Thursday, 27 June 2013

10% & More - A modern day sorcerer's apprentice


Eyewear lends itself perfectly to experimenting with alternative plastics, so there is no wonder Ivy Wang chose a pair of glasses to test the new material she has been developing on her course at Central Saint Martins College Textile Futures; a highly research driven MA course exploring the intersection of design, craft, science and technology.

Ivy put her scientific thinking hat on and spent time at Jurgen Denecke Research Lab in Leeds, engineering a bio-product made of biodegradable waste (from the humble potato's cellular wall!). The result is a solid material with similar characteristics to plastic, but with a concrete-like texture.








The texture of this new material reminds me a little about artist Daniel Singel's concrete statement shades...




Not surprisingly, Ivy's choice of objects comes directly from the 60s, the golden age of plastic! Here is the concept described by the designer herself:

"Elements from the 1960s inspire and inform the aesthetic of my selection of objects. The idea behind this is to use a future material to make old objects. 1960s were a popular time for plastics and large numbers of manufactured products are still in use today after half a century. I’m looking at this new eco material and wondering… can it be a future plastic?"


The thing I find most interesting about this project is the fact that the science and research work taken on by Ivy still maintained a design focus, an approach very rarely found in scientific research. This just shows that aesthetics and science can go hand-in-hand to produce inspiring results...

Of course all this talk about the 60s has naturally led to a 20 minute internet musing on 60's sunglasses:

vintage Oliver Goldsmith

vintage Pierre Cardin

vintage Paulette Guinet

vintage Paulette Guinet
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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Eyerus

Remember I showed a video of an eyewear-making workshop by Cyrus Karibu. Well,  I want to share with you these powerful images of his work that I found whilst looking for some African style inspiration.

photos by Barbara Minishi


photos by Barbara Minishi




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Monday, 24 June 2013

Precious little gestures

Another conceptual project, involving eyewear, from BA Jewellery graduate exhibition at Central Saint Martins College is "The Details Of Everyday Life", by Lin Huang.

Lin explores our relationship with the objects of our everyday life casting a new poetic light on routine gestures. Lin explores four mundane rituals; dressing and undressing, putting hands in pockets, holding a book, and parting hairlines transforming each gesture into precious little objects. My favourite one, after the very poetic "Holding A Book" with all it's ring-and-love-story narrative, is of course "Parting Hairline" where Lin crafted some beautiful eyewear to highlight how she (and most of us!) wears glasses as a hairband.


photo by Shu-wei Huang





photo by Shu-wei Huang






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Friday, 21 June 2013

I see therefore I am

Walking through the doors of Central Saint Martins College this evening was quite something; the new complex they moved in two years ago is vast and filled with light, in stark contrast with the consumed wood of the old staircase and the dark corridors of it's old home where I studied a few years ago. It smelled of creative expression!

What hasn't changed is this institution's mission to foster and encourage creative thinking and what I discovered today at the BA Jewellery graduate exhibition is the curiosity to explore different objects, other than the ones we would traditionally classify as jewellery. Students have always been experimenting with alternative materials but never before have I seen so many projects based or involving eyewear. One of the most interesting ones I saw today was Percy Lau's "Is 'SEEING' truly 'BELIEVING'?

Percy's questions how we judge things by how they look. We rely on visual perceptions to make sense of the world and wonders what happens when sight is altered? To assist her investigations she crafted these faceted lens out of resin, like prisms, to create a distorted vision (check out her bright red eyebrows and the rubber "ears-ings"!!).













Percy has a genuine passion for glasses and she told me how she likes to play with eyewear, here is another interesting projects of hers!


Central Saint Martin's Graduate Show ends on the 23rd of June, hurry!


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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Daniele Tamagni exhibition

Just a quick post to let you know that Arteco Gallery is showing some of street-style photographer Daniele Tamagni's work. You should check it out if you are in London and you are looking for some style inspiration! The exhibition ends on the 22nd of June 2013.




