Friday, 15 November 2013

A/W 15 Trend Prediction

Invaded Spaces marks a time of change within society, reflecting the gradual decline of presumptuous perceptions towards Native American culture. The headlines have presented several stories involving discrimination and disrespect for indigenous  people raising awareness to the public. Reports of a student fined $1,000 for donning her eagle feather in her graduation cap earlier this year is one of many ironic expositions of the "land of the free". The struggle of reservation life is receiving more media coverage, which introduces this pioneering trend. Invaded Spaces is a fusion between Native American tradition and hip hop culture, working as a reflection of the current emerging music genre native rap. 

Reservations have always been illustrated as a romanticised lifestyle in American popular media with the idea of the inhabitants existing the same way their ancestors did previous to invasion. The idea of simplistic people living in teepees has become a world renowned stereotype of indigenous Americans. However this is an artificial representation of the current goings on across American reservations. These areas are dilapidated and neglected leaving modern natives in a somewhat 'cultural trauma'. Poverty and suppression overwhelms resulting in many turning to crime and gang culture. The lack of opportunity and restrictions combined with gang involvement  has influenced these young men to compose gangsta rap dealing with tough topics. Very similar to the origins of New York rap this Native rap genre is the result of a strive for identity.

For a/w 15 this macro trend will prevail from catwalks to high streets. The body is invaded with fabrics, using oversized silhouettes depicting the original 1980's hip hop trend.Fashionable sportswear envelopes the upper body descending in to elongated straight legged cuts inspired by south eastern American Indian leggings. This inner city look draws prevalent similarities to the innovative afrocentric movement pushed through media by musicians such as Afrika Bambaataa, A Tribe Called Quest, X Clan and many more in the late 1980's and 90's. This trend conjugates both the downtown feel of hip hop and the isolated desert vibe of reservation life creating a mood of liberation, mirroring the lyrics of native rappers.

Invaded Spaces explores the often trivialised culture of Native Americans in a tactful conceptualised form using fabrics and hues of authenticity. Pigmentation's of browns like desert sand and sepia will flourish through garments recapitulating Arizona reservations. The sacred turquoise stone is honourably displayed via colour palettes of blue moon and sky stone combined with golden eagle and mohican red blended with this urban street tribe trend. 

Invaded Spaces defies the misinterpretation of this fruitful culture representing much more than "tribal" without using fringing and feathers. A discrete example of woven and embroidered pieces along with suede fabrics gives a proud paradigm that has never been seen before.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Comme des Garcon s/s 13

On a previous post I discussed the impact that three Japanese designers had on the industry throughout the 1980's. Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto & Rei Kawakubo are such innovative artists, which led me to explore their works further. Recently I focused on Rei Kawakubo' brand Comme des Garcon & the s/s 13 collection. 

True to the brand Comme' ready to wear this season has great elements of surrealism & eccentricity. Most of the collection was monochrome or varied between white & beige hues. What I found most exciting about these garments was the deconstruction & outlandish structures seen on the runway. Skirts & dresses appeared with sleeves & trouser legs gracefully draped across the front & sides. It was as though each outfit was created from left over designs, forming a wonderful high end "recycled" collection. 

I decided to direct a photoshoot illustrating my own perception of this collection. As it would be impossible to find clothes remotely similar I attempted to make something myself, although I can't sew whatsoever. In uni I went to the fashion design studios and asked the students if they had any practice designs on calico fabric that they no longer needed. Luckily I received an assortment of sleeves, jackets & sheets of fabric. I then used pins & safety pins to keep it all together. 

As stated in my previous post about Comme des Garcon one of their aesthetics is the Japanese concept of beauty which is the idea of less is more. With this in mind I thought of ideas for hair & make up. With inspiration from Corrine Days shoots with Kate Moss in the 90's I decided to go for an extremely natural look for the face. However on the runway the models this season had abstract white paint on their faces, I showed this to my make up artist & advised her to do something similar with her own style combined. After seeing an oriental spread in i-D magazine I suggested that the models hair be greased back with tiny strands brought to the front. Although after trying this it didn't look quite right which encouraged us to slick the whole thing back off the models face. 

When on the Comme des Garcon website I noticed there was some amazing manga art by Otomo Katsuhiro. To portray these photos as a potential campaign for the brand I used some of Katsuhiro' manga art in my final images. 

