thinking – goodbye 2010

I have been avoiding reflection. This year has been too much. I could list all the good bits, and there were plenty, but I can not bear going through my archives right now.

So needless to say, this is the worst kind of blog post ever – its a post for the sake of posting, something to fill in the void. You’ve been warned, I’m just going to spill what I’m actually thinking instead of providing you with anything interesting or useful.

Never mind the year, right now itself is hard to put into words. The emptiness of the last week of 2010 has been unlike anything else I have experienced in my life. Everyone here is out of town, with their families, on vacation, or just busy, except for me. Without any people, places and things I have been living a weird, noun-less existence. Plus, without deadlines or a real job or any responsibilities towards other human beings, my life is virtually verbless too – there is nothing I need to do. No wonder coming up with a blog post is hard – even though I have plenty of time to blog, my life is providing me with the weakest material and I’ve allowed myself to drift along with it. Save for a lingering sense of blog-guilt, I’m also going to admit that I’ve been enjoying it. There are so few stages in life that are like this, in-between times. Lulls.

It does mean that I’ve been a negligent blogger, though I’ve come to terms with the fact that it isn’t really important to post unless I genuinely feel like it, if I do I get posts like this. One thing about moving to a new city is a renewed sense of insignificance. Besides a modest momentum that allows me to continue what I do without much downtime, no one here had heard of me, or Final Fashion, or cares about it, and that is a liberating notion. The way I feel towards blogging now is similar to how I felt when I first started in 2005. I can post, or not post, for any reason, or no reason. It is strange and wonderful to allow myself be released from the struggle of blogging, give up professionalizing it, forget about the ridiculous status race fashion blogging has become. This is exactly what I needed.

I think maybe that echoes the essence of what 2010 was about for me, cutting loose everything that tied me down. Getting rid of all my possessions and my studio. Going to a place where I really don’t know anyone. Taking a break from following fashion, even. On the last day of this year everything about me is clear, inside and out. Appropriately, I don’t have anything planned for today or tonight. I think I’ll just enjoy the unusual lightness of being me.

click click – 27-12-10

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

The Making of Robyn’s ‘Indestructible’ Music Video with EXTRA FOOTAGE from Lucy McRae on Vimeo.

  • Fashion Blogger Burnout – Crosby at PR Couture writes a terrific (and for me, timely) post about reassessing where fashion blogging is at these days and how it makes ordinary fashion bloggers feel. Check the comments.
  • New American Apparel Ads – AA is using illustration in advertising for the first time – whether its for creative or financial reasons, its an audacious throwback in an era where mainstream advertising is so dominated by photography. Do you like the drawings? They have a very austere, almost instruction-booklet quality to them I think.
  • On the front lines in the vintage clothing war – ever wonder where those mismatched racks of hand-knit sweaters, disheveled furs and spangled frocks come from? Terrific article.
  • I Hurt I am in Fashion – sometimes those fashion editorials seem to call out for a caption ridiculous enough to match the picture, and someone in internet-land has provided.
  • Pattern Puzzle – Shingo Sato – Kathleen shares yet another mind-boggling feat of pattern-based fashion design.
  • My First Times – the leap into the unknown and from dreams to reality – triple threat blogger Garance Dore shares her inauspicious beginnings her her inimitable way.
  • Ask Nubby: Is a Freelance Career Right for You? – a sensical answer from a total inspiration.

Karma for friendly linkers & commenters, thanks all –

  • Toronto’s fashion class of 2010 – one of my favourite people to disagree with, Sarah Nicole Prickett, calls me out for something I’m happy to be nominated for – being a somewhat dissenting voice back when I was a part of the Toronto fashion scene.
  • FASHION MADE ME FUNKY“I’m Jenny, a Canadian girl with a softspot for vintage, the ocean, bicycle rides and Montreal bagels”
  • the girl with the messy hair.“A 20-something blogger who left her sunny tropical islander life in the Philippines to live in freezing cold Canada.”
  • FROCK & ROLLa lifestyle blog with a fashion, rock and roll and nonsense flavoured twist!
  • no substitutions“We are two people with tricky eating habits and intolerances, whose hearts sink a little bit every time we see ‘no substitutions’ on a menu in Toronto and beyond.”
  • Sogni e Sorrisi“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might just find you get what you need.”
  • Edgina“This is a collection of visuals and ideas gathered by an architect and a graphic designer.”
  • F A S H I O N M I N U T E “Your dose of fashion + conceptual from personal fashion stylist”
  • Top 15 Canadian Fashion Blogs – Fashionism collects some of the very best and honours me by including Final Fashion.

