FASHION CRITIC IAIN R. WEBB HAS BEEN COLLECTING FASHION INVITATIONS FOR...

From the loud to the minimal, the precious to the poor, the fashion show invitation remains as the highly fetishised golden ticket to the exclusive world of fashion shows. A new book, edited by award-winning fashion writer and Central Saint Martins professor Iain Webb, explores this colourful history, functioning as a disjointed but invaluable reflection of the development of fashion and its industry. As the book launches, we asked Webb a few questions about the making of the book and what it might mean when John Galliano sends you a rusty old key with a handwritten label attached.

New Waves: Birgit Frietman

Birgit was born in the Netherlands, but always maintained a strong connection to East Africa via her parents. “When looking for an art and design school, I found it really important that it would be based in a very multicultural city,” she tells us. London seemed like a viable option, and after a short course at Central Saint Martins, Birgit knew she was in the right place. Birgit’s jewellery pieces appear as big wooden structures, almost like actual garments or protective armour; not your average jewel-set of rings and necklaces. They are still precious, however, raised above the conventions of everyday clothing: “What I find most important about jewellery, is that it can be defined as unnecessary,” she says, seemingly cryptically. “Unlike clothing, a person doesn’t need to wear a necklace or a bracelet. Therefore, the wearer makes an absolute conscious decision when s/he puts on a certain piece. The irrelevancy can expose the personal and intimate.” Combine this with an unconventional freedom in use of material, and jewellery seems to be one of the most open forms of practice – its expanded field of conceptual investigation along with an attention to materiality and the wearer. “There’s just one main importance,” she adds; “that there is always a close connection between the body and the piece.” For Birgit, everyday wearability is a not a concern, as long as there is some form of interaction with the wearer. Primarily, she uses her jewellery practice to explore uncommon materials within jewellery.

Shawn Soh: Reimagining the world within our human body

BA Graphic Design graduate Shawn Soh certainly did not come to Central Saint Martins in a typical 'studying trajectory' where one goes through the foundation year aged 19, starts a BA at 20, and graduates from an MA around 25. Instead, the Singaporean was a Radar and Navigation specialist in the Navy, studied to become a pastor and quit half-way through, started his own design company (and faked that he had a secretary and in turn won a massive exhibition competition), and became a buyer for a large furniture company. Having a well-rounded view of what the world is like in reality can heavily influence one's design practise, and so by having experience Soh is able to merge both concept and aesthetics into a final orchestration of sound, image, and physical objects. Where he first created an Eraser that resembled an analog Snapchat device which takes your digital picture, prints it and after a couple of seconds destroys it, his graduate project explores the idea of materialising what's inside of our bodies.

Luke & Steve Brooks: The Joy of Painting

When Luke Brooks started posting videos in which he was cutting off his grandmother's tongue with scissors, or frying omelettes with body parts, it...

Notes on Metamodernism – a critique

The term metamodernism started surfacing at some point in 2009, and has steadily gained popularity as a term to describe contemporary practices that stand...

This New Feeling: Metamodernism

Twice a year, Central Saint Martins opens its doors to the public. This is not an open day for prospective students, but rather, an art fair of sorts, where every discipline from furniture design to communication design is on display—Degree Show Two, as it’s known around the college. Earlier this week, the public ascended concrete flights of stairs at the private view. A stream of people, probably rushing to the bar, stumbled upon THIS NEW FEELING, the exhibition curated by a group of BA Culture, Criticism & Curation students. The project spanned across the students' entire final year and was not a compulsory project; those involved were passionate about getting a professional experience in exhibition-making, publishing and event organisation.

Welcome to the Central Saint Martins Degree Show Two

As we pass the end of term and reach the official beginning of summer, the halls of Central Saint Martins once again transform into a larger-than-life degree show, exhibiting the results of several years of hard work from across the disciplines and departments of the school. Whereas the Degree Show One laid its predominate focus on fine art, the Degree Show Two, opening today, presents an expanded range of critical practices – from architecture and industrial design, to communication design and curation, and of course, fashion in all its variety.

Suburban Dreaming: Lee Swillingham

Trainers. Backpack. Baseball cap. Arriving at the studio on a stiflingly warm day, Lee Swillingham could certainly have fooled us about the 20+ year...

Lunchbreak dip into the future, anyone?

Recently in Mousse magazine, super-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist asks scientist James Lovelock if he has ever dreamed about "a place where art and science and everything...

Viviane Sassen’s Shadow

In celebration of Sassen’s nomination, the gallery asked three people from completely different disciplines – an astronomer, a psychoanalyst and the curator of photography at Tate Modern – to speak about Sassen’s shadows in relation to shadows in their fields of expertise. Shadows are an inherent part of both Sassen's personal work and of her fashion work. In a short introduction to the three talks, Sassen explains how shadows have impacted her life from very early on: “From a very young age I’ve been confronted with death. When I was very young I lived in Kenya, and I vividly remember things like a dog dying on the side of the street, or the goat carcasses hanging in the marketplace, covered with flies. My father worked at the local village hospital so there was always talk of people who were ill and people who had died.” Reflecting on Sassen’s Umbra, David Morgan, a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, spoke about our obsession with an idealised self image, whereas Marek Kukula, astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, highlighted the importance of light in the presence of darkness in the discovery of new galaxies, and Simon Baker, the Curator of Photography at Tate Modern, spoke about capturing everyday things in a very unusual way.

Jamie Coe’s Art Schooled: studying at CSM illustrated

The graphic novel of Central Saint Martins graduate Jamie Coe, ‘Art Schooled’, is a challenging and humorous portrayal of ‘first impressions’, anxieties, making friends, and the awkward stage of coming of age. Following the protagonist Daniel Stope through his ‘enrolment at art school and consequent move to the city’, the reader experiences a vibrant and high pressure environment through his sometimes naive and critical eyes. We are reminded of the difficult truth that we are all too quick to judge at times. We ask Coe about the origins of ‘Art Schooled’, why he feels graphic novels are a powerful medium to discuss social and political issues, and how comics interact with their audience unlike other art forms.

Kitsch Confessions with Sara Cwynar

Having matched busy schedules and the time difference between London and New York, I eventually Skype-chat Canadian artist Sara Cwynar on a Monday evening...