I heard about a talk happening at the Fine Cell Workoffices in Victoria and I was intrigued. What can I say, I had been expecting basic cross stitch. When I walked in I was blown away by the quality and complexity of the stitch work and the colourful designs. It was very distracting listening to a talk while gazing at all the cushions thinking...that one would look good on my sofa, no wait, that one, or hmm maybe that one... All the sewing is done by inmates to help them pass the time while locked in their cell, focusing their energies and enabling them to gain confidence and learn a new skill. The inmates are paid for their work and you could see how seriously the work was taken and how proud they are of their finished pieces. It was heartwarming to see just how appreciated and beneficial the enterprise is.
I pinched these facts from their website:
• Fine Cell Work is now done in 26 prisons
• 80% of the stitchers are men
• In 2008, 403 fine cell workers earned a total of £61,890
• The inmates are taught by 50 volunteer instructors
• All classes have waiting lists
• In 2008 they had roughly 150 offers of volunteering
• In 2004-08 they had enquiries from 63 prisons which they did not have the resources to meet
“Fine Cell Work gives these men dignity in work and through this, dignity in life. When a man gains self-respect he may start addressing his offending behaviour”
Officer, HMP Wandsworth
“Our stitchers spend an average of 20 hours per week doing embroidery in their cells. The highest earners stitch for as long as 40 hours. It is a way of life that enables them to serve their time with dignity and purpose.” Fine Cell Works
A quilt put together by numerous inmates was exhibited by curator Sue Prichard at the quilting exhibition at the V&A (Quilts: 1700 - 2010); the design was based on the Panopticon design of Wandsworth Prison. Do please look at the variety of beautiful work on the Fine Cell Work website.
I love stitch but am so impatient with it (yes I once did about a square inch and then photoshopped the rest), have to admit am thinking of commissioning a stitched design for one of my bags...though maybe a smaller one than the one featured in the latest issue of Remedy Magazine :)
Sometimes I feel as though we do live in a bit of a wonderland, its full of inspiring natural beauty, you can’t help but want to discover more and understand as much as possible about it. But just like Alice’s wonderland our world is full of a lot of nonsense and mad hatters (I call them politicians), the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. As our technology grows and allows us to communicate to an international audience, our next generation are feeling lonelier then ever, and people are dying as a result of greed. I don’t need to go on, we are all aware about our planets problems, and in our own small or big ways we are all trying to change things. But where does this leave us creatives? What’s our role here? Yes we love what we do and admittedly probably get a little too obsessive about it, but soon come down to earth when we realise that when there is a real crisis no one will call out “ is there a fashion designer in the house… or photographer, or artist, or even an illustrator?”
The answer came to me a few years ago, I met the editor of a very famous fashion magazine. She boasted about the fact that children as young as 6 love looking at her magazine and want to be like the models they see, later she remarked that they used size zero models because clothes look better on them and made it clear that she couldn’t care less about the effect this may have on young girls. Here was a woman with an incredibly powerful and influential tool, I couldn’t help but question how far will we go for fashion or any other creative talent for that matter. When should we start taking responsibility for what we put out there. This is just one of the many experiences that inspired me to create Remedy. I decided to create a magazine to offer an alternative to the majority of magazines out there, one that focuses on actual talent and skills, not what size you are, or how much money you have, or what background you come from. As these are often the messages portrayed in media and often the things people use to cover up any real achievement. It takes hard work to have real talent, even people who are born with talent have to work hard to maintain and make it grow into something substantial. It’s far easier to knock others down in order to make you feel good, to hide behind looks, money, or thinking that your culture or education is better then someone else’s, then to really look at yourself and be proud of yourself.
‘Be the change you want see in the world’ this saying by the legendary Gandhi resonates in me. I quickly realised that rather then complaining about this world, just get up and do something about, even if you inspire just one other person, it’s worth it. Yes it is a drop in a vast ocean but the ripple effect is an incredible thing, didn’t trail blazers like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nadine Gordimer, to name a few, start out just like you and me? Normal human beings, just trying to get on and understand this vast wonderland. Who knows what we are really capable of?
I wanted to create a magazine that promoted real talent, which would encourage others to be proud of their skills, if we feature a fashion shoot it’s not about telling people what to wear or how they should look. We focus on the talent and hard work behind the camera, the photographers, the fashion designers, the stylist etc. We especially celebrate people who take even small steps in insuring that they are ethically aware in their pursuit of creativity. I’m very honoured to have been able to do this, and hope that it shows that you can to. I’m very humbled by the feedback I get through emails or meeting people who love Remedy, and to hear it’s inspired more people then I could have ever imagined, to be proud and promote their talents, and to be a positive role models to the next generation. Thank you for the opportunity. Enjoy issue 8!
Last night I had the strangest dream, I dreamt I was Alice sitting at a tea party with great influential characters from past and present. All discussing world politics and issues whilst dunking custard cream biscuits in cups of Earl Grey tea. Darwin kicked off by reciting his quote from his book The Decent of Man;
“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes ... will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla” (Darwin 1887:156).
