A SMALL HOLE, SLIGHTLY CHARRED: CLOTHING AND CLASS IN THE SECRET HISTORY

By Molly Ellen Pearson

‘I was still standing. I’m shot, I thought, I’m shot. I reached down and touched my stomach. Blood. There was a small hole, slightly charred, in my white shirt: my Paul Smith shirt, I thought, with a pang of anguish. I’d paid a week’s salary for it in San Francisco.’

A novel preoccupied with appearances and the dark realities they can conceal, it is no wonder that clothes are a recurring theme in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. As protagonist Richard notices the gunshot in his expensive shirt at the climax, his ‘anguish’ stems less from the injury to his physical body than to the painstakingly assembled body of signifiers he has spent the novel maintaining; a ‘small hole’ through which his history, in its imperfect secrecy, is exposed.

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CÓRDOBA FERIA: A CELEBRATION OF EXTRAVAGANCE

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by Carmina Masoliver

In Córdoba, for two weeks at the end of May and spanning across two weekends, there is a massive fair that is so big you really have to experience it for yourself. We were even given two days off work to enjoy the festivities. I went for a total of five days.

The festival is rooted in honour of Nuestra Señora de la Salud (Our Lady of Health), and started as an old livestock market. In 2017, it included over a hundred casetas, where everyone comes to eat, drink, and dance. It attracts all ages, and also has a fairground with an impressive selection of rides and roller-coasters, plus sticks of candy floss nearly as big as me.Continue Reading

THE RADICAL NOTION THAT WE ARE PEOPLE: 5 REASONS TO HAVE HOPE FOR 2017

by Candice Nembhard

From terror attacks to constitutional changes, there is no doubt that 2016 will go on record for being an insanely dismal year. To paraphrase Ginsberg’s Howl, ‘I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by bigotry, fear and greed’ (or something like that).

However, despite certain adversities and geopolitical setbacks, much was gained by the likes of small yet vocal communities campaigning for drastic change. With the help of social media and public platforms, we have seen a burgeoning of new safe spaces for women of colour, nonbinary folk and creatives alike. It goes without saying that their good and honest work should not go unnoticed, nor should it be underrepresented.

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GINKGO – ART, TRAVEL, AND ETHICAL CLOTHING

by Carmina Masoliver

On a recent trip to Hanoi, in Vietnam, I wandered the streets to see where the day would take me. This included going into lots of little art galleries, all housing incredible oil paintings and photography. In L’Institut Français de Hanoi, there was an experimental installation where a series of life-size photographs leaked onto the floor, and a white sculpture hung down from the ceiling like a cloud. Upstairs there were lots of neat illustrations from a range of artists. There was one smaller gallery that stood out from the rest where the eccentric art dealer with short turquoise-dyed hair spoke about the meaning behind each painting, telling me about Vietnam’s history with lacquer paintings as I admired a large glittering image of space.Continue Reading

SHOCK, AWE, BOREDOM – PUBIC HAIR IN ART AND FASHION

by Jess Howard

(Note: Some links NSFW.)

I’ve written articles focusing on body hair before, with my previous article specifically discussing pubic hair. I was questioning why we, as a twentyfirst century audience, have such a problem with modern day depictions of perfectly natural hair growth in a way that, historically, viewers haven’t always had a problem with. Since then, Sarah Louise Bryan has gone a step further, and designed and produced an outfit consisting of a bra and floor length skirt, both made entirely out of pubic hair.

Bryan created the dress after spending six months collecting pubic hair, in a bid to create an item of clothing more shocking and scandalous than the infamous meat dress that singer and performer Lady Gaga wore to the MTV video music awards in 2010. “I really wanted the world’s most unique and disgusting design” said Bryan “so when someone sees a design they know it was me instantly”. But should we consider the creation an act of attention grabbing media fodder, or address and analyse what the creation, and the media’s reaction, says about our attitudes to body hair as a whole?Continue Reading

PUNK’S PLACE IN THE 21ST CENTURY

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by Mike Vinti

This year, as I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot of as we move closer to summer, marks 40 years(ish) of punk. As such there’s a plethora of punk-themed exhibitions, celebrations and, inevitably, memorabilia knocking around with the aim of inducing some punk-nostalgia in the generation that came of age during the mid to late 70s and early 80s. However, while there’s much to celebrate about punk’s legacy, and the modern punk scene itself, a lot of the ‘official’ anniversary celebrations are somewhat missing the point.Continue Reading

FASHION AND FOOD: THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT ATTACK EATING DISORDERS HEAD ON

by Jess Howard

While some may see it as a separate entity altogether, fashion is unquestionably a form of art. From the creative process that designers progress through to create high fashion pieces, to the advertising campaigns used to sell them, fashion design influences the masses. But this is where the industry often encounters conflict: thousands of people are being diagnosed with eating disorders each year, and many are pointing their fingers at the fashion industry, for its insinuation that thinness represents the epitome of beauty.

