How Am I Doing? November and December 2017

You will probably agree that the remainder of 2017 has flown by at an alarming rate. December is just a haze and I can’t believe that in just a couple of days I will be heading down South to spend Christmas with my family. And then 2018 begins in earnest.

There have been all sorts of things going on in my life which mean that I haven’t had much time to report on what’s been going on in the world of fashion from my perspective. I am busy, but my time has been limited and when you’re managing your own workload, and your own social media you can’t always find the time for everything and have the assemblance of a life outside of the studio. If nothing else, it has given me a chance to take a step back and think carefully about how I want my business to develop next year and how I approach those challenges, which are important for my survival, if not for my growth.

I continue to sit uncomfortably in the middle of needing to make enough money to stay in business, and not wanting to bow to commercialisation and all the things that I don’t want my business to stand for. It’s a tough call and I am still searching for that happy medium. It does exist in some form or another.

I love catching up with fellow designers and people from my University years to see how things are going. Working for yourself and by yourself is a real problem because your world becomes a bubble and unless you are out on shoots regularly you can forget what’s going on out there and lose vital perspective especially at this end of the industry. Social media is all very well, but it’s often a lie and the real stories only come out when you meet people in the safety of the dressing room, or the studio.

Katie Newsam graduated two years before me at Lincoln University and that two years has made a huge difference. She now has a glamourous shop and workshop in Barnsley and it all looks very impressive. Katie works in a similar way to me, one off bespoke garments off the rail and by appointment, but our styles and approach are very different so comparing notes is a joyful experience, not one tinged with suspicion.

It’s been another useful conversation, reminding me that I’m not doing it wrong. We compared notes on nightmarish customers (we’ve all had them), the risks of fashion shows (always risky) and the sheer pleasure we get from managing our own businesses in our own creative way.

In terms of results, all my shoot based work this last two months has been with Just Add Pictures with whom I have now collaborated for about four years. In November I designed and styled on set a shoot involving Lulu Lockhart. As well as focused project work inspired by the work of artists Dewitt McClellan Lockman and Philip Alexius De Làszlo’, we found some time for a little freestyle work at the end. Lulu is incredibly versatile and so the range of images from our day was far more than we expected. I’ve included below the artist inspired portraits but please continue to watch my Instagram and Facebook page for more from this shoot over the next month.

December saw us collaborating again, and continuing to explore ‘Our National Religion’ an ongoing creative endeavour which is probably best explained through James Hall’s website where he publishes his work including the finalised pieces for this body of work. In fact, the results of this particular shoot ‘An NHS Nativity’ which is also part of another theme which, not surprisingly appears each December, have now been published. You can ready about it here and I have also added one of the two final images below.

20171207-an-nhs-nativity-1

It is a project which has fascinated me since its conception and as someone who has witnessed both friends and family on the receiving end of the NHS’s services over the last couple of years, it has enabled me to read more into how I am involved in this project than I would otherwise have been. It has become personal.

In November we also enjoyed some publication news. I always love these spreads, you get to crowbar in so many luchious images!

DE Nov 1DE Nov 2
Photographer: David Edwards
Model:Kate Owen
HS:Zoë Stockton
Designer/Stylist: Falcieri Designs
MUA:Antonia Sotiropoulou Mensah

With regards to my personal projects, as well as ongoing commission work, I am now in the planning stages of next year’s collections. The fabrics have been gathered and I’m starting to get a feel for the direction of my work for early next year. I am of course looking forward to the break, to recharge, to come back afresh and to hopefully put in place some new strategies for managing my business for the next year, all things I will mull over during the festivities no doubt.

For now, a Merry Christmas to you all and all the best for 2018.

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