RSS Feed

Category Archives: photography

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Posted on
Rain, Rain Go Away!

This post is about Fashion, Photography and Mental Health. If any or all of these topics make you a little squeamish I suggest you LOOK AWAY NOW.

Still here? Good.

I was hoping that the old adage ‘third time lucky’ would prove itself to be true when I found myself making plans for a Reddskin photoshoot last month. It had been a long time coming. I had saved up my hard-earned pennies. I had gathered my favourite, talented and (most important) fun loving models, Layia Johnson and Jordon Bolessa. I had nabbed the wonderfully warm MUA I had been busting a gut to work with since Forest Hill Fashion Week in 2014, Muna Hassan. And, finally, I was thrilled that my favourite photographer – for her work and her open spirit – Sara Atteby, was available and actually excited to work with me. Everything was in place. All we needed was some amenable weather. Cue praying to Gods and putting a LOT of positivity into The Universe.

Please note: No animals were sacrificed during the planning of this event.

Caught!

Caught!

Why ‘third time’? Weeellll…hmmm…ummm. Honestly?

Ok.

Attempt 1: March 2015.

Thwarted by being off sick from my actual (ex) job. The threat of Gross Misconduct did not appeal to me (‘working’ whilst off ill). Plus I had lost the will to sew therefore I didn’t have any new stock to photograph.

Whilst we’re on the subject. There aren’t powerful enough words to accurately describe what it feels like to lose the will to do something you have always loved. Something that has always given you life. Uplifted you. Completed you. But Depression (yep. Big ‘D’. That’s what we’re talking about here) does that. For me it was like watching the world continue without me through a pair of Vaseline-smeared sunglasses…under water. Something like that. Frankly, it was shit.

Attempt 2: June 2015.

In theory this would have a been a better time to steam ahead. I was feeling a LOT better**. We had fairly predictable fine-ish (this IS Britain after all) weather and my willing, talented team were almost assembled. I was conveniently overlooking the fact that I had recently left behind a 28 year teaching career and suffered a bereavement in the family. I was trying to execute a Will, had organised a funeral (My first one. Not recommended) and was trying to ‘manage’ my grief. (Seriously? Who does that? Lesson learned), amongst other things that I won’t go into here (who said ‘Phew’?). Plus I *still* hadn’t produced many more creations. But, I was worrying frantically, I had postponed the first planned photoshoot and I couldn’t let anyone down (I know, I KNOW!).

It would HAVE to go ahead, wouldn’t it?

Well actually it wouldn’t. The Universe was clearly listening HARD. One of my lovely models had a car accident (!) on the morning of the shoot and ended up in hospital, unhurt mostly, but in shock. She called to say she was late but on her way (Dedicated? Yes. Bonkers? Definitely!) and I told her to go home and rest. My understanding co-collaborators were gracious and everything went ‘on hold’.

Again.

Third and final attempt. September 2015.

I was ready. WE were ready. All systems go! Transport For London tried to hold us back with their all too usual weekend engineering works but we were having NONE OF IT! The skies held up and the sun even made an appearance. George, the wonderful owner of a local cafe Kente, fed and watered us when we had finished. The team were on top form, we got some great shots and, most importantly, we had FUN!

The results are dotted throughout this website. I hope you like them as much as we do!

IMG_20150913_144111797

**on ‘better’.

I considered filing this post under TMI (too much information) but I figured ‘Why not?’. I am acutely aware of the awkward shuffles and embarrassing silences that STILL surround the topic of Mental health. I’ve been on the receiving end and, to be honest, it just makes you feel worse.

I am a human being who happens to be a Fashion designer. I, like all of us, am a Work in Progress. Many things have occurred throughout these 12 months. They’ve brought me to now… as I write these words. Some factors I felt able to control and some simply happened. I am eternally thankful to some amazing friends and family who supported and continue to check in with me. Yes I feel (much) better. I am also fully aware that whatever this is isn’t over (is it ever?). How I approach my own mental health, and that of others, is VERY different now. I am kinder to myself and I am open to change.

So to anyone reading this who is having a tough time and feels that life is being an absolute bugger (understatement Klaxon), you’re going to have to trust me on this one, things can and do improve. You never stay still. All those old cliches and adages, especially the one that goes ‘This too shall pass’ (the jury’s out on who said this first) Well its true. Living proof right here y’all!

If you made it to the end of this post, thank you for staying.

Feel free to comment on any or all of the above. Don’t be shy…I would love to hear your views.

Peace.

x

Say ‘CHEESE!’

Posted on
Say ‘CHEESE!’

I sat at my kitchen table, wearing stained sweatpants, an old T-shirt and raggedy headscarf and idly watched Georgia, my designated make-up artiste of the evening, prepare the tools of her trade. I pondered the mammoth task she had before her.

