Blink Wardrobes: Eastside Story

We style spotted Katy Brown on her way into the 1234 festival and she featured as the lead in shot for our ‘Shoreditch Shorts’ post. We then struck up an email conversation and were delighted when Katy agreed to get involved with the ‘Blink” blog. Katy is a Fashion PR working for a seriously fashiontastic London store, so we thought that she would be the perfect candidate for the revival of our ‘Wardrobes’ feature. Katy sent us over some recent shots, giving us a virtual sneak peek into her closet. We love her unique take on black and denim with a dash of goth and retro rock chick thrown into the mix. Katy’s also just launched her own very cool fashion blog too.

Most worn from Summer 2010? Vintage Levi’s shorts, fur trimmed leather jackets, MAC ‘Girl About Town’ lipstick and enough jewelery to set off every metal detector in a 5 mile radius.

What will be your biggest investment for Autumn 2010? I’m waiting for the highest bidder on my vital organs so I can splash out on the original and best Burberry aviator jacket and/or a Mulberry Alexa. Be still, my beating heart…

Your personal style is:
Glamorous goth, everything sequined or sparkled, inappropriately dressed for any occasion and/or climate, and anything your Mum swears she wore the first time round. And always kohl-rimmed and pink lipped, naturally.

Your current style icon is:
I have a serious girl crush on VV from The Kills and Karen O still reigns supreme. I have a new found affinity for Joan Jett’s wardrobe after watching The Runaways.

If money was no object and practicality went out of the window, you would wear:
Cocktail dresses at all times. A lot of Balmain. Any leopard print pieces by Dolce and Gabbana. Arm-candy to be provided by Mulberry for day and Chanel for night, please.

Most used fashion phrase?

Photo 1

Photo 1: As photographed by “Blink”! Taken at the Shoreditch 1234 Festival, this is a typical festival ensemble for me. From top to toe, that’s a sheer-panel leotard from Ebay, a vintage leather jacket I customized myself with gold studs, a vintage pocket-watch necklace, my treasured ‘Katy’ nameplate necklace courtesy of Ebay, vintage Levis shorts I’ve ripped to pieces, Marks and Spencers sheer spotted tights, a Harvey Nichols Timex watch, a vintage Chanel bag courtesy of Rokit and my most worn item: a hair bow made from half a metre of chiffon from the John Lewis haberdashery department.

Photo 2

Photo 2: Snapped at the incredible Maison Martin Margiela exhibition at Somerset House. That’s a sheer leopard print blouse I cut the collar off and turned back to front from a charity shop, teamed with a fringed leather waistcoat from Miss Selfridge that I LOVED for the ‘Almost Famous’ vibe. There’s my glorious Mulberry again, alongside my Ray Ban Wayfarers and a pair of New Look cage shoes. I swear by their footwear…

Photo 3

Photo 3: Evidently posing as the Mayoress of Mile End! That’s an Ebay dress I turned back to front so the fringing sat at the front rather than at the back. I’ve protected my modesty with an 80’s Beyond Retro acid wash jacket which has the most amazing/horrific diamante and stud detailing. That’s another hair bow made from a Tie Rack scarf and that vintage Chanel handbag was an incredibly generous birthday gift from my best friend. Lucky, huh?

Photo 4

Photo 4: This is one of my all time favourite finds – it’s a vintage lace dress courtesy of the vintage store ‘Cow’ in Birmingham. It has the most amazing bodice detail. I’ve teamed it with a vintage black and gold belt, a vintage leopard print scarf tied as a hairbow, yet another vintage quilted bag and a squillion bracelets I’ve picked up and collected from various markets over the years.

Photo 5 from the Vogue website

Photo 5: Snapped at Notting Hill Carnival by Vogue, I’ve managed to perfectly co-ordinate my cocktail, my lipstick and my nail-varnish. Score! That’s an ASOS t-shirt dress with my studded leather jacket, teamed with Marks and Spencer sheer polka dot tights, New Look cage shoes and a shedload of vintage jewelery including my pride and joy charm from Chanel. The glasses are the Wayfarers again- a very kind gift from their Press Office.

Blink Interviews: James Brown

We first came across James Brown’s skills at the Little London Fields festival, and we were hooked immediately. We featured one of his poster designs on the blog back in August. We just had to make contact with James and were delighted when he agreed to an interview with us.

James Brown is an illustrator and printmaker living and working in London. Trained as a textile and surface print designer, James worked in the clothing industry for 10 years producing print designs for numerous brands from Levis to Louis Vuitton. James embarking on a new career as an illustrator in 2007.

James has been commissioned to produce work by publishing houses, magazines and newspapers and advertising and design agencies. Recent clients include Oxfam, Cancer Research, The Guardian and Faber & Faber . Alongside these commissions, James produces limited edition screen prints and linocuts. The traditional processes that go into the production of James’ prints are very important.

What are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
I have just finished printing an edition for the V&A based the William Morris quote;
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
I tried very hard to make it beautiful! I do hope Mr Morris would have thought it worthy of hanging on his wall.

How did you discover your creative skills?
My parents are both illustrators, they didn’t pushed me into the creative industry but helped me in any way they could.

What or who are your longest standing design influences?
Edward Bawden, M.C Ecsher, Victor Vaserely.

What’s currently inspiring you?
Shoes. I’m working on a print of gents shoes to go with my HATS print.

Has your career developed in the way that you anticipated?
I have never really felt that I know where I am going with my career, but if I look back it has a very logical progression.
I studied Printed Textiles at college and spent 10 years working in the clothing industry, so I have just swapped from printing fabric to printing on paper.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Familiar and friendly with a nod to the past.

Do you work best alone or collaboratively?
I have never really done it before until recently. In mid September I have 4 screen-prints coming out which I have done with Cath Kidston. We are both happy very with them, so I guess that means the collaboration worked.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Truly enjoying what I do and seeing other people enjoy it too.

Any future projects that you’d like to tell us about?
I have two childrens books coming out next year. Published by Walker Books, they are both board books for babies one about shapes and the other about animals. Both are heavily patterned in high contrast colours. A page of horses from the book is one of the images below.

Pencil and paper or computer and mouse?
A computer is one of many important tools that I have in my pencil case.

Who would you love to work with, past or present?
I really enjoy making prints and posters for small events and businesses that I like and believe in, like the posters I created for The Scythe Festival and The Friends of Homerton Station

Any final word of advise?
Say yes to everything (within reason), you never know where it may lead you.

Designer James Brown in his studio in Hackney Wick, East London.

The flier for James' designs in collaboration with Cath Kidston


from one of the childrens books

The Scythe Festival poster

for the V&A

Thanks so much James. Another great addition to our series of interviews with inspirational individuals, I’m sure you’ll agree. Click here to see the rest of our interviews and get ready to be INSPIRED!