Sunday, 31 January 2010

iamamiwhoami - The internet's Banksy

Three short videos posted by 'iamamiwhoami' have caused a major debate amongst YouTube users. I for one am not much of a YouTube girl but after hearing about this I spent a good hour and a half watching and re-watching the videos and reading back all the comments that people had posted in response to this viral marketing campaign. I then re-visited the page the next day and the next...

The videos each last about a minute long and were released 3 weeks apart (in order to drive viewers crazy no doubt!). Viewers are spending ages decoding numbers (each video title is made up of a sequence of numbers) and arguing with each other about whether the woman in the video is Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera or many others. 

After reading all the comments I think Christina Aguilera is behind it, with lots of clues pointing to her...

The title of the 1st video 'Prelude 699130082.451322' has been decoded to mean 'CH . AG' (CHristina AGuilera). Adding all the numbers before the decimal point equals 38. If A=1, B=2 etc then 3=C and 8=H. Adding the numbers after the point gets 17. 1=A, 7=G.

Using the same method as the first example, the title of the 2nd video '' translates to 'I. A.M. CH'.

The title of the 3rd video '' has been decoded as 'I.T.S. M.E. C' (which could be C for Christina or C as in see).

In one of the videos you see a strawberry cake floating in water. The week of it's release Christina was photographed at the Pee Wee Herman LA Show wearing a strawberry cake T-shirt.

Christina has worked with artists such as Goldfrapp, Ladytron and Sia for her new album 'Bionic', due for release later this year (Bionic = nature, life, technology). 

Sia is from Australia - the address of iamamiwhoami's page is Australian. One of the tracks that features Sia on the album is called 'I am'. Other tracks include 'Birds of Prey' - there's an owl clip in one of the videos - and 'Lullaby' - there's lullaby music in one of them too.

In the 3rd video at 26/27 seconds you see a knee briefly coming out of the water with a faint inscription on it. Someone has copied this to read 'Xtina'.

The original videos have now been deleted and a new set has been re-posted, replacing only the original animal clips with illustrations of the same animal. This could be a sign or it could just be because the animal clips were taken from an existing video and they got in trouble!

I know this post is jumbled and confusing, trust me I've come back to it 3 days in a row to try and unjumble it but if you watch the videos then read this back it will make more sense I promise!

View the videos at:

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Biscuits, laptops and dictaphones: Sketchbook HQ

This week I started working at Sketchbook Magazine, a publication that I have mentioned a couple of times previously (see September archive for a review on Issue 1 and December archive for a Q&A with editor-in-chief Wafa Alobaidat). I am working on an exciting project that I will fill you in on at a later stage..

In the Sketchbook studio you will find:

- An endless supply of biscuits
- Lots of busy interns
- Rows of laptops
- Plug sockets full of chargers
- Dictaphones, cameras, more chargers
- Magazines
- Music playing (everything from Gaga to Chilli Peppers)
- People coming and going all day (writers, interviewees etc)
- Wafa and Luma (features editor) with endless lists of things to do
- More biscuits

Today I went location hunting around Shoreditch for a gallery space for an exhibition project I am working on. Juggling my laptop bag, camera, notebook and handbag was a bit of a challenge but I managed somehow (regularly swapping my bags from shoulder to shoulder)! I came across some great spaces and spend the afternoon sending emails out enquiring about the availability of some of my favourites. I also searched for more potential locations and looked into all the nifty boring bits like funding. 

Tomorrow we have a video guy coming to film the Sketchbook team at work - should be interesting!

Goodnight all x

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A little bit of SJP in our wardrobe

We may not have access to that famous shoe collection locked away in the wardrobe of all wardrobes that Mr Big built her, but we are soon to be closer to both Carrie Bradshaw and Jimmy Choo!

New York fashion house Halston, which was taken over in 2007 by Jimmy Choo's Tamara Mellon and Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein, has hired Sarah Jessica Parker as the new president and chief creative officer. She also has a seat on the board as well as an equity stake in the company.

SJP was spotted wearing several outfits from the new Halston Heritage collection on set for SATC2, a more affordable (...but still not that affordable...) line which offers updated versions of some of Halston's classic pieces for lower price points. SJP even wears one of the dresses in the movie poster for the forthcoming film.

