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nasir mazhar

#trashfashionforum : when fashion tries to fight gentrification and commoditization

We attended yesterday at Protein a very interesting debate about what one calls “trash fashion”. Organized with Dazed & Confused (their last issue is called…Trash & Burn!) speakers included Hussein Chalayan, Caroline Evans (living legend from Central Saint Martins), Nasir Mazhar (who designed the hats for 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony), Luke Brooks, Claire Storey and Kieren Jones. And it was pretty intense

So why is there a new interest in Trash Fashion? Surprisingly enough, not so many of the speakers had an answer. The top insight comes from Hussein Chalayan, who thinks that because there’s a gentrification of everything, and that we’re trying to glamourize everything, well you need something new. As time popularizes everything, and even faster now through high-street big players and online platforms, designers need to shape something unconventional. According to Chalayan, it’s a bit ridiculous to talk about Punk these days whereas it’s from the 70s. We need to invent something, which faces new limits. And Trash Fashion, to a certain extent, can be a good playground to start with.
Today Trash is used in a far different way.

Hussein Chalayan  starts with a series of snapshots that tries to define his vision of Trash Fashion

The Tangent Flows (1993) that he did for his graduation aims to explain that trashing garment was a way to give more features to daily elements.

With Cartesia (AW 1994), made of unreadable paper, the idea is to associate unexpected inspirations: packaging, papers, documents, to sublime unexpected materials.

chalayan cartesia
Chalayan also mentions Afterwords in 2000: the collection starts with a mysterious combination of chairs with bodies. The designers starts with a scenery and bring it back to clothes. With Medea in 2002: layers come from cutaways, it’s like an archeological dig. With this process, Chalayan says that the creation of this sort of long-term hope link things.
Manifest Destiny in 2003 looks at disgust that can then be visually appealing, about to become live when  a model wears it. Animal prints are then brought back to life
Finally, with Rise (2013) the body is spiritedly linked to urban environment especially walls. Disintegration of information is put in clothes through Printed textures.

The connection between all these ideas is that these clothes have lived something, are part of something bigger, bring a greater sense of life

Caroline Evans broadens the definition of trash fashion reminding that there are tons of examples where people were recycling or using materials in original ways (ex: during great depression in the US etc). Another field concerns the link between fashion and science. Maison Martin Margiela for instance created strange Red Bacteria Yellow Bacteria Green Bacteria pieces with a microbiologist. Specific bacterias were spread on clothes which changed the texture of clothes. Clothes were then exhibited outside the museum. It then generated a sort of furyness impression after rain and sun. Evans considers that when Chanel used jersey in 1919, which used to be a fabric only used for lingerie, is also connected to trash fashion. As she was using “poor” fabrics, it was then considered as trash at that time.

Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcons) launched a very reductionist collection in 1982.

“When u work around a factory sometimes everything is too perfect”

The main purpose is to give an unfinished impression through deconstruction.

Luke Brooks who graduated from CSM MA recently, mentions his thought-provoking work, using materials that were present in his immediate environment…even under our feet! As he wrote for Dazed:

It emerged that there are many unusual headstones located in New England, USA, which had been carved by the early settlers (late 17th and 18th century stones). The Farber Gravestone Collection, which documents over 9,000 unique headstone images in the area, was a fascinating resource.

Using that and as a treasure map, I set off for America in December. Gravestone rubbing is a contentious activity. Some people believe that it subtly damages the stones even when performed with every precaution. Others consider it an affront to the dead. I resolved to be very cautious with my crayon and to thank the residents with a gentle pat on the headstone and a word of gratitude.

Despite having amassed perhaps 40 rubbings of varying sizes, only certain ones seemed to work on the body, proportionally, texturally and photographically. The construction of the collection was about how to best project this idea of the memory of these departed bodies in relation to the living wearer.

Trash is finally a sort of inheritance we’re going to transmit. Cheap fashion also creates a lot of trash. A parallelism can be made with Punk: we wanted to be dirty because everything’s so cheap. Same idea today. But even worse as there’s a vicious loop:  how to bring new ways of approaching fashion whereas the industry is based on newness, the latest things, the latest marketing idea. And that the fashion industry is about making money.

So how to create something bigger?

Fashion knows deadlines. And one idea could be to postpone this deadline, including self-conscious elements of the quality of a material. Like a tracker for the very long term record.
People can be considered as investors or consumers. They consume Primark, but they can invest in other brands. Sustainability is an investment: trash fashion would be the signal to go back to economics principles?

