In conversation with feminist art duo, BAAST.
Almost hidden amongst a sea of shops on Roman Road, spotted was Bethnal Green’s GingerWhite Shop. There we met one half of art collective BAAST, Emily Jamieson. When speaking to the Liverpudlian who was working there at the time, we discovered this modest sized print and frames shop was actually home to many art exhibitions including her and her creative counterpart Hatti Ingle’s.
In anticipation of their upcoming show “Ge’ore”, we arranged to meet with her again. This time joined with her friend and fellow collaborator to discuss their work, inspirations, how their fashion school background influenced their artwork and more.
WHERE ARE YOU BOTH FROM?
EMILY: I’m from Liverpool and Hatti’s from Sheffield. I think they’re both pretty similar in the way that they are very unique cities with their own strong personalities. You can find so much creativity there especially through music and they both have an incredible underground nightlife scene.
HOW DID YOU BOTH MEET?
HATTI: Emily and I actually met at a ‘Find Me in The Dark’ night at Corsica Studios before they started studying at The Cass, London Met Uni.
WHAT ARE YOU BOTH STUDYING?
HATTI: I’m studying textiles
EMILY: and I’m doing Fashion Design
DO YOU THINK YOUR BACKGROUND HAS PLAYED INTO YOUR ART WORK?
HATTI: Emily and I are both from the North and find it’s a big part of who we are, growing up in Sheffield was great as I was surrounded by crazy, inspiring people. I love the steel city!
EMILY: Liverpool has a very unique attitude. People are so quick witted and funny but there’s also quite an aggressive atmosphere as well especially in the area I grew up in (Dingle). That definitely inspired me and I feel shines through in our own work.
WOULD YOU SAY GOING TO ART SCHOOL AND DOING A FASHION COURSE HELPED DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS?
HATTI: Yes, massively. If we didn’t go to art school we wouldn’t have half the techniques we have got under our belt now. The tutors and facilities at The Cass are brilliant!
EMILY: Especially studying in a thriving city like London, there is so much to do and see so we almost always feel inspired. The city being so fast paced and competitive gives us a huge drive of determination as well.
DO YOU THINK FASHION IS ART?
Waiting on response since I only came up with this question AFTER our interview but thought it’d be interesting to hear their point of view. Will sub in with answer once received.
WHAT WERE YOU INSPIRED BY FOR THIS COLLECTION?
HATTI: For this collection of work, I was heavily inspired by femininity and self-identity and I concentrated on the more realistic and natural side of sex and the female body.
EMILY: And I’ve been focusing on the anxieties surrounding teenage girls and the digital world we now live in. With constantly being connected on social media, I have been looking at how this is amplifying negative emotions and how it could be a factor in the rise of depression, anxiety and eating disorders in young people.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE FROM PEOPLE WHO LOOK AT YOUR ART?
EMILY: We hope to challenge the audience’s perception of women and encourage respect for femininity in both women and men.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE FROM THE COLLECTION THAT’S BEING SHOWCASED?
EMILY: Mine’s ‘Blurred Lust’
Their exhibition is currently on show in London until 5th July at 103 Roman Rd, E2 0QN.
Embroidery in the East End
Embroidery, an intricate traditional handcraft, has recently resurfaced. This textile technique can add beauty and detail to otherwise understate garments. In the past, this trend usually featured on outerwear, such as leather and denim jacket. Now, it is covering all clothing categories; embroidery can be found on many accessories including boots, bags and belts. Most specifically, this trend has emerged for spring summer as an emphasis is being placed on brightly embroidered, bloom designs.
This trend has been building gradually. Since the release of its 2015 Autumn/ Winter pre fall collection, Gucci has been the brand that sparked the renovation of embroidery; the Official Gucci website states; ‘From a swallow in mid-flight on the bodice of a dress to a serpent snaking up the side of a sweater, hand-embroidered appliqués appear throughout the Fall Winter 2015 collection.’ Since then, Alessandro Michele has used nature as a creative code throughout the recent Gucci collections. The craft has featured heavily in both Resort & Ready-to-wear, creating decadent and detailed garments. Each collection has a recognisable embroidered motif.