Halston also recently named designer Marios Schwab as creative director of Halston Mainline. The contemporary London designer's first collection for Halston will be debuted in New York Fashion Week in a couple of weeks.

So Girls, you too can have a slice of Carrie in your wardrobe. 
Visit Net-A-Porter for a look at the full collection...

Monday, 25 January 2010

Hand In - Always a Blip

I've finally finished my dissertation! 11,000 words later and after months of slaving away at the laptop I finally printed it and went to get it bound...

What a relief! 


I checked the page numbers to make sure the guy at Staples hadn't muddled it up and realised that in fact it was me who mucked up. After printing chapter by chapter, changing all the page numbers to account for the extra title pages I added last minute, I had forgotten to change numbers of the final 9 pages (my Appendix).

Something was bound to go wrong - I even dreamt that something would go wrong!

The worst part is, I have run out of the nice paper I used. I bought 2 packs of 100 pages (one for my housemate) and was supposed to get the third pack free but Rymans only had the two packs. They ordered the third pack for me but it won't be delivered until tomorrow afternoon. Bugger.

Luckily the deadline isn't until Wednesday, but I was just so excited to hand it in today and relax! Looks like I will be stressed for another day or so...

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Amy Arbus & Bill Cunningham: influential street style photographers

I have been looking at some of the original street style photographers that may have influenced photo-blogs such as The Sartorialist. The two photographers who stood out to me were Amy Arbus and Bill Cunningham. 

Between 1980 and 1990 Amy Arbus (daughter of Diane) shot portraits on the streets of New York for a regular column in the Village Voice's monthly fashion feature: On the Street.

But was she a direct inspiration? In an interview for Dazed Digital, Scott Schuman (the photographer behind The Sartorialist) indicated otherwise.. 

‘She would shoot the punks and the most dramatic people. Which is great but I don’t really relate to that. What’s different about what I do is I shoot something that is aspirational and something that people can really relate to.’ 

Although Schuman is right in suggesting that Arbus typically photographed 'dramatic' subjects, the image below shows a woman who could definitely be described as 'aspirational', shot in a style that could easily be compared to Schuman’s photography.

So what about Bill Cunningham, who started photographing people on the street during World War II and continues to do so today?

The main difference between Schuman and Cunningham is their individual visions of the perfect subject. Whilst Schuman photographs people wearing desirable outfits, he also looks for people who carry themselves well or have a certain presence. In his book, also named The Sartorialist, he describes his reasons for shooting the subject below...

‘His ability to carry off this look so well was not about the coat itself but how he wore it with a cool nonchalance.’ 

On the contrary, Cunningham purely photographs people because he notices their clothes. In an article he wrote for the New York Times back in 2002 he writes..

‘I don’t see the people I photograph. All I see are the clothes. I’m only interested in people who look good.’ 

Whilst Schuman does not admit to being directly influenced by Cunningham’s work, he acknowledges there are some similarities and respects the work that Cunningham has produced throughout his career. In his book, he also says...

'If I am ever able to carry on in his tradition, it will be because I am able to capture street style not with a photographer's eye but with a fashion editor's eye, and that is what Bill has done so successfully at The Times'. 

 (Both images of Cunningham were photographed by Schuman)

New Purchase a la Student Loan

It's that time of the year again.. my student loan arrived last week, resulting in a few new purchases! It has been a general rule since first year that I treat myself to a new pair of shoes when my loan comes through.. This term I was sensible (for once) and instead of splurging on a beautiful but so-darn-uncomfortable pair of heels, I bought a new pair of boots. My old boots have pretty much been glued to my feet all winter and are suffering the consequences now, even after taking a trip down to Timpsons...

I pretty much stumbled across my new boots by accident on Saturday whilst in Topshop looking for clothes. I ended up leaving with 2 pairs of shoes and no clothes (typically) and I have worn them everyday since!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Fur: acceptable or not?

Since gaining the vintage coney fur coat a couple of weeks ago, I have been involved in quite a few discussions about fur – Is it morally acceptable now? Are certain furs worse than others? are people going to throw paint on me like they did to Samantha in SATC?

