A modern day set whimsical romance orchestrated for pleasures play. Menswear reimagined for a possible futuristic walking strut of design, fantasy and exploration. A carefree confidence floating on air with ruffles, waves, tiers of tulle and femme delights. With imagination and disco discovery we’re presented with stapled stamped pieces of a light plush blush palette and marshmallow. Recollections of Viktor & Rolf echoed with ease; alas a fearless collection with no boundaries or limits. Ingenious strolling works of art and visionary obsessions. Tinsel streams of silver, metallics, glitters, gloves and knee highs, leaving mouths ajar for the elements of surprise. Alessandro Trincone has us kept in an excess of life’s secret garden.
Seventy years ago today, the SS Windrush pulled in at Tilbury dock, bringing with it the first Caribbean workforce to help rebuild Britain after the second world war. This would mark the first but not the last mass migration of peoples from the Carribean to the UK as more and more citizens of the commonwealth were encouraged to “do their part” and help rebuild the then wartorn motherland.
The book features a mixture of fashion photography, illustration and archival imagery to show the idea fashion and style helped bring an entire generation of peoples from outliers of society to being at the very forefront of fashion, design and beauty industry today.
Alongside the fashion analysis, the book also contains Lorna Holder’s own personal memoirs, giving us a first-hand account of just what was happening within the fashion industry behind closed doors. Most notably, it reveals just what a black woman in 1952 would have to face in order to gain notoriety within the worlds most exclusive industry.
While there is a focus on the British style, the book also take us on a journey around the world as we read Lorna climbs the ladder at New York City’s Bloomingdales, studies under the tutelage of Pauline Denyer, (wife of the well-known fashion designer, Sir Paul Smith), conducts Oman’s first televised fashion show in Oman and much more.
All in all, ‘Style In My DNA: 70 years of British Caribbean fashion’, provides a look at the fashion industry from a whole new vantage point. While both a theoretical study and autobiographic read, it reminds us that the Windrush generation and the generations that followed played a huge part in shaping the fashion industry into what it is today. To bear witness to the fundamental ways Carribean culture and fashion have shaped the UK and beyond, is to ensure that the
significant contributions made throughout the years will never be forgotten.
MNEK returns today with a brand new track from his upcoming debut album! It’s hard to imagine, but despite years of releasing hits to the world, MNEK is still only 23 years old. New track entilted ‘Colour’ also features vocals from Hailee Steinfeld. We sat down with MNEK to talk all things music, his big battles and look to what will no doubt be, an even brighter future.
In other interviews, you’ve mentioned never having a figure like yourself in the industry, is it harder to pen an album when you don’t have a reference to learn from?
I think when I say that, I mean that I don’t have an artist who is like me. Just as far as being out and being an openly gay musician and I drew influence from different areas of music that I love. I always grew up loving 90’s rob, prominent voices and dance music and so it was just an amalgamation of all those things but with my spin on it. Doing it without a point of reference makes it more fun too because there aren’t any rules that I have to follow.
Your early music and all-around demeanour at the start of your career was far more muted that it is today, did you ever feel like you were being pressured to tone it down back then?
I think I was figuring it out. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the evolution of artists being a sudden “now I’m the real me and doing when I want” but really evolution is about the changes that lead up to that point. I can say that getting to that point 18/17 when I was releasing records, that’s who I thought I was. There were some things that I was maybe surprising, but I guess that comes from the knowledge that I have now. Now, when I’m surpessing something, I know that I’m doing it, but more importantly, I remember when to stop. When I first started putting out records, I didn’t think I was gay. So all the rudimental records stuff, was me figuring things out while growing up and being on tour and getting into the Industry and it was a lot! Now thankfully I’ve established myself as a writer-producer which has given me the comfortability to be myself and find myself
What would you say is the goal of this record?
I have a bigger goal and more of a target and what more my career can do. I think when I was putting out music, these were all songs that I loved and I’d written, but now I come with the knowledge that if I’m putting myself out there, it has to help people or for me to be the template for young artists that I didn’t have.
And what is the overall goal of your career in music?
To be the template, I think the main thing for me is not to be the main one, while it’s great for me to be out here saying “I’m the only openly gay pop star” what my goal is, is for me not to be the last.
You’ve made a point about always being yourself, but that can be a detriment to your fanbase and people who don’t agree with your choices – why not stay silent?
Everything happens for a reason, and I have a unique career in the way that it’s not conventional for the person I am to be making music that I’m making. I think that everything I’ve done up to this point has happened for a reason and I’m at a point where I’m doing all that I could have dreamed of.
It’s a great album, I was expecting because of the messaging, for it to be a more melancholic album, but it’s really uplifting!
I sometimes think when it comes down to the gay narrative, it can come across as unrequited love and sadness or that being gay is a hard knock life when in fact, being gay is jokes and so much fun. I have great friends, incredible stories to tell both mine and others and I think there are ways of singing about our experiences and still having a good time. I have ballads on there which are sad, but it’s mixed with sass and my score sting.