For 2016, Gucci created the ‘it jacket’ through an embroidered, shearling garment, which further associated Gucci as the source of this trend. The intricate nature of this craft is identified as the product description explains that; ‘The individually embroidered appliqués are sewn to the garment by hand, a process that takes approximately four hours to complete for each jacket.’
Most recently, this trend was seen for Spring Summer 2017 where both the garments and accessories where heavily decorated with floral stitching, embroidered stars and appliquéd birds. When used on such a large scale, this intricate embroidery makes for maximum impact. Overall, as a brand, Gucci has developed strongly into the market of accessories. The signature, popular Gucci items such as the low-top sneakers, bags and espadrilles are all adorned with appliquéd patches.
With accessories, a service was introduced that enables you to choose your favorite aspects of creative director Alessandro Michele‘s already-iconic embroidered bags and create a personalised Gucci item. From the selection of embroidered patches, materials, monogramming and variety of colors, this is another opulent example of the use of embroidery within this brand.
Other designers have now, naturally, adopted the use of embroidery through unexpected choices on garments. Other premium brands that have released their own versions and heavily used embroidered detail, rather than simply printed fabrics, include Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Roberto Cavalli and Dolce and Gabbana. The popularity of this trend in high fashion is supported by matchesfashion.com’s buying director, Natalie Kingham who stated; ‘Our customers can see the worth in artisanal embroidery and craftsmanship,’ in an interview with the Telegraph.
For the high street stores, this trend has mainly emerged with a focus on denim but within jeans, jackets, shirts and skirts. Jeans have previously been basic items yet they have been developed through fringing frays this season. To advance this experimentation, brands are now adding embroidered details. The use of embroidery in this way makes the trend accessible and possible to replicate. Therefore, due to the rise of this trend, individuals are beginning to have the desire to learn this skill and those who were already practicing it have seen a rapid increase in demand for their services. The popularity that has appeared over this handcraft is benefitting many, for instance, Ellie Macdonald is a freelance embroidery designer who works with interior projects, women’s wear and editorial pieces. Macdonald commented; ‘the badges and patches that I create have become very popular… this increase is allowing me to shift my business over to create a brand. I now am getting a lot of enquires around collaborations with fashion labels.’
The London Embroidery Studio has been based in Bethnal Green since 2007. Now a bespoke business, the experienced team have regular clients that include artist Hew Locke and designers JW Anderson, Bobby Abley, Acne & Victoria Beckham. For the Spring Summer 2017 shows, the studio corroborated to create the Henry Holland and Louis Vuitton collections. Now, the studio is offering design focused and expert led embroidery courses. On in the evenings and weekends, these classes are open to all, whether you want ‘to expand your technical repertoire or just have a go and learn something new’. So, if you too want to embrace this trend to its full potential, you easily can in East London.
Fashion feature: Jewelry Shops on Columbia Road
Around columbia flower market, there is a street full of small interesting shops. Of course it including some home and home and garden accessories, besides of them, there are several jewelry shops standing there.
Fine and fashion jewellers team up for winter show on market street.
Jewellery designers Ikuria and Karen Morrison are joining forces with Tawny Philips and Simon Rees to host a winter pop-up shop at NumberNinetyFour, a jewellery boutique on Columbia Road in London’s Bethnal Green.
“What generally happen is quiet interesting that the groups are basically occupied at the same point at the year. So instead of completely changing the actual state of jewelry is very big but they get their regular spots.
Some of the designers are not originally from the UK, but they are based here. We are a group, share a studio in Cambwell, but we are all different nationalities.
“Well it’s a shop, it is not a gallery. That’s really important.”
The store plays host to regular jewellery pop-up boutiques and has hosted designers Tina Lilienthal and Tomasz Donocik’s Tina’n’Tom boutique as well as a jewellery pop-up featuring Rachel Entwistle.
Ikuria, Karen Morrison and Tawny Philips are now working with Rees, owner of NumberNinetyFour, having launched the winter jewellery showcase on Saturday.
