thisisnznews said: I'm looking for more brands similar to chronicals and black noise / white rain. Could you point me in the direction of some? Annex and Claude Maus are good too.

Okay, so are you looking for a commercial brand you’d like to buy and wear pieces from?  A great starting point would be to look at it’s a great website and features many emerging as well as already established labels. If you look in their ‘Black Sheep’ under ‘Our Designers’ you will find lots of menswear and you can buy on-line via their shop section.  Labels which most suit your aesthetic are Scandinavian, Korean and Japanese. It also depends on your budget, All Saints isn’t a bad brand to buy from too! 

Hope that helps!


SS14 runway show soundtracks

  I have included in the music player at the top of the page the full runway tracks from the Spring Summer 2014 womenswear runway shows Versace, Dior, Gucci, Givenchy, Prada and Chanel.  This is a great way to gain a more detailed insight into the inspirations and artistic direction of each of these houses Spring Summer 2014 collections.  I will do this for every season from now on.

An update from EDGE FASHION BLOG

Hello followers!

  So you may have noticed that the cobwebs have been gathering and the tumble-weed has been blowing over the past few months here on EDGE FASHION BLOG.  This is due to a variety of reasons, and since I’ve never shared these with you, I thought a post to enlighten you upon the matter would be apt.

  Since September last year I have been consumed with academic work, as I am currently studying for my MA in Arts Management here in Belfast (UK).  I have also been consulting on several fashion brand development projects, writing press releases for fashion designers, writing commissioned fashion articles for companies, writing designer biographies and more recently I have (and continue to be) on placement at Northern Ireland’s only full time producing theatre, which has been a phenomenal experience.

  In the coming weeks and months I will be interviewing many more fashion designers and writing more runway reviews for EDGE FASHION BLOG so continue to check back for new content.  In the mean time I have updated the music player with a great play list (the bar at the top of this page) which I hope you enjoy. 

  Finally, if you would like to ask me anything (even completely off topic) feel free to do so in the section at the bottom of the blog, and I will answer your questions.  Also if you are a fashion designer and would like me to interview you and/or feature your collection on EDGE FASHION BLOG, or if you would like to commission me to write for you please contact or tweet me @milkwrist


Balmain PFW 2013

 For Balmain’s latest offering, Creative Director Olivier Rousteing has drawn inspiration from the glamorous former Harpers Bazaar and Vogue fashion editor Diana Vreeland to produce a dramatic, luxurious and vibrant collection.  The iconic French house has referenced its couture heritage with opulent embellishments and architectural tailoring, with Rousteing injecting modernity from eighties styling, ultra high hemlines and boxy silhouettes.

  Vreeland’s influence is most felt through the collections Oriental styling and cultural referencing, with rich silks, faux tortoiseshell accents, obi belts and geometric patterns reminiscent of the East/West fusion of her New York apartment, as featured in the 2011 film depicting her life, The Eye Has To Travel. 

Detailing and embellishment play a starring role in this pre-fall collection, with burnished gold thread weaving its way through geometric, arabesque patterned trouser suits, rigid Deco inspired tunic dresses which, given their boxy structure and level of detail, are reminiscent of fine inlaid wood; all the way to the golden banded black leather gloves and finally the cascading earrings, their fine strands echoing the unifying theme of Balmain’s collection.



Spon Diogo INTERVIEW and FW12/13 collection

  Mia Lisa Spon and Rui Andersen Rodrigues Diogo launched their eponymously named prêt-à-porter fashion label Spon Diogo in August 2008.  With Mia Lisa Spon’s background in tailoring & design and Rodrigues Diogo’s experience in fine arts, in addition to graphic and industrial design, the dynamic partnership of Spon Diogo produced a constructional, minimal, graphic and luxurious womenswear brand, creating architectural clothing, tailored to modern urban living.

  The Autumn/Winter 12/13 collection entitled Incandescent marks the Danish labels eighth full collection to date.  Incandescent amalgamates the labels signature graphic and asymmetrical tailoring with softer elements such as drapery and lamé fabric to produce a softer, more restrained silhouette.  Elegantly draped dresses in autumnal beige and mushroom shades looked effortlessly casual, whilst shimmering and lamé fabrics brought restrained femininity to the collection. Monochrome black pieces added depth to the collection with black pencil trousers and boxy tuxedos sitting alongside cropped, asymmetrically tailored jackets.  Cutaway vests in buttery black leather and boiled wool coats emphasized the contrast of texture throughout, with splashes of midnight blue and earthen red creating interest and additional vibrancy, producing both a wearable and modern fashion forward collection.

  I had the opportunity of asking Rui about the Spon Diogo label and the collection…


1. Firstly congratulations on winning the Max Factor New Talent Award! What did it mean to you to win this award?

  Thank you very much. Our hometown (Copenhagen) has been very supportive of our work from the very beginning. The stylists and editors took us in from early on. This award is maybe a recognition on another level – maybe it’s a pointer towards the broader market being ready for us too. If this is the case; we are very happy about this.


2.You were nominated for the same award last year, so did being presented the award during Copenhagen Fashion Week feel like a milestone and coming of age for your brand?

   Not really, as you mention, we’re nominated before – also for the DANSK fashion awards (which we didn’t win). For our previous season (SS12) we debuted on the catwalk (Presentation) in Paris; this indeed felt like milestone, and a path we want to pursue. Awards may bring attention in a broader sense, but for us at this stage, trying to establish a sound foundation for our label is far more important – i.e. establishing contact and a good relation to the buyers and press and general awareness of our label.


3.Taking it right back to the birth of SPON DIOGO. How did the label come about and was there a long creative process leading up to the launch in August 2008?

  We met in 2004 and worked together on miscellaneous projects, there amongst full collections for both male and female, knit and suiting collections for local Danish companies.

  In working together we grew a liking and shared a view on how to approach the various processes; along with the outcome. SPON DIOGO felt like it was bound to come into existence sooner or later.

  We decided, on a Paris visit late autumn 2003, that we wanted to work closer, but we’re still both working more than full time. After rounding up the season for our clients, we immediately started working on our own collection, which was in fact two collections; a more or less full Spring / Summer collection along with a capsule Autumn / Winter collection. This  work was initiated in March and shown in Copenhagen in August and Paris later that year.

  Our work and collections were then quite thematically built back and the process of making the collection was quite short and precise.


4.Can you expound a little upon both your creative backgrounds? Do you think this unique fusion of skills helped give SPON DIOGO an iconic and recognizable aesthetic?

  When we started out designing together, and this still applies, we drew on references from various fields of the arts. The first collection we did in our own name, was largely built on architecture or construction. Our shared view on colour vs. shape remains an important factor.

  However we as designers and SPON DIOGO as a label are in a constant development; in the very core of the label lies relevance, and to pursue this we do not focus on achieving a certain iconography but rather on reading our times and responding.


5.What would you say is SPON DIOGO’s signature?

  Pure and precisely designed modern tailoring.

6.Do you have a muse in mind when designing your collections? What qualities does the SPON DIOGO woman exhibit?

   We don’t work with a muse as such, and find this to be uninteresting for us. We are far more interested in body language.  However; she is very much an urban character, and the setting is always the city.

  Our previous collections were very thematically/conceptually designed. They followed a rigorous recipe from theme to research – drawing - selection and lastly development.