I almost forgot! Tamagni will be talking about his work on the 23rd at 7.30PM, at the gallery.
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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

More people watching...Bronze hair and royal blue glasses

So, you remember last week I was telling you about how I love people watching? Well here is another sketch of a really interesting looking person and color combination. This is a girls I saw in the most glamorous of places...the gym's changing rooms, of course! The sketch doesn't really capture the deep bronze tones of her cropped bob but it gives you the idea, what it does show you is how well bronze works with royal blue! Would you try it?

artwork by Eyespectacle

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Monday, 17 June 2013

Another Africa!

photo by Chris Saunders

Africa is the word du jour when it comes to fashion and lately the output of the most inspiring fashion trends...actually not trends but lessons in style and attitude, this better describes what we are seeing in Africa and this is what makes it so unique. Even the highest echelons of fashion journalism suddenly noticed the second largest continent on the planet and are talking about Africa...while I suddenly realised I picked up my mom's South African accent, admittedly nowhere near as strong as the Smarteez's but strong enough to make me feel like a language cheat (I never lived in Africa though people always ask me if I am originally from there) and to wish I could spend some time in its cities to experience the continent's creative energy!

photo by Chris Saunders - the Smarteez

photo by Nontsikelelo Veleko - the Smarteez


photo by Chris Saunders - the Smarteez


photo by Chris Saunders - the Smarteez


The Smarteez are four young South African creatives making the most original outfits, complemented by the coolest sunglasses which they are able to show off to (and inspire!) the rest of the world. Particularly for South Africa, social media and generally easy access to fashion websites through mobile phones finally means the end of cultural isolation for black people which is something most affluent and white South Africans had enjoyed since the end of the apartheid in the mid 90s.

So I wonder, now that the exposure for black African creatives is achieved will we start seeing collaborations between different African cultures, between north and south of the (very diverse!) African continent? Between white and black Africans? I am talking about the kind of intercultural collaborations that creatively define melting-pot cities like NY and London.

You can already see this on websites like Another Africa, where the focus is, yes primarily on black african art, fashion, photography and design but there are also other African backgrounds mixed in. Another Africa is about specificity in celebrating creativity in each country's unique culture, from Cairo to Soweto via Bamako, it's mostly urban as urban populations are most exposed to and influence by other cultures. Their powerful mantra summarises what creative Africa is about today:


‘Art is powerful, it simply needs unleashing and ultimately it will influence, inspire and help to reclaim Africa. The arts are not a first-world luxury, Another Africa is intended to be a constant reminder of this.’


Well, you should check out their latest Tumblr uploads, they are all about snappy outfits and cool sunglasses, here is my personal favourite!

photo by Daniele Tamagni


Or Malick Sidibe's photos which captures the pride and exuberance of a generation of young ­Africans in the 60s, during two decades of momentous and euphoric social and cultural change!

photo Malick Sidibe'



Another Africa is not the only testimony of change in Africa, an certainly not the only showcase for African style; you should check out Chris Saunder's photos as well.

photo by Chris Saunders

photo by Chris Saunders

photo by Chris Saunders


I also find the work of I See A Different You collective from Soweto very inspiring. The eyewear is tiiiiiiny but, in a way very rarely seen on street-style photos, it really complements each look and each person showing it off is at-one within their surroundings.

photo by I See A Different You

photo by I See A Different You


Does any of you remember Diesel's Spring Summer 2001 sibylline ad campaign? Well, twelve years later, seems like Africa is having the last word when it comes to style and has actually exceeded the prophecy of an, unlikely at the time, stylish portrait of Africa!






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Friday, 14 June 2013

Starting a story...cat glasses and a fringed straw hat

artwork by Eyespectacle
I love people watching! This one of the reason I love London; I could be entertained for hours just people watching! You see, in my (gorgeous!) little hometown, in the Italian Alps, you pretty much know everyone, and if you don't know them personally you know who they are, so very rarely do you stumble upon someone who's look just surprises you. In London this happens all the time, anywhere...not just in super-hip Shoreditch where I have the pleasure to work just for the share entertainment provided by sooooo many hip-copy-cats strolling around.

I fully subscribe to what Scott Schuman says about the subject of inspiring people. The beauty of streetstyle photography is that it allows you to create a story about the subject of your pictures simply because you don't know who they are. But you find them intriguing. This has happened to me so many times, sometimes I have asked if I could take a picture and when this is not possible I just try and draw a sketch.

Well, on Sunday afternoon I found the very inspiring Japanese lady of my illustration. She was in front of me at the Muji till; perfect black bob, Issey Miyake Pleatsplease from head-to-toe (including a Baobao handbag, that's what you call being loyal to the brand!!), sculptural fringed hat, and.....these amazing kat-like frames! I had never seen them before (how did they elude me, despite the hours I spend on the internet looking for interesting eyewear??) and I wasn't going to let her go away without telling me where they where from! They are called Micro-Titan and they are made in Japan...I don't know much more and the only really interesting styles in the collection are actually just these...aren't they cute!

Picture from Paris-Miki Japan





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