TF Archives

Stylin' 946

Author: Alyx Gorman
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The New Zealand government is giving their economy a stylish boost by jewellery offering free business training for emerging fashion designers. The courses, run by WHK Gosling Chapman include ‘Biz Start Fashion’ a nine hour course that offers guidance for those planning on launching their own fashion business, and ‘Fashion High Impact,’ a four day course that will school ten emerging fashion brands in a number of different business techniques and strategies. Given our own Government seems more intent on updating primary schools than handing out fashion advice, those who have a convincing Kiwi accent - and a burning desire to commit financial suicide by starting a label - should consider hopping the Tasman for a few days. The ‘Biz Start Fashion’ course is open to any and everyone as long as they’re yet to launch their business.

Hotly anticipated/horribly dreaded chick flick He’s Just Not That Into You premiered last week. The film’s A-list cast put in mixed red carpet performances. Jennifer Aniston managed to find the only suit in the world more boring than her, while Scarlet Johansson turned her bouncy blonde curls into a bland, brown affair that looked greasy rather than slick. Jennifer Connelly fared much better in an emerald Balmain mini-dress while our favourite cougar Drew Barrymore managed to look slightly more sober than she did at the Golden Globes. As for the film itself, critics are claiming that it’s much better than obvious comparison film Sex and the City – which is kind of like being praised for your ability to run faster than a newborn baby.

Despite slashes to New York’s Fashion Week schedule (see Gawker’s hilarious “Fashion Week Castrated as Wang (Vera) and Johnson (Betsy) Pull Out” headline), it seems the most boring of the big four fashion weeks has grown too big for its Bryant Park boots. Starting September next year, Fashion Week will move out of the garment district and into the larger area of Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. The space is 25% bigger, but it’s also further up-town. This has caused some concern as – just as many of our own designers are less than inclined to leave the Surry Hills/Darlinghurst/Paddington bubble – many New Yorkers already think the old midtown location is too far up, choosing to show in SoHo and Chelsea instead. The bigger space also ups the potential to sell tickets to the public – a possibility IMG reps say they’re considering. Tapping into the collective fashionista unconscious, we’ve discovered that the overwhelming majority of elitist sartorial types find this prospect “icky.”

In other boring fashion week news, we were terribly disappointed by last week’s Berlin Fashion Week. While there were some interesting showings – Bernhard Wilhelm had cracked-out hilltop hobos in electrifying climbing gear, while Kaviar Gauche displayed their accessories on models reminiscent of Lady Godiva – it was, for the most part, a long drawn out snore. Berlin may be a hot bed of street art, music and creative activity, but the kids just can’t dress. Most of the clothes looked more sales rack than runway, with a shameful number of designers doing a House of Hollandesque Nu-Rave look that would have been very trendy at an Aussie music festival… four years ago.  Cooler than the clothes on offer was the weather, which was for much of the week spectacularly snowy.

We all know it’s important to recycle, but did you that crusty old Nokia mouldering in your drawer can be reduced and re-used- To raise awareness of mobile recycling Virgin Mobile have collaborated with Sydney jeweller Matt Weston to produce a series of cool looking pieces made from recycled phones.  We caught up with Matt to find out more about the Virgin Mobile Recycled by Matt Weston project.

Tell us a about your collaboration with Virgin-
The Virgin Mobile Recycled by Matt Weston collaboration came about as a means to draw attention to the importance of recycling old mobile phones.

There are over 21 million mobile phone subscribers in Australia and they renew their phones on average every two years. Can you imagine if that lot ended up buried in the ground- It would be a terrible waste because 90% of the materials inside a handset can be recovered and used for new products.

Virgin Mobile and MobileMuster have taken responsibility to educate Australians on this issue and I am happy to be a part of it. It ended up being a really creative, fun and rewarding project to work on.

