click click – 19-08-12

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

My most recent art fascination has been the work of Yves Klein, whose obsession with infinite skies and the colour blue resonates with my own spiritual proclivities so vividly. His signature “international” blue vibrates in my mind, and I don’t want to look away. I long to see this colour without the lens of the computer monitor. I discovered his story through this wonderful BBC series on art and colour, and his photo composite “Leap into the Void” is a new personal philosophical momento of mine.

  • Strawberry Fields Whatever – it is amazing when you lose track of a beloved blogger only to rediscover them all over again. Laura Jane Fauld‘s now-defunct site, was an old favourite blog, and her new site contains much more to love.
  • How I Built A Fashion Brand With No Experience – an interesting talk by a young NYC entrepreneur who created a niche brand, using the internet to bypass as many layers of industry conventions as possible. Via Isaac Likes.
  • Shamepuff – the inevitable product of fashion blogging’s crisis of conscience is this site, airing criticism that is harsh but often fair. It seems that finally the painful, un-pretty discussion of whether fashion bloggers are “helping or hurting ourselves” has found its forum.
  • Jane Pratt’s Perpetual Adolescence – I was born too late to be a Sassy reader and never liked Jane’s blend of alt-Cosmo celebrity pandering, and I think Pratt’s True Confessions style website represents the worst type of influence on modern female media creators… but I believe her Warholian presence is well worth keeping a wary eye on. Aside, the expansion of The Cut is terrific, and I can’t wait to see it take on NYFW.
  • Ask Me Don’t Tell Me – Ryan of For Everybody often uncovers unlikely subcultural artifacts, and this newsreel-style documentary of youth gangs doing community work in 1960s San Francisco is an excellent example.

Karma foreva…

  • The Tree Topper“Darian sees no reason why the artistic decoration of trees cannot be a year round pursuit.”
  • the life + blog of Kitty N. Wong“I blog about making art, dressing up and living a delicious, creative life.”

words for kids who love fashion

This summer, I have been getting a lot of wonderful emails and comments from kids who love fashion. Sometimes they even send me drawings, like 17 year old Alina Kehoe did. I love looking at their work, which is so full of passion for the subject, and totally uninhibited by conventional fashion education. They often ask me very broad questions, looking for advice on how to pursue their fashion dreams.

This post is for all the kids out there who love fashion and are trying to figure out what to do with their creative energy.

1. Develop cultural literacy.

Even though the internet is a far vaster resource now than it was, there is still so much to learn from books and magazines. I spent ages in libraries as a kid, soaking up words and pictures. The more you learn about the history and theory of design, the more sophisticated your own work will be. Don’t just limit your research to the fashion section – seek out art, photography, film, as well as non-visual sources of information like literature and audio. Why?

Fashion is full of people who got into it because they can afford to be good at shopping, or because they like looking at magazines or blogs, or because they’re pretty and they like getting attention. But there are very few who are culturally literate beyond the superficial aspects of fashion. Those with real curiosity and intelligence create more complex, more interesting, and more unconventional work. They are the ones who push the art of fashion forward, and if you’re asking me for advice, I hope that’s the kind of fashion creator you want to be.

If you only consume fashion media, your work will quickly become derivative. There is a circular feedback loop inside the fashion bubble which results in a lot of boring revisions of the same old things over and over again. If you’re going into fashion, please don’t contribute to its stagnation. Break the cycle. Be disruptive. Use the entire world as your inspiration.

2. Create images. Make things.

If you’re a kid now, you probably have access to a digital camera already. Use it to record the fashion in your own life. Everyone has access to pencils and paper. Draw your ideas, what is inside your head. Your drawings won’t be slick, but it doesn’t matter. The more you draw, the more you document, the more confident your visual abilities will become.

Also, if you can, get access to a sewing machine and try altering your clothes and making your own designs. In the digital age, everyone can manipulate pixels but few can sew a fine seam. The ability to actually make what you design will make you a much more intelligent designer – or for that matter, writer or illustrator or whatever you become. Understanding the physical properties of fashion will give you a rare advantage in a very competitive field.

