Imagine you were a designer for Celine. Accessories designer. Head of accessories – bags, shoes, sunglasses, jewelry and all.
Accessories designer Louise Davies and Johnny Coca.
He was also the guest tutor for the recent accessories project of 2nd Year Fashion Design and Marketing. The students were briefed by Johnny to develop an innovative concept for designing a bag where coolness, function and beauty were priority.
After a month of intense work, designing and sampling, the students were gathered for a talk with Johnny where he gave some invaluable insight about what it is to be the designer of the most coveted bags worldwide, he looked through sketchbooks, research and samples of students and gave his personal feedback.
Thanks to Heather Sprout, 1 Granary also managed to hear Johnny’s talk.
Almost as if a tale, Johnny started by telling us that he didn’t study to be a designer. His first step into the fashion world was designing and drawing windows for the Louis Vuitton boutiques just to earn some extra cash. Inevitably these windows had bags and drawing them Johnny thought “Oh it is really easy to design bags”. He drew some, showed them at LV and there he was with his first job.
Then there were Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and other dream employers.
After designing for Celine for 4 years and traveling between Paris and London, Johnny Coca knows how to design what people want before they even know they want it.
Which made him the perfect guest tutor. Johnny spoke with all 17 FDM students and explained the strengths and weaknesses of their work.
There were a few best designs chosen, those of Grace Gowers, Qiying Fang, Nathan Moy and Ella Ren but one was the lucky bastard to be pointed out as a winner – Amir Khorasany. His design is indeed very cool. He wanted a malleable feel for the structure of the bag so there were references to artists such as Robert Morris and Daniele Papuli.
You can see examples of his beautiful play with leather strips and the bag’s prototype.
Wait for the best part! As a winner of the project, Amir’s design is going to be brought to life in Celine’s very own French factory!
“When you figure out what you want to do, what category you want to develop as your future job, make sure you are the best.”
Here is Johnny’s advice to CSM’s students:
When I started designing bags, I said to myself, ‘Okay, I want to know everything now – how to design, how to make it, the leathers, the fastenings, all the market, all the competitors, everything.
Only creativity isn’t enough. I meet so many designers that are very creative but don’t know the market or what the people want or how to adapt their style to a brand and the other way around.
There should be no question you cannot answer in your field. After that you can move to another category. For example after accessories, I knew everything on sunglasses and optical, then everything on shoes. You have to be able to explain to the team, to a CEO, to a factory worker. Learn everything.
After that is it quite easy and you can select who to work for.
As Heather Sprout pointed out ‘Once you leave college, the real education begins’.
Here is the majestic A4 every fashion student has been dreaming of this week – the Press Show list.
40 lucky designers made it and loads other great talents didn’t, but they all worked their ass off and deserve a break, a beer and applause. The internal show was amazing, and we regret that not all students can get to the Press show, there were many more incredibly beautiful collections that we would like to see on the runaway again.
Warm-hearted congratulations from 1Granary team. We will make sure to meet you with as many of our favourites in the weeks to come.
Now save the date, 28th May for a sneak peak backstage and first hand info.
Having worked as an illustrator for fashion related clients such as Style.com Korea and Elle Girl Korea, Hyon describes himself as, “just one of those cartoon geeks during school”. It was his work at these prestigious magazines which drove Hyon towards fashion and which helped lead to his successful application for Womenswear at CSM! Now in his second year, Hyon talked to me about college life and his involvement with the glorious CSM program on everyone’s calendar – the Galliano Project.
“I’m still in progress.”
Upon my asking about his expectations of CSM, Hyon instantly replies that “it was way better than I expected.” He puts it down to his amazing classmates because of the fun they have on every project as well as the total variety of styles across the board. “So much jealousy and learning is going on in me at the same time because of these amazing people.” And how does he define CSM’s education style? “Free. Students can do whatever with their work but it has a really well-built structure. That is what I realised when I had a look at my first and second year works recently.” He highlights that his identity is becoming “more and more clear” but admits “I feel that it’s getting really ambiguous as well. I’m still in progress.”
What is most challenging about fashion?
Balancing myself between ideality and reality.
I was eager to ask about Hyon’s experiences on the Galliano project. This year the project sparked an absolute bonanza of frantic and frenzied tweeting when the man himself was spotted roaming around the Granary Building. His mysterious and magical appearance was due to the fact that he was taking part in a crit with the project’s highest scoring 19 students. Casual. Hyon’s initial reaction? “Wow. It was a great experience to see him in reality.” Hyon exclaims it still feeling “surreal that he even commented” on his work, not to mention he gave “nice comments and advice about my work in person. It didn’t matter whether he is my favorite designer. All my friends and I were beyond excited on the surprising morning.” To get good feedback from John Galliano… This bodes well for Hyon’s future, wouldn’t you agree?
