Monday, 27 September 2010

Faith from Paloma

I was rather enlightened and inspired by an interview with Paloma Faith that I read in Stella supplement from the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.

I do frequently get told that I remind people of Paloma - it was purely co-incidence that our styles seemed to be similar and we're both red lipped, red haired ladies. I was doing the "Paloma style" before she emerged on the main scene but it was upon reading this article that I realised we had quite a bit more our appearance in common.

My personal life motto, "everyday is fancy dress dah-ling" so frequently rolls from lips, but is so said in a way that is tongue in cheek and ever so slightly self deprecating. It is true that every day is fancy dress to me but that isn't necessarily referring to my sense of style reflecting that more of costume than of day wear. I spent many years searching for who I am, as I am sure does almost every young woman. I went on a journey before arriving at this point that I felt quite comfortable to express myself freely, and my chosen expression being my image and fashions. This said however, does not mean that I am completely safe and comfortable with who I am. I inwardly smile when somebody comments on how they wish they could have my confidence to go out dressed like I do - not caring what people think because the truth is actually more like the complete opposite. True, I don't care what people think about what I'm wearing, but I do care about what they think about me as a person. Dressing in the manner I do, in this "fancy dress", allows me to create a role for myself to play, I can walk out of my house playing a whole host of alter egos and therefore not myself. It's become somewhat of a personal little hobby of mine is adapting to being a different person in different situations, my favourite of course being the "diva dah-ling".

In reading this article with Paloma I was struck by the lines, "Faith, 25, has a deep need to dress up. Her "bog-standard look" is a pencil skirt, seamed stockings, a pair of heels, a silk shirt and a 1940's hat". Familiar much? It continues, "This is what she wears 'when I can't think'. When she can think there is no limit to the comedy clothing and rainbow-hued make-up she will don." She goes on to explain how a role in a primary school play allowed her to come out her shell, transforming from the painfully shy child she was, "I remember feeling like if it's not me it doesn't matter. And I still do that. You know, people ask me, 'Oh do you ever not dress up?' But it's to do with me sort of becoming somebody else in order to be confident".

Now this isn't to say I am not comfortable with who I am, incidentally I am very comfortable with who I am but I like to reveal that to only a select few, it's a method of self protection and almost a selection process if you like - this disguise gives me a distance at which to assess people and time to evaluate how they will respond to me and whether I can give them what they want and in return they can give to me. As Paloma commented, "When she's not dressed this way she thinks people are not as kind or respectful to me".

Dressing the way I do is my trademark - people recognise me instantly from behind, regardless of my current hair colour or that my style could be the complete opposite of the day before and I like this fact. It gives me a sense of purpose and my role in society. Like Paloma, my style has opened doors for me and people are intrigued by my creative ideas, I am not easily forgotten. I feel often that clothing is dismissed as unimportant outside of a fashion world but it communicates instantly with the receptor a lot about the wearer - even though neither part may realise it.

Now Paloma has an MA from Central Saint Martins, film and television work and a platinum album under her sequined garter and massively a lot of this kicked off thanks to her iconic style. Indeed she was asked to join her first band before any of them had heard her sing a note - the image sells. Now as it happens, in my opinion, Paloma has a sensational voice and following this article I found myself having to buy tickets to see her live at the end of October. The voice and the outfits in one place.

"Just close your eyes and make believe.
Do you want the truth or something beautiful?
I am happy to decieve you".
Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful - Paloma Faith.

...Now I'm just panicking about how not to be dressed in the "wannabe look a like" role at the concert.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Dear London College of Fashion, PLEASE LET ME IN!

Round one. 3999 characters of the maximum allocated 4000... With special thanks to Sue Randall for professionally checking this for me, my personal statement reads:

Fashion infiltrates every aspect of society and evolves so rapidly that in a blink, as soon as one trend sets in another is already replacing it. Fashion journalism captures these moments, shares them with its viewer and documents them in fashion history, making them immortal.

There are few things in life that enthral me as much as seeing that process in which a model goes from being just a woman to a living, breathing work of art. She personifies self expression, and her garments denote a piece of future history and tell a story of the social and political ideologies of that moment in time.

