You might not have noticed but I haven’t written a day three review of London Fashion Week. Unfortunately that’s because I didn’t feel well enough to attend, I did later leave my hotel and do a little exploring with my other half, but for a brief moment I left the fashion week events behind and took a moment to breath... just a brief a moment, and by the morning of day four, I was ready for more!
Dumpty is a new brand on my radar this season, and after attending their SS18 show I was really glad to had been invited. It was originally hard to find out about the Dumpty Studio brand, but after lots of researching I have a little brand DNA to discuss. Dumpty Studio was established in London by fashion designers Ruru and Linbing whose expertise apparently lies in silhouette designing and textures. Dumpty’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection drew it’s inspiration from the world of nineteenth-century surgery, something that I found hard to grasp from its catwalk show. The brand pushed the boundaries for silhouettes and textures this season by using the illustrations of crude surgeries from Richard Barnett’s book “Crucial Interventions”, pulling this as a main source of inspiration, but despite the odd penis embroidery and the unusual opening, I did find it hard to see their inspiration originally. As I review the videos and photos I took (you can see videos on my Instagram @HOWSTE) I can now see that the materials used created a surgical look to certain pieces, so did the placing of collars, cutting of shirts and twisted shapes.
The brand sent menswear as well as womenswear down the runway in shades of white, black, orange and greens with the odd pink and grey piece here and there throughout the collection. The show opened to a startling loud soundtrack, and two very unusual models walked hand in hand towards photographers. As they past, to my surprise the unusual models had usual details to their looks, one carrying what seemed to be a large knitted penis on her back, and the other had an outfit consisting of knit braces with knitted nipple appliqué. Certainly a surprise, but it was a statement carried through the whole collection, with the odd penis and nipple knitted here and there.
The rest of the collection was a little more wearable than the giant penis. Featuring a sporty, unisex, outerwear vibe, the collection was very functional. The models walked in a fast pace past my seat in pieces made out of leatherette, PU and knitwear, juxtaposing the shiny, functional sportswear against bulky knitted objects and embellishments, of which some were NSFW! I did notice that the models had ‘Dumpty’ sketched on their foreheads which seemed to be mimicking surgical markings and wounds, it was understated on some models and some had it clearly written in huge letters. My favourite looks were the off the shoulder pieces for men, mixing playful cut-outs and asymmetric styling for both genders, giving the collection a 90’s cool-kid edge. Zips, Velcro and oversized pockets made statements with the pieces, while accessories were alternatively worn with bun-bags fastened across the chest with car seat belts, an innovative supplement to the practical feel of the collection. It was a modern version of functional outerwear, while adding NSFW embellishments to keep the Dumpty humour throughout the pieces. Dumpty was successful in staying true to their recurrent use of loose silhouettes and grimace patterns in reinforcement of the Dumpty persona. Personally, I can’t wait to see what they do next!
‘This is not a fashion show - this is a fashion performance’
Youjia Jin truly put on a show for its Spring/Summer 2018 presentation which was held at Freemasons Hall with Fashion Scout. The brand sets out to celebrate the cool, cutting edge, cosmopolitan London, as well as it’s classic aspects. The Chinese Designer was trained in both Beijing and London putting a team together in the hope of changing the way you look at fashion. This performance celebrates the openness of the city and the opportunities offered to everyone who comes here.
‘We don’t just store clothes in a cloakroom - we store memories and emotions’
The brand showcased its collection in the 1930’s cloakroom of Freemasons Hall, something that we’ve never seen in the history of Fashion Week at Freemasons. We witnessed fifteen men and womenswear looks through a performance. A mysterious show with models and dancers swinging and playfully moving through the isles of the wooden cloakroom. Wearing 100% natural fabrics, we witnessed fine wool, silk and cotton in Youjia Jin’s signature tailoring in neutral tones of light and dark greys. As the show was held in Freemasons cloakroom it was hard to photograph, my camera wouldn’t focus and we were actually far away, but below are photos I took during the performance. For more information and press photos search for the brand online and on social media.
Elephantasia: Fashion Conservation
My last show of the day was extra special, a show that wasn’t just delivering a new collection, but a message. Fashion for Conversation, also known as the FFC are mixing two of my passions, one for animal rights & conservation with fashion & design. The FFC was founded by three women determined to make an impact on the world through conservation using the fashion industry. Nazanine Afshar (Art Director, British Vogue), Dr. Samantha Zwicker (Wildlife Conservationist, Hoja Nueva) and Ava Holmes (Fashion Week/Event Producer), merged their powerful talents and passions to create fashion campaigns that not only educate consumers on animals and ecosystems, but also help donate funds to wildlife groups across the world. The main mission of the FFC is to protect wildlife and their habitats in collaboration with hugely talented designers, other conservation organisations and media influencers.