  Now development of the collections happen a lot more randomly and are far more mood based. Influences or inspirations tend to creep up on us or are drawn from the historical repertoire we hold.

7.Has being based in Berlin influenced your design inspirations, the fabrics you use, your colour palette?

  Berlin is a quite tough city – the cityscape is concrete on more concrete – we call it ‘United Colours Of Beton’ (concrete) ha-ha. The first season working from Berlin had an almost opposite effect, as the overall expression
became a bit softer, but as of recent we’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the diversity in expression found here. However our choices in fabrics and colours remain within our known vocabulary.


8.Turning to your RTW F/W 12/13 collection, what inspired you?

  It’s about the ethereal vs. something concrete, and grew out a wish to make a modern soft statement.

  As in previous collections, for the Autumn / Winter 2012/13 we have worked with juxtaposition of graphic / constructed vs. a softer more draped theme.Materials are very tactile and structured.


 9.You have used a wonderfully diverse autumnal colour palette ranging from soft beige and mushroom shades, white and earthy browns through to more vivid interjections of midnight blue and rust red, and underlined with crisp swathes of black. How did these shades appeal to you, and how did you marry them together so well throughout your collection?

  Thank you. The colour scheme was inspired from colour work of Caravaggio, known as the school of Tenebrism. It’s about a marriage of the deep earthly colours with strong popping colours.

10.You have also used many textures throughout your collection, from iridescent fabrics to leather to boiled wool. Why did these material appeal to you?

   The inherent constructional qualities of the felted wool, the draping qualities along the with raw edge finish, makes a perfect balance of graphic vs. soft.

11.Structurally the collection is superb. How have you created the perfect balance between sharp tailoring and soft drapery?

  The idea was to make a very clad collection; to talk generally about dress. Often we find that to focus on a suited look can render too much to a traditionally male universe.

  In the collection we softened the overall look by using pleats, peplums and flares. A lot of couture references and techniques were applied.

  We have, with this collection, moved a bit further away from the sort of industrial minimalism, we’ve made in the past.

12.You often play with the proportions of the female frame through tailoring, can you tell us some of the methods you have used?

   Our work has and is still to some extent centered on the body and movement. We like to make a very precise but comfortable tailoring, and the process involves a lot fittings.

  In working with very constructed pieces i.e. tube dresses, we do not apply usage of bones for construction but rather focus on comfort.

  We wish to make the wearer the focal point, not the dress.

13.How do you navigate the line between innovation and commercialism of your pieces?

   It’s a quite complex matter. On one side, some buyers look for the unique and often what one would describe as difficult pieces, and the other side, some buyers look for good ‘clothes’.

  We find we have to experiment a bit with the range – some seasons the collections were quite small but highly innovative, other season were more extensive in size.

  Even though we find that only a few pieces go into production, it remains a question of as to which sort of label you want to be perceived. For us, it’s always been important to design a full wardrobe for the SD woman -  the navigation ends up being a sort of ‘getting to know our woman better and better’.

 Also; the concept of commercialism is very different from the US to central Europe; for eg. in the US a deep décolleté is often perceived as to service a totally different market than for eg. in France, as we in Europe have a far freer attitude towards our bodies.

  Even though the international market is of a complex nature; we think one has to go for what one feels lies in the core of one’s label.

14.Can you tell us a little about how you source your materials such as leather and fur (which you have used in previous collections,)

   Generally all our materials and production comes from Europe I.E. Silks from Italy and France, Wools from Austria, Germany and Italy etc., except for the most part of our leather which we source via our manufacturers in Turkey.

  For our A/W 2011 collection, we  had a lovely cooperation with SAGA® Furs from Denmark, who supplied the fantastic SAGA® Fox.

15.Turning to the minimal accessories you have designed, will these be available alongside the clothing?

   Yes, we intend to integrate more and more pieces into the collection such as shoes, bags, jewellery etc.

16. You are stocked both in online boutiques, in Europe and in China which demonstrates worldwide demand for your collections. Do you think the SPON DIOGO aesthetic transcends cultural boundaries?


17.What’s next for SPON DIOGO? What is inspiring you for next season, can you give us any clues?

  Air, lightness and freedom in movement.



Images from SPON DIOGO FW12/13

Human Potential Interview

The innovative Korean brand Human Potential was established in 2008 in Seoul by DO & YK.  Yk Kim was born in South Korea and studied design and technology at Parsons, New York where she was heavily influenced and inspired by New York’s multi cultural atmosphere.  Taking these inspirations back to South Korea, her first idea was to set up a cultural space in which artists could exchange ideas, which in turn would influence global culture, in conjunction with creating an innovative fashion brand.  Joining forces with Dowon Kim, who shared her vision, Human Potential (HUPOT) the brand and it’s cultural movement was born in 2008.  In 2011 HUPOT signed a licensing agreement with Flux Apparel Inc to manufacture and distribute it’s clothing in the USA, and with vast interest from both consumers and artists from UK, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, France, Denmark, New Zealand, Brazil and Singapore Human Potential is set to expand globally in the coming decade. 

    HUPOT’S most recent collection, that of A/W 11 entitled ‘Alien Puppeteers’ explores the zeitgeist of extra terrestrials in our global culture.  A kinetically charged and hyper modern unisex collection, graphic prints prove a common thread throughout.  Applied to hoodies, midi length jersey skirts, leggings, kilts and harem trousers, the aesthetic can be summed up as modern and irreverent urban camouflage.  More traditional elements such as varsity jackets have been updated and given graphic monochrome contrasting sleeves, multi pocket army utility jackets and traditionally cut belted trench coats too have been dipped in the eye catching multi coloured abstract prints, creating a highly stylised column of vibrant, warm and illusive print.  HUPOT has also rather wisely included some more mainstream pieces.  Khaki multi pocket army jackets and macs in biscuit and black hues are both classic and expertly tailored, showcasing the brands technical brilliance and their use of high grade materials.  Another highlight are the woolen grandad style unisex cardigans in graphic prints, perfect for a more modern take on work wear, perfect for the cold winter months.  Overall this A/W 11 collection showcases the talent of Eastern designers, which is both refreshing and challenging to the Western conception of fashion.  Bold and fearless, this collection sums up what HUPOT symbolises as a brand, and I will be keen to witness the growth of this brand in the western market.  I asked the brands creative force Yk Kim some questions..

1.Can you tell us a little about how you knew you wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry, and do you have any formal training?

I always wanted to pursue fashion ever since i was a child. As i got older i found a love for fine art and technology and felt that all three, for me, was a perfect blend. I attended 2 years at Otis College of Art and Design studying Digital Media and 2 years at Parsons studying Design Design and Technology.

2.Can you tell us how your brand was born and the origins of how the cultural website turned into a clothing brand?

Do and YK started a brand called human potential in 2008. We didn’t want to limit the brand to just fashion so we designed a website that unified all types of art and expression.

3.Do you have a muse? What type of person would wear your clothes?

People who don’t have fear and love to challenge themselves are my muses.

4.Why did you decide to call the label human potential?

We wanted to prove to ourselves and to the world that anyone can reach their dreams.  Also that everyone has infinite potential as long as you don’t limit yourself.

5.Where do you draw the inspiration for your collections from?

My inspiration comes from everywhere, but mostly from books and people.  I love philosophy books and historical books, non fiction movies, and i love talking to people with unique experiences in their lives.