Ah! Such optimism in youth.

kitchen table takeover in full effect

kitchen table takeover in full effect

Georgia produced all manner of pretty confection (including a bag of cutesy baby pink cotton wool pads I coveted) then set about my face. No mean feat as I was so excited I couldn’t keep my mouth shut! No change there then.

Erm...excuse me? Where are my minions?

Erm…excuse me? Where are my minions?

Various Reddskin creations and different ‘looks’ were experimented with. I even managed to rope/con my youngest diva into taking behind-the-scenes photos with my own groovy new camera. It all went rather smoothly and photographer Kim was graciously patient with me as I posed and tried not to giggle.

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions, decisions…

I should probably explain…

Nubian Nights Out are a ” group of young professionals working in various creative industries including, fashion, photography, music, film and PR”.  In December 2014 they founded their collective  “looking to connect with like-minded people interested in learning more about Black history and identity”. They are a dynamic bunch of people who have already put on several events through their meet up group

Freestyle Locs styling

Freestyle Locs styling

Kim and Georgia have been spending most, if not all, of their spare time (they both work in demanding jobs) running around London photographing many women from a range of backgrounds. Images highlighting the diversity of Women of Colour not seen enough in mainstream media. It’s SUCH an exciting project so I felt honoured when founder member, Relle, who I had the pleasure of working with at Forest Hill Fashion Week, approached me to participate.

Then I thought “Free Make-over? Where do I sign?”

Ready for my close-up.

Ready for my close-up.

This photoshoot is part of a series that will form the basis for their launch exhibition celebrating Women of Colour. The exhibition will launch on 23.07.15 and run for two days for public viewing at a boutique gallery in South London.

Cheshire Cate has nothing on me!

Cheshire Cat has nothing on me!

NNO are currently also fundraising to produce a book of the event. You can read more about these exciting plans and donate here. Every little helps I promise you!

Support us by sharing:

Facebook Nubian Nights Out

Twitter @NubianNightsOut

Remember…you heard it here first.

Photo credits: Maheni Short.

NTU Fashion Knitwear Catwalk Show 20.05.15

Posted on
NTU Fashion Knitwear Catwalk Show 20.05.15

Last Wednesday I was privileged enough to attend Nottingham Trent University Fashion Knitwear Final Degree Show where my eldest diva, Kareem, has been studying.

It’s been a looooong haul and a steep learning curve for my woman-child , for many different reasons. A false start on a course that wasn’t right for her meant that graduation year arrived eons after most of her peers. A testing time that we all remember. However it was when she discovered and switched to a Fashion Knitwear BA that her clear passion and talent for design and making in this field truly emerged.

Self doubt chucked a few stumbling blocks in her way but the daughter I witnessed on Wednesday evening had grown into a focused and determined Designer. Yes of COURSE I cried. BLUBBED.

I am deeply, immensely, proud of you, Kareem.

Styling and sorting designs

Styling and sorting designs

I was lucky enough to see both Catwalk shows and, by some quirk of fashionable fate, ended up on front row seats for the second one. *high fives The Universe*.

Below is a selection of images I managed to capture. I have yet to work out what all the knobs and buttons do on my new Canon so the photos may not be amazing …but they give you a flavour of the immense talent of the Fashion Knitwear student Class of 2015*.

You saw them here first!

Kareem Short created contemporary jewellery by knitting cashmere and merino wool using a distinct and complementary colour palette with gold silk accents. These were then draped, twisted and knotted to make individual and strikingly designed pieces of art. Metal rods and fastenings enabled sections to become interchangeable. Stunning.

3 of 4 Contemporary jewellery designs showcased by Kareem Short. BOOM!

3 of 4 Contemporary jewellery designs showcased by Kareem Short. BOOM!

Well done ALL who were involved behind the scenes and in the spotlight and GOOD LUCK to all Final Year Graduates! I, for one will be looking out for you!

*Unfortunately I didn’t get a piece from every NTU Fashion Knitwear student that night. My sincere apologies to those I missed.

Forest Hill Fashion Week!

Posted on
Forest Hill Fashion Week!

I was lucky enough to have been involved in Forest Hills very own Fashion Week, scheduled to coincide with London Fashion Week. “Who needs LFW when you can have FHFW?” was the strap line. It took place during half term from February 15th to 19th. Gosh it seems like an age ago now!

Penny, Louise and their trusty team of SEE3 volunteers worked tirelessly to produce A Fashion Week to remember! After a Sunday afternoon of photoshoot fun the posters of volunteer models arrived in local shops and outlets. It’s me!

50 and Fab!

50 and Fab!

It all happened so quickly! The first I heard that I was on a poster was when the boys at the school I teach in started saying ‘Miss! We saw you in Sainsburys!’. Huh?

