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C / textiles and tiny elevators

header-paris

Last Friday, my instructor told the class that if we could make it to Premier Vision in Paris, we should absolutely go. A few people in class said they were going, a few more expressed frustration for now being able to go, and I googled it to find out what they hell they were all talking about.

Turns out, Premier Vision is the biggest textile trade show in the world, probably something I should have known. Its held in Paris twice a year and they have events in China as well. People from all over the world come in to buy and sell prints, silks, wool, cashmere, cotton, buttons, zippers, trimming, leather, synthetics and basically anything else you can jimmy-rig into a piece of clothing. Because I love an unexpected filed trip, I bought a ticket, got my portfolio together and jumped a train to Paris for about 36 hours.

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tiny-elevators

Premier Vision was completely awesome, and completely overwhelming. I tried to touch everything I could and make notes as fast as possible, but mostly just wandered around letting the “oooh pretty” side of my brain navigate.

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expo-windows

(The photos above are intentionally scattered and disorganized, as to accurately represent my brain during the event.)

The facility itself was giant; roughly 6 football fields full of different textiles. They had set up some really interesting exhibits on texture and color and mood, and I got in trouble more than once for taking photos where I wasn’t supposed to. (I’m sorry, nobody looks on the floor to see if there are “no photography” signs, AND those signs were just a rectangle with a line through it. It could have just as easily been a “no brick throwing zone” or a “do not be a rectangle” zone. Get it together, design conference.) I did manage to get a few photos of the place, and some of the pretty things I got to touch.

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windows-expo

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I’m glad I went, because I got to see the millions of different fabrics that are available, and who is doing what. There were not as many sustainable fabrics as I had hoped and a lot for furs than I expected (yuck), but it’s good to know that I can pretty much get anything I can dream up. Next time I will go with an idea of what I want to get, rather than human-ping-ponging around until I collapse into a pile of croissant crumbs and 7 coffee. Oh and I went to see the Eiffel Tower at night and I liked it.

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All photos by Caitlin Decker, from her iPhone. If you would like to use them for some reason, please ask. There are probably better ones on the internet.

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T / happy monday / the other tiff

Art Credit: Liz MacInnis

Art Credit: Liz MacInnis

No September passes me by without my namesake. It’s been like that since I was in me wee years. And even though I’ve lived outside of Toronto for the last eight years, I still find myself perusing through every single film featured at each year’s festival.  My obsession with movies and the show biz knows no bounds. So keeping with annual tradition, I’m putting my money on each little (or big) critical darling that will explode a new filmmaker, star or trope onto the scene.  And more importantly, finding inspiration from visionaries and voices, young and old, from near and far.  We all know that Matt Damon is going to be #winning on Mars. This year, I find myself looking for narratives that are outside the box, voices that are only now staking their claim in the world, and sometimes, stories and moving pictures that are just downright fun.

So without further delay, here are some of my picks for TIFF 2015.


Because history and tears and learning about why we celebrate in June every year.


Because it is downright absurd and tragicomic at the same time.


Because it was shot in one take (and I love when someone does that).


Because holy crap scary.


Because contemporary independent lady-led Indian cinema.


Because gorgeous, sumptuous, and I want to see more from here.


 


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T / happy monday / millennial eighties baby

Photo Credit: The Hood Internet

Photo Credit: The Hood Internet

I am filled with positive energy these days.  A month in Myanmar, a five day respite in Bangkok and now back home in Phnom Penh. Meeting new and incredible people in places that are just starting to emerge.  But I can’t help but remember that we are living in the best and worst of times.  Old economies continue to be in turmoil. Migrants fleeing conflict continue to find violence no matter where they go. It’s a weird time to be.

But so were the 1980s.  The Cold War bubbled along through the decade that Cait and I were born in.  Nuclear disaster at your doorstep.  I’ve been watching this fantastic new television drama Deutschland 83. Have you seen it yet? It’s a German political drama set in…when else, but 1983.  I won’t give anything away if you’re looking for quality television with a great soundtrack, sink your teeth into this one.  However I will leave you with a mixtape.