6.Where do you see Human Potential expanding to in future?  

One of our visions is to build a cultural center for everyone,  we want to help the less fortunate.

7.Can you tell us where your clothing is stocked? And can we get our hands on it in the UK?

Our base is in Korea and right now, we have license deal in America. multi shops from hong kong and Beijing are carrying our products.  In the UK, you can go purchase our clothes from our site and (which has worldwide international shipping).

8.Which designers do you most admire? Why?

I love Alexander McQueen. when i see his clothes, i don’t see just the clothes, i see a spirit. and its only from him. you cant find it anywhere else. my dream was meet him and chat with him. RIP Alexander.

9.What is your opinion on designer collaborations, and what do you see yourself doing any in future?

I would love to collaborate with designers.

10.Can you tell us about your current collection and your inspirations behind it?

2011 F/W - Alien Puppeteers, these days, i see so many people influenced and intrigued by aliens and UFOs. and it almost control their lives with hope and fear. its almost become their religion. it made me think so i wanted to express my thoughts on that.

11.I love the hats featured in your A/W lookbook, can you tell us a little about them? Are they also available to buy?

when i think about UFOs and aliens, the first thing that came to mind was this Japanese animation i used to watch all the time when i was young. and in that animation, the lady wears long hat like that. unfortunately, only 4 were made for the shoot. but, the shorter trooper hats will be available soon in multiple designs.

12.Can you tell us the price range of your pieces?

t shirts starts from $48. coats, leather jackets hit the max of $1200.

13.There is a strong connection between music and your work, do you find the industries go hand in hand and support each other?

I love music and my husbands a producer, and works at YG entertainment, so it very natural that fashion and music go together for us.


Zoe Boomer Interview

  Northern Irish fashion designer Zoe Boomer is one of my countries success stories.  Hailed as ‘Ireland’s next Stella Mccartney’ by the Irish Examiner back in 2009 she certainly is living up to expectations.  Graduating from London’s prestigious London College of Fashion, Zoe went on to found her eponymous label in 2006 and has since accumulated many celebrity followers including the Queen of pop herself, Madonna, who short listed her dresses for her film ‘filth & wisdom.’  Zoe has also exhibited her collections at the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern, London and at the Sex and The City 2 premiere, creating a persistent demand for her designs, which are stocked at the British Design Collective boutique in Bichester Village, London and bath and additionally from her own online boutique at

  Zoe Boomers signature style is one of modernity and minimalism.  By using only the finest quality silks and silk chiffon’s she creates clean, ethereal silhouettes which are retain both elegance and urban relevance, often a hazardous juxtaposition to master.  In S/S 11 she offered us an iconic collection of subtle dove greys interjected with a vibrant abstract floral print on billowing chiffon dresses and kimono inspired jackets, whilst for S/S 12 she has distilled her aesthetic to offer us  beautifully simple chiffon pleated strapless Swarovski crystal evening gowns and luxurious daywear in grey, slate blue and mocha knit and silks.  I talked to Zoe about her inspirations, experiences and collaborations.

1. When did you first realise that you wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry?
It wasn’t until i was at Art College that my teacher realised i had a flare for it. Every fashion brief i had, I got top marks for and just loved it. Growing up in N.Ireland it was never given as a career option so I never considered it. But my Amazing Teacher Betty who was trained in Textiles took me under her wing and showed me it was a real possiablity. once i studied it more, designed and researched designers I just fell in Love with the whole industry and found at last that I was really good at something!

2. Can you tell us a little about your training at The London College of Fashion and why you decided to study there?
It still blows me away that I went there, A Bit of a long story. I had actually applied to study in Belfast, as I did not want to leave home let alone move to another country. I was recommended by so many to study in London, and while waiting to find out if i was accepted in Belfast, I had a very hard conversation with a family friend who was like the seventh person advising me that I needed to go abroad. I went in to college the next day, told my teacher that i have changed my mind. She told me to go research a college quickly and see if they are still doing interviews. The First college I found was London College of Fashion- i was like, “cool a college for fashion!” (I had No IDEA how good a college it was!!) My UCAS was sent from the Uni I had already applied to and then I got a letter back from the government saying it’s too late and not allowed to apply and my UCAS has been scrapped! BUMMER… so it was probably going to be a Foundation course for me. As i was putting my final year work on the wall for our college show, I got a phone call from Mum saying a letter had arrived from LCF asking me to go for an interview in 2days time. I had a little freak out and thought it was so not possible, no point going. My work is on the wall, also at this point I had researched more about LCF and realised it was one of the top Universities for Fashion and how hard it was to get in. I then get another call from my Dad who told me he was booking a flight, he would go with me and if anything it was for the experience. My show finished, I took the work straight of the wall into my portfolio, AMAZING BETTY helped me put it together and i was on a flight with my Dad. Next day had my interview, wHere they just looked at my work and offered me a place on the spot! CRAZY!!! 2months later i moved to london and had my first lecture.
Studying at LCF was probably one of the most amazing experiences i have had, there must have been only about 5 or 6 british students in each class and the rest from all around the world! The world quickly became more accessible. Being trained by top designers and lectures in a very cool environment, aLthough very intense and not easy I LOVED IT!

3. Did you always want to set up your own label and have you had experience working for other Fashion Houses?
From when I was little I always wanted to be a business women and have my own company. My dad was a business man with a company he built it up and he travelled lots. I often went with him to meetings or played secretaries at his work. I just wanted to do what he did. I honestly had no idea how i would start up my own fashion label but dreamt one day i would, i just kind of fell into it and it all happened so naturally. I never did a long placement in another fashion house, my first job out of college was working as a stylist assistant and ended up been trained to do styling, but during this time the stylist worked with a London label for London Fashion week. As I was a trained designer and pattern cutter she let me work at the designers studio during the lead up to Fashion week. It may have only been 3 weeks but in that time i probably got the equivalent of 6 months training. I Learnt so much. Through Styling for a year it helped me to really understand the Fashion Industry so much better and see it as an overall business, which if I had not had that experience and knowledge Im not sure I would have been able to start a label so soon.

4. What is the trademark of the Zoe Boomer label?
Zoe Boomer is known for its luxurious fabrics cut in simplistic styles, Garments that can be worn different ways and that will not date! which is a must in this economy, nobody wants to spend lots of money on a garment that can be worn just one season. Also everything is made in the UK and fabric sourced from Italy and France.

5. Do you have a muse? Can you tell us where you draw your inspirations for your collections from?
Ill let you into a secret, I am terrible at Drawing!! I work best with fabric and draping on a stand how I want it to look. I don’t have a muse but i know who the Zoe Boomer women is, what she likes and what things she wants garments for. Inspiration for me will come when either Im running, flicking through a magazine, walking through my favourite department store or just being somewhere inspiring. It could even be on holiday and a lady walks past and i like what she is wearing, its like a light bulb comes on and i start getting ideas. Fabric for me is a huge factor for designing I source and pick the fabric i want first then design around that. I communicate with My pattern cutting team by showing them pictures of my inspiration and basic product sketches (none of this fancy drawing you imagine they would be!)