In an attempt to combat this, France recently passed a bill stating that fashion models must prove they are healthy weight in order to appear on runways and in advertising campaigns. Failure to comply with this new ruling could lead to up to 6 months in prison and a £54,000 fine. Further more, magazines and advertising campaigns will now be required to make it clear to consumers that their images have been retouched. The purpose of this bill is to attempt to dramatically decrease the percentage of people in the country who develop anorexia, but is this going to work?Continue Reading

KYLIE JENNER’S WHEELCHAIR PHOTOSHOOT

by Jess Howard

The Kardashian/Jenner family are rarely far from the press. From Caitlyn Jenner’s sensational Vanity Fair cover early this year, to the recent birth of Saint West, they are seldom out of the news. Recently, it has been model and the youngest of the Kardashian sisters, Kylie Jenner, who has been in the limelight.

Causing controversy by taking part in a photoshoot in which she posed passive and sexually in a gold wheelchair, Jenner’s photoshoot, directed by photographer Steven Klein, and accompanying interview, were part of a feature in Interview magazine, and it is explicitly clear why the internet has reacted in such a passionate and infuriated way. Continue Reading

CATCHING THE FISH OF SUSTAINABILITY

by Liam Hawkes

Most people never entertain thoughts about where their clothing has come from. The demand for fast, cheap fashion has overwhelmed the garment industry for many years now, having a devastating impact on millions who work in the confines of the industry; and similarly a devastating impact on the environment.

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INVECTIVE AGAINST AUTUMNAL DISPLAYS IN SUMMER

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by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Alessandra Racca (1979-), from Bastarde Senza Gloria

Jackets in August
coloured, behind the glass
reminding me that soon
summer will be over

You’re so cute,
jackets,
so cruelContinue Reading

THE MET GALA: A DEMONSTRATION OF WEALTH OR IGNORANCE?

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by Jess Howard

Disclaimer: article discusses sensitive topics — features forced abortion.

The annual Met ball returned to New York this week. Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the event charges ticket prices from upwards of £900, all in aid of The Met Costume Institute that opened in the 1940’s. The event is best known, however, for the guests that frequent it. Beyonce, Kim Kardasian and singer Lady Gaga all graced the red carpet. Draped in designs that supposedly followed the designated theme — ‘China: Through the looking glass’.

Celebrity interpretation was ‘interesting’ and, in some cases, borderline racist. For instance Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson chose to accompany her Chanel Haute couture mini dress with a bag by the same designer. However, far from being a fun and exciting piece of couture, the bag featured a Chinese woman with stereotypically fine slits in place of eyes. As if Chanel, and indeed Johnson, were unaware of the thousands of Asian woman undergoing plastic surgery for the sake of achieving the western eyelid shape.Continue Reading

WOMEN FASHION POWER: NOT A MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION

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by Carmina Masoliver

For an exhibition with such an empowering title, I was intrigued to see what was being shown. Displayed at the Design Museum, it presented a timeline of women’s fashion until the present day. That said, the question of power was up for discussion, from the tiny corsets that squish women into an hourglass (arguably, the most dominant shape shown to be desirable throughout history), to the laughable early swimming costumes that showed an aversion to exposed flesh (it was simply a waterproof outfit).

On one hand, I couldn’t help but feel that aspects of fashion should be questioned and critiqued. In the Victorian period, women cinched in their waists with these corsets, and added fabric to their hips to emphasis the same shape that women are now striving to achieve through cosmetic surgery and Gok Wan’s cinch belts (the former sometimes having led to deaths). Surely, our bodies are not simply a fashion statement?Continue Reading

NORWICH FASHION WEEK 2015 – THE CITY NEVER LOOKED SO UGLY

by Adam Edwards

The start of spring brings with it one of the fixtures of Norwich’s cultural landscape. Norwich Fashion Week 2015 is now drawing to a close, and the more I reflect on it, the uglier it seems.

I’m sure I’m not alone in the reservations I have about this, or any other event that tries to promote fashion as a force for good in our communities, lives and world. That said, I’d also like to try to move the debate beyond the realms of body idealism, anti-feminism and classism that are inherent in the fashion industry, and not remotely obfuscated in provincial events such as our city’s. I want to progress the argument into the realm of the truly terrifying, into which Norwich Fashion Week readily transports us.

We’re all aware of the uncomfortable truths that tremble at the edge of thought when we consider disposable fashion, but I want those truths dragged under the light of scrutiny.

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