February 18, 2014

The New Almanac

What’s this?! What have I done with Noisy Shoes? Well, to be blunt, I killed it. And it all started over a phone call.

As with last year, my 2014 resolutions are lo-fi. I want to call people on the phone more. I think I have lost a fundamental part of my ability to communicate since the advent of sms. I am afraid of speaking on the phone to people I like speaking to. Which is just plain dumb. This resolution is essentially a way to be more direct. It is about being interacting in a meaningful way.

So, after several years of fun, I have decided to part ways with my old blog moniker. I want to take myself in a more focused direction, and it feels like the right moment for a fresh name. Over time, my approach has changed, my interests have changed. From now on I want to share a combination of ethics, issues, good design and new design. There will be trend forecasts and mood boards. There will still be reviews. There will still be interviews. There will still, of course, be baby animals.

However, I want to blog with a view to responsible consumption, and to eschew a fashion system that encourages unethical and unenvironmental practices. If that is even possible I don’t know, but I am going to find out. Clean living. More direct living. Straight to the point. Like a phone call. Fashion itself is not to blame for our consumption habits, we are. Therefore at no point do I need to feel the need to justify coverage of beautiful design, of innovative ideas, or of being a lover of novelty. It is human nature to move forward. What we must change is the harmful ways in which we do so. I wish to add to this conversation and push it forward as much as I can.

An Almanac is an annual compendium of forecasts and information, which fits closer to what I want to express and contribute to the online fashion discussion. So ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Fashion Almanac. 

link

February 18, 2014

Hannah Hoch – Collage Pioneer

Collage. The simple art of cutting and pasting. I have two reason to talk about this. The first is that I have some personal projects in the pipelines, and I am very excited to be working in this way again. The second is the much more noteworthy and far superior Hannah Hoch exhibition in the Whitechapel gallery, running until the 23rd March, 2014. Hoch’s work is transcendent, remaining as relevant and powerful as it surely must have been during her Dada beginnings in the early 20th century. Her origins were in illustration and embroidery and it was interesting to see how a female, using typically “female” artforms created works of art that do not scream “WOMAN ARTIST”. They are surreal, humorous and asethetically pleasing, but not what you would consider to be gender defined work.

hannah hoch, raoul hausmann, collage, art, whitechapel gallery, collage

john stezaker, tracy reece, collage, art, inspiration

image links here, here, here, here, here, here, here

Although often overlooked and brushed aside as a pursuit of the female hobbyist or the twee crafts, collage has a greater influence than perhaps we realise. Surely it is the surrealism of laying things that don’t belong together that is the foundation of fashion, just as with collage. Leather and lace? Collage. Wool and silk? Collage. The idiosyncrasy of collage permeates fashion from overt patterned surrealism to the nuance of mixing textures. It’s not just the Ashish’s and JCDC’s that owe something to this way of thinking. Autumn Winter 14-15′s collections are full of subtle and not-so-subtle collages of ideas. Darth Vader on a Morrocan tile print? Yes, Preen, I’m talking to you.

fall 15, aw14-15, catwalk, collection, fashion, runway, trends, ashish, matthew williamson, preen, darth vader, simone rocha, pattern, print, texture, peter pilotto, clover canyon, temperley, holly fulton, mary katrantzou, helmut lang

simone rocha, mary katrantzou, fall 15, aw 15, catwalk, runway, designers, fashion shows, details, erdem, matthew williamson, collage, pattern, print, embroidery

images via vogue.com

February 17, 2014

The Feminist Dress Social Experiment Resolution

In 2013 I resolved to wear more dresses. Partly as a feminist social experiment, partly because dresses are pretty. I am happy to say that I have succeeded, two months late – just in time for the new AW14-15 catwalk collections. As the social experiment it set out to be, I’m not sure that wearing dresses makes people treat you more typically like a girl. Maybe it’s my personality that intimidates people, not the leather jackets. Or perhaps my dress choice are as grungy and non-girly as the rest of my outfit. Actually, probably. Either way, I have met some very interesting people this year regardless of my attire. And equally regardless of their reception, I am very glad to have some lovely frocks sitting in my wardrobe.

outfit post, personal style, dresses, H&M, &other stories, Cos, vintage, style,

 

 

The nice pics from Jules Can Fly & Gemma White. The dodgy selfies are selfies.