6. Madonna has famously shortlisted your dresses for her movie ‘filth and wisdom.’ Has this recognition of your talent boosted your profile? And do you think the partnership between the fashion industry and celebrities is an important relationship to maintain?
Well it certainly gets peoples attention and I guess that it gives the label credibility. The relationship between the fashion industry and celebrities is important to maintain as its always guaranteed press but it doesn’t necessarily make it real. A lot of celb’s wear garments for big functions and the more way out pieces were it is not necessarily the real girl going to the office or the mum picking the kid’s up from school who want to look nice but also has to be practical. The celebrity world can be a bit of a fantasy.

7. Hailing from Northern Ireland do you think there is a strong base of talented designers at present?
There is SO MUCH talent in N.Ireland, I have met so many great designers. I think the main struggle for everyone now is the opportunity and money but that can also go to our advantage because you just have to be creative in how we go about it. Some of the best Ideas and businesses I think should come when times are the hardest because you have to think out of the box. Everyone has challenges and obstacles so there is no point making excuses.

8. Which designers do you most personally admire?
I really admire Tommy Hilfiger i wouldn’t say that he is my favourite designer but he started his label by selling ties out of a suit case in America. He started with what he had and could handle and it grew into an empire! I would love to meet him one day and ask what got him through it. Im sure he had a dream and selling ties out of a suitcase wasn’t it and no doubt he had many times of wanting to give up but he kept going and it its now a brand known around the world! Always believe that if you are faithful with whats in your hand you will be given more!

9. You use fine silks and silk-chiffons extensively throughout your collections, do you think that using the highest quality luxury fabrics are a key component of your brand?
Im such a strong believer in quality over quantity! you can not deny how beautiful silk and silk chiffon is and you can’t help feel and look AMAZING in them. I could design a fab garment but if you team it with a horrible fabric, not only will it not last you just won’t feel good in it. The feedback i get so much from women who wear Zoe Boomer is how nice they feel in it and love the fabric touching there skin, They instantly feel beautiful and special - which they are!

 10. Can you tell us what inspired you for your A/W 11 collection?
A/W’11 Collection is cosy meets stylish! we had such a cold winter last year and I was determined to make a beautiful collection that you wouldn’t be freezing in! So this season we introduced Mohair and a chunky knit. team these up with a silk top or dress it becomes the perfect combination! (plus you can add some thermal vests underneath!) This season was inspired by panelling and cut of the fabric. Looking at how lines done in a certain way and cut can be so flattering on the body. When it came to the chunky knit i wanted the garments to be like you are just wrapped up and cosy, and have the look as if you aren’t trying too hard.

11. Can you tell us what you are working on at the minute?
The 2 main things i am working on that we are getting ready to launch, is firstly our new Website and new online shop, and BRIDAL Section!! which will be AMAZING once finished. But probably the most exciting thing we have just launched is the Zoe Boomer FREEDOM Campaign. These are silk and Silk jersey vests with FREEDOM printed on them. £5 From every top goes to an Anti human trafficking charity called the They rescue girls and children who have been kidnapped and used for sex slavery. The more i have heard of what is going on it just broke my heart and felt we have to do something. We have already got pop stars like the Saturdays, Miss Dynamite and Brooke Fraser supporting, they all have a FREEDOM TOP and are in the process of getting mens ones done for Lambrinth and JLS who want to support it as well. Not only that but Grazia have got behind it. we are in the process of doing a separate blog about it and a section on our NEW website telling you more also. You can buy the tops already from our online boutique and on ASOS marketplace:

12. Your pieces are available to buy online from your website, how important is the digital marketplace to you?
Online really is the way forward! nearly every shop is doing it as well. It is such a great way for me to even sell of some limited edition pieces which I can’t do on bulk and sell things like the FREEDOM tops and insure money will go straight to the charity.

13. Can you tell us a little about Boomer/Stenberg?
Boomer|Stenberg is a bit of a project on the side, I have teamed up with good friend stylist and Director of Carriage 44 soap to do a jersey men and women’s label, specialising in amazing jersey in unusual simple tops and cardigans. We discovered especially in mens wear there is a bit of a gap in the market for good quality simple mens T-shirts in luxury jerseys. We launched our first samples last year and had such amazing interest and feed back. We are about to launch Boomer|Stenberg FREEDOM TOPS first and then stay tuned to the website for it to make its debut in the future.

14. In addition to showcasing your collections at LFW, the Turbine hall at the Tate Modern & at the SATC 2 premier you also show at Belfast Fashion Week, do you think it is important to maintain your Northern Irish connection?
You can take a girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl! in other words N.Ireland is where I am from, my family are here and this is where I’ve grown up, it will always be home! I started because of the support at home, my business is registered there, my first fashion show was there and the fist shop i ever sold in was there. We recently did a big fashion shoot for editorial images for the new website, we shot it at the north coast, on the beaches and at the Giants Causeway. Swedish photographer Joona Laulajainen flew over to take the pics and my friend N.Ireland model and fitness trainer Holly Edgar modelled for me. It was so special doing this back home and recently we also shot the New ASOS marketplace collection in Lisburn with N.Ireland Photographers: Gillian Higgins and Nicola Ross.

15. Can you tell us where your collections are stocked throughout the world?
Well with selling online people can buy them from anywhere in the world. As far as Australia have got Zoe Boomer! My Main stockists are in London and Bath then sold on several online boutiques that aren’t my own. There are so many great and popular online boutiques out there.

imageimageLook 14. Pale Brown Box T Dress.Look 16. Pale Brown Corbet Dress.Look 1. Jersey Grey Jumper Dress.Look 18. Blue Box T Top and Helen Trousers.

(Final four images are from Zoe Boomer’s AW2012/SS2013 Collection)

Albino S/S 12 RTW

  Italian fashion house Albino first appeared in Milan back in 2004 when the Italian, or more specifically Roman stylist and Parisian trained Albino d’Amato who has worked for the likes of Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, formed a partnership with the dynamic Neapolitan Gianfranco Fenizia, who splits his creative interests between architecture and consultancy for major fashion brands and other projects, such as Misuraca.  The duo decided to present their debut S/S 2005 womenswear collection in a Parisian art gallery in the region of the Place des Vosges, citing their love of French haute couture as a strong influence to their Italian made brand.  Building upon their steady success on the continent, Albino extended their stockists from three to twenty stores in their second season, that of A/W 2005/06 which confirmed both their creative and popular talent, and in recent years has seen the brand expand globally to include both Japanese and American stockists.

  Albino d’Amato is the creative powerhouse behind the Albino brand, and In my opinion is an unsung hero in the fashion industry.  Following on from his New York City inspired A/W 12 collection, which featured models elegantly swathed in tweed and fur, Albino has produced a stripped back, minimalist collection for S/S 12.  Albino’s first look was a black cropped high neck jacket, worn back to front so it zipped up the back, reminiscent of a Martin Margiela creation.  Paired with crisp white and black trimmed narrow tailored shorts and finished with a high waisted over skirt of black techno mesh, the look was overtly modern and minimal.  Albino then softened his vision of futurism, and introduced more feminine shapes and textures.  A cobalt blue tiered trapeze dress showcased Albino’s technical skill, balancing playful femininity with his characteristic clean cut design, and paved the way for the colour drenched palette that followed.  Albino then tempted us with a dark teal wool A-line coat and then a classic Lanvin inspired one shoulder asymmetric fawn dress, which, paired with black techno mesh perfectly juxtaposed Albino’s vintage and modern design influences. 