There’s a need to educate people to like fashion, educate schools, otherwise only will rich have access to qualitative fashion. Before Prinark and ASOS, access to fast fashion was impossible. Let’s consider it as a big opportunity to raise sensitivity!

lea seydoux rag bone

Lea Seydoux and Michael Pitt on the rocks for Rag & Bone FW 13 campaign

Rag & Bone keeps rocking. After a promising SS14 show during LCM, the NYC label has just revealed an interesting ad campaign for its Fall Winter 2013 collection.

rag-bone-aw-adshe s

Lea Seydoux and Michael Pitt are the new icons of the brand. Glen Luchford, Palme d’Or s’il vous plait, shot the 2 megastars in a very Taxi Driver like New York.

“For us, it’s all about using individuals we view as iconic characters and Léa and Michael absolutely represent the spirit of the brand. They’re both genuine, cool people,” explains Marcus Wainwright


France has a new Marianne figure on stamps, and it’s a Femen

It’s a massive news in France and potentially worldwide: Francois Hollande, French president, has just revealed the new figure of Marianne, which will be present in every stamp in France in the coming weeks.

David Kawena and Olivier Ciappa, who designed the stamps, did something bossy: they declared that Inna Shevchenko, one of the founders of Femen, is one of the main sources of inspirations.

It’s very brave because there’s still a huge debate in France around the wedding for all (so called gay-marriage around here) and that a lot of people tried to intimidate the progressive French. It’s also brave because when you vote for a President, this guy often forgets his commitments. Saying that the new Marianne supports this strong political move is not only a sign: it’s the proof that you must be proud of decisions that won’t be consensual in the short term but which will matter in the coming years.

Well done.timbres marianne femen







a peace treaty

A PEACE TREATY scarves collection FW 13

When ethics is an opportunity to bring back to life amazing motifs from foreign places, it makes us dream. The guys of “A PEACE TREATY” embraces our dreamlands with this new scarves collection. Magics.

A PEACE TREATY is an evolving collection aimed at creating ethically-produced, artisan-level accessories and apparel for the luxury fashion marketplace.
A PEACE TREATY’s F/W 2013 collection emerges from the mysteriously sacred American Southwest. Shaped by a confluence of peoples, this land has both endured tension and inspired vision. In our quest to pay homage to the heritage and to the handmade artifacts from these intertwining cultures, APT delves deep into the essence of this romanticized tenet of Americana. Symbols of life such as the sun and squash flower are juxtaposed with those of
finality like arrows and spears, while repeating patterns and spirals emphasize this mystical cycle. Colored by the glowing tones of the desert at dawn, HÓZHÓ speaks to the brave Southwestern spirit, at once steadfast and ephemeral.
HÓZHÓ’s luxurious cashmere and wool scarves lure the desert rambler to stay warm by the fire. Delicate fibers are adorned with stripes, folk symbols, and ceremonial patterns. Scarves are inspired by bandanas and patchwork quilts and feature teepees and arrowheads – converging separate relics of both traditions into one unifying design. Radial patterns reference the intricate art form of sandpainting, an ancient spiritual healing ceremony. All pieces are hand-woven and hand-printed by artisan co-ops in Kathmandu and Jaipur. This collection brings together influences from both the roaming cowboy and Native, echoing the APT ethos and marking HÓZHÓ as a collection of shared heritage”.


adidas by Stella McCartney collection | Fall/Winter 13

There’s something irreverent and ever challenging with Stella McCartney designs for adidas. Whereas most of the products for winter either focus on performance or suggest non-wearable clothes, the new FW13 collection looks like a playground. Technical issues become new fashion opportunities to reinterpret parkas and winter outfits.

We love it.

“adidas by Stella McCartney brings inspirational warmth to the Fall/Winter 13 season with a spectrum of vivid color tempered by an atmospheric wash of blurred urban print – adding a twist to any workout. “


Dates, Channel 4: Mia, David and the Londoners on modern dating

When TV shows try to describe modern love, it most of the time fails in clichés. And when TV shows also mention internet dating, it’s even worse: a lack of sensitivity, of understanding of why people go on Meetic etc.

It’s the absolute opposite with the new Channel 4 TV series, “Dates“. Created by Bryan Elsley, the show explores the complicated relationships of grown-ups in London. The episodes are directed by diverse talents, so as the series is interesting both for her sociological understanding and for her anthropological essay about London.

There is Mia, glamorous and somehow neurotic young woman. Her femme fatale attitude quickly fades with a need to fall in one’s arms; one of the girls who want to rule the world but without the right weapons. It asks the question of what’s real female power at the end? A creation, an illusion in men’s eyes or something that should be different?

There’s is a lorry driver and a doctor. There are people who already got married and who have children, and who after their second dates seem in a hurry to introduce all their past to their potential love. It also raises the issues of privacy in the era of Social Media: what’s your digital footprint when you meet someone new?

What I love is this epic mess, caught in a very deep and very touching way in Dates. Instead of promising love stories that don’t exist, the cast and directors achieve to keep this exact experience of what London nights can be: a very lonely city, which sometimes offer rays of hopes to wannabe couples.