You’ve written a lot for other artists, how different is your process when writing for yourself?
It’s both different and the same. When I’m writing for another artist, I’m tailoring it for them. I’ve got to talk to them, and I ask “what are you going through” but when it’s for me, it’s the same conversation, but I’m just having it with me. The way I see the world is different to how DUA will see the world or Zara or Beyonce so I can help paint the picture but it’s got to come for them.
Is it hard putting so much of yourself into your music
No, because I started in the industry when I 14, what was I going to write about at that age. So I grew up and went through things, and that inspires what I sing about now, and I don’t have a problem with it. What’s exciting about releasing this album, is it not belonging to me anymore and it will belong to the fans.
What’s your biggest fear?
Failure, but that comes in different forms. I haven’t learnt to drive a car, but I’ll be damned if I have to kill someone and to be in control of my transport.
What is your FAULT?
I’m incredibly self-conscious which is more from a vanity point of view, as a result of being a big kid and having the weight issue. I’m working at it, and we should all work on our mental health every day and making sure we are our best selves.
In the era of the social media supermodel, Lottie Moss is carving her own niche. With the mammoth ‘MOSS’ legacy name behind her, Lottie appears utterly unfazed by the pressure that comes with it. Rather than picking up her older sister’s mantle by strutting the catwalks, Lottie revels in the freedom of being a campaign model. To have such a significant social media following at such a young age is nothing new. Indeed, given her background, it’s little wonder that other young and aspiring models see her as source of advice. By contrast, the sense of responsibility she clearly feels for curating her digital platform is refreshing for someone at her stage in life. In striving to speak out for the portrayal of healthy body image online and in the media, not to mention her unflinching honesty and directness in interviews, Lottie epitomises the new breed of young, socially conscious online influencers.
We spoke to Lottie after our Style section cover shoot at Soho’s W Hotel to discuss her plans for taking over the fashion world – one campaign at a time.
FAULT: You decided to pursue modeling in favour of going to university. What led you towards that decision when many of your peers went into a different direction?
Lottie Moss: I never felt like school was for me. Modeling also kind of landed in my lap a little bit, and I’m so happy it happened. It’s not something that happens to everyone, it’s a very rare thing ever. I’m lucky to have the opportunity.
What has been the biggest challenge that you’ve encountered after diving head first into a cut-throat industry?
Lottie Moss: It’s been hard with the media knowing what you do all the time.
What is the main thing that you choose to promote with the help of your platform?
Lottie Moss: I usually use my platform in a body-positive way. I post pictures where you can see lumps and bumps, just to show that nobody’s perfect and that it’s okay if there are parts of yourself that you don’t like. I strongly believe in body-confidence. I do it to show that you can do whatever you want – I’m a model and I’m not even remotely tall enough to be one. You can do whatever you want if you just try hard enough.
There are many young girls who look up to you at this point. How do you take that responsibility and react towards it?
Lottie Moss: I always try to post positive things and I’m very careful with what I post on my social channels, especially when I go on nights out. You have to remember that these girls are young and that they’re watching.
Have you ever tried to educate them in a certain direction?
Lottie Moss: Not intentionally, but I do try my best to give out advice when people ask. Girls always DM me and ask me how to become a model and I reply to them in that sense. I would love to get involved in something bigger though.
Do you have any insecurities from when you were young that you’d like to share with your fans for them to learn and grow from?
Lottie Moss: It has to be my height and weight. When you’re younger, you don’t really put on any weight when you eat, and then I obviously started to gain weight when I got older. Growing up with social media, I used to get quite sad over the girls I saw on Instagram. But I realized that I’m special in my own way and that’s what matters.
Many young models have gone through phases of body dysmorphia and anxiety caused by the industry’s unrealistic standards. Is this something that you’ve experienced at any point? And if so – how did you counteract it?
Lottie Moss: I haven’t actually experienced any anxiety as a model, as I’m usually portraying myself so I wouldn’t know what advice to give in that direction. Everyone gets stressed, but I’m lucky as I rarely do.
What individual aspects do you want to bring to your work to set yourself apart?
Lottie Moss: There are so many directions that I want to take. I’m currently working on my own label. It’s going to be amazing – very LA vibes.
You’re very good friends with a lot of models in the industry who come from a similar family background rooted in entertainment. Do you ever feel competitive against each other?
Lottie Moss: I’ve never felt like I’ve ever competed with anyone, but I’ve also never felt like I was a proper model. I’ve never done runway shows or anything like that. The girls who do catwalks probably do feel a little bit of competitiveness, but I’ve never had.
Do you think this is a good way to differentiate yourself as a model?
Lottie Moss: I feel like I’m more of an influencer rather than a model. And I try to be a good role model and stay relevant through the content that I create on my platform.
What’s your FAULT?
Lottie Moss: I have literally no self-control. And I’m really messy too, so untidy!