  Then Albino loosened up a little, a floral monochrome mac with a flared skirt was both practical and feminine, whilst a deep v neck sleeveless billowing cobalt blue silk dress, trimmed in black silk tied in the black mesh underskirt and gave the model a statuesque and effortlessly sexy appearance.  Albino then introduced texture to his use of luminescent vibrant silks, pairing a straight cut moss green mini skirt with embroidered ombre three dimensional rosettes on a curved hem top, creating perhaps his signature look of the season.  Elsewhere Albino played with proportions, applying his colour dipped rosettes from the waist up onto citrus green tunic dresses, or covering bell shaped sleeveless dress with tender sunset hues. 

  Albino did offer more restrained pieces, a grey embroidered floral tunic dress with jewel embellished collar and crisp white skirt echoed relaxed Parisian chic, the model throwing her hands into low slung side pockets.  A strapless black and burnt orange knee length chiffon bustier dress was also a sophisticated piece, yet it was Albino’s innovative pattern cutting in the form of an asymmetric one shouldered vivid sapphire blue dress the grabbed attention.  Finally Albino experimented with ombre appliqued chiffon, reminiscent somewhat of inkblots, applying the fluid abstract shapes first to a mini skirt then next to a knee length two tone tulip dress, creating a tactile, and somewhat Marni inspired kooky take on the classic shift.  This S/S 12 collection is one of my personal favourites, and this Italian brand, although garnering celebrity followers such as Mischa Barton is still under the fashion radar and is relatively unappreciated, with it’s loyal fan base Albino is set to slowly gain the credit it deserves.

Balenciaga Spring 2012 RTW

  This season Nicolas Ghesquiere presented a truly memorable collection by amalgamating iconic haute couture elements from Christobal’s archives with modern street culture.  At the Rue Cassette in Paris, Ghesquiere, who has been at the helm of Balenciaga since 1997, showcased a collection rich in duality, contrasting firstly bold, graphic and futuristic silhouettes at the beginning of the show with softer, longer hemlines of patch worked black, white and tan fabric inspired by archived monochrome prints, metallic fringed midi pencil skirts and remixed leather wimple hats.

  Structured, boxy denim inspired panelled jackets with strong shoulders and long slim pockets in contrasting hues in shades of peach, raspberry, navy and lilac were paired with crisp white high neck shirts and high waisted, belted and pleated full mini shorts in neutral tones, focusing attention on the torso.  Elsewhere a structured A-line dress in stiff gold knee length silk and draped white jersey bridged the gap between the modern and vintage influences of the collection.  Ghesquiere also experimented with bold citrus prints, uplifting the earthy tones of the collection, adding a three dimensional interest to the simple short ensembles. 

  Volume played a key role in this Spring collection, with even the most simple crew neck white t-shirts given a couture overhaul, becoming wonderfully ethereal in crisp white asymmetric cut silk, tucked into high waisted and belted cropped trousers, narrow on the leg, but with some volume at the thigh and styled down with an external pocket to one side, creating both an accessible yet sophisticated version of day wear.

   Most impressive of all perhaps were the leather trimmed hats, inspired by a noted Irving Penn photograph, their wide brims skimming and sweeping behind the neck encapsulating the models, obscuring the eyes and in turn drawing the focus to the lips of the wearer.  Brought bang up to date with neutrally colour blocked cropped boxy blazers and maxi length billowing leather trim silk skirts, Ghesquiere has brought us an original and eclectic ready to wear Spring collection.

Fannie Schiavoni Interview

   Fannie Schiavoni is a rising star in the fashion industry. Born in Sweden, she moved to London at the age of eighteen to study tailoring at the London College of Fashion. Whilst there she interned for designers such as Giles Deacon and Hussein Chalayan before graduating in the Spring of 2009. Upon her graduation Brown’s Focus bought her collection, and further recognition of her talent that year came in the form of prestigious NewGen sponsorship by the British Fashion Council. Her attention to detail and craftsmanship has helped her develop her signature chain-mail jewelry, which bridges the boundaries of jewelry and garment. Her unique and revolutionary talent has earned her three consecutive NewGen sponsorship’s and a string of international stockists as well as celebrity clientele including Lady Gaga, Rihanna and the Scissor Sisters. Fannie Schiavoni continues to build upon her brand by constantly evolving her techniques and collaborating with brands such as Diesel and Swarovski. I had the opportunity to ask her some questions….


1. You moved from Sweden to London when you were 18 to study at the London College of Fashion. What drew you to studying in the UK and did your experiences match your expectations? Has London shaped your creative outlook?

I had been looking at the fashion schools in London when I was 17 but my first choice was actually to study architecture in Sweden. When I moved here I met my husband so I knew I was going to live in the UK for a while. The school structure was quite challenging for me, too much freedom (if there’s such thing) and not enough structured learning. But I definitely think that being enveloped in that environment, with classmates, galleries, parties and everything going on around you helped shape me and I don’t think I would’ve been as creative and forward driven if I studied in Sweden for example.

Working as a designer in London has exceeded my expectations.. I love it..

2. What did you learn from interning at Hussein Chalayan, Giles Deacon and Julian MacDonald? Did you enjoy your time at each brand and did your experience help you when setting up your own label?

At Giles I was hand sewing part of a dress together five minutes before the catwalk show started. It makes you realise that even the designers you look up are also human, as a designer you can bend the rules and sometimes it’s ok if it’s not perfect.

Interning at Hussein Chalayan was great, and I think it’s all down to Hussein himself. Being the head of a company it’s extremely important how you treat your employees and I think Hussein is doing a great job and that’s why many people in his company have been there for over 20 years, and that pleasant environment trickles down to even the interns.

I’m not going to name and shame, but I think all internships are different from person to person, and there are some brands that don’t take care of their interns. You have to try to take as much away with you as possible and know what you want to get out of it before you start.

3. You have now been awarded with NEWGEN sponsorship for three consecutive sessions by the British Fashion Council. How important was this for you as an emerging designer? Do you think awards such as these are vital in highlighting new talent in the industry?

I think it was very important from a sales perspective. Having the British Fashion Council backing you is like telling the buyers that you’re a safe bet, or relatively so. It’s not enough to have a great product sometimes, you need that little extra to set you apart from the crowd. The New Gen award is a great initiative and aside from highlighting new talents they also help young designers with the business aspects of fashion.

4. You have said you were inspired by the Medieval history of your home town, then learnt the ancient technique of making chain mail. Where did the idea to reinterpret this into jewellery come from, did you always want to design a jewellery line?

No, at LCF I simply designed a very well made, androgynous, intricate, tailored graduation collection in muted colours. Looking back at it, I realize it was all a bit boring, and at the time I wanted to use something to make it a bit more extraordinary. The chain mail fitted into my theme and inspiration. Naturally the jewellery got more attention than the clothes!

5. How did you apply your background in tailoring into designing your chain metal accessories?

Attention to detail. My tailoring tutor used to say to me that every millimeter counts when you work in pattern cutting. It’s the same with my rings. My designs can be very dependent on even which angle a ring has been put into the construction. It’s built on a complex weave which each season I make more and more complex. My interns have a hard time getting their heads around it and it’s not easy to explain. I still quality control every piece that leaves my studio. I once got lazy and didn’t check one order and two pieces came back wrong.

6. Can you tell us how you assemble your pieces? You have said for A/W 11 you learnt new techniques and incorporated new technology such as CAD into your designs, why have you decided to alter your techniques?