As for the real girl thing. As predicted, I have failed miserably. I write this with unmanicured nails, un-extensioned hair, and probably some of last tuesday’s mascara still on…the thing is though, that my scruffiness does not make me any less or more of a feminist. I am not choosing to have terrible nails as a reaction to any system. I am busy and lazy and looking like an extra on TOWIE is not a priority. My unconscious choice may be the eschewing of a system that dictates I procure a husband and then babies by being pretty and meek and obedient. But on a conscious level, in no way do I resist nail polish. In an ideal world, I would do the things I like doing, such as reading and art and that, WITH bouffant hair and beautiful nails. And while Emma Thompson thinks heels have no place in a feminist’s house, I think she’s wrong. Respectfully. Sorry Emma, I love you, but you’re wrong. I think that the knowledge that you have a choice GIVES you a choice. Knowingly wearing heels, making an educated decision to have manicured nails, these are choices available to modern feminists. Otherwise, where are we? Back at the beginning where women don’t have choices. Forget it. Celebrate yourself however you choose. Just be aware that it may be perceived in a certain way and the historical reasons it is popular may be from less that feminist/liberty/pro-women beliefs. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s how it is. The real fight is the freedom to choose heels, not to have to wear them or never to wear them at all.

And for all the feminists who think like me, let’s have a look at the pretty dresses hot off the AW14-15 catwalks I will be coveting in the coming months…Who knows, maybe by the time they hit stores I’ll have a manicure.

tom ford, margaret howell, richard nicoll, christopher kane, aw14, fall 14 15, autumn winter, catwalk, collections, fashion, runway, dress, kenneth cole, preen, richard chai love, mara hoffman, marc jacobs,

 

February 3, 2014

New Year Review #2 – The London Look

New Year Review #2 – The London Look

To be totally honest, my 2013 was not outstanding in the greater scheme of things. I didn’t find world peace or a cure for any illnesses or anything. But I did read some books (ok, like maybe two books), go to some gigs and surfed a bit. I designed lots of prints and saw millions of fashion. All of the fashion if you will. 2013 also saw my second London anniversary. I moved here during Fashion Week so the two will forever be intertwined. I have started to notice the differences in my Pre-London Wardrobe and my London wardrobe. Leaving aside the changing of trends, passing of time and a desire to grow up somewhat, there has been a very definite London-ification of my wardrobe in the past two years.

The London Look. As silly as it sounds, there is something very distinct about how the city dresses. It’s a mix of the utilitarian, practical New York, chic French luxe and a burst of classic English quirk and heritage textures. It may be impossible to pinpoint the “London Look”, but if you live here, no matter what your style, you follow certain guidelines. There are certain, unspoken, understood things that you DO, that you wear. So, to mark my two year anniversary of being a Londoner (four and a half months late…), I have summed up a few of the things that makes London style quintessentially London and quintessentially stylish!

1. Shoes.

Heels? Don’t even. They say you can tell a lot about a person from what they wear on their feet. In that case Londoners have to walk, lots. Public transport is great (mostly) in London, but it’s a BIG city, so tottering about all day on 5 inch stilettos is a big ask, only for the very brave, or very silly. You will instead notice a sea of boots and flats. Chelsea boots, Oxfords, Acne Pistons and their legion of knockoffs. And sneakers. All of the trainers. London is a sneaker-freak city. I love living in East London and seeing the millions of exotic kicks on everyone around me, from the scallys to the most snobbish hipster to the really cool guys in traditional Muslim dress chilling round Brick Lane. When I moved to London I owned probably four pairs of black shoes, three of which were heels I rarely wore. I now own 25 pairs of shoes, 20 of which are black, 3 of which are trainers and only 3 of which are heeled. Go figure.