Was working with old phones a different experience from your other projects-
It was different in that I don’t usually work to a brief, I usually have a choice of what I use so it was a real challenge. In some ways though it was quite similar, I have always loved taking things apart, seeing what’s inside and seeing what else they can be used for and this project was all about just that.

If I wanted to recycle my phone, how would I go about doing it-
It’s so easy, all you do is take it to a Mobilemuster recycling bin, you can find your nearest one by heading to Search for your nearest phone recycling bin by clicking on the ‘Locate nearest drop off point.’ Then click on ‘Where to hand ‘em in’ and enter your postcode. Simple!

Much of your work has had a recycled element to it, what first triggered this-
I learnt to make jewellery on the street in Mexico. There wasn’t much money for materials so I had to use what was around me. I used whatever I could find, seeds, springs, shells, bolts, bones, religious bits and bobs, hemp, leather silver, you name it. A lot of it came from old jewellery I picked up on flea markets; I took it apart and used the components. I had to be creative to make it wearable because my livelihood depended on it, which was the trigger.

Do you ever see people walking down the street in your pieces- What is it like-

Yes I do and I love it. I love seeing how people interpret it, how they make it their own.

You’ve spent a lot of time in South and Central America; can you tell us about a significant moment or adventure-

I feel like that time was one big significant moment! One experience that stands out though was right at the start of my trip. A friend and I went looking for an old shaman we’d heard about in a remote village on a mountain in the state of Puebla. As we drove higher up the mountain road the bus we were on went through the clouds and out the other side and when we reached the village a boy grabbed my bag and gestured that we follow him, he took us straight to her house, knocked on the door and ran off.
She was a Mazatec Indian, four feet tall with dark red skin and thick black plaits. We stayed there for a week, she looked after us, fed us and told us about her belief system. I’ll never forget lying on my back on her roof top, gazing at the stars, the clouds drifting by beneath us as she sang softly in Mazateca.

When you take things apart to use in your jewellery, do you ever discover things you didn’t expect inside-
Yeah, all the time. One of the older phones I opened had a team of elves inside it, one to ring the bell, one to make the noises when you push the keys and one that jumps up and down to make it vibrate.

This year Good Vibrations have gone all out on their merchandise, recruiting Mambo to create a range of clothes for the festival. We caught up with the range’s designer, China Heights curator Mark Drew, to find out more.

Tell us how your collaboration with Good Vibes and MAMBO came about-
I’d done some other graphics for MAMBO previously, they were mostly to do with music references, so it made sense to develop a graphic for Good Vibrations too… after a quick meeting I drank a few coffees, stayed up all night, and emailed it across.

Did you wear MAMBO while you were growing up-
Yes, a lot. My mum is quite proud that I have now worked for 'the farting dog company.’

How did you approach this project-
I recently had a solo art show, titled c-90, which was all about tapes and the graphics that go along with owning original albums - MAMBO liked the way that stuff was heading, and asked me to do something similar for a fashion graphic. The orders for it went quite well, and with MAMBO being onboard at Good Vibrations, it was a perfect match to redevelop the print with the GV09 line up.

Is designing for clothing different from working with a normal canvas-
Yes, very. Clothing needs to sell and not just once but hundreds or sometimes thousands of times. That means your graphic has to appeal to that many people. With artwork on canvas, it is made for reasons other than money, so it is free to be exactly as I want it to be. And then if it appeals to at least one person, maybe it sells...

Festivals have something of a reputation for dodgy fashion. Why is that and how can it be changed-
I don't want to comment too much on festival crowds. Let’s be honest, festivals are a reason to get loose, and we all want to dress like dickheads when we're loose. I guess a lot of people that don't go out much come to big festivals, and these people want to get EXTRA loose… ya know what I’m saying-

Any advice for aspiring arty types-
Try to find your own voice, and don't use stencils - the free for all is long over. Think about your reasons for wanting to do an art show. If its solely for pocket money, it may not go so well...

Mambo’s range for Good Vibes can be purchased at the festival, in Mambo stores and online at