In yesterday’s Telegraph, there was an article debating these same issues. The conclusion seemed to be that if the fur is vintage it is more acceptable and people do not feel so guilty about wearing it (even a vegetarian).  

I would like to discuss the following points and invite you to offer your answers/opinions...

1. People eat rabbits at restaurants. These rabbits have been killed to provide 'dinner' for people like us (I would like to point out that I have never eaten rabbit and by 'us' I mean people who eat in restaurants). Why is it right that rabbits can feature on a menu in a restaurant but wrong to wear a fur coat? These rabbits inevitably are skinned in preparation to be cooked - what else should we do with the fur? 

2. Is it more acceptable if the coat is Vintage? Why?

3. Is rabbit fur better/worse than Mink? Some argue that rabbit fur is not as bad because rabbits are not in danger of becoming extinct, unlike mink which is. Then again, people keep rabbits as pets so is it more cruel to wear rabbit than mink?

4. If a fur coat is hanging on a rail at a store and one customer refuses to buy it, somebody else will...

5. Should role models such as Kate Moss be seen wearing fur? Kate's style is copied by millions of girls (and women) - is she giving a bad impression? 


Please note:

I am hoping this post will start a debate, as I am interested in people's opinions and reasons for or against the use of fur in clothing.. My choice to wear fur may not be liked by some people, I would like to point out that I do not want this post to offend anyone. If you don't agree, tell me why...

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

P-P-P-Polaroid P-P-Polaroid

Here comes yet another post about my fashion and music crush of 2009 - Miss Gaga (ooh la la). 

This time, it is not to blabber on about her shoes, her nails or her performance but to share with you the recent announcement of her collaboration with Polaroid. Polaroid has named Lady Gaga their Creative Director for a specialty line of products which will hit stores in late 2010.

“The Haus of Gaga has been developing prototypes in the vein of fashion/technology/photography innovation–blending the iconic history of Polaroid and instant film with the digital era–and we are excited to collaborate on these ventures with the Polaroid brand' - Lady Gaga (cited from the Polaroid Press Release)

Watch a Youtube clip of Gaga talking about the collaboration (even if you don't care... just have a peek at her crazy hairstyle):

Read the Press Release :

Forget Poker Face it's now P-P-P-Polaroid-P-P-Polaroid. Maybe she can use these new products to get her own back on the Papa-Paparazzi.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The return of the rabbit

Last week, whilst my parents were reminiscing about the good old days with an old friend, they decided to whack out an old photo album (one of the many stacked up in a cupboard upstairs that have not been looked at for about 10 years). Flicking through the pages, we came across a photograph of my mum and aunt in fur coats...

'I've still got that in a bag in the top cupboard upstairs' my mum exclaimed.

I then paused and looked at her in shock. I have been talking about fur jackets for a good few months now and here she was admitting there had been one right under my nose this whole time.

Obviously I sent her upstairs to dig it out straight away! She brought it down and looked at it, holding it in such a way that I could only see half of the label. 'Saint Laurent' I read. 

'What? Mum, Yves Saint Laurent?'

She then handed me the jacket so that I could see the full label 'Jacques Saint Laurent'. Damn. 

Still, whilst my dad was busy telling my mum how nice it was and asking why she didn't wear it, I held on tightly, claiming that it was now mine. Luckily the sleeves are too short for my mum so that option was out of the question anyway. 

After trying it on in the mirror and asking my mum what type of fur it was, I discovered that it was in fact coney fur. Yes, thats right, rabbit.

Crap... I'm extremely allergic to rabbits!

Luckily I do not seem to be allergic to this rabbit, maybe it's too old to affect me or maybe it's only live rabbits that make me sneeze, wheeze and itch. Either way, I am a very happy bunny (unlike some) and yesterday I took my first trip with the coat...

Here's another image of my mum wearing the coat (my dad is the one hugging her)

We figured out she was about 19 in this photo, making the year 1981. Almost 30 years later and the coat is still in great condition and has been offered a new lease of life (well, sort of).