Elephantasia is a campaign bringing conservation into couture through elephant inspired clothing (dont you just love how cute elephants are?). Elephantasia originally premiered at Vancouver Fashion Week AW16, and then exhibited at London Fashion Week for SS18 which is the event I attended. The collection will also show next season at Paris Fashion Week for AW18 bring the brand and collection as much press attention as possible, which is fantastic for such a worthy cause. Elephantasia is a three year long campaign supporting conservation along side the African Wildlife Foundation. The collection is totally unique as it was created by a team of 24 international designers, aiming for the same thing, to bring conservation into couture. The traveling exhibition is pushing to raise awareness and funds for the African elephants killed for their ivory and their babies which are then suddenly orphaned as a result. Did you know that 1 Elephant dies every 15 Minutes? Meaning on average 96 each day and 35,000 elephants a year lose their life, a sad statistic to highlight. At the current rate of killings, elephants could be extinct within 7 years through heartless poaching! Elephantasia is fashion fighting for elephants, and every species that is affected by poaching.
Above: Eagerly awaiting the show to start
The show itself contained pieces created by many different designers. The designers that got involved did so because they also wanted to support and spread word of the good cause. Sending a vital message to fashion week attendees and the media, while also empowering consumers with the knowledge that their buying decisions matter. Saying no to ivory, visiting ethical sanctuaries and making clothing purchases and donations that support critical conservation efforts can help ensure the survival of the elephant.
ANNAFORA, AMIT AYALON, ALEX S. YU, BRIGID KO, DANNY REINKE, DAWSON & DEVERAUX, DEVONATION, ERIA LAMARQUE, GARY HARVEY CREATIVE, FESVEDY, JACQUI BENNET, KATHERINE SOUCIE, KYOKO KONDO, MILA HERMANOVSKI, TATIANA SHEBELNICK
The show started loudly, almost making me jump in my front row seat as vocalist and Shaman Medicine Man Anthar Kharana stamped and chanted down the runway. He was then followed by the Elephantasia collection, which glided down to photographers showcasing each look. Every garment had a style of its own, drawing inspiration from elephants and there natural surroundings. Though each piece had a different style and vibe due to being created by different designers, the collection was cohesive, wearable and each garment was stunning. We saw gowns and coats dispersed amongst casual wear pieces, creating a collection to suit all tastes and needs. We saw Intricate elephant shapes sewn in gold on silk by Kromagnon, a totally chic white silk double-breasted evening pantsuit featuring an elephant print lining by Gabriela Rose. Grey coats with lots of volume pounded the runway by Amin Phillips and Autonomous, with colourful elephant print dresses by Tatiana Shebelnik being snapped by photographers. A jumpsuit by Annafora graced the runway before a stunning oversized couture piece of muted green strands with a mesh underlay by Rene Garza closed the show. I did some research for this piece and found that to accessorise the collection, C.Nicol showed off whimsical vegan backpacks made from pineapple husk, and Ashanti Renee showcased an array of intricately beaded tribal jewelry made by women in Africa. Every piece had subtle elephant details creating a collection to be proud of. This certainly was not a tradition charity collection showcasing plain T-Shirts, we witnessed true, beautifully designed, high fashion clothing to lust after.
“VIP guests were earmarked with a white painted X on their hands to symbolize our fight against extinction,” states Ava Holmes, Fashion for Conservation co-founder. “We also presented goodie bags equipped with the first issue of our Fashion for Conservation magazine, highlighting elephant-inspired editorials, moving interviews with conservationists and this season’s participating designers.”
The Elephantasia collection and FFFC Magazine are available for purchase online with proceeds benefitting the African Wildlife Foundation. A portion of all proceeds and 100% of donations benefit African Wildlife Foundation whose UK representative Kirstin Jhonson helped close the night with a well written and informative speech on the facts and huge efforts behind her team’s work, citing us to engage in their amazing efforts.
For more details of the Elephantasia collection, the work by FFC, Fashion for Conservation or the designers involved then I urge you to visit the links and social media pages below. Together we can make a difference:
With a special thank you to Dust PR, POP PR, Fashion for Conservation, Fashion Scout, Magda Durka and Ava Holmes.