Oh and of course the theme song, Chloé by Hannah Peel, is magics.














Religion hat brick lane lilzeon

Wearing caps: yay or nay?

This is a controversial topic, especially in London: is it OK to wear baseball caps if you want to look stylish with your friends?

I’m going to be honest: for ages, I thought that the guys who could wear caps were part of very few crews.

– gangsta rappers: I still don’t get the point to keep the stickers saying it’s an original cap. I mean come on, you’re no longer sharing cards in kindergarten with your friends

– your dad when he takes care of the barbecue, most of the time in Texas or Nevada

– the no-style men, who wear caps…for no special reason

I was wrong. Caps are now one of the most interesting accessories for men, like ties and belts. It’s just that we don’t have any good education about it that we’re afraid of wearing them.

Let’s take one example: Patrice (the afro-German superstar) wears caps and hats regularly. It gives a structure to the overall outfit; it’s a fashion statement that tells a lot about one individual.

It’s not a come-back of the nineties, as many magazines wrote last year. It’s far more subtle, and the reasons why caps are now on the edge of fashion are very new:

– workspace has changed a lot; London or NYC are the new paradises for the tech or arty businesses. With this fundamental shift (remember that agencies are now buying spare desks in the City!), men can now wear whatever they want. The suit is still key for special events or in particular corporate cultures, but we now need more imagination. Flat caps are too related to certain laborers’ imagery, while hats can be considered as too sophisticated. Caps are a more discrete twist of personality that you can expose without being considered as “you know THIS fashion guy”

– you know have decent collections for caps: New York Yankees were for a while the only option if you wanted to get rid of Nike, Reebok logos. But now, a lot of indie brands have interesting caps, like Religion.

Religion hat brick lane 2

– you can wear caps with a lot of outfits; a bit like a clock, your cap can be a daily companion


So guys: go for caps. They should be not too big nor small. They should have this strange balance between statement and discretion.

Let’s see if in the coming years, you’ll be allowed to wear them in formal clubs. After all, we got rid of too formal shoes, why not free our heads?


feet project teaser

The Feet Project (RE-UP): the teaser

It’s a project we’re pretty happy to present today as we’re producing it: the Feet Project.

The question can seem absurd: do you ever think about your feet?

A lot of people have never considered it. And it’s amazing to a certain extent as we all walk, wear shoes, swim; and at the opposite, if you don’t have feet, your life is totally changed.

We’ve been interviewing passer-by, shoe designers, fashionistas, experts, reflexologists. And we’ll release the full documentary in September.

The Feet Project teaser from RE-UP on Vimeo.

As it’s a creative research project exploring what feet mean to people, we need you. If you have something to say, if you want to share your feet, well…do it on our Tumblr. A lot of bloggers or anonymous already played the game. Join us.( ) by RE-UP ( )



A film directed by Flavie Trichet Lespagnol ( ) and Marion May ( )

Music: DAYS by Exsonvaldes ( )

Creative Director:
Chris Aldhous

Creative strategy:
Laurent Francois

Project direction:
Tristan Nicolas
Pierre Humeau

Content strategy:
Elisabetta Giusta
Karishma Puri

Nabilla Benattia at Jean Paul Gaultier Couture FW13 Show

Why Kanye “Yeezus” can conquer Paris with style

While commenters have given a harsh welcome to Kanye West for his first steps into the world of fashion design, we shall agree to disagree. Although we won’t claim that Kanye will revolutionize luxury fashion, we’re pretty sure he’s gunning rightly for the title of most influent artist in the world. As exemplified yesterday in Paris, French iconic designers have no more grasp on world trends. After successful stints alongside Madonna and Lady Gaga, Jean-Paul Gaultier has given light and patronage to a blingy and brain-dead real-TV starlet: Nabilla Benattia.

This late one has famously confessed being admirative of top-level TV star (and Kanye’s girl) Kim Kardashian.

The trouble is: Kanye may well be dating a TV star, he’s just got on to set the record straight with his latest album Yeezus. Creatively speaking, the man has grown into standards of both entertainment (Runaway / My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) and experimentation (Yeezus). Thus he’s been proving that art is both a subject for radicality and compromise.

Whereas Jean-Paul Gaultier has just been shooting at people in the light of media for attention, while not proving much on the creative grounds. There’s finally another symptom of Paris and French creativity rigidified in the old patrimonial comfort of history. Paris Fashion Week seems to have trouble dealing with the present and with the tough competition on the international fields of creativity. As trade talks between the US and Europe are heating up, good old France is trying to protect something quite obsolete, while american artists are inventing the future of culture.

Nabilla Benattia at Jean Paul Gaultier Couture FW13 Show
Nabilla Benattia at Jean Paul Gaultier Couture FW13 Show