I wanted to get under the skin of “Photosynthesis Woman”. I had looked back on a feature about Hyon’s take on sustainability in the past project “I’m so sorry”. Relating his current work to photosynthesis, I wanted to ask if this project was also concerned with themes of sustainability. He laughs and remarks, “I never thought that two project could look related. My Galliano Project, ‘Photosynthesis Woman’, was inspired by the American painter, Edward Hopper.” A prominent American realist painter in the twentieth century, Hopper’s paintings are loaded with a sense of intrigue, contemplation and sparsity; the commonplace is transformed into something hauntingly poetic. In particular, Hyon focused on Hopper’s painting ‘Morning sun’. When he saw the painting for the first time, Hyon had a very clear image of a woman: “There is a woman sitting on her bed on a lazy Sunday morning. The time is around 11am; she enjoys staring out of window in peaceful sunshine. She thinks back of what she has done in week days and thinks of what things will happen in a new week…” He endearingly comments that “probably I have gone too far” but reaffirms the idea that “somehow we all have this kind of recharging time in our lives. So the project was actually about the recharging time to get energy for new days.”
Does fashion need to be more sustainable?
Some designers think about it but the others don’t. This is also my contradiction as long as I do fashion.
In terms of project development, Hyon tells me it was a bit unusual in terms of not having that much preparatory time! “I just simply played with Galliano’s legendary works and got some basic shapes of collection. All the collage was for explaining my idea to people to understand my theme more easiely. I love making collages as well.” (Who doesn’t?) “It is like recreating new images with existing images.” Busy beavering away with his part time work and projects at college, Hyon tells me he is excited by graphic print designs beyond the realms of fashion. These he researches on the internet in the rest of his time.
Any hopes, dreams, plans or expectations for the bright future?
Having a great final year of work firstly. I still haven’t figured out things after graduation. I am open to all possibilities.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
Congratulations for the birth of 1 Granary’s Magazine !!!!
For more of Hyon’s work featured on 1 Granary: http://1granary.com/central-saint-martins-fashion/projects/hyon-park-i-am-so-sorry-2nd-year-womenswear-sustiainablty-project/
For more on Galliano’s visit to CSM also featured on 1 Granary: http://1granary.com/central-saint-martins-fashion/graduates/how-awesome-it-is-when-john-galliano-casually-comes-to-csm-to-see-students-work/
After meeting final-year fine art student Tareq de Montfort at a 1 Granary party a while ago, I knew this guy was something special. You could feel it from how he spoke, what he was wearing, even from the way he danced. So when I met up with him for an interview, I was ready to be blown away. Seven hours and a couple of bottles of wine later, we had discussed using 24-carat gold facial scrub, growing up at his family’s museum in Kuwait, having the potential to be divine, the fact that red lipstick mimics a swollen vulva, doing Beltane rituals at Luisa Casati’s grave, the line between fantasy and reality, creating drawings of huge orgies, and pretty much everything in between. Just in case you were wondering – yes, I was blown away. And I came to the conclusion that Tareq is an – incredibly eloquent – Arabian storytelling prince. Which means two things: one, Tareq knows how to tell a tale and is a rather brilliant writer (he was nominated for an erotica award for a book he wrote at the age of 17); two, Tareq is a fountain of knowledge and has a lot to say about A LOT of things (in the most enchanting way possible). So I decided to let Tareq tell the story. Here is what he believes in and stands for, in his own words.
The main theme of your work is beauty. What is your definition of beauty and why is it so important to you and your work?
There is a hierarchy of beauty; it has many different forms so it cannot be defined easily. The best way I can put it is that at the bottom of the spectrum are things like vanity and material beauty and at the top are things such as kindness, compassion, empathy. I call these two sides earthly beauty and divine beauty. In my hierarchy the lower forms are interchangeable depending on the attitude and context. For example, if someone wears certain clothes in order to be ‘cool’ then they are appealing to a lower form of beauty than someone who wears an outfit for pure personal pleasure and expression.
Beauty is important to my work because it is my work. It has been damaged by artists and intellectuals and philosophers and I want to revive it. The penultimate goal is to reach for the divine which is the highest form of beauty; compassion is part of that height, as is serenity. Things that great spiritual followers such as Buddhist monks can achieve.
Could you explain what you mean by beauty through destruction?
Beauty through destruction has its roots in a Japanese idea called Wabi Sabi. For example, when a porcelain vase breaks and it is put back together and the cracks filled with gold, a new item of beauty has been created. I have destroyed myself in many ways, body and mind, reputation and relationships; who I am as a result is something I love and consider beautiful, but this is not vanity, it’s far more complicated than that banal form of beauty.
I am fighting for romanticism as a human right because I believe we all deserve and have the potential to live our ideals. Romanticism can be found if you look for it but it does not hold much respect or merit. Romanticism is about reaching for an ideal and idealists are generally ridiculed or not taken seriously. Society has become too rational and concrete and this is not benefitting us. In the 19th century the romantic revolution infiltrated not only art but also politics. With the problems going on today I believe that romanticism has much to teach us and most importantly gives us hope for a better world.
