials and forms.

You’re so French MEN is about this…French touch! What can we bring to the world? ;)

Frédérique: In fashion? A certain way of marrying bourgeoisie codes with a twist of fancy. Otherwise, French used to master courtesy, politeness, gallantry and were recognized for their spirit. It’d be great to bring these qualities back to fashion…starting from France!

Isabelle: French own a certain nonchalance, a way of wearing clothes without this Italian ostentation but with more agility than the British. French know how to surprize, while adapting to codes. He knows how to mix ancient and new, premium with high-street…The French man is more than a brand-lover: he wants to keep his personality. The French knows that even if he’s not the most handsome man on Earth, wearing something chic brings his charm and his sort of intellectual aspect to light. At least he hopes so!

you re so french men

What were the main differences between men and women during the shooting of your two books?

Frédérique: Men were often more available, more flattered and happy to be picked. They did it very seriously, a bit like when you attend a competitive exam: they were scared not to be approved!

Isabelle: Our girlfriends who weren’t picked for the book dedicated to women did not say anything (at least, not loudly) whereas our boyfriends who weren’t selected were grumbling: “why didn’t you pick me?!”

Will there be a next episode to your project?

Frédérique: Maybe if a great ideas comes.

Isabelle: Some people ask us if after men and women, we’re going to take care of children…Actually they already know perfectly how to dress!

 

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Rachel E. Dahl,A La Mode St. : “Fortunately, both my grandmothers were very stylish”

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We’ve been following Rachel E. Dahl‘s amazing blog for some years now. A mix of indie style and great stories to share. We wanted to know more about the delicious American woman who inspires us on a daily basis. A free soul with amazing taste. The anti girls girl. There’s an old French Song about a Baltimore girl that says:

Si tu vas jusqu´à Baltimore
Quand tu descendras sur le port
Va dire à la fille aux yeux d´or
Que je l´aime encore

Enjoy.

When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging in April 2010 back when my blog was called à la Modest (now à la Mode St.). I wanted to convince myself that I made the right decision to dress somewhat modest and different. I was feeling really alone and scared for a while because of that change in lifestyle. It was really hard to change how I used to dress, to go against the grain, because clothing obviously means a lot to me and the other girls were still following trends.

I tried as much as I could to blog regularly, to document how I could still be creative with my style while under restriction. I wanted to write about what I learned, how it changed my life, and how I think others could learn from it. I wanted to also find and bond with like-minded people, because even while modesty is rare today, the Internet makes our world smaller.

© A La Mode St.

“Fashion can change the world”: what do you think about that?

Absolutely, I 100% agree with that. It might sound cliche, but there is no doubt that fashion has shaped our world to how it is now. Changes in fashion have led us to define what is acceptable and normal. For instance, when the bikini was first introduced, no woman dared to wear it. So when they advertised it to the general public, the people behind the bikini had to hire a stripper to model it. Women even before flapper-days showed their rebelliousness by exposing their knees. Social revolutions and subcultures almost always were accompanied by a change in fashion. An inward change has to somehow manifest itself outwards in appearance. That change, good or bad, is influenced by fashion in some fashion!

You want to “reflect a woman who is confident of her own beauty and worth without the need to put out because of public pressure”. How can you help with your blog?

I hate to sound like a broken record or like a parrot, because you will see a ton of different other modesty sites and blogs that have the same sort of “mission” statement— that you can “dress fashionably without being frumpy.” It’s an awesome statement, because the stigma with modesty is that you have to dress like your grandma. Fortunately, both my grandmothers were very stylish.

However, what I think sets à la Mode St. apart is its integration with a bit of non-mainstream pop culture, and pop culture (mainstream or indie) is not quite in sync with my beliefs. There are very few people who will and can marry faith and pop culture together. To show that it is possible to enjoy both, I think, gives people inspiration on how to live without having to abandon the other. So in terms of fashion and beauty, women can customize their styles without having to completely follow the trends, and trends usually show too much skin.

What are your sources of inspirations?

I draw inspiration from what I watch, read, and listen to. That could be anything, really. Lately, I’ve been inspired by a lot of brave individuals like Edward Snowden, Pussy Riot, and Ai Wei Wei. They inspire us all to be braver, to voice out our concerns while rejecting the fear of rejection, to stick with your guns no matter what you believe in. I honestly really need to kick myself in the butt for acting defeatist these days, because it has not been easy writing for me.

You used to highlight some modest clothing outfits: is it still the case?

Yes it is generally still the case. Although, I’ve been associating my kind of modesty now with what I think is trying not too hard to draw sexual attention—and not following rules for the sake of rules or guilt trips. A lot of people who try to go against culture through their faiths can get caught up with that at times. A lot of my outfits now aren’t typically “modest” and can look somewhat sexy but without showing cleavage, belly, or thighs.