Accessories designer Amy Fleuriot and craft development expert Bee Friedmann first met in 2011 while walking their dogs in London Fields Park in Hackney, London. They quickly discovered a common love for design, animals, and sustainability, and set off together on a 6 week product research adventure to East Africa. It was this trip that provided the inspiration to start Artisans & Adventurers.
With it’s office and flagship store located on Columbia Road flower market in vibrant East London, Artisans & Adventurers gives traditional craft modern appeal by combining a minimalist aesthetic with a love of colour and print. Producing its collections in collaboration with small-scale artisans and craft groups that would otherwise not have access to international markets.
From chocolate to cushions, and jewellery to woven baskets, A&A’s goal is to bring a little bit of joy to every day objects. The nature of the global supply chain means our decisions as consumers affect people all around the world, so we strive to source products which bring as much joy to their creator as they do to the end customer.
We believe that every purchase can be made consciously to live a stylish sustainable lifestyle.
Maia was set up in 2003 with the aim of offering beautiful jewellery at affordable prices. Passionate about natural coloured gemstones, we source and design individual and highly wearable pieces, from one-off statement necklaces and glamorous cocktail rings to elegant drop earrings and delicate pendants.
With a strong focus on quality and ethical production, all of our jewellery is made from sterling silver, 18-carat gold plate and semi-precious gemstones.
Friday Night in Bethnal Green
If you walk away from Box Park on a Friday night, down Bethnal Green Rd. you’ll be leaving cocktail clubs with motorcycle motifs and passing the temptation of veering down Brick Lane. And eventually you’ll enter the Bethnal Green nightlife scene.
Does Bethnal Green have a nightlife scene?
The answer is yes; you just have to look for it.
The streets may not be lined with pubs and people spilling out onto the main road but turn down a corner or what appears to be a one-way path and you can find the hidden treasures where the youth of Bethnal Green go drinking.
The strong student population of the area, being the astonishingly affordable Shoreditch, and having a row of student accommodations on Cambridge Heath Rd, means you can get cheap beer and the style that comes along with it.
We went hunting for the best street style outside the bars of Bethnal Green and here is what we found.
Bethnal Green is an eclectic area, where you can buy roses and cactuses at the Columbia Rd. Flower Market, then go to lunch at E Pellicci which Time Out calls, “The East End’s pride and joy: a king among caffs” and has given the family run restaurant the Love London award the past three years. You can then finish the evening with a night out at Savage Nightclub that claims to be, “a disco where anything goes.” And you need to find an outfit to do all this in.
This meant reflective Nike trainers with a dress, and shorts with button up shirts. No one word could be used to describe the aesthetic of Bethnal Green clubbers. Right when we thought that we could call it “vintage store finds”, seeing Ancient Grecian print on bomber jackets next to a yellow Chinese dragon on a bowling shirt, we would find a girl on her way to London Cocktail club in a floral dress and a unicorn tattoo.
Down the street from her, the next guy who stood out was wearing a shirt reading “We’re All Dead Here” in gothic print. Pairing this shirt with clean white trousers and yellow Nike court shoes we could only call him “gothique.”
While the personal style varied there were some trends that we were able to pull from the night.
Both men and women sported this seemingly ironic look on the night out. The shades of blue were worn as jeans, jackets, dungarees, in acid wash, and ripped. Basically any way one could wear the Levi Straus fabric, people did.
Men in Shorts and Socks
What do you wear to crack a cold one open with the boys on a summer night when you’re not brave enough for the male romper? Shorts, of course but paired with some tube socks not sandals. One lad was even coordinated enough to match his orange socks to his orange hat, seen outside a pub on Columbia Rd.
This was the most common consistency amongst everyone photographed out in Bethnal Green. Not a heel or dress shoe was seen for a night out. Instead there was Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. It didn’t seem to matter what the style was, simply that you were in trainers.
If you cant say, “Its vintage. You can’t find it anymore.” is there even a point to wearing it? – is the attitude popularly adopted by those who call East London home. There’s no surprise that most of the street style could have been pulled from boxes and racks at Bethnal Green’s own Roman Rd. market.
Vintage inspired prints were easy to spot amongst the crowd. There was floral, acid wash, and Grecian Fresco inspiration. Enough to make your mother, your grandmother, and long dead relatives feel at home on the pavement streets.
