Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Patched Jeans And Bustier

 
Image Courtesy Of Warner Bros, Records

Oh, so 90s!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Elaine Hersby

Photo Courtesy Of Elaine Hersby

WHERE ARE YOU PRESENTLY LOCATED?
We are based in Copenhagen.

 WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CITY?
The four different seasons, and you are able to ride a bike everywhere.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was born in Sweden and grew up in Denmark, Copenhagen.

WHAT WERE YOUR CHILDHOOD ASPIRATIONS?
I was an elite gymnast as a kid, which was my dream to be one of the best in Denmark if I couldn’t be a designer.

WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN FASHION AND WHEN WAS YOUR LABEL FOUNDED?
 My dad was a big fashionista and inspiration in my childhood. My mom went to the same design school as me, so she thought me how to sew when I was six. I’ve always had a passion for fashion and a weakness for good handcraft.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND TRAINING?
I received my educated from the Danish design school, Margrethe-Skolen, and I’ve been trained by Henrik Vibskov.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
It varies each season. Inspiration, sketches and sourcing is one big mix in my creative process. There are ofcourse always changes in the last minute.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND’S AESTHETICS?
Wearable. Minimalistic. High quality clothes with a sporty twist.

WHO OR WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCES?
To be honest, a very powerful and strong woman called Coco Chanel.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE AND TASTE?
Sporty with feminine details and comfort with high quality. ANY HOBBIES? Well my business started as a hobby that I suddenly do every day. Other than that, I dance, surf and love skiing.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND? 
With a huge five o’clock cocktail.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Bandana Is The New Choker

Illustration By Rob-Mcilwain

OK, so instead of keeping a blue flag hanging out your backside or perfecting the mammy look, how about ornamenting your precious neck?

Check, Seko Shamte.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Seko Shamte

Photo Courtesy Of Seko Shamte

WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW AND HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED THERE?
I am currently based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and I have always lived here save for the years I lived in the U.S. for college, and as a kid.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CITY?
Definitely the food and the people. Tanzanians are very warm and peaceful people. We have something called uungwana where we really help each other out and look after one another.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was mostly raised in Dar es Salaam but we had years where we moved to Massachusetts in the U.S as well as Asia when I was kid. I moved back to New York City for college.

WHAT WERE YOUR CHILDHOOD ASPIRATIONS?
I always wanted to be in the arts. Music. Design. Those things were always my jam and thankfully I found a way to incorporate all of that into the work I do. I always say film is the perfect intersection of the things I like.

HOW AND WHY DID YOU BECOME ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU ARE: PRODUCER, WRITER, DIRECTOR, DJ. . .?
DJing was a natural extension of my love for music. I played instruments as a kid, was president of the music club in middle school, performed all over the place, and eventually landed a job in radio when I was 17. Media was always going to be my path. The writing and everything else was always a part of me as well. I always had a huge imagination and lived in my own head creating characters and such. It was all destined for me.

WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?
I moved around a lot but I got my BSc. in Finance with a minor in Media from Marymount Manhattan College.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Most of the stuff I work on starts as an obsession either with the topic or the person. I really love history and I’m particularly fascinated with Tanzanian history and I always look for these parallels between the “then" and the “now" so there will always be a historical link in my work. Sometimes I’ll see something during my day and I’ll think to myself, “That would make a really good scene or this conversation would be interesting to pursue on the screen”. They say never be friends with a writer because you will be written about. From there I’ll probably jot it down and it could turn into a short story or just a synopsis. My mind doesn’t really rest, I’ll dream about it, think about it, talk about it until it morphs into something.

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU ON A DAY TO DAY?
 So many people and things. My husband inspires my day to day, just his energy of invincibility and curiosity about the world. My parents are the biggest influences in my life. My dad is an engineer with this amazing, analytical mind that is a joy to behold and my mom has levels of emotional intelligence that are unparalleled. She really taught me how to harness my intuition and I live a very intuitive life. She’s also an amazing writer who made sure I went to writing camp in the summer and offers the most insightful critiques of my work. I’m also inspired by Tanzanian and African kids who really make it on a large scale within their industries like, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Lupita Nyong’o they represent us in the best way. I love to see people living out their dreams.

HOW DID THE MOVIE “HOMECOMING” COME ABOUT AND WHAT THEMES ARE YOU PURSUING?
“Homecoming” started out as a short story after observing how we, “returnees”, flounder the first couple of years when we got back home. How we kind of exist between two worlds and don’t fully fit in either one. I then used that experience to attempt to analyze corruption and how it perpetuates itself, generation after generation. Everyone has a solution for corruption in Tanzania but I was interested in how it takes hold in us. Are we doomed to repeat our parent’s mistakes? The concept is a bit abstract but I worked hard to make it simple and thoughtful at the same time.

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF AFRICAN CINEMA?
Very, very bright. We are natural storytellers and all we needed was the equipment and technical know-how and we are finally getting that. I foresee us completely dominating film in the next couple of decades.