Overall I learned a substantial amount about the brand, trying to stick to their aesthetic, advertising & quite a lot about manga through research. Generally when I style/photograph a fashion shoot I choose garments etc and build up my own concept & back story, with this shoot it was more challenging as I had to emulate a well known brand. Throughout shooting I continuously changed my mind on how I wanted it to look, this indecisiveness continued up until I edited my last photo. Perhaps it's because I was aware how difficult it would be to imitate Comme des Garcon better than the brand itself. 

Styling/photography: Ebun Black

MUA: Lucy Hurry

Model: Romy Valentina

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Queen of the Pack

As part of my imaging & styling module I recently teamed up with a 3rd year fashion design student. The designer; Kelsey Wright created an astounding collection called 'Queen of the Pack', influenced by dancehall music & Afro/Caribbean culture each garment contains a wonderful mix of African prints, elegance & attitude. I was more than happy to style & photograph this collection as it is something I would love to wear myself. As the clothes are extremely vibrant I was inspired to create a hyper-realistic setting in post production. These well made pieces are fresh & alternative which makes me excited to see what's next for this young designer. 

Fashion Designer: Kelsey Wright

Styling/Photography: Ebun Black

MUA: Lucy Hurry

Model: Vanessa Tait

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Message

The 1980's has always been a fascination of mine; from style, to music & the world in general. When I received this decade to do a themed photo shoot for university I was ecstatic. The theme was 1980's eclectic street style which is so broad. However it appeared so obvious to go for the classic Madonna look which I had done before. For this shoot I was inspired by British street style, looking at artists such as Neneh Cherry & the Belle Stars.

As a massive fan of the 80's I felt it was only right to explore what went on & to try & incorporate some of that into my main image. After extensive research I decided to focus on 1980's New York, not only was it a bizarre city with several new things happening I also felt it was a nice contrast to where I got my style inspiration from. I decided to use a Keith Haring painting in my final image as it clearly represents what I was trying to convey. 

Styling/Photography: Ebun Black

MUA: Elea Beall

Model: Dotty Karwacka 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Tim Walker, Story Teller & Valentino, Master of Couture

Recently I visited two exhibitions in Somerset House London. Tim Walker Story Teller & Valentino, Master of Couture. The Tim Walker exhibition was everything I had hoped it would be. Each room contained a quote from Walker written in all sorts of directions, descending from the top of the walls. “Really I only photograph what I truly love”, it’s evident that the photographer loves all things fairy-tale like & theatrical. The exhibition was filled with past works from editorials to portraits. What really fascinated me were the displays of the props that had been previously used by Walker in his shoots. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tim Walker he is most known for his use of oversized props, creating fictitious story lines with each shot.

The layout of the exhibition for me was well presented, keeping you enticed throughout. With Tim Walker, Story Teller you wouldn't necessarily need to be a lover of fashion to enjoy it as it focusses on his concepts as a photographer. As Tim Walker said himself; “The creation of fictive worlds & parallel lives is the stuff of photography”. 

Some photos & quick sketches: 

Valentino Master of Couture for me was the least favourable of the two exhibitions. Although it can’t be denied that Valentino has been making exquisite garments since the 1950’s the exhibition lacked excitement & a ridiculous amount of creativity. When entering the first room there was an immediate anti – climax compared to the bright, jovial exhibition I had just come out of. I have put into consideration that the Valentino brand stands for elegant, sophisticated couture however I do believe this is no excuse for a dull atmosphere. The first room contained letters, cards etc. to Valentino from various industry professional such as Anna Wintour, whilst others appeared completely pointless for example a Christmas card from Prince Charles!

The most memorable room was “The Catwalk” on each side it had mannequins some seated, others standing behind a rope whilst spectators (the public) walked down the middle. Empty seats next to the mannequins had paper with names of celebrities written on them to give the effect of a runway. In my opinion this layout was unimaginative. The garments on the models, although extremely well made didn’t intrigue me & weren’t grouped together by collection or year which made the set up quite odd looking.

My favourite part of the exhibition was a section which showed examples & videos on various techniques used by Valentino with fabrics e.g. ‘Pagine’. This is using disks of organze silk piled to create a page effect.

 All in all I wasn’t a massive fan of the Valentino exhibition but would strongly recommend Tim Walker, Story Teller to anyone.