Thursday, 4th Sep 2014
Pictured above - Bella Freud with collection model Adwoa Aboah
New for AW14, we are proud to launch our first collaboration with British womens knitwear designer Bella Freud. The Bella Freud Blank Canvas collection is available in Laurel Wreath Collection stores and Fred Perry online now.
We met up with Bella to discuss the collection, and discover the influences behind it -
Born in London and studied in Rome, Bella Freud has established herself over the past 20 years at the forefront of British women's knitwear design.
Launching her eponymous label in 1990, Bella quickly went on to win Most Innovative Designer Of The Year at the 1991 Fashion Awards. She is perhaps best known for her signature "Je t'aime Jane", "Ginsberg Is God" and "1970" jumpers, alongside her work in fashion film collaborating with John Malkovich, Lara Stone and Anita Pallenberg amongst others.
Bella, hello its lovely to meet you
Hello, its lovely to meet you also
I'm really interested to hear about the influences behind the collection, I get a strong sense of dancehall and reggae music influence when I look at it
Definitely. I've always loved how people look and dress on the reggae scene - they always look so stylish and well turned out. I remember being 10 years old and being in Dalston in East London where there is a large West Indian population, and being intrigued by how people dress - they always looked so cool! I kept this in mind when designing the collection and it was definitely a direct influence.
Is reggae and dancehall music, and the scene around it something you are personally into?
I love reggae music! Growing up my favourite band was called Matumbi who were one of the biggest British reggae bands of the 1970s and 80s. If you look at pictures of them now they always looked so smart and turned out. They are a great band.
Not just the music, I love the scene too - from the hardcore rastas to people really enjoying dancehall music - its got such a great vibe. As a designer I find the whole aesthetic endlessly appealling and I wanted to incorporate this into my collection for Fred Perry - a brand that also has roots in this scene.
Ah yes, the collaboration with Fred Perry - how did this come about. Obviously you are a well known British women's designer...
It was suggested to me and I was really keen. I've always admired Fred Perry as a brand, I've always found it to be quite a personal brand - people get really involved with it, and it's never ever bland. I see it as being very honest, bold and British so I thought it was a good match for my ideas.
Alongside the knitwear in the collection, you also got to reinvent the iconic Fred Perry Shirt - how did that feel?
Initially quite daunting! I love the Fred Perry Shirt - I wear the Fred Perry Shirt! I think as a piece of clothing it is quite perfect as it is. However it was really fun to get to put my own stamp upon it. I made the collars bigger to reflect the era I had in mind, and played with the tipping. Something I really enjoyed was translating the reggae influences into my collection. Stars feature throughout, and these are a direct reference to reggae artists - I always found them so flashy when growing up wearing all their jewellery and pins. The stars are about taking the Fred Perry Shirt and adding in that element, adding that flashy reference to the collection.
The model used in the shoot for the collection is extremely striking - did you choose her personally?
Yes! The model is Adwoa Aboah. Shes gorgeous isn't she. I've known her Mum for years and I've seen her grow up and get more and more beautiful. I thought she'd be a great fit for this collection, and it was an honour to involve somebody I've known since a child in my work
There is a Fashion Film to accompany the collection also, I know you had a background in film alongside design - did you direct it?
I didn't direct the film this time around, but I did come up with the concept for it. It's all about dancing, but dancing for yourself. Everybody dances in their bedroom at some point - even if they don't want to admit it!
I love the song featured in the film
Yes, its called "Girlie Girlie" by Sophia George. Its a reggae classic from the eighties. I think the collection is very feminine, so it seemed like the ideal choice to soundtrack it.
(see the film online here > http://bit.ly/YdY3Uk )
There are also accessories in the collection..
Yes, hats and scarves sit alongside the main collection. I wanted to convey a sense of fun. Going back to what I said earlier about making the collection flashy - the accessories are an extension of that. I wanted to make the collection feel special, and adding a hat or a scarf feels a bit like adding a bit of flash to your outfit - it adds an extra something. I really like that idea.
Bella, thank you for your time
No problem, lovely to meet you.
Pictured below, Bella Freud at the Bella Freud Blank Canvas Collection launch at Celestine Eleven in London.
Our women's Blank Canvas collaboration with Bella Freud is sold in Laurel Wreath Collection stores - find your nearest store > http://bit.ly/1ojcdgu
View the collection online here > http://bit.ly/1rNUqkU
See the fashion film that accompanies the collection here > http://bit.ly/YdY3Uk
Wednesday, 3rd Sep 2014
Thursday, 21st Aug 2014
Pictured above, “Amy Winehouse” by Horace Panter
The Amy Winehouse Foundation has recently launched a new and innovative project, targeted towards young people from the Borough of Camden that aspire to work in the music industry. The Foundation strives to help young people in need, already giving support to many young people through various schemes and programmes.
Camden Music Works – supported by the Amy Winehouse Foundation - sees 10 young people aged 18-24 who are not in full-time employment, education or training, embark on a 6-week long scheme designed to provide individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to gain a successful career in the music world.
The scheme has partnered with iconic labels and companies such as Camden Lock Market Ltd, Tower 47, MTV, Island Records and Black Butter Records - home of Fred Perry Sub-Culture alumni Clean Bandit, Gorgon City, Bi-Polar Sunshine and Joel Compass.
With this project, The Amy Winehouse Foundation hopes to open barriers for individuals by gaining the right experience to increase their chances of beginning a career in an industry they are passionate about.
Camden is an area of London that has strong links with the music. Going back to the mid-60’s, a disused railway yard was turned into a counter-culture landmark - the infamous Camden Roundhouse – still very much a relevant music venue today.
Over the course of a decade, the Roundhouse became a significant venue for UK underground music events, as well as staging some of the most experimental, controversial and memorable performances of the 60’s. Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Clash, and the Sex Pistols are just some of the acts who performed there.
The following decade saw a number of new venues spring up, including several that continue to this day. “Dingwells” (1973), “The Music Machine” (aka Camden Palace) (1977) and the “Electric Ballroom” (1978).
Meanwhile, pubs like “The Falcon”, “Dublin Castle”, “Monarch” and “The Hawley Arms” also began putting on gigs. Amy Winehouse herself was a regular at both the Monarch and the Hawley Arms, where she often performed or played DJ sets. These venues and their openness to music continued to cultivate and diversify the Camden underground music scene.
New audiences were flocking to Camden with the likes of “The Underworld” - a predominantly punk, metal and hard-rock venue and the “Jazz Café” (1990), which was one of Amy’s favourite venues to perform in. Her love for Jazz and Soul were prominent in her music, influenced by Dinah Washington and Thelonious Monk.
In the 70s and 80s, Camden Lock Market was a mecca for subcultural clothing. From Punk to New Romantics, Mod to Skinhead, Camden immediately stood out from other London markets for its eclectic personality that ran counter to mainstream fashion. The stalls have expanded and diversified with time and still provide some of the most individual clothing Britain has to offer.
Camden’s deep music and counter culture heritage make it a natural fit to cement Amy’s legacy and nurture a new generation of musicians. Especially, as the area was so close to Amy’s heart.
Thanks to Horace Panter – www.horacepanterart.com
View our new season Amy Winehouse Foundation collaboration online here > http://bit.ly/1nHklTW