HOW CAN WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN CINEMATOGROPHY BE INCREASED?
This is a huge question and I doubt I could really do it justice; I will say that for many years women have been socialized to avert more technical vocations. There is a deep scarcity of women in STEM and other technical professions but I think that is slowly changing. We need to conquer that fear that society attempts to instill in us from an early age of mathematics or science based subjects. That self-doubt that makes us not even bother for fear of being unworthy. There is also a lack of access to cameras and such from an early age. Cinematographers live and breath their cameras and lenses, it becomes an extension of themselves and that usually needs to start at an early age. Like I said it is a broad conversation that has many different angles.

WHAT HAS BEEN A PIVOTAL MOMENT?
When I completed my first feature documentary, “Mkwawa” in 2011. To see a long form project through from conception to completion requires a tenacity that I realized I had. My confidence grew 10-fold and I became more confident in my film making skills.

HOW DOES YOUR AESTHETICS APPLY IN YOUR OWN LIFE?
I live for the arts. I surround myself with artists and imaginative people. I love to dress up, go out and meet people. My music selection is pretty eclectic, I grew up on classical (since I played the violin) music and hip hop (Born in the 80s) and everything in between. If it’s good, I’ll listen to it. I love Asian food. Thai, Indian, Japanese - the mixture of flavors and textures and also the freshness of the ingredients not to mention that array of fruits. It is my absolute favorite though I do make a mean coq au vin. My style is pretty straight forward. I love the avant-garde designers, McQueen, Rei Kawakubo, Galliano etc, the masters, though in my own wardrobe I wear a lot of clean lines. I barely wear patterns. My comfort zone is black and jeans. Yes, even in this tropical heat! I love the masters but definitely central African art has a special place in my heart. I also really love Takashi Murakami, he is definitely an inspiration. As en extension of the clean lines I like in my wardrobe, I also love clean lines in my furniture so Scandinavian design is my favorite with splashes of African art thrown in.

HOW DO YOU SPENT TIME AWAY FROM WORK?
I feel like I’m always working since my mind doesn’t shut off too easily but I work hard on meditation and presence so I can gain some stillness. I read a lot, I work out, do yoga and my favorite, I DJ or go out and dance with my friends. I’ve got a lot going on, a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I’m ever changing and always the same all at once.

HOW DO YOU STAY CENTERED?
Meditation is the lifeline to presence and to the higher power. God is the absolute center of my life, best friend and constant companion. I try to be mindful and aware at all times and practice gratitude the first thing when I wake up and before I go to bed and as many times as I can in between.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Erin Benach Creates Characters

Photo Courtesy Of Erin Benach

It's the morning of Thanksgiving.  Erin Benach is doing phone interviews at her home in Eagle Rock, a motion picture favoured neighbourhood of Northeast L.A., California. She likes living here because it's a small family friendly community where you can walk.

A, Q and A session with Benach usually lasts about half an hour, whereupon the journalist has beforehand been instructed by Benach's firm but friendly assistant to "please make sure you don’t go too far over 30 minutes." The film "Loving" where Benach served as costume designer has recently premiered and she has several interviews scheduled before the buzzing of the turkey dinner begins, on this festive occassion in her element, with her family. Among them her first born and husband whom she had missed dearly, in her spare time, when she was four months pregnant and 3,000 miles away shooting in Richmond, Virginia, and amidst contemplation on how to make Richard Loving's attire appeal to a 21st century audience.

Growing up, Benache wanted to become a teacher. She ended  up studying  graphic design and photo journalism at Newhouse School, Syracuse University, New York. She had also developed an intense passion for fashion but never felt she fit in with its crowd. After graduation Benach worked with Penguin where she designed covers. She also took on freelance assignments and began taking night classes at the Fashion Technology Institute. She spent her first two weeks holiday interning on a movie set.

"Capturing the script and what people's psychology are. What is real," says Benach in reference tor her extensive portofolio that is dominately influenced by a documentary style discpline. The past, present and realistic future. Like in, "In the Mood for Love", "Children of Men" and "2046".

It's this quest for realism that saw Ryan Gosling's character transform from a cool dude to something of a dweeb opposite Michelle Williams in the film "Blue Valentine", and in another role, the driver in the neo-noir "Drive", into a demon.

In 2015, Benach began production of the movie "Loving" after screenwriter and director Jeff Nichols had been tapped to write the script. Familiar with the Loving vs. Virginia civil rights case, Benach reached out to Nicholsas she wanted to be part of this important project. The task at hand was how to bridge the precedent with the immediate for the characters and atmosphere not to come across dated, but fresh: The resolution was found below Loving's belt.

The beauty of monochrome images is their timelessness, and clothes, especially, when shot in black and white tend to appear classic and contemporary regardless of the era in which they're shot. Switch to colour and suddenly the same collection can instantly provoke a "That is so last year". Now guys sag their jeans, 60 years ago they were hiking them up (they probably weren't hiking them up, just wearing them around their waists instead of on their butt cheeks). The solution was to tweak Richard's trousers in the crotch area. Yes, this is where the snipping happened.

To meticulously mimic Loving's wardrobe outlined in "Life" photographed by Grey Villet, Benach consulted a menswear designer on how to approach the craft without overruning the truth. Authenticity is what Erin Benach strives for in her artistic endvours. "I like to tell stories and don't need the distractive orchestra," she said. A few minutes later she has another call.