shoes, kicks, sneakers, trainers, nike, new balance, oxford shoes, brogues, chelsea boots, acne, topshop

2. Standing Out

Standing out is so common it doesn’t stand out in London. Literally thousands of bright-young-things flock to Dalston every year to make their mark and BE INDIVIDUALS. They wear reams of colour, pattern and jazzy silhouettes, they all stand out. With the net effect of all looking the same. The same can be said for all the different tribes that exist in this great metropolis. There is room for everyone and each tribe dresses to the nth degree. Because there is a place for everyone, it forces you to find your own style, and do it hard. If Dublin encouraged me to dress loud, London encourages me to dress quiet. It’s not that London is shhhhh-ing me, far from it. London encourages you to roar. It’s just that, really, maybe I don’t actually WANT to roar. The only statement I want to make is a quiet, simple, designy one. That’s my statement. That’s exactly who I am. I don’t need to fit in or stand out because we’re all misfits. And it so happens that I’m happiest in black, navy and shades of grey.

navy, sweaters, chic, simple, clean lines, moodboard, minimal dressing, inspiration

3. Layers

The tube. The bus. The walk to work. Cold flats. Hot galleries. Crappy winters. Stifling summers. London cannot be accused of not giving us plenty of weather, even if most of it is woeful. As a result, Londoners have to understand the practicalities of layering. They need to be coat experts. Indeed one of the first things I noticed when I moved was that everyone seems to live in their coats, even inside bars and clubs. They need to understand the benefits of cashmere and flannel, of tights. London girls just don’t do bare legs in winter. If you do, you’re, well… You’re not getting the tube or walking anywhere, that’s for sure! London girls understand the necessities as well as the aesthetics of giant scarves, that can be unfurled and held on stuff public transport. I never needed any encouragement when it comes to coats and scarves, but London has made me understand the utility of my entire outfit, so that leaving the house in the morning I am equipped for the various temperatures I am going to have to face during the day. I have shirts and sweaters and know what temperatures all combinations will create. It has made me think, so that when I’m wearing an outfit I don’t need to worry about it. Effortless. Done. Thanks, LDN. Here’s to the next few years. xx

oversize, coats, sleek, chunky scarves, fluffy coats, layering, london look, winter style, fashionall images via tumblr.com

 

February 3, 2014

Monday Funday – Jungle edition

Monday! Funday! I need to share Jungle with you as they are rocking my world of late. I was an idiot and didn’t buy tickets to their Village Underground gig quick enough and they are all sold out. RAGE! But they are super, and I am seriously digging the video for “The Heat”. Exactly what you need to ease you into the week.

 

Keeping with the Jungle theme, here’s some clouded leopards. They are the fashion cat of the season. Aren’t they the business?

images via here, here , here, here

February 2, 2014

Happy (Chinese) New Year #1

Happy Chinese New Year!  While this might be a month late in the Gregorian calendar, according to the Chinese, my New Year post is bang on.  Over the four years of this blog, started as a resolution, my focus has shifted considerably. I am no longer a student. I am a real-life, full time employed, non-freelance textile designer. The flipside of doing my job for a living means that I spend a) almost all of my time doing my actual job, as opposed to slacking off on the internet, and b) the rest of my time (aka free time) doing things in the real world, like hanging with friends, eating, laundry, etc. Blogging has become less frequent, but the intention and the thoughts have not gone away. Simply put, I have less time for the internet.

