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Performativity and All-White Workplaces: The Racism that Happens Behind-the-scenes of the Fashion Industry

In the wake of the recent global Black Lives Matter protests, discussions surrounding racism within the workplace have been bought to light, with individuals and former employees finally finding the courage to speak out about their experiences of discrimination. As a result, many industries and companies have come under fire for their problematic attitudes towards their non-white employees and their consequential lack of action, with the fashion industry being one of the most revealing. It will come as no surprise to anyone that the fashion industry lacks diversity, with runways and fashion campaigns featuring predominantly white, thin models, and constant instances of cultural appropriation seen on the runway and in collections. However, recent years have shown a development in the diversity seen on the runway, with South Sudanese model Adut Akech winning model of the year at the 2019 Fashion Awards. Whilst this improvement cannot be said for every fashion house (just look at the Dior AW20 campaign), the inclusivity seen amongst models is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. One well-known luxury fashion brand that has been hailed for the diversity of their models is Jacquemus. This French fashion house, founded by designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, is most well-known for its stunning runway show backdrops, the Le Chiquito mini bags and also inclusivity of models of all sizes, races and genders, with Vogue even congratulating the brand for their “gorgeously diverse casting”. Whilst Jacquemus has been praised for this diversity, recent revelations prove that this inclusivity goes no deeper than surface level. Continue reading Performativity and All-White Workplaces: The Racism that Happens Behind-the-scenes of the Fashion Industry

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My Favourite Album Covers: From Pre-teen Pop to Peach Pit

For me, the best album covers will always be the ones that perfectly encapsulate the music they contain, showing you how the album is going to make you feel or what it’s trying to say before you’ve heard the opening notes. In fact, the best albums, in my opinion, are the ones that have a unifying emotion or sentiment that you feel in every single one of its songs. After trawling through my saved Spotify albums, though, I quickly realised that not all these great albums have the best covers, nor do the best covers belong to the best albums. Continue reading My Favourite Album Covers: From Pre-teen Pop to Peach Pit

Making Herstory: How TIME is Foregrounding Women’s Excellence

In response to the historic gender exclusivity of their ‘Man of the Year’ issues, published for 72 years, TIME Magazine recently launched a project, recreating 100 covers, each celebrating a ‘Woman of the Year’ from 1920 to 2019. The project aims to turn the spotlight to the achievements of women which were historically overshadowed by those of their male counterparts. From renowned fashion icon Coco Chanel to mathematical revolutionary Emmy Noether, from the champion of Indian independence Amrit Kaur to sporting legend Serena Williams, TIME’s project truly presents an incredible compilation of female champions. Continue reading Making Herstory: How TIME is Foregrounding Women’s Excellence

Creative Corner: NinaValentine Designs

During the early stages of lockdown, when I still had a dissertation to write and exams to sit, I was able to keep the boredom at bay. Even though it was hard to motivate myself to do work, at least I had something to aim for. Once I was finished however, suddenly I had all this time on my hands with nothing to do. All of my summer plans were cancelled, jobs and internships were postponed, and I had to find something to do to fill my days – so I wouldn’t go completely mad! Continue reading Creative Corner: NinaValentine Designs

Reading Corner: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

My sister and I gave The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse to our mum for Christmas – a wise present it turns out, seeing as I’ve now read it more times than she has. Looking at it again this past week has been a comforting escape. The book is formed from a collection of beautifully expressive ink illustrations with handwritten words, stitched together by a gently anchoring narrative. We follow four friends: an inquisitive boy who asks questions about the world and ponders his relationships with the others; a mole full of reassuring words, whose thoughts are also largely occupied by cake (which makes for some of my favourite moments); a fox who is reserved and quiet because of their past, yet loved by the others no matter what; and a wise horse who reveals an ability to fly. The story’s subtle linearity stitches the order of the pages together, but you don’t need to read it cover to cover. Each page is an isolated piece of art and storytelling in its own right, so dip in and dip out; you’ll never be lost in the story. Continue reading Reading Corner: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Review: RAMM Lates

Last Friday night I went to the RAMM for just the second time since I’ve lived in Exeter. As an English student and exhibition lover, I find it strange that there is such a valuable resource in the centre of town that I have never used. The RAMM Lates event highlighted the fact that the RAMM is a great resource that has real relevance to the student community. Museums allow us to experience culture up close and without the filter of computer screens that we have become accustomed to. After learning about Native American culture and history last term I found it eye-opening to be able to see firsthand authentic artefacts – such as traditional clothing and weapons – from Native American culture. So surely this is a resource we should all be using more often? Continue reading Review: RAMM Lates

Review: Re:Claimed Fashion Show

On Saturday night, I walked into Unit 1 at 6:45 (truly the earliest I think I have ever set foot there), excited for a night of fashion. The main dance floor had been filled with chairs, set up to include a runway right through the middle. We took our seats, second row from the front – the front rows were reserved for the designers responsible for the garments we were about to see grace the runway (this was the moment when I felt like I really was at a real fashion show). The Re:Claimed Fashion show, put on by Exeter Fashion Society, aimed to showcase local and student ethical, sustainable brands with a focus on celebrating the diversity and creativity of the sustainable fashion industry. The show promised a celebration of fashion’s creativity, as well as performances from URBN Dance, Pole Fitness, Breakdance, Dance Society and Mishaal Javed. Continue reading Review: Re:Claimed Fashion Show

Illustrated Vogue Italia: An Environmentally Conscious Approach

If you asked the general person what they picture when they imagine a Vogue cover, for many the same portrait would spring to mind: a perfectly shot photograph printed on glossy paper, peeping through the other magazines at the airport or newsagent. However, Vogue Italia has totally shaken up this image with their January 2020 edition, scrapping the photoshoot for one edition only, instead filling the magazine cover-to-cover with illustrations. Conde Nast, Vogue’s publishing company, announced in a press release that the purpose of this move was sustainability. Continue reading Illustrated Vogue Italia: An Environmentally Conscious Approach

Arty Nudes

There goes the age-old art centric debate; what constitutes nude and what naked? Nudity is often viewed as the artful posing of the naked human form, whereas nakedness is often perceived as more vulnerable, unrefined and bare – in such a sense nudity is often elevated to a higher artistic and cultural standing, with nakedness being largely associated with censorship and stigmatisation. The terms are often used interchangeably, and while this may not be 100% linguistically correct, I would argue that it is important to destigmatise the taboos surrounding nakedness; a naked body is just that, whether it can be perceived as sexually attractive should not be central to the manner in which we address it. As demonstrated, both words mean the unclothed human body, so how did such a differentiation in contextual understanding occur? Art critic John Berger previously argued the meaning of the nude has changed over the years; in his 1972 book ‘Ways of Seeing’  he says that the nude has been continuously utilised to portray the female body in a manner that is sexually pleasing to the viewer, whereas a ‘naked’ piece of art depicts a sitter embodying their own space and pleasure. Whether this is true is dependent on the subjective opinion of the viewer, something that has undoubtedly changed throughout history. Continue reading Arty Nudes

Review: Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits @ The Royal Academy of Arts

This winter the Royal Academy of Arts has exhibited Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits. The collection of portraits ranges from his early career in 1940, to his most recent work in 2001. This masterfully curated exhibition focuses on the self and demonstrates how Freud’s painting style has changed and matured over time. The exhibition progresses from his early surrealist painting, to his later brutally realist work, exposing the frailty of his aged body. The style of his portraits is striking and contradictory as Freud resists being exposed and “known”, he hides in his paintings, yet also maintains intrigue as the subject of the portrait. Continue reading Review: Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits @ The Royal Academy of Arts