I wish to study Fashion Journalism because it blends so beautifully the cocktail of my interests. These include an all-consuming enthusiasm for fashion, a predilection to express myself through the visual arts and language, with a driving need to understand the way our society is affected and influenced by the media and social reasoning. I chose to study my A Level subjects as a foundation for journalism, and then decided to further my understanding of fashion by studying fashion design formally. I aim to explore this subject in as many different aspects as possible, and have a particular interest in the contextual studies and fashion promotions units in the course content.

After leaving school and before furthering my formal education, I took two years out of studying to build an understanding of the working world and establish my own business as a fashion stylist. I built my business through extensive study of fashion trends and continually networking with photographers and creatives. Doing this has equipped me with skills that are essential within the industry, such as managing deadlines and the demands of others, being self motivated and working within a creative fashion-focused team. I also began employment with Tesco in customer service and clothing departments. Working in retail in this manner has provided me with an understanding of consumer needs, problem solving skills and the ways to achieve customer satisfaction—and the importance of this. Empathy is another essential skill in communicating through writing and being able to effectively market a product to the mass consumer base.

Outside of formal education I am a registered volunteer for the Harris Museum, working as a digital journalist for an up-and-coming exhibition that is part of the Cultural Olympiad, and which encompasses current fashions alongside historic textiles. I write for their blog and styled the promotional photoshoots, and worked with a team to produce the layout and style of their booklet. This booklet was sent to potential supporters and artists to encourage them to donate their pieces. Through this project I have been presented with opportunities to interview artists such as designer Holly Russell and textile artist Michael Brennand-Wood for the blog, to attend a lecture by and work alongside photographer/ stylist Gavin Fernandes, and to attend a digital journalism workshop. The latter is run by a company specialising in programs to support businesses in developing their marketing and promotion skills, and the workshop gave me further insight into the power of social media outlets and ways in which to utilise them most effectively.

When not working or studying I maintain two blogs, one focused on fashion and the other on creative writing. I also enjoy reinventing my own image frequently.

My years outside of formal education have given me life experience that has matured me to a level that will allow me to focus on university and apply myself fully to specialist study. With my varied tastes in different aspects of fashion business, I could apply myself well to a Fashion Journalism degree, and on completion I would be excited to explore the doors this course could open up for my career. I aspire one day to follow in the steps of those that have inspired me through their fashion work, and to create my own place within fashion history.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

You say Gleek...

I like Glee. No I don't like Glee - I love it. It makes me happy and I am aware that this is doing absolutely nothing for my social status (which fortunately dah-lings is credible enough to with stand anything - even a crime such as a passionate enthusiasm for American musical television dramas).

It has little to do with the extreme cheese, far fetched plots and a whole host of incredibly annoying characters but quite simply it's the music. Since I purchased the box set of the first series last weekend nothing has quite managed to cheer me up and find a little fun after juggling a week of the hundreds of different projects I have an at the moment, than popping in an episode (or 4) before bed.

Now, unknown to many of my current acquaintances, before this Madame Fashionista, the "Diva" dah-ling, emerged on the scene my first real passion in life actually was music. My dream as a little girl, long before the magic of fashion possessed me, was actually to be a West End star. A secret though it was. I plowed through academic study at high school but my real release came from singing. Few things can compare to that release, the spirit that you envelope when you lose yourself in the melody and become one with a song. I feel that truly music carried me through many dark moments and certain songs lifted me out of years of depression. I know actually of very few people that don't love music, it embodies an incredible power to evoke emotion, draw a tear, expose a smile, change moods - indeed even lives.

Now realities did indeed set in, though I may be able to hold a tune, might crack one out at karioke and in my youth did win a few certificates and gain a few grades in singing, I shall never be a Barbara, an Ella, an Eva or Aretha. That said, however, I find very little harm than (safely away from other's poor ears) belting out the odd one now and again. There is actually proven clinical studies than singing reduces stress and I whole heartedly will agree with this.

I don't feel there should be rules on what kind of music people like to listen to. I am not au fait and neither am I okay with music snobbery. If one gains pleasure for whatever reason from whatever piece of music I don't feel this should be judged or be taken away from them. Infact I read a quote somewhere recently that I really liked that read, "I don't believe in guilty pleasures because there should be no guilt in pleasure". So with these words in my defence I find no guilt in liking Glee because it does infact give me great pleasure.

Dressing like a Gleek however, is never acceptable.