the clouds are moving in (KTZ SS17 & life update)

Monday, 20 June 2016

Exams are done! I am free! The world is my oyster - from now until September, I am free to work on whatever projects I feel like without having to also balance keeping up with schoolwork. I finished on Friday and have planned to be as busy with Bloom (my zine which has taken a year to produce) and other exciting projects for the whole summer, as I really want to make this a really productive and successful year.
This outfit is from a day at work a week or so ago. Isobel was selling this jacket on her Depop and I had to buy it - I adore Sukajans and this one was the coolest colours...I haven't really taken it off since it arrived if I'm honest.

I wore the jacket with a silky dress also from Depop, a Topshop turtle neck, and shoes from The Whitepepper. Also took advantage of the huge houses near work for a backdrop.

Last Sunday, I spent the afternoon at London Collections: Men to see the SS17 KTZ show. I wore the jacket as what better excuse to wear it again with Monki socks, and the striped Beyond Retro wide-leg pants I wear all the time (and keep cutting shorter - either I am shrinking, or they are growing?!) The show was incredible and I wrote a long piece on it for Bricks magazine, which I will post in full here.

(Photo Credit: Wonderland Magazine)

"It was raining. Not uncommon for the British summer, the air felt like a warm clammy blanket over your shoulders, the gradual awareness of damp after you’ve danced your heart out at a club and the crowd is beginning to disperse. Standing outside the venue for KTZ’s SS17 show, I glanced up at the arches of Invictus Plaza and felt grateful for the slight protection from the grey weather outside. It was, however, easy to ignore the rain; no matter how dark it was, or how damp, flocks of people were ready and waiting for the show to begin, excited chatter bubbling through the queue and the wildest, most fascinating outfits being paraded up and down like peacocks outside a stately home. As with the designs themselves, KTZ’s following has a huge sense of strength within it. I always find there are less random celebrities, less celebrity hunters, and just generally a more serious and authentic vibe to their audience than I feel when seeing shows from some other designers. Something about Marjan Pejoski’s work resonates with the underground youth of today, fuelling his creative power and strongly suggesting that the reign of KTZ over menswear and streetwear has really only just begun.

The venue this season was a nightclub, Pulse, tucked away underneath the arches and reminiscent of the sort of underground hideouts you expect from a subculture or movement. You felt somewhat accepted into the world beneath the city of London, about to witness something truly exciting and somewhat prophetic. I am always excited for KTZ, but this season the excitement had morphed into a more intense anticipation; something in the air suggested that this season was going to be pivotal, and without a doubt, it was.

The heavy, pounding beat of Berlin producer Pantha du Prince became somewhat like a marching order of the Berlin club scene; models marched out in uniform, monochrome and metal like the stamp of a futuristic militia. The theme was dark: deconstructed jackets and manipulated leather, mysterious black hooded figures, chains and metal accessories added to the authoritarian, military feel, with a distinctly kinky twist – gimp-like masks, PVC, and leather rebelled from this otherwise so controlled image, suggesting an uprising within the dark futurism Pejoski had created. I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a civil movement; walking into the new world, this sequin clad army shone from the dark, murky depths of London’s underground, reminiscent of the way petrol shines from a puddle of rainwater. Despite being dark and brooding, the beauty in the work was unmistakable and provoked a sense of a brighter future – this collection was all about action and rebellion, remaining strong and pathing the way towards a new Utopia we can only dream of.

The final walk featuring all models was to the significantly upbeat Bigmouth Strikes Again by The Smiths – a song described by guitarist Johnny Marr to be “a rush all the way through.” It was written allegedly as an attack against the merciless media, and felt like a driven, encouraging end to the show, finishing it on a high and suggesting through it’s tempo that the revolution begins now.

