23 October 2015

Why Raf Simons is Leaving Dior: Creativity v.s. Commerce

Sadly, the rumours during Paris Fashion have turned out to be true.
Raf Simons, after a short three years at the helm of the monstrous label, is leaving Dior.

Personally, I find this truly upsetting. I have loved what Raf has created while at Dior, and I applaud the direction he has steered the label in. I found his influence key in defining the gap between Dior and, rival powerhouse, Chanel.
His almost germanic vision has redefined everything from the aesthetic down to the silhouette of Dior. As I have said in a previous article where I examine his SS15 collection; I believe Raf has redefined the modern Dior woman.

Image Source: Raf Simons
"The juxtaposition of man and woman, Dior then and Dior now, fashion in the past and future, all culminate to represent Raf Simons' vision of the Modern Dior Woman" - Read the article here

The biggest tragedy of all is Raf was just falling into his stride; it quite literally takes designers years to gain that confidence and rhythm to really be in a comfortable enough position to start pushing limits. Galliano's first collections with Dior were certainly weren't anything compared to his later work.

So why is Raf leaving?

Firstly: if this topic interests you, and you haven't seen the film 'Dior and I' by FrΓ©dΓ©ric Tcheng1, you should. Because those of us who have seen the documentary, will have seen a glimpse into the pressure factory that titanic labels like Dior- have become.
In the wonderfully raw film, the exclusive twinkling glamorous wall that divides the public and the fashion world is taken down. You witness the blood, sweat and tears that make up the backbone of this, otherwise pristine industry. Raf Simons' breakdown before presenting his show is a beautiful insight into real life.

The pressure is insurmountable; which brings up Shinkle'stheory of "Creativity versus Commerce". Imagine having the duty of designing to perfection, a mens and womens' collection, up to 8 times a year: while being loyal to a pre-existing set of parameters in accordance to the brand heritage, while keeping in mind consumers wants/needs as well as finance.
All the while you are expected to be 'creative'?
There is a fine line to walk of too much and none at all.
Frankly, any original, pre-existing joy inspired creativity is molested into something to feed the hungry machine of capitalism.

Being the creative director of a brand is perhaps one of the hardest jobs in the entire world.
Which leaves us with the question of, why didn't he leave sooner?

Creatives are not business men or politicians; Alexandre McQueen was such a private person; I have heard he used to sit in clubs in the corner of the room speaking to no one.
When I wen't to see John Galliano speak at the Vogue Festival, he came across as one of the most soft spoken, gentle men I have ever come across.

I am sad Raf is leaving. I liked how he shaped Dior, and I believe he has left big shoes to fill.
But then again, I love Raf as a designer: and I believe that it pained him to be unable to be creative for himself, not have it squeezed out of him like caviar.

The fashion industry is split into two kinds of people: the creatives and the instigators. You do not come across someone who is both.
We need each other; and the expectations for a creative director shouldn't be for him to be a spokesperson, PR, politician, finance director etc.
That's what we, the instigators are here for.

I hope that he finds the peace that he is looking for, and I hope that the next creative director of Dior can live up to Raf's reputation.

After all; we want Creativity and not Commerce... right?

1: Tcheng, Dior and I, 2014
2: Shinkle, Fashion as Photograph, 2008

5 October 2015

Japan Vintage Haul

Vintage. Heaven.
I have never seen vintage done quite as well as I did in Japan.
Warehouse, upon warehouse of rails upon rails. There was one dedicated to hundreds of light wash levi denim shirts, or another of exclusively cream knit jumpers, even a rack of every coloured dressing gown you could imagine! (OCD Bonus: colour coordinated), drool-worthy Varsity jackets; NOTE: none of which remotely Japanese (University of Utah class of 1994??).

They had it all.
Best of all? The prices.
Buying and selling in bulk has its perks: everything was dirt cheap.
I bought a pristine vintage Levi's denim jacket for less than £8?? Holla!
I bought 3 Levi's denim shirts (including one limited edition Micky Mouse one!!) for less than £20
I bought the most badass recycled Hard Rock Cafe, San Diego Bomber from the 70's: for £15!!
Never miss an opportunity like this. Even if it meant I had to buy a whole new suitcase to bring my swag home. #NoRagrets

These are some looks I had in mind before I went shopping. Street style chic. 
Was a bit Kylie Jenner inspired at the time.
 (Please excuse the overwhelming aura of professionalism that emanates from my in-a-taxi fashion illustrations)

The beautifully stylised photograph that follow were shot and edited by my incredibly talented friend, Farah.
The inspiration was 90's retro. 

Bomb.com Bomber

 It says; "Save the Planet, Hard Rock Cafe, San Diego" on my plastic-recycled AND Japanese thrifted bomber. Can you guys think of anything that would suit me better? Perfection! πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Fugly chic inner print? Check. πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

Modelled beautifully by my dearest friend Annie

My high school bully look. Backwards cap optional.

The lighting in some of these are etherial. Full props to the talented Farah πŸ™πŸΌ 

Harajuku Check Shirt Dress 

It's just so comfy and cute. Perfect for long haul international flights! (Tested and Approved)

This puppy was ALL the rage up and down Harajuku. 

Well Loved Levi Boyfriend Jeans

I believe boyfriend jeans epitomise effortless chic. 

Chameleon silhouette: 
every stance they change shape because of the slack.

They are a challenge to wear because they aren't slam dunk form fitting...

But when you get them right... although torn up and baggy... 
They can look as stylish as a floor length dress.

Basketball Baby

I know I am the furthest thing from Lebron James...

Do you remember the basket ballers uniforms from the 70's: the converse and [sexy mens thighs] in short shorts? Can we have them back please? Thank you.

Vintage and modern.
 Basketball and chic.
Potato Patato. 

Netted basketball shirts are downright sexy. 
If it wasn't so chilly, I'd #Freethenips and embrace it!

Mickey Mouse

Zip up the skirt zipper to give you a whole different silhouette!

Rose Gold Birkenstocks... it's called fashion look it up. πŸ’…πŸΌ

Spot the Micky Mouse Cameo

XXL Levis Shirt As Dress

"Are you wearing pants under that?"
"No sir. But it's as long as a dress and that's fine for me!"
Typical conversation.

Roll up sleeves for Bulky Shoulders and Biceps for a wedge 70's feel.

Did someone say vintage and versatility.?!

Denim blue is such a great colour on so many different skin and hair colours...
and I'm a fucking ginger.

Contrast baby.

I hope these ideas inspire you a little! 
Vintage is perfect place for getting creative with your wardrobe.
If you re going for a street style kind of look: vintage is your first stop shop.

Vintage is well loved, worn-in, and can be cut, dyed, sewn, with no regret!
There is so much that can be done; I urge you to give it a try! Who knows what you will find. Plus it's great for our environment to reduce landfill! πŸ‘πŸΌ

(Special thanks to Annie and Farah for loyally 
and cheerfully helping me out with this post.
Y'all are the real OG.)