In 2007, Janelle Monae released her EP entitled ‘Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), the first in a seven-part conceptual series set in the year 2719’s civilisation of Metropolis and told through the eyes of a sentient android, Cindi Mayweather.
The story continued through her 2010 album ‘The ArchAndroid’ and 2013’s ‘The Electric Lady’ and fans followed Cindi Mayweather as she fell in love with a human and travelled back in time to warn of the imminent threat posed by the secret organisation, ‘The Great Divide’.
For her 2018 Album entitled ‘Dirty Computer’, Janelle will be leaving Cindi behind and telling a new story, the story of Janelle Monae. The first two releases from the record ‘Django Jane’ and ‘Make Me Feel’ are still filled with Janelle’s signature style, Afrofuturism and punk soul swag. While a departure from the narrative fans are accustomed, it nevertheless provides what so many have a craved – a glimpse into Janelle’s personal life.
Could it be that as our reality begins to mimic that of the fictitious dystopian future of Metropolis, as too has Janelle been forced to follow in the footsteps of Cindi Mayweather and save the present day from its own “great divide”? Only time will tell. For Janelle at least, it’s all about being present, and at long last, finding the confidence to tell her own story.
FAULT Magazine: You’ve always included social commentary within your music but it was vailed within the narrative of Metropolis. On Dirty Computer, the message is a lot more in your face – why?
Janelle Monae: I knew I was supposed to make Dirty Computer before my first album came out and I always wanted to speak out, but I put it off because I needed to understand where my anger was coming from and how best to channel it.
I am such an honest person and speak very candidly when I’m with friends and family, and that’s what you’ll hear on this album. I sing about politics, race, sexuality, gender on the record but to release the album, I needed to make sure I had the confidence to not self-edit. I needed to be vulnerable, honest and open.
This project is about my freedom and challenging myself to live in the present and not in 2719 through Cindi. I feel like I can contribute to the present day and that I should contribute. I’m choosing to live in the now and to celebrate the people that are not celebrated in the present day. I want to honour those living on the outskirts of society due to their sexuality or gender identity. These are people who I love, and that love me but waking up as an American who cares deeply about the American dream and the rights of all people to it, I feel there is too much at stake to be quiet and to mince my words on specific issues.
Despite the social commentary, it doesn’t feel like a sad or hope lost album. There are many songs about self-love and sexual discovery that it ends up as quite an empowering record, was this the intention?
I’m happy you said that because it’s not meant as a sad album, it’s intended as a celebration for the “dirty computers” of the world who get told that they’re dirty and that they have viruses making them different which they need to have taken away. Dirty Computers should see their uniqueness and their so-called viruses as positive attributes which make them valuable to society.
What’s given you the confidence to say “Right, it’s time to tell the world who Janelle is and tell my story”?
Janelle Monae: There is power in vulnerability, and I think that it needed to start with me. I was inspired by many movies, some of which I’ve been a part of and the stories I read and people I’ve met; when people shared their stories with me so honestly, it resonated.
I’ve been talking about it, but I feel I wasn’t entirely embracing the things that made me unique. I was telling others to as part of my music, but I wasn’t living it, and I think that I was afraid I would lose supporters for doing so.
I had a lot of conversation with myself about who was going to be the subject of the album myself or Cindi, but I’m here now, and I think it’s right that I stay in the present and share my story and walk in my truth as fearlessly as possible.
And how does one live fearlessly?
Janelle Monae: It’s not that I don’t experience fear, but in those moments, I choose freedom and freedom is not free. Freedom always comes with great sacrifice, and there will be people who say hurtful things and not support me because I’m living my truth.
Does it scare you to put yourself out there for scrutiny when people won’t just discuss your music, they’ll twist your music and message and start discussions on you as a person and your personal life?
Janelle Monae: No, I have soul searched, and this time around, I think being honest is most important. It’s about being able to say “hey I’m ok if people don’t like that I’m embracing this side of me”, it’s the side that my friends and family get to see and they still love me the same. I think that my evolution is more important than pleasing people and I may not say it right, I might get some things wrong, and I may stumble along the way but was I honest, was I sincere, was my heart in the right place? Yes, yes and yes.
What scares Janelle Monae?
Janelle Monae: That I won’t have a family within the time frame that I want to have a family. I want to have children, but I don’t want to miss that time because I was so focused on my career and because I didn’t plan accordingly. That scares me most now more than anything. I do want to usher in a new generation of babies that will be better than me and able to dream bigger than me and go out into this world and turn it upside down in a very positive way.
What is your FAULT?
Janelle Monae: One of my FAULTs is that I’m a self-editor and perfectionist and I don’t enjoy my experiences when I’m so focused on being consistently perfect in every situation. It’s something that I’ve had to work on my entire life actively. It used to consume my experience, and I couldn’t enjoy things because I was so focused on how they were going to be presented. I was so concerned with what people thought, but now I’m just at this point in my life where I’m finding strength in my imperfections, and I realise that I connect more with myself and with other people when my FAULTs are being shared for all to see.