We even made in to Time Out!

Forest Hill makes time Out!

Forest Hill makes the Time Out website!

The Week kicked off with an opening night at The Sylvan Post, a wonderful restaurant and bar converted from the old Forest Hill Post Office and with many of the original features. That Friday also saw the opening of a new pop-up shop in Forest Hill Love Ur Look run by stylist and businesswoman Ronke Fashola. This quirky outlet has lots of beautiful outfits and gifts to suit many budgets. Ronke will be taking her fabulousness elsewhere very soon so don’t miss out!

Cute leather bag in Love Ur Look

Forest Hill became a happy hive of activity! There were fashion upcycling workshops and craft workshops as well as events and sales in lots of lovely local shops. I ran a free Corsage making session at Forest Hills newest Art gallery The Montage. We had great fun turning scraps of fabric into fabulous accessories!

Corsage making at The Montage

Corsage making at The Montage

My next workshop was at the same venue teaching keen newbies how to upcycle a plastic bottle into a beautiful bangle. Maria Ramil Photos popped along to take photos some of which you can see in her funky slideshow .

Bottle to Bangle crafters

Bottle to Bangle crafters at work!

Corsage workshop by Reddskinbags Karen_-5

Slowly does it…

Later that day I was able to squeeze myself into one of my favourite shops Stag and Bow where a knowledgeable Pascale was teaching how to make a detachable collar. I joined a group of women with a range of sewing abilities and had a grand old time chatting and creating. I’m thrilled with the result too!

Antique lace and hand beaded collar with African batik trim!

Antique lace and hand beaded collar with African batik trim!

Sunday evening saw Soul Train event at Art Gallery and workshop space Canvas and Cream who were also celebrating their first birthday. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! It must have been my lucky night because not only was I handed a free glass of prosecco as the 20th person to arrive but I also won a goodie bag for being ‘Best Mover’. Oh yeah!

On Monday (I do hope you’re keeping up here) , on the way to the Catwalk Show dress rehearsal, I popped in to Stag and Bow again (I can’t keep away) to browse the Twisted Vintage sale. They make delightful pieces upcycling discarded or broken pieces in to delectable jewellery. This piece of gorgeousness is now one of my favourite bracelets in my collection. Because I’m worth it of course!

Twisted Vintage upcycled bracelet of beauty. Mine.

Twisted Vintage upcycled Bracelet of Beauty. Mine.

The final Catwalk show was filled with fabulous fashion creations and outfits from local designers and shops including, Best of Both Boutique, Doopodoopo, Bunka, Stag and Bow, Love Ur Look, Twisted Vintage, Katherine Harrison, The White Room SE4 and so many more! It truly was a night to remember. For me not least because it was the first time I had seen a selection of my bags ‘in situ’ on the catwalk. I’m definitely hankering for more of that fashion action.

Tweed and African print Boston bag with outfit from Bunka

Tweed and African print Boston bag with outfit from Bunka

Upcycled Coffee sack - hessian and African print Weekend bag in da house!

Upcycled Coffee sack – hessian and African print Weekend Reddskinbag in da house! Jacket by Christopher Ran

You can see more pictures of the Catwalk Wrap Show here

The worlds first Forest Hill Fashion Week was over almost as quickly as it began. I thoroughly enjoyed filling my half term with fashion and craft and creating. Frankly I cannot wait to do it all over again!

What? Did you think that was IT?

Missed it? Want to catch the next one? Follow @SEE3PortasPilot on Twitter and Facebook or sign up to their email newsletter .

20130308-100910.jpg

Paradise found.

*gasp*

Barbados. I can’t even say it without smiling. Birthplace of my parents. Home to many members of my family.

Miami beach….in Barbados.

I first visited back in 1983. I was in my final year at Leicester Poly and about to hit the grand old age of 21. My mum saved from her meagre payslip for what must have been a few years to buy me a plane ticket for my birthday . “It’s time you saw where your parents were born”, she announced. I wasn’t complaining. So, whilst she sat at her kitchen table typing up my final dissertation, I jetted excitedly into the unknown.

Relaxing at sunset

The love I have for this beautiful Caribbean island has never left me and I have returned many times.

Years later with a family of my own, it seemed only fitting that I should celebrate my 50th birthday in Barbados. So I, too, saved my pennies for years so that I would be able to treat myself and my divas to the holiday of a lifetime.

My divas

And what a holiday it was! Friends and family flew out to help me end what has turned out to be, six months of birthday celebrations. This may seem a tad excessive or even extravagant to some but believe me it was worth the expense because we have had a BALL!

Beautiful view from the Tiami catamaran.