I wouldn’t call it altering, I just build on it every season. Some people might have grown bored of my pieces by now since I keep working with the rings every season, but funny enough I’m far from bored of them. There’s so much I can do still.

9. Do you have a muse? What type of woman would wear your pieces?

No not really, I wish I had a constant muse, but I haven’t found her yet. But for the collection I did look at young Natalie Portman in Leon.

10. For your S/S 11 collection ‘Lucy in the sky’ you introduced colour for the first time through Swarovski crystals. Can you explain to us why you decided to move in this direction?

I thought it was about time! Naturally I’m drawn to black and muted colours, but at the same time I admire any designer that can play with colour and really make it work.

11. Recently you have worked with Simon Henwood on a project entitled ‘Black Sun’ for the new Diesel art gallery in Shibuya, Tokyo. What is the message behind ‘Black Sun’ and has Japan influenced and inspired you creatively?

Our idea behind the Black Sun was to create a project about today’s generation. How heavily affected we are by the internet. The idea that we never experience anything anymore IRL (internet term “in real life”).We watch the seasons go by outside our windows and we look at art and creativity on our computer screens instead of going out and really experiencing it. It’s really sad that people look for inspiration these days on the internet. Even fashion has become very digital and a garment can seem to be something in a photograph but it can actually be something completely different IRL.

Whatever we create with our own hands, nature has always done it better and more beautifully. It’s important to go out and look. So the eclipse in the exhibition — the black sun, is a symbol that goes back to the way that the sun was worshiped once. And it’s a reminder of how important this is in life.

I am in love with Tokyo! It’s exciting and vibrant like New York, clean like Stockholm but most important the people there are so friendly and happy. I’m inspired by the buzz and the creativity in general and I’m still working with friends I made there, such as Crystal Kay, a Japanese pop star.

12. You have been busy with other collaborations such as a jeans collaboration with Diesel. You have also made a piece for Alexandre Vauthier which was shown at Paris Couture. Can you tell us a little about these?

The collaboration with Diesel was two pairs of Diesel jeans exclusively reworked by me and sold at the exhibition.

I met Alexandre Vauthier in LA when I was working for Rihanna. I was creating an outfit for her Rockstar 101 video and he was creating outfits for her world tour. I ended up working with him as well and we were there together in this crazy world of hyped record label Americans and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s a great guy and an amazing designer. A year later he asked me to create a jacket for his S/S11 show. I think it was a very successful collaboration and model Liu Wen wore it so well on the catwalk.

14. Do you plan to continue collaborating in future? Which designers whose work you admire would you like to work with next?

I love collaborating. Especially because of all the different worlds you get to encounter, from shoes to couture to multimillion pound companies. I still haven’t created jewellery for a fashion show. This is something I’d love to do because it wouldn’t have to be commercial in any way. The opportunity hasn’t came around yet, but I’m hoping that I might get to do my own soon anyway.

15. You have garnered many celebrity followers such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry and the Scissor Scissors and Dolce& Gabbana have displayed your AW 11 collection in their Milan boutique heralding you as an emerging design talent. Are you used to this level of success yet? Does this encourage you to further your career?

Yes and no. I would never take anything for granted and I know its possible to loose all the hype in just one season. A celebrity following is extremely important. But I’ve never been the one to care too much about it. It’s of course fun if the video turns out great or someone did a great styling job or if it’s a person wearing it whose work I admire as well.

16. Can you tell us what has inspired your A/W 11/12 collection and what are the key pieces of the collection?

Surrealism. Hans Bellmer, Salvador Dali, Bill Brandt, Louise Bourgeois.

BUT it’s very important to point out that it’s mainly the materials and handcraft techniques that inspires me. I don’t like to get too caught up in a concept. You can so clearly tell when a designer has pushed the concept too far and ended up doing a very strong themed collection, but the pieces just doesn’t really work, I design by making. I bend and twist the materials and figure out what I can do with them and build my designs that way. I almost never draw full designs, just little doodle hear and there.

17. What are you working on at the minute and what’s next for your label?

I’m working on a huge project for Japan Relief. I can’t really tell you much about it but I really hope it will go well as it has the possibility of raising a lot of money. People don’t understand that it’s not over, the news reports move on and people forget. They have at least 10 years ahead of themselves to rebuild their country and they will need constant support. I’m hoping the project will be ongoing for a long time.

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Teatum Jones S/S 12 LFW

  Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones are the design duo behind London up and coming brand Teatum Jones.  Having studied at Ravensbourne College of Design and Central Saint Martins respectively they have went on to work for among others Luella Bartley, John Richmond and Warren Noronha before spending several years researching developing their design aesthetic and launching their label.  The duo were chosen as one of the ten finalists in the Fashion Fringe competition in 2009, and in 2010 launched their debut womenswear S/S 11 collection in London.  Building upon this foundation Teatum Jones are preparing to launch their brand in London, New York, Jeddah and Dubai and have presented their third collection, that of S/S 12 entitled ‘Dreaming the Suburban Feminine Mistique’ at London Fashion Week in September, citing “collage, hazy suburban mornings and the female psyche” as inspiration.  

 The brands design signature is one of juxtaposing the masculine and feminine. Bold sculptural silhouettes are offset with delicate ethereal silks in soft neutral shades, chic mid length and floor sweeping hemlines are toughened up with boxy architectural echos of boyfriend blazers assimilated into effortlessly chic gowns.  Teatum Jones are experts in marrying together classic and contemporary design references, providing both conceptual and relevant pieces which will become future design classics. This S/S collection showcases the brands potential for greatness, and with personal requests from Annie Lennox, Florence Welch and Olivia Palermo during London Fashion Week, they are set to achieve an accolade of press and industry acclaim.

Interview with Gareth Moody of CHRØNICLES ØF NEVER

   Gareth Moody is the design force behind the renowned and forward thinking Australian brand Chronicles of Never.  In 2000 Moody in conjunction with Dan Single and George Gorrow founded Ksubi (formerly Tsubi) which made it’s international debut at Selfridges in 2002, having an installation alongside the likes of Martin Margiela, Stella Mc Cartney and Marc Jacobs.  The label, known for it’s controversial catwalk shows such as in 2001 when they unleashed 200 live rats on the catwalk, achieved much press attention for their rebellious visions, and the success of the brand took Gareth Moody on a journey from Australia to L.A.  In 2005 Gareth Moody left the company, somewhat disillusioned, and commenced “a journey of self indulgence and self discovery…travelling around the globe, manifesting stories through experience, for reference in the future and character building for the present.”  The product of these experiences culminated in his new venture, Chronicles of Never.

Moody has a highly personal element to his work, creating designs that are an extension of himself.  His brand is a culmination of his experiences and creative skills, his thoughts made tangible.  Focusing upon structure he has developed a unique style signature, which has garnered the attention and admiration not only in his native Australia but internationally, being stocked in boutiques worldwide.  The unisex brand is now in it’s fifth year, and has expanded to include jewelry, leather goods, footwear,womenswear and a diffusion line of printed jersey t-shirts and denim known as Black Noise White Rain and most recently an optical range, in which he collaborated with eye wear designer Graz creating one of the most exciting lines I have seen, using premium quality acetate frames and lenses marrying both classic and forward thing sculptural shapes.  