After stepping back out onto the grey London street, I felt changed, and filled with a new determination to create and inspire as this collection had. Its undercurrents of protest sparked my own drive to be and achieve more; its solidarity and strength demonstrated the beauty of fashion as an art form: able to provoke and inspire, to unsettle and to disturb. It also became loaded with a new meaning for me once I realized that the name of the venue was the exact same as Pulse, the club in Orlando where so many innocent LGBTQ people were murdered so brutally. I felt numb with the thought that like I, they had simply gone outside – a case of simply being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. I couldn’t get over the fact that like us at KTZ, it was a space in which people sought refuge, a space to dance and be safe from the dark and gritty world outside. A place to rebel from those who do not understand, or could not get past their own hatred in order to empathize – and yet instead of solace and comfort, on this night they found death. It left a somewhat darkened feeling towards the show itself but for me increased it’s meaning; now is the time to act, with our bodies as an army, we must march forward and create a new world in which love is not a crime, and hate is not the answer."

In other news I have begun enjoying my freedom from school and exam stress, wandering around Notting Hill's bargain basements and meeting up with old friends. Yesterday I was able to spend time with Yukika in Dalston, wandering through vintage fairs and eating lunch in the Shacklewell (a favourite Dalston bar). We met about three years ago at a zine launch, and so it was lovely to be reunited and hang out before she flew back to Tokyo today.
I hope you all have a lovely week!

Festival Picks with Beyond Retro - plus competition!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Summer is, undoubtedly, the time for festivals. With school, college or university out for a few weeks, it's the perfect opportunity to dance in the sunshine with your friends to your favourite bands, letting your hair loose for the holiday before returning to real life afterwards. They can be wonderful breaks from city life and are experiences that can really shape you as a person - making it back home, alive, after Reading festival two years ago is definitely an achievement I can owe a lot of my current self-belief to. One of the best parts of festivals, however, is in fact the clothes - the brighter, bolder and wilder the better. Beyond Retro are running a festival competition whereby a lucky winner could receive £250 worth of Beyond Retro gift vouchers, plus a festival styling experience to help get you kitted out in vintage for the summer. In celebration of this #beyondretrofest, I put together a few festival looks to give you an idea of what you might want to wear (and show you how to enter the competition!)

For me, festivals are all about colour. Everyone goes all-out, and so the brighter, the better. You also want to be cool and comfortable, so you can dance all day and all night without having to worry about uncomfortable clothes or getting too hot. These shorts from Beyond Retro are ideal festival wear - comfortable, and cartwheel-proof, these will see you from sleepy mornings around the campfire all the way to nights spent screaming lyrics from the shoulders of your tallest friend. The abstract pattern is fun and makes it easy to wear with other patterns to create an easy, colourful look. I wore them with a stripey Beyond Retro top and vintage bomber jacket.
To enter the competition, all you need to do is style your own festival look featuring an item from Beyond Retro, and share it on Instagram with the hashtags #beyondretro and #beyondretrofest, and tagging @beyondretro !

 You may be trying to pack lightly for a festival, but please, please take a coat or similar hoodie or jacket! Something like the one I chose here is lightweight, rainproof, bright and fun but also very practical. The nights are very cold even in summer, and you will thank yourself later when you have a cosy coat to keep you warm in icy tent conditions! I also recommend using it as a pillow. Coat pillows are a fantastic alternative to carrying a pillow there and back.

 The good thing about an outfit like this is that it is very interchangeable. Festivals require the lightest packing as possible, meaning it's often easier to pack a few items that can mix and match rather than a whole separate outfit for each day. Something like the shorts I am wearing here are perfect for that sort of thing - wear with a top one day, like I am here, the next you could layer them under a mesh dress, the next wear with a sweater or a teeny bralet. Versatile and re-wearable, this sort of item is invaluable when you are living in a field for a long weekend! Have a peek at Beyond Retro's festival edit, here.

 Don't forget to enter the Beyond Retro competition - all you need to do is post a photo of a festival look, featuring a Beyond Retro item, on Instagram using the hashtags #beyondretro and #beyondretrofest, and tagging @beyondretro!
 Hope you have a lovely week and get your festival outfit game on!