I wasn’t very aware of things in the 80s. I spent a chunk of it either non-existent, in the womb or toddling around.  But I do know that if there was any other decade I could be a teenager, it would have been then.  The music, the enthusiasm. Teetering on the brink of greatness and destruction.  The neon and the shoulder pads. Maybe the 1980s and the 2010s aren’t so different.  So I wanted to make an energy-filled enthusiastic mix to start the week off with.  Can you pick out which tunes are a throwback to the synth-filled 80s and which ones are the real deal? I hope you enjoy and have a happy Monday!


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C / street style stuff

tommy-ton

Walking around London is like wandering through an after party at a runway show, that ran into middle-aged crowd leaving Cirque de Soleil, during pride week at the UN. In simpler terms, its extremely colorful and awesome. There are tons of great street style photographers out there who document sartorial genius, and I recently came across someone I hadn’t heard of before, Tommy Ton. He’s been doing amazing work for a long time, I am just late to the party. He’s Canadian photographer who shoots for his own blog, Jakandjil.com, and for publications like Style.com and GQ.

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I love street style, which is not an original thing to say, but I pull a lot of inspiration from people who put it all out there in daily life; something I wish I would do more of. One thing I really like about Tommy Ton’s style of photography is that he photographs the people as well as the clothes. That sounds confusing. What I mean is that he is able to capture a person’s mood and overall vibe as well as the clothes. A lot of street style photos show a person standing in the middle of the sidewalk, acting as a human hanger for some cool clothes. Tommy Ton captures the human part. Maybe that still doesn’t make sense, but to me, beautiful clothes are wasted on boring people, and he makes everyone interesting, which makes the clothing better. Maybe just look at the photos and go to style.com for a great collection of his recent work.

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All photos by Tommy Ton, obviously.

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T / happy monday / summer loving

Photo Credit: Steve Unsworth

Photo Credit: Steve Unsworth

I am a music fiend. But sometimes life gets in the way and it just doesn’t happen for a while.  Then it throws you over to Myanmar. And you happen to have what might possibly be the country’s fastest Internet connection. So you dive right back into it and you learn of a genre that’s actually called yacht-pop.  But most importantly, everything your ears discover makes you just wanna go “FUCK YEAH. It’s SUMMER” (even though it’s pretty much summer year round in these parts).

So building on those warm feelings on yet another drizzly evening in Yangon, I just had to knock this one out for all of you.  Every single one of these songs says summer all over it.  Whether it’s a yearning summer from newbie Meg Myers or you just want to get your disco on (thank you Robyn). There’s a bit of sweltering city love (with a burning one from Disclosure and a special guest).  Major Lazer offers some island groove.  I dig it. I hope you do too.


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C / Anthem

 First off, my apologies for the very late posting today. I usually prep these things in advance, but school has been taxing and I have been spending time with visitors. And I procrastinated, and let’s be honest, it’s mostly that.

I was having a hard time figuring out what to write about today, and I didn’t just want to slap up something pretty and call it a Friday. This has been a great, but really challenging week. I am being pushed in a lot of different directions with design, and each class is a whole day of things I don’t know how to do. Turns out, fashion drawing with pencil is not my thing, but using ink from a well really, really is. In anycase, I have needed a bit of a boost this week, and music is great for that. A few weeks ago I asked Tiff for some music recommendations because I still listen to Roxette and Paul Simon most of the time. She told me about Bleachers, lead by the dude from Fun, the band that makes jump-around-power-ballads, and Lena Dunham’s boyfriend, Jack Antonoff. I have been listening to “I Wanna Get Better” on repeat the past week and it is officially my art school anthem. It’s fun but smart, and catchy but deep. I can’t help but swagger walk when it comes on. I love it so much, I hope you do too.