Thanks mum!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Q&A with Avue Darien-Gordon of Daydream Network

The latest in my series of Q&As is an interview with Avue Darien-Gordon of Daydream Network. 

In addition to hosting live events and running an online community, Daydream also produces a quarterly publication - Daydream Magazine - which according to the website, they like to call Society's Scrapbook.  'With 80 pages of poetry, artwork of all styles sat side by side, this truly represents the diversity of the world we live in. We see the publication as the forefront of what we do and maintains our ethos and energy, developing free thinking'.

Avue is the director of Daydream Network.

R: Do you follow any blogs? If so, which are your favourites and why?

A: "I don’t really follow blogs, I guess as someone is always feeding me information. I use a programme now called Feedly. It enables me to organise all my favourite information sources into a manageable profile, which can be used as blog to inform others".

 R: Why did you start a Daydream Network blog? 

 A: "The blog was started by an old colleague; it is a great tool to keep others up to date, thinking and being inspired by the company ethos. It gives the viewer something to talk about. Do you think that all this readily available information at hand is good for idea generation or immediate copycats? I think that it has damped the process of study".

 R: How many hits does your blog get per day and how has this evolved since the start in 2006?

 A: "I don’t know, between 2007 - 2008 we received mega hits as we were more active but as of late we are in transition and hits haven’t been so cool".

 R: Do you think print magazines will still be around in 10 years time or will they have turned to the internet? 

 A: "Print will always be around as its reliable you can feel it. I think magazines will locate a new position, as something more viable, cheaper, and like some cases free".

 R: Do you feel that Daydream is doing enough to keep up with the online boom? 

 A: "We are trying although its difficult as technology constantly changes and evolves. We have taken the approach that we must set our stall at a managable position and evolve where necessary as what we do is people based and fundamentally about events and art."


Visit Daydream's Website

Visit the Blog:

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Deadline is fast approaching

With Monday creeping up fast I've not had time to update as usual.. There's lots of things to be stuck down, annotated, referenced, printed, bound etc. so I've been pretty busy.

I took an eventful drive down to PC world in the snow today to stock up on ink cartridges in order to print this ENTIRE blog, almost crashing into a hedge when my tyres decided to lock. Eventful indeed..

My nails are in dire need of some attention and I haven't worn makeup in about a week, in fact I've hardly left the house all week. Somehow I have managed to still fit in time to watch a True Blood episode almost every night - there are some things that can't be avoided...

If it were up to me I'd take a 2 week trip somewhere hot, away from all the snow, books and laptops to a place where I could relax without thinking about uni. But it's not up to me so I will continue to read the books, write the dissertation, fill the sketchbook, write the journal and pray that time slows down or that uni is closed on Monday due to the snow (fingers and toes are crossed).

Sorry to be absent for a few days but as you can see I've been pretty snowed under (pardon my pun)..

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Men to dress like Bridget Jones

It was only a matter of time.. Control pants for men!

In a Telegraph article, Hilary Alexander writes: "The introduction of power pants for men is seen as a logical follow-on to the craze for skinny jeans, pioneered by snake-hipped rock-stars such as Keith Richards and Iggy Pop, and turned into a fashion cause-celebre by designers such as Hedi Slimane and Alexander McQueen".

Selfridges already stocks the 'core precision undershirts' but is now launching control pants by Equmen (essentially Spanx for men). As well as improving posture and shape, the Equmen products are suitable for sports and to help reduce back pain. The best perk - pardon my pun - is the enhanced profile men will get whilst wearing them. I suppose it's like a push-up bra for men, women have been wearing them for years so why shouldn't the men have their chance?

Equmen's mission statement:

Equmen enables men of the world to be at their best. Using the latest high performance technologies and state-of-the-art  designs, our garments are engineered to optimise and energise the body, from street to sport, work to weekend. Equmen is about looking sharp and living smart. Every man, every day, every wear".

Saturday, 2 January 2010 the latest from top fashion blogs.

I came across this recently and thought I'd share the link as it is a clever little site that imports the latest posts by the top fashion websites, communities and blogs around the world, adding 9 images from each, essentially creating a one stop shop for people like me trying to keep up with all the blogs!

Some examples of the websites followed:


Check it out...