I changed my name from à la Modest to à la Mode St. so that I can keep my domain name without having to be the shining example for modesty (which I am surely not) that was part of the old name. I still follow my own standards of what isn’t too sexually enticing through lifestyle and clothing but at the same time, I don’t want others to be thrown off by calling myself “modest.” I don’t want to lower anyone’s standards or confuse anyone, which I think was the problem with attaching that word to my blog name. I’m representing an idea that is controversial and subjective. I try my best to be modest at all times without self-proclaiming righteousness.

What are the blogs that you follow?

Ah, there are a lot of them including friends I have linked on my blog! Sea of Shoes was probably my first favorite personal style blog, because Jane has an amazing sense of style, aesthetic, and taste in pop culture. I like to think that her taste is almost identical to mine, but I’m not really sure if we’d be friends because of it!

Any recent digital crush?

Recently, I’ve been following a lot of yogis and Russian fashionistas on Instagram for inspiration and serious crushing. It’s an odd demographic to follow, but hey, you asked!

What can we wish you?

More open-minded people to read what I have to say who can discuss objectively and civilly. Also, a cooler summer without this horrible heatwave!

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Johanna K. : when fashion meets this French exception culturelle

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We love when fashion meets arts. We love when fashion bloggers don’t only shoot themselves but when they also try to tell us stories; to teach us wise glimpses of knowledge, with subtle ideas and great curation. We had a crush on a very young woman, Johanna K. But her words and her mind touched us deeply. We bet she’s going to rock the fashion scene in the coming years.

Dear Johanna: when did you start blogging and why?

It all begun with some unused articles that I used to write about collections I liked. I once met  someone who worked at the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris and he advised me to start a blog. Since the beginning, I always knew I didn’t want to post pictures of my outfits or things like that. What I wanted was to write and share my writings about fashion, in order to rehearse for my future as a fashion journalist. Then little by little I opened my fields of inspiration by posting about more diverse subjects.

“Fashion can change the world”: what do you think about that?

How could one deny this? Remember what impact YSL, Dior, Chanel, Mary Quant in the sixties and so many others had on their times. I think fashion is powerful by several aspects. It has the power to unveil (or trigger) the changes of a whole society, and then it is said that if you “give a girl the right shoes, she can conquer the world! ”. More seriously, what fashion has of most fascinating and powerful to me is that it manages to unite both art and living, contributing to turn everyday life into something aesthetic. But as beauty and aestheticism are not made to have a point, I don’t think fashion in itself can change the world. It is the inspiration that it generates that triggers some of that strength necessary for who wants to leave its mark on the world’s stage.

You mix diverse sources of inspirations with fashion: architecture, arts, films; how would you define your playground?

I am a book lover, art amateur (I know too little to say I’m a specialist), and aestheticism seeker. The horizon of my sources of inspiration broadens everyday more.

What are your sources of inspirations?

In a few words, I can say that it has no limit. Everything can inspire me. It can be the sound of high heels as well as the scent of a fragrance, a collection, the color of a lipstick, an afternoon with a pink light, the furtive sight of a face, as well as an exhibition, a text, an atmosphere whether real or fictional, a friend, something I read…I can find beauty in everything even when I don’t expect it and that’s what makes life so moving sometimes. My playground is life and the limitless resources of nature or spirit it contains. Both spontaneity and sophistication have their part of seduction.

What are the French blogs that you follow?

I’m often disappointed by fashion blogs, but some are of real quality. I love the universe of Miss Pandora. She manages both to stage herself and to post very clever and instructive writings. Her blog should be an example for some, though I hate nothing more than compulsive similarity. I also love Les Garçons aux foulards, and I’ve followed them for nearly two years now, even if I don’t have the time to read them as often as before. Their articles are unvarnished, and they do not hesitate to criticize the world of fashion although they are part of it. I think this is important in our time when conformism and hypocrisy are so present.
Any recent digital crush?

YES ! I recently discovered this website, The Red List. Anyone in lack of inspiration just has to surf for half an hour and will be totally cured. It is the best rehab ever.

What can we wish you?

Nothing but hard work for the next two years…In September I’m starting a prep class for literature studies in Paris !

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Fleur Huynh: “My closet is like a private club”

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Time for a new interview with another top fashion influencer! Today, meet Fleur Huynh, fashion editor for Apollo Novo, a France-based men’s fashion magazine. Together, we’ll enter her back-to-black wardrobe, and ask about her favorite pieces of clothing.

 

Rumor Time! Does every fashion editor have a house-sized closet?