http://www.bleachersmusic.com

Artwork from Design Love Fest 


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C / progress report #1

story

So it turns out, if you do things you love and care about, it’s really fun. I am in my third week of school at Central St Martins and it is going very, very well. My first week of class was an introduction to London Fashion, and the instructor took us all over this wonderful city, from the Victoria and Albert Museum to Brick Lane vintage, and Portobello Market treasure hunting. I learned a ton about the history of fashion in London, and why it’s become such a hub for young designers. Fun fact: Margaret Thatcher is responsible for a big portion of the UK’s investment in the arts. She saw, early on, that Paris and Milan fashion houses were bringing in buckets of money and attracting international investment. London was behind on this at the time, so she shuffled some things around and re-allocated state funding to go to the creative industry and promoted investment in young designers. There are still programs running that she set up to search for new talent, so you go Miss Lady, thanks for that.

school

Homework from Alexander McQueen and a final project from John Galliano, from the CSM Museum vault.

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Flowers in Shoreditch.

VandA

Finding inspiration at the V & A.

Week two was a class in make up for fashion. After taking this class, I have a whole new respect for this profession. I don’t have plans to be a make up artist, but it was great to learn the basics of make up in the industry. We did color matching and skin science, talked proportions and face shapes, and finished the week with a master class at MAC and a photo shoot. It was great for me to learn technique and terminology, and I now know how to create a “smoky eye” and avoid the “black eye” that used to happen on my face.

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Make Up for Fashion final project with Kristina and Abe.

market

Portobello Market field trip, for research.

I’m in my third class now, Central St Martins Fashion Design Summer School. I linked to the Facebook page because if you click on it, you can see the progress and work of past and present students at the school. I will be posting on there, so I don’t flood the blog, and we will be creating a solid portfolio over the next 4 weeks. This is the core class of what I am doing here in London, and the instructor, Julian Seaman, literally wrote the book on fashion design. Actually, he has written 4 books on it. I can’t wait to dig into this course and create things every day. Will report back again in a few weeks with more show and tell. Come visit me.

palace

Master selfie-taking-skills at Windsor Palace.

day-one

First day project from Fashion Design Summer School.

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T / happy monday / a song, a video, a playlist

Photo Credit: Airbnb

Photo Credit: Airbnb

Oh man.  Words can’t describe how envious I am that Cait’s in my old stomping grounds. Likely #2 of my favourite cities in the world (well so far at least).  And how much I wish I could be traipsing around those old streets and new digs with her.  I know, we both keep saying that we’ve got the interwebs, but there’s nothing like the real thing.

Then a song and a video go and rub all those feelings in.  Jamie xx, who is a fucking genius (and I use that expletive to describe just how good he is), captures two favourite things perfectly: London, and skateboarding…which I had a love for during my whee years.  This song has been on repeat all weekend and paired with the video, it evokes just everything I love about that place.  It’s exactly what would be plugged into my ears, probably at twilight, whilst heading to the next stop on a busy city day. It’s funny how music can evoke such feelings.

And not just one song, I thought I’d share a playlist of some of my favourite new tunes.  Just a few ditties that have been making me happy this month.  For your summer sunset, for your twilight commute in London (but maybe not Phnom Penh because that would be ill-advised), your city stroll towards a sultry date. Enjoy and happy Monday!


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T / happy monday / podcast addict.

Photo Credit: Pioneer

Photo Credit: Pioneer

So I am finally home.  Or when this post goes live, I will be.  And there will have been layovers, and time spent waiting at airports.  You’ll hear me wax poetic about the meditative pros and the linguistic cons (“ein sangria por favor?”) of travel later on this week, but first I wanted to share with you the thing that keeps me calm and sane throughout all the madness of having to take nine flights through four countries.  I’ve written about them before. Because I’m obsessed with them.  I grew up with public radio in my house, my parents’ cars, my own earphones. For as long as I can remember, there has been someone talking about something in that tone so meditative and calm you might want to slap them that only radio personalities can channel.  And for the weary traveler who may be crossing cultures and languages constantly, I don’t necessarily feel alone when that feeling creeps up.  I even use them as a sleep aid.  See? Multifunctional. So I thought I’d share some of my favourites today, and even a new one I just learned about on this trip.