drawing – vintage inspired illustrations for Lilly’s Closet

Thanks to Ashleigh Rahm, I had the delightful challenge of developing some vintage-inspired illustrations for Lilly’s Closet, a Washington D.C. and Chicago based wardrobe styling service. I’m really pleased with how the drawings were incorporated into the website design – refresh your browser to see them all.

reading – Aggregation Magazine

Aggregation Magazine is a personal project by a friend, Gary Campbell – he’s commissioning various writers and bloggers to collect some of the links they find interesting on the internet, assembled in a way that is distinctly inspired by magazines. The subject matter varies widely and it is selected by truly interesting, inquiring minds. It’s formatted to suit the iPad or other types of e-readers, but you can also check it out in your browser.

He asked me to contribute to the current issue, and I collected five links, old and new, about a subject I find fascinating – fashion’s major schedule conflict and the various ways designers propose to change the current fashion system.

drawing – a Greg May holiday

Last year around this time, I had the pleasure of creating a snowdrift-inspired image for a holiday card for Greg May Hair, who also did such a spectacular job on my hair this summer. The brief was to feature Greg’s signature products as a cityscape in the background. They’re great products – I’m a fan of the Sea Salt spray which makes you look and smell like you’ve been swimming in an incredibly clean sea.

a word from… December 2010 sponsors


A word from… is a monthly news post contributed by the kind sponsors who support Final Fashion.

Darlene from Bijouxbead says…

Our Tiny Dancer series is now 20% off until December 16 -a great sparkling holiday gift idea under $40.

Lara from rock-it promotions says…

Holiday season is here, which guarantees a few rituals: a lot of eating, a lot of schmoozing with family and friends, and a lot of presents. To find a gift that caters to all of your female relationships, whether it’s still budding, is long-term, is a best friend, or just a special treat for yourself, visit Tryst Lingerie.

The intimates boutique is renowned for its bra-fittings; co-owner Shana Tilbrook has personally trained 100+ retailers and sales associates across Canada! Send the ladies in your life for a fitting and selection of bras, lingerie, robes, slippers, gowns.. the list goes on!

Bonus!! Mention “Final Fashion” to receive a 15 per cent discount at either Tryst location. Valid until January 31, 2011.

London notes – 13-12-10

I paid plenty for new front teeth, I might as well show them. Here’s another Photobooth shot, which shows that I have my health back and I’m working. Lots of deadlines, lots of drawing, so life is good.

The truth is, this has been a weird couple of weeks. I don’t think of myself as being a shy person, but for some reason in situations where I’d normally just bomb in and say hi to people, I find myself feeling uncommonly withdrawn. Working is good, but it keeps me in my room and I’ll find days when I really don’t speak to anyone over the course of the day, unless I’m ordering food. What I do is somewhat solitary so this was also always the case in Toronto too, but for some reason I feel it more strongly here. I haven’t really found my people yet and knowing me, it will take a little time. I’m trying to recognize the positive aspects of being somewhat lonely, and cultivating a sense of patience.

It helps to know that so many others go through the same feelings when they arrive in a new city. It can feel weird and impenetrable sometimes.

I haven’t been closely following the news – but yeah, a lot of things are going on. I went to the RCA to visit the library and say hi to Julian, and I arrived at a freshly abandoned scene where protesters were making signs and getting ready to walk over to parliament. I don’t know how I feel about this sort of stuff – I’m not really an activist by nature, it always seems to me like things are so complicated and people decide how they feel about them before they even try to understand them, so I always prefer to embrace my own ambivalence towards political protests, and perhaps even more so because I don’t feel like this is any of my business.

It was also an open day at the RCA that day and I tagged along on some of the tours of the labs, which were impressive. After seeing the work-in-progress exhibit a couple weeks ago, it was neat to see the scene where the students work, and I’m truly impressed by the possibilities and the facilities and the sense of creativity which seem to be everywhere in this city.

Fellow Toronto fashion kids turned London fashion kids had a little festive get-together yesterday before they all leave to visit home. My contribution was to make cookies – these are my Mom’s thimble cookies, I made them to make myself feel more homesick I guess. I won’t be going home for Christmas for the first time. I’m not a particularly sentimental person… but I guess I am right now. That is OK.

London notes – 09-12-10

I thought that my window would be good for sunrises, but ever since I moved in every morning has been as grey and dismal as the one before, until this morning when the sky was lushly coloured and almost cloudless behind my grubby window pane. Watching the daylight creep over the morning trains and planes while I started my work for the day made me feel like I must be in the right place after all.