Well, how to start… when you live in Paris, it is pretty hard to have an house-sized apartment to hold the house-sized closet, but I luckily have quite a big space to store it all…in my bedroom, in my living room, but also at my dad’s, and I don’t even mention what I left in Australia! (I was supposed to come back for a three-month holidays break in Paris, and in fact, it’s now been two years. The city has kidnapped me!) Funnily enough, I always wear the same things. My closet is always full of pieces I am pulling out for work from designers showrooms… Pieces come in and out, I mainly do menswear so the temptation isn’t killing as much as when I have to give it back.

Are you attached to one piece in particular? What’s it’s story?

My leather jacket and my capeline hat. If you know me a little, you would know that my closet is like a private club, whatever isn’t leather and black do not go in. I look like a raven most days. My leather jacket was a present from my Mum five years ago and I don’t think I have ever worn a piece more in my entire life. It is not a designer piece, it is from a little shop in Australia. I had doubts the few first time I wore it… now it is THE staple piece of my wardrobe. The day it will die on me will be a hard time so I will do everything for it not to happen.

The hat, very Saint-Laurent. It is an extension of myself now. I got it as it was raining and I was lazy to hold an umbrella at that time. It is one piece that brings any of my outfits to the next level.

 

Who’s your favorite designer? Does he/she affects your work?

I have an undying love for the designer Jean-Claude Jitrois artistry. He truly masters leather and I can not deny my passion for it. Any pieces has its sexiness and sleekness, and make you feel like a vixen, strong and powerful. I also adore Zana Bayne who designs modern leather harnesses. I love mixing styles and textures within my work, like adding a harness to a sleek Dior Homme suit. This balance of chic, sexy and edgy, mixing texture, culture and gender… I must say I love my job.

 

Moving on to the bag, any unexpected item to declare?

My bag is what inspired the souks of Marrakesh I believe… Ipad, sewing kits and cutlery… I live for picnics with my friends. If the picnic becomes too opulent and the clothes tear apart, it can be fixed. Always. I am like Mac Giver.

 

Tell me more about a weird fashion habit of yours.

Wearing exclusively black is not that weird of a fashion habit… Though, when your friends ask you how you are feeling today with a concerned voice because you are, for once, somehow wearing that royal blue jacket… It seems good enough to be pointed out.

 

If you could hide any fashion piece from this season in your bag, what would it be?

Ryan Gosling and his white t-shirt from Drive… That is totally an “In trend fashion piece”, right?

 

 

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June Cover Girl: Rina Atienza aka @eevil midget. Love, world domination and activism

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There are hybrid people in London; modern magicians, casting spells of hopes in a violent world. And that’s the case with Rina Atienza aka @eevilmidget , a crazy phenomenon full of fireballs and ecstatic energy. She’s back from NYC where she was a panelist for the Pilipino American Unity for Progress. She’s our Cover Girl. And Rina’s talking about a new sort of World Domination. Enjoy

You represent a sort of new activism: what’s happened in your life to feel so committed?

I never really thought I could be considered an activist, but you are right, in that there are cultural agendas that I want to push.  I
definitely believe in the importance of sub-cultures (i.e. StreetWars) and the multiple collaborative projects that people co-create (i.e. Spark & Mettle). Changing the world can be achieved by incremental shifts in social behavior, not just by the mechanics of politics and government institutions.

As for being committed to social causes, I think I’ve always been inclined this way, thanks to my beloved and wonderful family-clan in Manila. Nevertheless, a series of unfortunate (and fortunate) events shaped how I am. The biggest shift of course, was moving to London when I was fourteen, which was life-changing and the best thing that
has happened to me.

Do you consider yourself as a feminist?

It’s not a label I have previously attached to myself, but yes I do. It’s only a recent realisation, as I had this tomboy identity since
childhood which made me think I couldn’t be a woman’s woman. That’s all changed of course, especially as am happy being a contributing
blogger for 30ish.me because how to be a better woman is an ongoing endeavor. There’s so much to share, learn and improve on. I am lucky to have counsel and conversations with incredible and brave superwomen in my life – both my grandmothers are legends, and I am blessed with an amazing mother, sister, numerous aunts and special girlfriends.

You often promote “World Domination”: are you a local Beyoncé?

I’m all for independent women and girls ruling the world.
Also, it’s handy being named after Queen Elizabeth – with her historically famous “I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king.”
There’s definitely a continued and amplified momentum for women’s issues this year, and not just because of Sheryl Sandberg’s call to ‘Lean In’. There’s this passage from ‘Evil Plans’ by Hugh McLeod:

“World domination is about everybody living in their own little world. The planet is just too damn big for one person to take it all in. So every human being seeks out their own little microcosm, and these are the worlds that we want to dominate.”

World domination plans may not be for everybody, but we are all accountable for each of our own worlds. We must own up to the responsibility for our spheres of influence.

What would you recommend to people who want to achieve their dreams?