 

radiolab-thisamericanlife-snapjudgementThe storytelling trifecta of This American Life, Radiolab and Snap Judgement must start any podcast list. How could I not include these? Ira Glass, Glynn Washington, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich are gods among the podcasters.  The storytelling, the music that goes with it, and the science! (because I’m a true nerd with the glasses and all) are something I look forward to every week.


 


I’m a pop culture nut.  You don’t even know the extent of it.  I’m also a member of the multiethnic diaspora that makes up the tossed salad (the starter) and melting pot stew (main dish) of North America. So hearing Two Brown Girls contemplate pop culture and the increasing awareness of major media networks to a multicultural audience is a bit of a big deal for me.  Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay hit all the right notes and it feels like I’m chatting with my best friends back home about it all.


 

criminal-hbm-serialI like a good mystery.  And I don’t mind getting into all the dark corners.  To the novice, start with Serial.  Because it is addictive and it took the podcasting world by storm.  Dinner party discussions were had.  Mix it in with storytelling and move on to Criminal afterwards, and for the even darker parts of humanity (because learning about these building blocks are so compelling), head over to Here Be Monsters.


 

I couldn’t get away without some Canadian content.  And while Q’s reputation was severely tarnished in the wake of it’s former host’s crimes last year, it’s pretty much with great relief to share that it’s new host, Canadian hip hop artist Shad has helped clear off all the debris and build something bright, new and shiny. But besides all of that, Q helps me stay in touch with what’s going on at home.

 


 

 

food-podcastsI’m a self-professed foodie and eater.  I love cooking and my ADHD-addled mind needs to not only be focused on the art of cooking, but someone talking about food too.  So I’ve got three favourite podcasts on rotation. The Dinner Party Download leads the way with more than I could ask for.  A drink, a dish, a guest, some etiquette and a conversation. Oh and music. That’s important.  Then there’s The Sporkful.  Because I’m an eater and I like to hear about how other people eat.  And because I like playing around in the kitchen, it all rounds off with America’s Test Kitchen.


 


Finally, the newest podcast I just added to my must-hear list comes from friends in London.  I love a new twist on podcasting, and not only does this one feature music, English accents and spot-on interviews, but it’s definitely the oldest on this list. Notable guests have been choosing eight records they would taken with them to a desert island for the last 42 years on BBC Radio.  We had this podcast on without stopping while we were tooling around southern Spain and it basically hasn’t stopped.  This chat with Martin Sheen is among my faves.

PS – Some that I didn’t mention, but also have a very soft spot for: All Songs Considered (for new music fixes), Thinking Sideways (because I’m just weird that way), Pitch (also for the music lover), 99% Invisible (well, duh) and Planet Money (because it makes the world go round)

 


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C / Melissa McCarthy for president

melissa

I love Melissa McCarthy. She won my heart in Bridesmaids, made me snort-laugh in The Heat, and sealed the deal with Tammy, when she straight up made me SOB during that scene with Susan Sarandon on the lawn chair. She is well spoken, hilarious, and fantastic in pretty much all ways that matter to me. In case that wasn’t enough, she is now starting a clothing line, for women of all sizes. There is not much information about it yet, but it will include plus-size clothing and is bound for awesomeness.

She nails it on the red carpet, pretty much every time, and has given a very strong, very appropriate, middle finger to critics and designers that refused to work with her because of her size. There are some stupid people out there. As evidence here and here, she knows what she is doing and I can’t wait.

I’m thrilled this is happening. When I think about what I want to do with fashion, I think about making clothes for all bodies. In the work I have done so far, I have worked with ladies from petite to boobalicious. Making clothes that make everyone feel awesome is important to me, so basically this post is an ask for Melissa McCarthy to hire me.

When I find out more about the line, I will be sure to share. Probably over-share, because I get excited.

In other news, her new movie, Spy, is killing, because of course it is. Suck it, Entourage.

caitsig