You’re on a quest for ecstasy and will settle for no less. Could you explain what that means and how it translates into the fantasy you plan to turn into reality?
Ecstasy is a rapture in the contemplation of divine things, the things that embody the meaning of the greatest and the good. I have tasted delirious elixirs of pleasure and happiness, physically as well as mentally, earthly and decadent as well as divine and humble. I am on a quest for ecstasy because I know how it feels. The ‘fantasy’ I plan to turn into reality is manifesting my ideals and dreams. For my own sake but also to prove for others that it is possible and that they should go for it. But I am a rational romantic, I am very aware of reality and this is why I take pleasure even in the ‘bad’ or ‘hard’ things; I take control by putting them to use. I wish to create my life and person to fulfil my insatiable desire of how I want to be.
I’ve seen some of your massive drawings of orgies – where do they come from? What is the difference between art and porn?
The drawings of orgies have a cultural narrative. They are derived from my visions of The Perfumed Garden, the fifteenth century arab Kama Sutra. I wish to give back the Arab-Islamic world an art of sexuality, eroticism and sensuality. Something that has not been allowed to us due to conservatism and fundamentalism. Islam and Arabia are in fact very sexually charged and have a long history with sensuality and romanticism, but this relationship has been sullied; I wish to take the dangerous step of promoting Arab sensuality and eroticism. The difference between art and porn is determined by the context and manner in which it is communicated.
Where else does your work come from?
My work comes from my life and communion with the gods and goddesses. At different times it comes from different places. Right now it comes from a wild creature living in Vienna who abducts a lost prince; he rips off the jewels and fur and silk of the prince, who adorns himself with such things as armour. The prince finds great pleasure in being stripped and now craves this abductor even though he is aware of the destruction it can bring.
Which other artists have influenced you?
The Pre Raphaelites, firstly with their lives and ideas, then with their art, Damien Hirst with his enigma. And Rene Lalique, the artistic genius of glass/jewellery sculpture of the early 20th century with his other-worldly creations.
Do you ever worry about being original or contemporary?
That depends on who is deciding what is original and contemporary. I am original and I am contemporary. I am also the past and I am also the future; I am also timeless.
Growing up around a vast wealth of stories, culture and art shows it self in my works’ aesthetic as well as my character (which is also part of my ‘work’). My creative priorities come from having grown up around a museum. The desire to create beauty as well as discuss it comes from my passionate relationship with artefacts in the museum. My desire to create sculpture that uses jewellery and craft is owed to the museum and our collection. My ambition is to achieve a skill worthy of being associated with the craftsmen who made those things who were my friends as a child.
You say the Arab world needs to develop – in what way do you think that should happen?
The Arab world needs to be more open-minded and begin a development of acceptance of those that don’t follow the status quo and the obvious things such as differing sexualities and ‘eccentricities’. But this is true for everywhere in the world.
Where do you think your unapologetic self-confidence came from? Have you always been this confident?
Yes, I have always been this confident. My family background has been a major influence on this; from them I have definition and complete self-possession. I know who and what I am and this knowledge is the essence of confidence. Confidence was also a tool of survival; I owe it much. Life was dangerous for me in Kuwait and rather submit to those who wanted to hurt me I won battles with my posture, poise and presence. And I continue to embrace it because it has been good to me. I also do what I love and when you surround yourself with what you love and those you love your confidence grows.
Tareq’s work can be viewed at the BA Fine Art degree show from 25 to 29 May, for more info on opening times go to http://www.csm.arts.ac.uk/about/degreeshows2013/show1/.
As a start of this editors’ letter let me say that most of us knew shit about making a magazine. This proves to be quite fun when you don’t even know that you are making a magazine, because this baby started just as a timid CSM blog.
Last year that is.
It was a good idea, you have to give us that. Almost an obvious one – too many people are curious about CSM, not to give them some insight. Too many people do amazing stuff in CSM not to give them a platform. One Italian journalist the other day compared CSM to Hogwarts for its talent and mysticism. 1 Granary is a platform for this magic.
Of course no one thought it is going to get that far, especially us. But if CSM teaches you something, it is to work your ass off, so we did and here is our first paper. 1 Granary has launched its print companion.
A magazine to be published biannually, it is a mix of Central Saint Martins‘ past and present.
We show you the baby steps of 1st years, including the starting projects of BA fashion students. We have the personal stories of world-famous alumni such as super-stylist Kate Phelan, The Face magazine former creative director Robin Derrick, Sex Pistols bass Glen Matlock and some big start ups like Love Magazine’s Katie Grand’s first college photo shoot. You would also get to meet the tutors, the unsung heroes of CSM. 1 Granary is a journey inside one of the most talked-about art schools around.
Thanks to everyone who contributed.
Hope you like it and buy it, but either way, its our pleasure.
Love, the 1 Granary team.
PS to the CSM people. This is your magazine, so feel free to use it as one – like us and join us or dislike us and help us change.