So, to have a quick, overdue, look at 2013 then. It was a BIG YEAR for me. I turned 30. Which means I’m officially a GROWN UP, despite the fact I feel nowhere like an actual grown up. In the couple of years since my Van Wilder stint at Uni, my life has changed and it seems that my fashion sensibilities are more attuned to the onset of my 30′s than my regular consciousness. While we don’t need to go into a discourse on the semantics of clothes, it is enough to say that while my brain still thinks I’m young and fun, my wardrobe is telling me that maybe my priorities have shifted somewhat in the past few years. I do not purposely dress age appropriately, but I don’t dress like mutton dressed as lamb. Much. I have started to notice this when I’m going through Tumblr, and trends. I see the clothes that I hypothetically like, and clothes that I would wear.  Without meaning to, I have started to dress for the job that I want, instead of for the party I’m going to. Actually, I’m old now. The parties are a lot less frequent. SOB. To demonstrate, and to mourn the loss of my wonderful 20′s, I have made a collage of Me-From-Before, as well as a Me-As-I-Am-Now. In an idealised, tumblr-fied version. It’s like the truth, but prettier. Bye bye denim cutoffs, the new breed of bright young things are keeping you safe now. Hello delicious coats. And cool, but not-too-much sweaters. Minimal dressing, let’s be having you. Mostly. You’re never too old for a bit of fun. I reckon I’ll probably always wear whacky sunglasses.

denim cutoffs, dip dye hair, american apparel, leopard print, print, fashion, versace, chains, grunge, oversize,

coats, street style, sweaters, minimal dressing, casual, chic, clothes, fashion, outerwear, collage, moodboard, inspiration, lanvin, givenchy

sunglasses, karen walker, cheap monday, denim, hats, leather jackets, style, street style, dressing, inspiration, mood board, idealisedAll images via tumblr.com, Stockholm Street Style, The Sartorialist, missguided.co.uk, Monki, Fashion Fade, WGSN,

December 9, 2013

Monday Funday: Shangaan Electro x Dazed

A big thanks to Dazeddigital, this film (that won’t embed for me!) has brightened up my Monday no end! Love how surreal and fun it is, how incredible the dancers are and the tune is wicked!

Projects and this like this bridge the mental gap in people’s heads about “World Music”, just like with artists such as M.I.A, DJ Mujava, and even Major Lazer’s new track has a worldly feel to it. Even back in 2010 Radioclit’s Club Secousse was doing the same thing, bringing excellent music from Africa to a European audience. Indeed Paul Simon worked with Shangaan musician General MD Shirinda on the seminal Graceland in 1986. And from Bashment to Baila Funk, non-western music has been dominating dance floors for years. I have never been able to understand people’s reservations about music that comes from places they do not. Ultimately they are all just beats and these ones are sick.

December 7, 2013

Fit not Thin – Feminism, Fashion and Fitness

I read an article on Jezebel about “thin shaming” a while ago, and it has sat with me and brewed and forced me to into having opinions I didn’t know I had. The Jezebel piece is a well reasoned and well written article on the notions of shaming women based on their body shape, and “a system that makes us hate ourselves for profit”. I agree with her idea of body empowerment, and body acceptance.

However, I am uncomfortable with the fat v skinny debate. It’s not that I hate fat, or hate thin. I don’t hate anyone. I just hate the idea that we are STILL talking about bodies in terms of fat and thin. The body we should be focused on is the healthy one. It’s the elephant in the body-issue room. As boring as it sounds, healthy is the only ideal worth aspiring to. It is positive to encourage women to be comfortable with themselves, and to break free from that profit-making hate system. But it is an awkward and overlooked fact that being healthy is good for you. Unhealthy lifestyles (on both ends of the BMI spectrum) are bad for you and will make you sick eventually, which will impair your quality of life. And that sucks. Are we so focused on finger pointing and shaming ourselves that we have forgotten that feeling good from being healthy feels great?!