Whether you’re going to one of the four cocktail bars on Paradise Row (London Cocktail Club, Resident, Mother Kelly’s, and Sager + Wild), or attending ‘That’s What I Call a Cover Night” (where up and coming bands cover songs from the early 2000s) at the Working Men’s Club; the look of Bethnal Green is casual and youthful. You don’t have to wear stilettos like in central, or be decked out in PVC and fishnets like in Camden, all you really need is a beer and some comfy shoes to walk around and find a good time.
When you step up out of Bethnal Green underground onto the street, Paradise Row is concealed. Located right beside the entrance to the station, but equally hidden behind Paradise Gardens. Recently, this street and its surrounding area, has been the source of inspiration.
Launched just five months ago, Paradise Row is a new East London based fashion brand. Founder and Creative Director Nika Mokhtassi stated; ‘Paradise Row is the name of a quaint cobbled street in Bethnal Green, where I live. The area is often overlooked, sometimes under appreciated, but there is so much history to this street alone.’
The brand has released its first collection, ‘Core’, that consists of five handcrafted bags. Mokhtassi stated; ‘I found a gap in the market for an affordable, luxury bag within the accessible price bracket of £300’. Inspiration was drawn from five stories; ‘I wanted to start my first collection based on stories, and East London has a lot of them’. These designs are dedicated to the area of Bethnal Green through focal pendants that are reminiscent of an aspect of East London heritage. The pendants provide the bags with a sense of history; they spotlight the local establishments. A passport holder that contains information about the charm accompanies each bag. For instance, the ‘Silkweaver’ design is inspired by the textile industry that first flourished in the East End during the 17th Century. These bags therefore keep the history intact and enshrine the culture of Bethnal Green, ensuring that is it not lost whilst gentrification takes place.
In the world of fast fashion, this brand has created high quality bags that are targeted at customers who have a desire to understand and appreciate how and where their purchases are created; you are really paying for the product and the effort behind it. The essence of Paradise Row is to support local trade. Every stage of production is sourced locally; these design elements and materials are then combined to manufacture unique accessories. For six months, Mokhtassi walked around on foot, following word of mouth until she found all the necessary businesses. She stated; ‘I now know, for a fact, that every bag that gets sold helps the leather workshop, the leather wholesaler, the designer, the charm designer, the graphic designer and the photographer; the brand supports a whole local trade chain.’
These minimalist shoulder bags, which can be transformed into an evening clutch, are made from the highest quality materials. Both the charms and fittings are 12 carat gold plated. There are many small design details, every stitch, revert and curve has been thoughtfully considered; ‘I wanted a British brand that was more design led rather than branding led’ comments Mokhtassi. The leather is made through artisan methods, it is naturally tanned by vegetables, fruits and leaves to create an array of bold colours: classic black, navy blue, forest green, rich red and nude.
As this brand grows, it has quickly received considerable press attention due to its presence on social media. It was discovered by Vogue and consequently featured in the March 2017 Issue under the Fashion Forecast for Spring Summer 2017 as a brand to watch. The brand is being increasingly featured on online stockers and moving forward, will be in several physical stores this summer. Furthermore, during fashion month, Paradise Row will be showcased at London Fashion Week for the first time this September. The brand has also recently collaborated with fashion writer and influencer Monica Ainley, to style the selection of bags with outfits; Mokhtassi commented that ‘Ainley’s effortless style reflects the brand.’
Regarding the development of Paradise Row Mokhtassi stated that, for now, her vision is just leather goods; ‘It’s what I am passionate about.’ Paradise Row will be releasing collections on a regular basis and starting a leather goods essentials range by extending into other accessories such as wallets, passport holders, Ipad covers, cardholders, luggage tags and laptop cases. Similarly to Core, Mokhtassi stated that; ‘The future collections will also have a theme and will be accompanied by a story card, it is so important to educate and create awareness.’
Five months ago, Mokhtassi had a desire to create a British brand with a difference, and it is safe to say that she has. To invest in a timeless, true product of Bethnal Green, look out for the next collection release, set to be in autumn this year.
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