I enjoyed seeing my Bajan family again and meeting new ones I didn’t know existed. It felt that everywhere we turned there was someone being introduced as a cousin…or maybe that’s just a Caribbean thing.

Young cousins at the beach

We had a brilliant day sunning it with friends on a Catamaran.

Turtle-tastic!

I discovered that I hate snorkelling…Hey I like breathing too much – go figure! I reconciled my fear of getting my hair wet (Diva? Moi?) and went swimming with the turtles. I even went to a specialist hairdresser to have my hair done for the first time in fourteen years – having been teased by friends who have never washed their own locs. Who knew?

Hajar of HapiLocs at work

I rekindled my love of all things rum and discovered a new love in Gin, creating a ‘new’ (to me) cocktail we named The Ridge Cooler after the villa we were lucky enough to stay in the final week.

The Ridge. Barbados.

I finally worked out that I no longer feel the need to chase the nightlife on the Island and was just as happy picking La Divas up from a night out knowing that they’d had a great time. I draw the line at clubbing along with my children – although I’m sure I could show them a thing or two on the dance floor.

Why are you rolling your eyes?

Sunset at Accra beach

I slept and I swam and I read. My birthday Kindle (thank you) became my best friend. The girls, friends, family and I talked and laughed until we cried. We made the mistake of playing dominoes with our young cousins. Nothing much beats the humiliation of being thrashed at dominoes by a 10 and a 13 year old..repeatedly..and then being laughed at…loudly.

I am so thankful for having the means to afford such a holiday and for having such wonderful friends and family to spend it with. I loved being with my  funny ladies who, let’s be real here, have driven me to the edge of sanity and back on more than one occasion.

The 3 Degrees. Barbados 2012

But most of all I’m just so glad that my mum instilled in me the importance of saving my pennies…and for giving me the best 21st birthday present EVER.

The view.

I have told my friends that my celebrations are over…for now. I know I milked it and I make no apologies. I have never needed much of an excuse to party!

What about you? Are you a celebration addict? How will you celebrate your next big birthday or anniversary? Or do you hate the mere thought of a party?

Whilst you’re thinking about it…here’s my recipe:

Ridge Cooler/Gin Cooler/Reddskin Gin

1 tsp brown sugar

2/3 capfuls Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire…pretty colour bottle!)

2 slices of cucumber, diced.

Half pink grapefruit – segments and juice.

Chuck all the above in a tall glass half filled with ice cubes. Top up with tonic water.

Drink and relax…preferably in the sun.

For an refreshing alcohol-free version… *blank stare*… omit the Gin.

Reddskin Gin!

Enjoy!

Silent Sunday

Wonder Walk: Wake up!

Posted on

I’ve been having one of those meh moments. Great word that. You even have to frown to say it.

As a part-time creative it’s so frustrating when I finally have the time to sew or design… and I’m just not feeling it. Call it losing your Mojo or just being stuck in a rut. Add a massive feeling of guilt, especially in the run up to the Christmas season when there’s so much to do, and it just causes more anxiety. Horrible.

So when I read about Wonder Walks; a way of kickstarting creativity in a  guest post by Laura Simms  for Oh My Handmade Goodness  I was surprised at just how I was excited to try it out. All I had to do was choose a topic to focus on, go for a walk, point my camera and shoot.

I don’t know if I did it ‘right’ but I had SO MUCH FUN wandering around seeing objects through ‘new’ eyes. When I got home I was able to look at my photographs properly I must say I was thrilled by the results.

I would recommend this for anyone, creative, inquisitive or just plain bored, as a really interesting day out.  So without further ado here is a selection of the results of my Wonder Walk. Focus; My favourite colour!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And it worked…my sewing machine IS ALIVE! Yay! (You have to smile to say that word!)

What do you think? Fancy giving it a go?

JACK MONROE

COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP & MORE

Patterns

Twenty something taking control of her mental health. Anxiety & depression sufferer. Learning as I go.

Reddskin

Sewing, making and creating...most of the time.

WB2QB

Worker Bee 2 Queen Bee

Tall. Black. One Sugar

Sometimes you have to hold your tongue, other times you have to say it as you see it.

afrow

Black Girl on the Front Row!

Crazy Green Thumbs

Chronicling a delusional gardening experience.

BIG MOUTHED WOMAN

what I had for tea last night (and other stories)

Hannah Crossley

Beauty, Lifestyle, Fashion

jazzre:freshed

forget what you think you know about jazz

Holly Coleman

artist and embroiderer

rellestyles

Fashion Stylist. Fashionista. Naturalista. London.

Telling stories whilst eating bon bons

Story telling, bad dancing, much eating.

My Bipolar

One Girl's Bipolar Journey

arhinarmah

'Cut from a different cloth'

Pepperbox Couture

Reduce, reuse, recycle - the sustainable design style