Posts in Brand ethos
T-shirt - Cult Culture Subversion
Fashion and Textiles Museum, Bermondsey.  T-shirt - Cult Culture Subversion Exhibition

Fashion and Textiles Museum, Bermondsey.  T-shirt - Cult Culture Subversion Exhibition

The cult status of the T-shirt has made its impression on our cultural psychic since the 1950’s although it has been in existence for a lot longer - AD 500, who knew? 

Many an artist and designer have used the T-shirt to be subversive, to communicate a message, to act as a political tool and or raise awareness of a specific topic.  

Viewing the T-shirts especially those by Vivienne Westwood was a great reminder of both my inspiration and why I created my brand in the first place. 

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It reminded me of the core concepts I wanted to create with the brand:

- inspire a conversation

- act as a performative medium within art

- art as fashion

- political activism  

- raise awareness regarding inclusion, equality and ethnic representation

 

 

T-shirts being made of the material they are serve as the perfect surface in which to be creative and showcase a message both visually and in written form.  Which was the exact reason for them being my choice of garment.  They are flexible, they can be worn casually or dressed up and they can be adorned in so many ways, the outcomes are endless.  It is an exciting medium.

 

Vivienne Westwood & Malcom McClaren 

Vivienne Westwood & Malcom McClaren 

Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren knew all too well how powerful the T-shirt could be as a political tool especially during the 1980’s at the height of Thatcherism and the mobilisation of the Punk movement. It was great seeing some of them because it reminded me of the artistic outlet that could be, the creative potential that I had only just touched upon. It was very inspiring.

Vivienne Westwood 

Vivienne Westwood 

Vivienne Westwood as a designer in her right and with her beau still use T-shirts as a platform to raise awareness of various issues around the world, notably racism in the case of the 'I am not a terrorist please don's shoot me' in response to racial profiling of Muslims and the rise in hate crime. Along with climate change, which is huge on their agenda at the moment and has been for some time. I love the fact that she is still using them as a tool in which to raise awareness. People wearing them inadvertently showcase their support either silently or by being the conversation starter literally.  This is what I would love to achieve.

 

 

 

Creating that platform is key as is getting the visibility, which is the tough part at the moment. Getting in contact with the right people is stepping stone number one, stepping stone number two is getting them to take notice...

Reflective Narratives
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The business of fashion is very complex.

Getting the brand ethos right, the garments and how you align yourself in the grand scheme of things ie the fashion world is a lot harder than I had anticipated. 

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Reflecting on the brand and making changes today has led to a larger overall idea. One final push with the current collection due to the spring summer season being upon us. 

Hopefully this will in turn generate funds for a new collection. One that is more refined.  

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Some changes have been made to the name of a couple of t-shirts to make the narrative stronger. Each garment has a story behind it, which I hope to convey in the next couple of months.  

So back to the research drawing board, to the funding options and contacting micro-influencers.  

And in terms of the larger reflective concepts behind what I am trying to achieve is the 'ripple effect', a shift into peoples social conscience, to talk and debate about diversity and representation, why visibility matters and why everybody should champion it.

Identity, Representation and Art

Starting this brand was motivated by a number of factors, namely representation. Having experimented with numerous mediums and multiple concepts I wanted to concentrate on one core value, which was diversity. 

Flood fill colour on photoshop 

Flood fill colour on photoshop 

Previously I have written about race, my identity and growing up in a world where there were very limited faces and more importantly role models I could align myself with.  One minute I did not fit, the next I did. It has always been confusing, the notion of identity. 

The disconnection from Indian culture that is part of my mums heritage, lost through her adoption has always resonated with me. It has been a productive catalyst inspiring my creativity. 

Mark making with the brush tool in photoshop 

Mark making with the brush tool in photoshop 

Art allows for a platform, a voice to be heard through visual expression and communication. Experimenting with my favourite media - collage, mixed media and print making has been both therapeutic and exciting conceptually.

Whilst there have been a variety experiments with other concepts such as capitalism and consumerism inspired by The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, which I will write about at a later date. I knew I wanted to focus on this notion of diverse, identity representation and trying to create a space to express this. 

This led up lots and lots of different experiments before I had settled on the final design, which I had written about last week. Who knows if these will turn into something? 

Water colour painting that I started and stopped as I quite liked the combination between the black and white elements in stark contrast to the colour.

Water colour painting that I started and stopped as I quite liked the combination between the black and white elements in stark contrast to the colour.

The name of the original piece has always been called Abstract Asian, which is always close to my heart and will continue to be the most important imagery and is an avenue I wish to explore more. 

 

 

 

Back to the Beginning

As the title of this story suggests, reflecting on my history is important to create a meaningful brand.

This is my story.

My mother was born to an Indian mother and an English father. She was adopted due to interracial relationships not being accepted at the time. Ironic as the 1960’s is heralded as the start of female emancipation - only for some I guess? 

Her adoption, by a German mother and English father, who had also adopted a boy from Singapore and another girl of African or Caribbean mixed heritage, were very progressive for their time. The United Colours of Benneton a friend of mine coined some time ago. 

However sadly due to the time there was no celebration of cultural diversity. You were made to fit in the white mould and suffer racial discrimination as and when it came. It came. 

We have spoken about tracing her background but it is fraught with many bureaucratic hurdles that I do not want to enforce as it is her journey, her emotions. 

The brand is mine.  

Exploring identity, embracing identity and seeking role models who I can align my self with. Feeling empowered. 

Thinking about my childhood made me delve into the archives and find images that made me reminisce and smile for one reason or another.  

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I love this photo as I remember the experience of wearing Indian clothing and celebrating Divali by dancing in front of the school. It really was such an exciting experience and one that was given to me by my teacher. I thank her for that as I was able to celebrate Indian culture that was part of my heritage but not within my home growing up due to my mums adoption. It was a celebration of the festival but internally it was my own celebration. 

I recall loving the colour of the clothes and the embellishment, sequins galore, it looked and felt so luxurious. And practising the dance routine was so much fun. I remember we had batons to use and make them click, the sound was electric. 

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This photo makes me laugh. I wanted to wear trousers so badly. I was quite tom boyish when I was younger and liked the freedom they brought and was very much insistent on wearing them. I was aware of what I wanted from a young age I think that is why my teacher put me in certain roles, to channel my energy and determination. 

This emotive energy is what I want to remember and channel in to this work, this business, the brand and ethos. 

There are many stories about there. So much variation, diversity, that needs to be recognised and given a space in which to be celebrated.  

I hope to contribute to this narrative.