I had the opportunity to ask Mr Gareth Moody some questions about his brand…

 Can you tell us a little about your background, when you first became interested in fashion and where you learned your skills?

Gareth: Born and raised in Sydney Australia, I was introduced to the world of fashion through modeling in my youth/ It was a great way to travel and earn a living as a young man. I spent some time in Asia, South Africa and America. I suppose this is where I became interested in apparel and fashion design. Id say at this point that I am more interested in the design aspect than the fashion aspect, they just go hand in hand and happen at this point. As far as my skills, I have no formal training in fashion design Ive learnt pretty much through practice. My first venture and introduction to the real world of the business of fashion came through my first partnership and label, Tsubi (now Ksubi). It was a sink or swim affair…I picked a lot up through trial and error on that journey.”

When did you decide to form your brand and what is your brands ethos?

Gareth: In 2005 I set up the Chronicles Of Never brand, followed in 2009 with the Black Noise White Rain, and in 2010 Chronicles Of Never Optics was established as a brand. The ethos that runs common to all of the brands? Nothing Lasts Forever.”

Your businesses and collections cover many different aspects of fashion. Which is your preferred area to work in?

Gareth: I wouldnt say that any one of them supersedes any other aspect of my collection. Each one is a link in the chain.

What is your brands trademark?

Gareth: “Androgyny.

 You set up the optics brand last year… How important do you consider eye-wear to be in the fashion industry?  Do you think it is underexposed to a certain extent?

Gareth: “I consider eyewear on par with apparel; its essential. I dont consider it to be underexposed think about Tom Ford, Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, and so on. These major designers are not involved in the optical market because its under exposed…its a big business!”

Your designs combine both elements of modernity and references from the past. What aspects of both eras do you find inspirational?

Gareth: “Im very much a lover of the old world, at least for the mystery and earthly elements. I feel an attachment to the land and mother earth - this is what I find inspirational from the past. In terms of the future I would say that I am inspired by the unknown.”

What inspired you for this season? What is your collection entitled?

Gareth: “My collection is entitled Void of Hue. I was inspired by colour earthy tones.”

Do you have a muse? What kind of woman wears your designs?

Gareth: “Sadly no, I dont… Ive been looking, but she keeps eluding me. As far as women that wear my clothing, Id say a woman with a strong, confident personality- an individual.”

 In terms of marketing your brands, it would seem that you choose not to saturate the market with advertising but to maintain a certain underground element to retain a sense of exclusivity.

Gareth: “We approach marketing in the same manner in which we approach the distribution of the collection. Its critical to keep things tight and effective, short and sharp, direct and on brand. My label to date has been about discovery… its left somewhat up to the clients to find us, as apposed to us finding them.

 Can you tell us about your use of materials? Where do you source these from?How important are materials in achieving your overall aesthetic?

Gareth: “For the most part I choose to work with natural materials; linens, silks, cottons, hemps and the like. They tend to translate best into my aesthetic and into the final product. We source materials from all over the world. We design and develop everything in Australia where possible as Im very much a believer in keeping as much of the rag trade on Australian shores as possible, but when it comes to sourcing raw materials the fact that Australia is in the middle of nowhere means that they cost an arm and a leg, but they are essential in telling the story. Japan, Turkey and Italy are other common origins.”

What is your opinion on designer collaborations? Do you think this expands your market?  Would you ever collaborate with a high street brand?

Gareth: “I think that collaborations are a necessary element to the business, as they provide smaller operations such as mine the opportunity to explore other markets and audiences. I consider myself an idealist but deep down there Im a realist.”

 Your lines can be bought online as well as in stores (Liberty and Selfridges in the UK). How important do you consider the digital marketplace to be? How do you get across the quality and aesthetic of your product online?

Gareth: “Im slowly being dragged kicking and screaming into the digital world. I am somewhat of a luddite - I can understand and appreciate the need for the online marketplace, but I certainly do not favour it over the real touch, feel and experience you get from the physical retail experience. I look at it as a necessary evil I suppose. Thats one of the key downfalls Im not convinced that you can really get across the quality and design properly online. For the product to perform at its best it needs to be championed in a beautiful space and presented with care and sensitivity, which is impossible online.”

What is inspiring you for next season?

Gareth: “Im still working on it… Ill have to get back to you on that!”

CHRØNICLES ØF NEVER can be found in leading department stores and selected boutiques internationally including Barneys (New York), Assembly (NY) Libertys (UK) and online at


I’m on Citybeat Belfast radio this Friday discussing A/W 11/12 trend reports

I will be on Belfast Citybeat 96.7/102.5 FM this Friday 16th September at midday discussing all the mens and womens A/W trends as featured in the September issue of EnVie Magazine.!/EnVie_Ireland

Massada Eyewear Interview with Kasia Lupinska for EnVie Magazine.

  Massada is a new up and coming London based eyewear brand with a great design
aesthetic. Comprised of British and Polish designers Massada’s ethos is one of
the integrity of materials coupled with intelligent forward thinking design,
reinstating the importance of framing the face. Made from the highest quality
Italian materials, the frames are hand painted in the London studio, giving each
piece a distinctive and considered finish. Massada’s designs are distinctive,
iconic and expressive. Vintage references are given a contemporary twist,
creating individual and timeless designs that are simultaneously bold enough to
stand out from the crowd but also elegant enough to be worn everyday. Style
names such as Dr Strange Love, Big American Cat, Sleeper and Spanish Coffee
evoke chic retro glamour and wouldn’t look out of place on the set of The
Talented Mr Ripley. Available in select stores in Paris, London, Warsaw and
Tokyo, Massada’s designs are perfect for those who consider eyewear to be an
integral part of any well polished look.

1. Can you tell us a little about your background, when you first became
 interested in fashion and where you learned your skills?

Kate: “
I was always interested in fashion. I got my first sketchbook when I was 12
 years old, and from that time I started to design for “men” and “women”. I
t was regarded with amusement when a 12 year old girl designs a elegant pink flamingo
 print patterned shirt for men. I think in real fashion it was popular in 
 I decided to follow my sister and studied Industrial Design in the Academy
 of Fine Art.
 There I designed lighting, graphic design, furniture design, packing design, so I got to know lots of materials, how to work with them and so
I think these two things – being a fashion lover and a master of industrial design
 helped me a lot in making the eyewear.”

2. When did you decide to form your brand and what is your brands ethos?

Kate: “I simply couldn’t find nice eyeglasses! I needed to wear glasses when using the 
computer to reduce eye strain. But I couldn’t find anything I liked - nice design, that
 would also be fashionable. Once I saw a guy with nice frames, so I asked him were he bought his eyeglasses. He told me he made them in a
 small workshop in the UK. We started talking, then dating! A couple of months later
, having dinner and drinking wine, we went back to memories how we met. Then we 
thought why not designing frames together...and that was the start!”

3. What specifically drew you into designing eye-wear over other aspects of

Kate: “My boyfriend, his frames, knowledge of industrial design and the love for fashion!”

4. What is your brand’s trademark?

Kate: “I use only materials from one company in Italy. Every pair of 
my frames has a name: Dr Strange Love, Sleeper, Big American Cat, Solaris, Metropolis, Spanish Coffee All of these names are from films, music and
 art.  If I have rivets on my frames, I always have them in the front vertical and
 on the side horizontal. The design is very chic.”