Either way, Jezebel’s article, itself a reaction to another article, got me thinking about the bigger picture. I have noticed a rise in the amount of “get fit” initiatives about in the past couple of years, both government and corporation funded.  Stricter food labelling now means we know what exactly we are eating almost all of the time. These are responses to public (consumer) demand. Mostly. And government think-tanks that have figured out that a healthy public costs less than an unhealthy one. As a society, we are slowly realising that we need to be healthy, but as women we are still stuck on fat vs thin. And while we are still slinging “fat bitch” and “skinny bitch” into either court, we should be focusing on what’s best for our own bodies. Programmes like the “Get Fit, Get Happy” campaign fronted by Daisy Lowe and run by the Sunday Times Style Magazine back in the summer advocate “fit not thin” mantras, which I feel are the way forward out of the fat vs. skinny hate spiral, which, if believed would have us all hating everything all the time.

But like whatevz, right? I mean it’s all just words and hollow promises, right? Well, I’m not sure it is. Fashion is not created in a vacuum. It is a reactionary commentator as well as a visionary trailblazer. The NOW aesthetic is clean and functional. From grungy streetwear to twenties style sporty silhouettes, the staple sportsluxe and even martial arts inspired lines, the zeitgeisty feeling is active*. Even the cool-girl flat of the moment is a trainer. Preferably New Balance or Nike, but that’s beside the point. Sportswear is everywhere, and not just the edgier designers you would expect to draw on streetwear influences. It’s been coming for a couple of seasons but right now it’s literally everywhere. It would be deluded of me to think that everyone is going to change their opinion overnight, and quite clearly the world is not going to turn into a health freak just because there is a sweater on a runway. But it would be nice if women supported each other more and focused more on what was healthy for themselves rather than name calling, shaming themselves and others. Positive change happens one person at a time. And when Lanvin is rocking parachute silk and medal necklaces, there is definitely something in the air. Just sayin.

*equating health initiatives with Lanvin parachute silk & Prada trainers – stretch, anyone? Or IS it…

fit2

December 6, 2013

Fangirling: Chloe Moretz

I’m not usually one for fangirling but I keep seeing Chloe Moretz popping up in fashion places and damn, that kid’s COOL. Like really cool. Now I’ve never seen the original Carrie because I’m terrified of scary films, and I have no intention of watching the new remake. But Kick Ass…well it kicked ass. And yes, HitGirl is a fictional character, so I don’t KNOW that Chloe is cool. But like all great characters, there is a great actor underneath. She’s other worldly beautiful, which helps, of course. She has a Tavi Gevinson thing about her, but less quirky. And a Lana thing too, but not trailer-parky. And she’s 16!!! AAAAAHHHH. Jealousy aside, I guess in terms of role models for young girls it’s nice to have someone so popular and pretty not rocking around in her knickers, openly taking drugs and twerking at every opportunity. Which is cool, once you’re legal and ting, just maybe not the only aspiration impressionable kids should have.

Keep up the good work of being awesome, Chloe. Oh, and please do a shoot with Jurgen Teller, that would be awesome. Ok thx bai.

December 6, 2013

Inspiration of the day: Nelson Mandela

Unless you live under a rock, you know that yesterday the world lost a brilliant visionary, peace maker, leader and all-round good guy, Nelson Mandela. Without wanting to add to the clamour too much, he has always inspired me in his words, his actions, poise, humility and determination to make the world a better place. Not to mention our shared love of rugby and jazzy shirts. Here he is, with his super on-trend Afro/ethnic print shirts. Oh, and the rugby world cup. May you rest in peace, Mr. Mandela.

N.B. You might think me facetious and frivolous for talking about this great man’s apparel on the day of his death, so I will leave you with the fact that Bishop Desmond Tutu thought Mandela’s wardrobe unbefitting of the man’s greatness and that a suit would be better. Mandela just liked them and wore them anyway. And if you were in any doubt, there are very very very few people who can lead a country on a world stage in such unconventional attire and command respect in the way he did. Proof that substance and style are an extremely powerful combination.

nelson mandela, inspiring, inspirational quotes, president south africa, political prisoner, visionary, inspiring

 

Image links here , here, here, here, here, here

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