I’d advise them to avoid dreambusters.
These are the negatrons that drain enthusiasm.
It’s key that dreamers surround themselves with crazy visionaries or like-minded people who will enhance or further challenge details about their dreams.
It’s good to match ideas of a future with past lessons and present realities – so you need awesome people to bounce or evolve ideas with.
Also, dreams change, and that’s alright.
Finally, I’d recommend keeping a notebook with scribbled thoughts, several drafts of a 5 year plan, and some doodles or drawings.

What can we wish you?

In terms of material goods, that someone might gift me this 3rd Rock Fire Pit http://uncrate.com/stuff/third-rock-fire-pit/ or a wonderful Bruce Nauman neon artwork.

As a social experiment on superdickery, drinks and conversation with Henry Cavill the actor.

For personal achievements, the opportunities to do more social good, either through talks, or maybe becoming mayor one day.

But really, continued health, happy reunions with family and friends, and love of course.

Dress: Chanel
Sweatshirt: Camden shop (it actually belongs to @lilzeon !)
Other accessories: London mood

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In Nihilo (Maria Spahn, Thuy Nguyen): transforming virtual materials to concretize ideas

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In fashion, we’re always very keen to explore the work of seamstresses; they are the ones who sublime the vision of a designer. With the booming of digital, new crafts are opening: they are magicians with computers and cameras; they amplify the dream machine of creative industries.

We met the two founders of In Nihilo in Paris. A new territory of inspiration between arts, new technologies and storytelling.

 

 

Your job, for the uninitiated, what is it?

 To give a common designation to our activities, I would say that we image the needs of our customers. This stretches from space design, 3d animations, as much as corporate visual creations and video-art installations. We work for fashion industry, events, exhibitions and private individuals.

 

Who does what in your tandem?

 Translating the abstract ideas of our customers into image always means stimulating our creativity conjointly and find a new balance in our duo.

Coming from theater scenography, Maria is particularly sensitive and competent for all aspects of space, sound, and the merger of these dimensions.

She takes care of set design, 3D animation, and sometimes she creates the musical arrangements.

Thuy, by her training as photographer, is particularly attentive to framing 2D images, creating the composition and to accomplish the narrative. She takes care of photos and videos, from filming to editing.

 

In nihilo, why this name?

 “Ex nihilo” means creating out of nothing. For some, it is only God who creates ex nihilo. We, modestly, create “in nihilo.” We are not starting from scratch, we transform virtual material to render ideas tangible. Whether in 3D animation or the creation of video content, we handle primarily pixels. This explains “in nihilo”, a play with words to express two ideas: creation and virtuality.

You worked for Bureau Betak: strong memories of this adventure?

 We are impressed by Alexandre’s ability to consistently reinvent himself. He has a very modern approach to design. He is someone very sensitive to shapes, colors, and materials. He is very specific on the use of lights and on staging ideas. Alexandre de Betak is certainly one of the most creative people we encountered.
It is a great adventure to work with the entire production team of Bureau Betak, an enormous pleasure to travel around the world, to confront us with different local cultures through our work, and to rise above our distinctions to arrive at the end of a project. This certainly remains an unforgettable experience.

What are the creations, you are most proud of?

 There are no creations that deserve being singled out in particular.

What drives us first of all is that every project provides an opportunity to learn again and again, to renew ourselves, and to escape repetition as far as possible.

Perhaps a recent example of a project that has enchanted us is that for the bicentenary of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Karlsruhe. It was to tell the history of this institution, from its origins to today, with very abstract 3D animations. We had total freedom of creative proposals, which is very enjoyable when working for an institution.

Creative industries are undergoing a transformation with the digital: how do you see the market evolve in the coming years?

 In our sector, we are at the heart of digital, first by our tools, but also by the particular form that characterizes our creations.

Following our different backgrounds, we initially were trained in more traditional techniques such as assembling theatre design models out of cardboard, or developing films in darkrooms.

But soon, we were sensitive to cultural and social changes and exploited the extraordinary offer of new technologies to develop our expertise.

In our business, everything evolves very quickly, so it’s a must to keep yourself informed. We permanantly have to adapt and form ourselves to stimulate and renew our creativity.

Digital is a modern creed, but for us it is important not to become a slave of it. What counts most is content, otherwise it would be an abuse of technology to hide the paucity of ideas.

Take the example of video mapping that we see more and more. The video projections on buildings or other surfaces are often poor in content, we often see animated geometric shapes, certainly beautiful, but completely meaningless.

There is no doubt that innovations are continuous, especially in the digital, and we certainly cannot ignore them. However in our relationship between creation and technical developments, we always take into account the specificities of our customers. While offering our own visions, we are attentive to their culture and needs and then decide how to adopt novelties.

 

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