5. How important do you consider eye-wear to be in the fashion industry?
 Do you think eye-wear is underexposed to a certain extent?

Kate: “I think eyewear is very important in the fashion industry. They are just
 as important an accessory as any other. Actually, I think they are even more important
 then a bag or shoes. The face is the most important part of your body. When you
 talk to someone they look at your eyes. That’s why I think frames are the
 most important, because they are the most visible part of you. You can have
 a lovely dress, bag, shoes - but you change them everyday. That’s why
 eyeglasses should be your best friend, because they are with you all the

6. Your designs combine both elements of modernity and references from the
 past.  What aspects of both eras do you find inspirational?

Kate: “Both. In the past most of the time people had
 one set of frames for their whole life. That’s why they had to be really good quality. Nowadays fashion
 changes very quickly. I like making timeless frames. I love watching
 people… For me one of the best things to do is to sit enjoying a coffee at Deux Magot 
in Paris and watching people. A cafe where Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de
 Beauvoir, Juliette Greco Modern spent their time. People inspire me a lot.
 Modern art is also very important for me. This year I was in Japan and
 visited Naoshima - the Island of Art.”

7. What inspired you for this season? What is your collection entitled?

Kate: “
This year I was inspired by the grain. The colours of the sun rising were what I tried
 to put in my sunglasses. With each lens I could worked very 
long, being patient for the perfect blue, green, purple or orange.


8. Do you have a muse? What kind of woman wears your designs?

Kate: “
I don’t have one - they are the people from the street. Its interesting how 
the most popular fashion designers are inspired from street fashion. Then 
the people from the street wear there clothes, and then again designers have 
a lot of good inspiration. And the circle closes. I am inspired by Coco Chanel for
 her strength and how she pursued her goals. My frames are both for women and men.
 Distinct style defines high self confidence and brave character of people
 willing to present their individuality. My eyewear is for people that treat eyewear as a distinctly important element of their image and style.

9. What is your most popular design to date? Why do you think it is such a

Kate: “I think that Dr Strange Love is a great mixture of the past and the modern
 times. Its design is very chic. It was inspired not only by fashion 
but also by nature. Some people see a butterfly in them.

10. Your customers are extremely discerning and fashion-forward.  In terms
 of marketing how do you approach this market?  Do you think it is more
 beneficial for your brand not to saturate the market with advertising but to
 maintain a certain underground element to retain a sense of exclusivity?

Kate: “
I think I will always be more underground. It’ s a very small
 business and designs for unique people. That what I think is beautiful about 
it. I don’t want it to become ‘unhuman’ when the only thing that is important
 is advertising and sale, sale, sale. I would hate to be like some designers in big
 companies who don’t like their job, the people whom they work with, the
 building were they have to work, or the competition in the workplace. I am free of 
all of that. I try to run a friendly family business where
 people can have more freedom.

11. Can you tell us about your use of materials?  Where do you source these
from?  How important are materials in achieving your overall aesthetic?

Kate: “The materials are very important. They are all from Italy. I take the acetate 
from a family-run company established in 1849. I try to find the best colours 
from a large range. They are a dream come true for frame designers. I have access to 
nearly anything you could imagine. I really like one of the oldest colours -
Spanish tortwhich I use in my Spanish Coffee frames. The colour is very 
classic and sophisticated.

12.  Where are your glasses designed and manufactured? Can you tell us why
 you chose these locations?

Kate: “They are designed by me and my friend from London. Together we also
 cooperate with an Art Director from Paris. I first made the frames in the UK in a small
 workshop. Now I produce them in Poland. The quality is very important for
 me. I have lovely handmade frames and hand painted lenses. Not many brands
 can have hand painted lenses. In Poland the traditional technique wasn’t
 outcast by the new techniques.”

13. How important are luxury materials for your brand?

Kate: “The materials are very important. The most important thing is that they are
 very good quality and have lovely colours. So I know that my client will be

14. Do you think packaging plays an important role in the overall
 experience of your brand?  What was your inspiration behind your packaging?

Kate: “I think packaging is very important. That’s why I am now working on five different eyewear cases. Two of them are made from leather, one is from wood,
 another one from plexiglass and the last one – and the one I am most excited about - is made from sheet metal.”

15. What is your opinion on designer collaborations? Do you think this
 expands your market?  Would you ever collaborate with a high street brand?

Kate: “I think collaborations are a great thing. First of all you learn a lot. It’s always hard to go on compromises but then when you see the final work you 
know it was worth it.

16. Your glasses can be bought online as well as in store.  How important
 do you consider the digital marketplace to be? How do you get across the
 quality and beauty of your product online?

Kate: “
I think the digital marketplace is very important. Lots of people don’t do
normal shopping any more - only digital. I think that digital wont replace normal
 shopping, but it will continue to grow very fast.”

17. What is inspiring you for next season?

Kate: “
I am constantly tracking what people are wearing in cities like London and
 Paris, Japan and New York. I have also been looking at new designers in Paris,
 new exhibitions as in Naoshima, forward thinking architecture for example Tadao Ando. Any and all of the interesting cultural things, even food 
preparation in Tokyo!”


Alessandra Rich S/S 11 

    Alessandra Rich is an up and coming London based Italian womenswear designer.  Rich started her career as a high end interior designer working in London, France and Italy before founding her eponymous label in 2009.  Spring/Summer 2011 marks the third collection the forty-three year old designer has produced to date, and although has no formal fashion training her natural talent has attracted celebrity followers such as Diane Kruger in addition to industry insiders.

 Her design signature marries the austerity and elegance of old Hollywood, apparent in details such as cinched in waists, stiff collars and long hem lines with playfulness, combining modern materials such as neoprene with flashes of this seasons hottest hue, neon in delicate Chantilly lace.  Rich’s designs are refreshing in their simplicity, elegance and composition.  This collections concurrent theme is one of femininity, by drawing attention to the waist.  Rich pads the hips in many of these statuesque designs, adding pockets or pleats of fabric in others, which cleverly creates curves and emphasizes the belted waists of the models, further amplified by the long hem length, the columns of fabric drawing the eye upwards, coming to rest at the waist.  

  Rich’s collection at first glance may appear to lack variety, however the devil really is in the detail.  By offering simple high crew necklines or stiffened collars Rich can counterbalance the vivid neon lace, ensuring our attention is not split between vying design elements. Similarly the sleeve length Rich uses serves to highlight the waist, not to attract our attention to exposed flesh.  Half length voluminous sleeves in soft folds of plain silk focus the eye in the same manner as full length, slim fitting lace sleeves, our eyes hone in on the torso and the femenine hourglass silhoutte.  Rich is an expert at covering a multitude of current trends.  Elements of American sportswear are visible in the orange rubber belt used in one gown which was worn by Diane Kruger recently.  Neon and lace trends have been combined and run as a major theme throughout the collection, which in turn compliments and updates the ladylike demure of midi length hemlines which are everywhere this season, if Mad Men was set in 2011 Joan would definately wear these creations. 

  Pieces such as the softly draped ivory gown and the black sleeveless lapelled jumpsuit demonstrate to us that Rich is not a one trick pony but can design minimalistic, fashion forward clothes just as well as referencing the past.  It is her skillful splicing of these two polar opposites that gives us this timeless and elegant collection.  Rich’s A/W 11/12 collection continues to build upon her design signature, making her a designer to watch out for in future.

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