Urban Fabric

My visit to the London Transport Museum

Bonjour, Bel Bonjou!!

London and its wonders never fail me! On 17th February I attended an “Urban Fabric” event at the London Transport Museum.  To celebrate the softer side of transport, LTM focused on the versatile seating fabric called moquette that brings splashes of colour to our city’s transport. A truly inspirational evening.

The event bridged the colourful designs of our tube seats with the very distinct British fashion: Urban threaded all the way. No other tube seats in the world are as loud and garish as ours and no other fashion has been as individual and innovative as ours.

With workshops, talks and exhibitions, there was something for everyone.

Here is the low down on an inspiring fashion night. I hope it will inspire you too.

Moquette pocket squares

I got messy with paint at the pocket square workshop.

The idea was to create our own print, inspired by the moquette type fabric of the tube seats.

I never designed a print before and it is not an easy creative process. The blank canvas (pocket square) was scary. I went for my signature colours with a pop of pink.

I can see myself wearing it with a white crisp shirt and green trousers and I have got the perfect green fabric for it already. I will have to work on the look – 2017 goal!

It was beautiful to see all the multi-coloured ideas people came up with and who escaped outside the box.

I missed out on making a bow tie with fabrics that represent different areas of London: West End bright lights or floral Richmond.

Blue hair meet purple hair

Marylin and I bumped into each other for our hair colour and recognised in each other a love for craft. You can just spot people like you, don’t you. For the way they dress, the little details, the event they are attending.

Marilyn is a jewellery designer from Boston, US and a huge fan of Transport for London. So much so that this was not her first event on the subject. Check out the bag she did a few years back with the Central line moquette fabric. Pretty cool…

We talked dress making, jewellery making, hair dye and London Fashion. I genuinely hope to keep in touch with Marilyn.

The inconvenience of dress

By Jenna Rossi-Camus

Jenna had us in stitches about fashion on public transport, historically and today.

We all want to commute and move in style and provoke no matter the period. Some choose not to be seen, wishing to travel in peace and there is also a fashion for that: Edward Stone’s central line Tshirt.

Crinolines, high hair styles, head gears, mini skirts, heels have all been an inconvenience on public transport at some point in history. Imagine the nightmare of a crinoline or a hobble dress on boarding a train…

Jenna used Punch cartoons to illustrate her talk and I discovered a whole world of satirical humour in fashion.

I can relate. I do have fashion misfortunes on the tube with my hat. It gets knocked out of my head, get bashed about quite a lot on rush hour.

I have worn hobble dresses in my late 20’s and in honor of this epic design I have a hobble dress revival in mind. Stay tuned for that! I will sure test it on the tube 🙂

Jenna also looked at, how throughout history, transport authorities had a view on women’s clothing and how it was considered a danger: high heels, mini skirt, hats etc.

On the other hand, men’s fashion was “useful”.

Jenna’s delivery was a bit fast for me but it did help the jokes. It was on the verge of stand up comedy. Brilliant 30 mins!

London fashion: its unique place in the world

By Trend Atelier – Geraldine Wharry

This 30 mins talk was the one that inspired me the most and yep it will be the longest section of my blog.

Geraldine Wharry, Future Trends Forecaster & Fashion Designer gave us her view on London fashion and the reason for its eccentricity.

There was something utterly stylist about Geraldine – In her presentation, in her delivery and general presence.

She opened her talk with comparing a strong uniform culture in the U.K. with the need for freedom of expression outside of the conformity. Her presentation had 3 points: 1 Diversity, 2 Fearless Rebel, 3 Freedom fighter.

Geraldine is French and like me she has witnessed how France’s fashion is very bland and black. In the UK she observed a loud, risk-taking fashion influenced by diversity, sub-cultures and a non-judgmental attitude.

In her opinion, it goes as far back as Oscar Wilde and then designer such like Vivienne Westwood who experimented with clashing prints, colour statements:  The Fearless Rebel.

Her best observation point has always been the urban veins of the city: the tube. She has seen a theatre of raw and provocative  fashion from tourists, students, city gents and every day commuters. Londoners are freedom-bound, commuting toward a true freedom of expression, don’t take themself too seriously, are future facing and embarrassing the concept of ugly beauty: They are freedom fighters.

Being an innovator is being a provocateur

I definitely agree with Geraldine’s 2017 views that, however, no matter how UK fashion was avant-garde, the high street has made fashion a bit stale at the moment. The uniform culture has taken over: skinny jeans, heels, cute top, jacket, clutch bag for women.

It usually takes for a revolution to trigger a strong innovative fashion. Will it be left to the current controversial politic to provide a platform?!

I have an alternative: Can we sewers, DIY fashionistas lead a new fashion revolution?!? We create, customise, invent, self-draft, combine fabrics and colours, develop our own style every day. We’re half way there.

May be if sewing was more seen, on TV,  we’ll ignite the industry like food, 15 years ago with all the cookery shows?

It was a fantastic event. Inspiring and informative. I went away with plenty of styling and crafting ideas. My commute has never be more fun since then. I see fashion everywhere and I am inspired.

Now to put all of this into practice I have added 2 more sewing and styling goals to my 2017: A hobble dress and an androgynous look inspired by my pocket square.

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A bientôt for my first summer make of the year!


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