Cheryl Tweedy interrupted and said that Darwin was not racist, he was just a product of his time, but then paused and thought to herself, then added “hold on William Wilberforce was around at the same time as Darwin and he fought for racial equality, so how could Darwin be a product of his time when people had realised back then that racism was wrong?” She then shook her head as if to shake the question out of her head and offered me some candy pink lip gloss, and said that I was worth it.
I politely refused and turned to Obama who was talking about Mary Seacole, who was just as incredible as Florence Nightingale but never got the recognition, even though she had to work twice as hard and had to fund herself in order to help those injured in war. He then spoke about Jeanette Rankin who fought for women’s rights and campaigned for peace. Freud, who was listening in on the conversation, remarked on how incredible that was whilst Young spoke over him and recited one of Freud’s famous quotes;
"Women oppose change, receive passively, and add nothing of their own," (Freud 1925 paper entitled ‘The Psychical Consequences of the Anatomic Distinction Between the Sexes’).
Just then I found myself sitting next to Gandhi. The dream turned in to a nightmare as excitement overtook the control of my mouth and I uttered the most embarrassing comment, and to top it off, in a Star Wars fanatic manner, “ I love the bit when king George V, who did not understand that the clothes you wore were to symbolise the oppressed poor people of the world, publicly made a negative comment on what you wore when you went to meet him, and you said ‘the king was wearing enough clothes for the both of us’ that was so cool Gandhi.” I woke up in a cold sweat of horror! Oh the shame! But then complete relief as I realised it was just a crazy dream.
It did get me thinking though, through this bizarre tea party, I saw that no matter how incredible I think someone is, I have to look at all aspects of them, everything they had to say and everything they chose to do, if I’m going to look up to them. Always stay open minded, take the good things you’ve leant from them and learn from the bad. Not to just brush the bad bits under the carpet. Don’t we all deserve the best role models? Because we are all worth it. Tea anyone?
Hey everyone, I’ve just completed my latest Spring/Summer collections for 2011 and as you can see on my website (linked below), I have branched out in not only Menswear but Childrenswear also; which illustrates diversity in my target market.
The theme in which I have been inspired by for the Menswear collection is Old English which illustrates my British culture & nationality. The garments consist of clean cut checked shirts, corduroy shorts/trousers, bow ties and waist coats.
On the other hand with the Women’s & Childrenswear collections the garments are very naturally coloured and simple yet effective; which lightly balances out the proportions. With these pieces I also use hint of ethnicity through the jewellery to bring out my part African ethnicity.
These pieces are only just the beginning of what I have to offer for the New Year Guys!! You will be seeing me expand into more of a vintage, innovative yet creative outlook in my garments.
Also; please follow the episodes of the Offscreen Expedition trip to Pakistan which I went on where I feature in every week on: www.offscreenexpedition.com
It seems that celebrities are happy to lend their name to many a cause, but feminism isn’t one of them. Apparently, equal rights for men and women just isn’t cool enough these days.
But is it that really surprising when most female singers are happy to fawn all over some butt ugly rapper in their music videos, or when most of the modern day rom-coms are based on the old cliché of men being commitment phobic and women being desperate for a relationship.
Is this really how far we have come? It just seems to me like we have almost gone backwards! Although women can now vote, choose what to wear and have better career prospects, it still appears that the only way a women can make as say a TV presenter is to pose in her chuddies for a mens mag, or if a female artist or director wants to get noticed she has to do something controversial to even get a look in.. Why is it so difficult to name 3 female film directors? Or when was the last time you watched a television programme when the female presenter wasn’t immaculately made up whilst the male presenter had just turned up in the clothes he slept in?
Maybe its time for a re-branding, to set young girls sights higher again and to bring a common goal to both men and women, as I am sure there are plenty of sensible guys out there who are getting bored this too! There were many men who supported the suffragette movement back in Emeline Pnakhursts’ day so I am sure there are many today who want some equality and some sensibility!
You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman. ~Jane Galvin Lewis
Article by Designer and Illustrator Ismat Jaffer www.ismatjaffer.co.uk
On the last days of 2010 in Parsons, Kansas the independent photo-lab Dwayne’s Photo developed the last rolls of legendary film Kodachrome. After the announcement of the end of the film’s production in 2009, Dwayne’s Photo eventualy became the only lab enabled to process Kodachrome.
In the age of Flickr and Facebook it may seem incomprehensible to long for a roll of film but during many of the 74 years of it’s production Kodachrome was the choice of professionals and amateurs to photograph from National Geographic assignments to everyday experiences. So what made this film so special? Kodachrome was one of the first commercially available colour films; first in motion picture formats and almost immediately for still photography. It’s unique process where colour dyes were added during development made the emulsion layer thinner which ultimately resulted in a sharper image since less light was dispersed through the celluloid. Kodachrome’s colour rendition and archival qualities (particularly when kept in the dark) were also exceptional making it the stock of choice for photographers like Steve McCurry (http://www.stevemccurry.com), Alex Webb (http://www.magnumphotos.com/alexwebb) and David Alan Harvey (http://www.davidalanharvey.com/).
Nordstrom is celebrating 10 years of collaboration with artist Ruben Toledo. Watch this exclusive behind-the-scenes video of our Fall 2010 Designer Campaign, shot on location at Ruben's Manhattan loft. To find out more about these collections, go to http://nordstrom.com/eyeforstyle