Some day you might want to apply for an internship or to fashion school – when you do you’ll need a portfolio of work to show what you can do, so the sooner you start developing your skills the better. The best part is since you’re not yet in school, you don’t have to worry about being told what to do, economic justification, or competition. So that means, you can create whatever you imagine. Revel in that freedom! Finding chances to create for the sheer joy of it just gets more and more difficult the older you get. Dig it, deeply, while you still can.

3. Start a blog, but DO NOT become a fashion blogger.

Developing internet skills keeps getting more and more critical, so knowing how to use the digital tools is necessary. While you’re still a kid, you can start blogging without having to worry about being professional or even good. Just put it out there. It’s not about being popular, it’s about finding friendships. Reach out to people who are into the same things you are. These relationships will help you discover where you belong in the fashion firmament.

My big, counterintuitive piece of advice for blogging as a young person is to totally avoid advice. DO NOT visit Independent Fashion Bloggers, don’t try to make a business out of it, don’t compare yourself to Tavi or Jane or whoever. Don’t be a fashion blogger. The medium is not the message. Be a designer, be an illustrator, be a photographer, be a writer, be a stylist, be a model, be anything, and post about what you do. Don’t just post inspiration – post what you create. Original work is rare in the era of the “repin”, and therefore much more valuable.

4. Plan your big move.

Unless you are lucky enough to grow up in a major city, the people around you probably don’t share your interest in fashion, which can be frustrating. If you’re serious about pursuing fashion ambitions, the pilgrimage to a major fashion city – London, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo or, of course, Paris – is an important journey. If you can, visit the one that’s closest to you and get a feel for what it’s like to be in a place where fashion is a vital part of life. Even if you can’t make the trip yet, start planning how to make a big city a part of your future now.

5. Work hard. Be brave.

Fashion is not easy, practical, or reasonable. It is extremely competitive, and kind of crazy. If this is what you really want, just go for it with everything you’ve got. Good luck.

click click – 07-08-12

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

Here are two broken-down doll posers found on recent image searches. What do you think it is about a clichéd, busted jumble of lanky limbs that is so perennially appealing?

  • Hype! – this excellent 1996 documentary covers the rise and fall of grunge over a decade in Seattle, from the economic and cultural disconnection that allowed a new subculture to develop, to the eventual pop dissolution.
  • Can you make any kind of living as an artist? – no, you won’t make a “reasonable living” from creative pursuits, not that you should be concerned with reasonability. Being comfortable inhibits creativity – and as the link above exhibits, so-called success can be downright toxic. As long as you’re adequately fed and sheltered, money is immaterial to art.
  • The Terrors & Occasional Virtues of Not Knowing What You’re Doing – I’ve been quite into the idea of unplanning lately, so this story by Jad Abumrad about stumbling his way into creating a new type of radio genre fascinates me. While I’m talking audio, my latest podcast obsession is the Slate Culture Gabfest discovered via Jessica.
  • Future Uniforms: The Failed MLB Promo of the 90s – the axis of uniform design, futurism, and baseball represent a subject singularity within a single link for The Grumpy Owl. Ryan also shared a couple insightful interviews recently: Stanley Kubrick and MF Doom.
  • Does the Fashion Critic Matter Anymore? – Colin McDowell assesses the dubious relevance of the ephemeral phenomenon that is fashion criticism, whether it is practiced by professionals or amateurs. Does the obscure art of the show review have any afterlife?

Karma to show my appreciation…

drawing – portrait exchange with Jonathan Pryce

My friend Jonathan, who is the keen eye behind Another Garçon and 100 Beards, 100 days, offered me a portrait exchange. Jonathan is brilliant at bringing out the best in his subjects, even camera-shy ones like me. Thank you Jonathan!

I just did some loose sketches from imagination using markers, and it turns out these gamine models inhabit my subconscious.

This portrait of Jonathan is the result of a loose sketch thrown down over a couple pints in Shoreditch, which I then took back to the studio and refined. I have impostor syndrome when it comes to portraits – I tend to do idealizations not likenesses. Jonathan has fine features and such sharp eyes, I think I managed to capture a fair approximation.