I’ve been blessed with the pre-Christmas rush, working for clients in Canada and North America – my little studio got set up just in time. The other day I bought a used office chair so I’m no longer feeling busted after sitting on a plastic folding chair when I work. Now, working in London is exactly like working in Toronto – albeit with less than 10% of the space and stuff I used to have. It really is remarkable how little I really need.

Life living cheaply has not been without its trials. I got sick from a man on the tube and was laid up for a few days, with my tiny room closing in on me and suffering from a feeling of homesickness and isolation. Getting food was more difficult because I was ill – and the kitchen I have access to has mice – I found out by literally stepping on one and killing it by accident, I’m not kidding. And the hot water was cut off for a couple days. But these are all things I can deal with, even ignore, especially now that I’m feeling better.

With my health gradually coming back, I’m trying to balance time in my room spent working with time spent getting out there and meeting people – whether hanging out in busy restaurants where everyone is sociable or going to museums and little art events. Last night at a tiny art show I met an illustrator and artist I admire very much – Julie Verhoeven (a detail of one of her pieces is above). So, I’m beginning to feel like a member of society again.

What else? I went to the Museum of Childhood in my neighbourhood (as recommended by Breeyn) and they had a spectacular exhibit of papercraft architecture. Of course I used to make all sorts of papercraft little houses and scenery as a kid of my own – not from kits either – and it gave me inspiration to try that stuff again.

There was so many other things there that were captivating – dollhouses and paper doll games and so much more things I love. It was the loudest museum I ever went to – it was full of tons of little children running around and yelling. Definitely worth going back to.

a room of my own, with a view

I’m officially moved in. My new room. Everything I own in London, contained in a mere 66 square feet.

You might think I’m crazy to attempt to work and sleep in such a tiny space, but there’s a logic to my madness.

Top of the list is sheer frugality. Having a big beautiful space in Toronto was definitely an advantage, but in the early stages it was often a liability too. This time, since I don’t have that much stuff anyway, I was looking for something as cheap as possible. But also, since I’m here to experience the best of London, I wanted it to be central and in a lively, interesting neighbourhood – in this case, Bethnal Green, just steps away from Brick Lane. Add those two factors together and you get: small.

I’m also fussy about a couple of other things. Good heat, for one (this room has a very enthusiastic little radiator), real wooden floors (carpets, linoleum and laminate gross me out) and a nice view, the last is critical to keeping this kind of space from feeling cell-like.

My east facing window looks out over Weaver’s Fields, a small park full of ball players, dog walkers, and kids, with the overground rail running along the right. I can literally see the address that the infamous Kray twins grew up in from here, it doesn’t get much more East London than that. You can’t see it today because of the fog, but in the distance you can see a cluster of cranes where they’re building the Olympic site.

My modest working space is still a work in progress, however I now have everything I need here to draw and am already taking on freelance deadlines. The little pressboard desk came with the room – I added a solid metal school desk to give me some solid elbow room. I bought it from a man under the Bethnal Green rail station and literally skated it on edge across snow-covered Weaver’s Fields to save cab fare. I made up for that by splurging on the work lamp clamped on the left – its the nicest task light I’ve ever owned.

I’m just steps away from a huge art supply store, an iconic 24 hour beigel joint, tons of vintage clothing shops, live music venues, the United Nations of takeout, and so much more. Of course if I start making money like gangbusters, I’ll take a step up, but for a first step, found under a tight deadline, and under a tight budget, I’m relieved and satisfied.

making – Christmas card at DRINK, SHOP & DO

Nathalie-Roze sent me a link to a cute little shop in up by King’s Cross station called DRINK, SHOP & DO. It is like a little cocktail bar/tea room/gift shop combination, and in addition to lovely things to drink and buy, they also have activities available like board games and various other events.

I decided to go for Christmas Card making today, and even though I was far too early for the social part of the evening, I was graciously given a box of crafty scraps and a jar of pencil crayons and markers, and over a cup of tea I set to work.

On the way over in the tube I had come up with an idea for a textured Christmas Card, made with small scraps of paper cut into little fringes and then glued over one another to form a Christmas tree shape. In my little box of scraps I found plain red paper and sparkly red paper, and also small downy red feathers which created a nice variation of texture within a monochromatic colour scheme. I’m really happy with the results.

I’m going to send this to my lovely Australian family in London, who so kindly let me surf on their couch for 12 days in November while I found my feet.