Last week I was invited to be the first stylist to come in and host a mentoring session at London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion. Woo-hoo!
Alex McIntosh, who works there, agreed with me in our chats beforehand, that my take on sustainable fashion: ie that it needs to be as good as its unethical competitors, while maintaining it’s credentials, is the right way to see sustainable fashion’s future and this then was the starting block for my lecture. Our opinion was endorsed coincidentally (great minds think alike!), by New Gen winner, designer Christopher Raeburn, at the Esthetica talk hosted the day before at Somerset House. (http://www.christopherraeburn.co.uk/ )
Where compared to last season it was a much stronger selection of pieces from eco-fashion designers, on the whole much more likely to sell and get shot by stylists – which after all it surely what it’s all about!.. Was great to see old friends, such as Noki’s JJ, there with his NHS collection, as well as my girl Jessie Brinton take part in the talk. For me the gold star goes to Nina Dolcetti. Her taupe boots were glorious and this season’s ‘little sweets’ collection of shoes, really show how good design and ethical business can be viable. www.ninadolcetti.com
So the next day, daunted by the prospect of quickfire students and nervous to the core, I entered the pleasure dome LCF lecture hall and hosted the best morning of work I have enjoyed in a long time (goes to show that it is worth facing one’s nerves sometimes!). There had been a phenomenal response, something like 30 designers came to the event. So after a quick breakdown of my own career – which I tried to glide past(!), I discussed celebrity endorsement and the importance of visual imagery and consistent iconography for brand identity: breaking this down from the highest of high end, such as Chanel and Dior, how it has worked with my celebrity clients and then how this translates to these designers own developing labels. Fascinating, when you break down marketing a strategy and see how this effects each of us: from me the stylist, through to designer, advertising exec, art director, consumer et al, it is really simply fascinating. Especially when you translate that to the power of good, creating innovative sustainable fashion: ie guilt-free consumerism, which doesn’t rest on it’s eco-credentials, but really is a product of good design.
I worked through the designer’s own collections: their lookbook imagery and concepts; spending time with quick-fire responses to their individual strategy and vision for their company, mentoring each of them with different questions, answers and responses to their work, as each is a different designer, with a different style/collection/aim/idea of who their brand is aimed at. I came back to them with game-plans, ideas and I hope some good advice! I loved it, I really realised how much I enjoyed mentoring them, when I realised 4 hours had gone by and I would happily have stayed for 4 more!
For links to some of these designers’ work, please check out:-