Everyone knows that there are answers that you think you should say and the truthful answers that you want to hide away.  In the numerous interviews that I’ve done, when people ask me what is my most treasured item in my closet, I don’t really have one particular thing that I treasure the most but I flimsily say something like 1920’s chinese kimono or my vintage Balenciaga coat.  These answers have some element of truth in them but I don’t think I will ever treasure an item as much as I did with my Levi’s denim jacket which my dad bought for me in a vintage shop.  Except if I said that now, people would be guffawing over the fact I said ‘Denim Jacket’.  But the truth is, when I was 13, I loved that jacket to bits and wore it to death.  I’d layer it with lots of sweaters and scarves in the cold even though I should have been wearing a bulkier coat.  I’d wear it inappropriately when the occasion called for smarter things.  Being vintage, it was actually two sizes too big for me yet for some inexplicable reason, I loved loved loved it.  Don’t ask me why I felt a natty Levi’s jacket was so empowering but for a 13 year old, I felt awesome so much so that I’d be bouncing around thinking ‘Awesome’ in my head in that ‘Cecile from Cruel Intentions’ chirpy bouncy way.  Can anyone say sad?  Sadly (or fortunately depending on your opinion on medium wash blue denim jackets…) the whereabouts of this jacket, I can’t even tell you what with all the uni-moving etc.

Denim jacket memories were deeply buried and in any case, I never came across ones that made me feel that way ever since.  The Topshop Moto ones which everyone bought for a while?  Nah…  Seeking out a similar vintage one?  Too light and too tight (as hipster uniform dictates the way denim jackets should be….).  Until the lovely Dree at Urban Collection sourced me a vintage Jordache jacket which was exactly the right shade and in addition has a few more bits and bobs to it – a belt assymetric front zips and zips on the sleeves which I promptly had to snap because at that very moment, waves of 13 year old me bouncing along with a high ponytail and listening to Blur on my discman washed over me.

Some denim jacket cliches which I love…

Using patterned tights to detract away from the supposed ‘boring’ stereotype of a denim jacket // A short flirty skirt with a denim jacket that says ‘I’m casual but not a slob…’. 

Ah… the lumberjack shirt and the denim jacket….’nuff said // Florals and denim jacket that a lot of Aaron Spelling TV show characters adopted for a while…

In the latest issue of Pop magazine which is dedicated to 90’s super model Stephanie Seymour, sex appeal, va-va-voom and a body that quite literally goes in and out in an almost cartoonish way (Katie Grand compares Seymour to Jessica Rabbit), it seemed almost incongruous to have this editorial ‘Angelic Upstart’ shot and styled by Manuela Pavesi in it. It features a child no more than seven years old I would guess, styled in a sort of elegant bag lady and simultaneously childish and ladylike way. Having posted similar editorials where children are depicted wearing couture etc on the blog, the reaction has generally been of disapproval and that it is deemed uncomfortable to see children dressed in such a way. However, I think this editorial touches on a whole other issue that provokes some thought in the changing state of fashion in the 21st century, whether you agree with having children dolled up in this way or not.

It strikes me that the the editorial seems to be pointing out that mere children or tweenagers ARE getting into fashion that much earlier. Me at 11 yrs old, still wearing Micky Mouse tracksuit bottom sets bought from Ladies Market in Hong Kong. Tween of the same age hanging around in the Chanel store in Selfridges with her mother wearing a Topshop satin dress over Cheap Monday jeans and vintage heels (3 inch ones at that…) and yes swinging around a Chanel 2.55 bag. We now have 15 year olds styling photoshoots, younger fashion enterprisers (Kira Plastinina is the name that is abound at the moment…) and bloggers.

That isn’t bitterness. Fairplay that there is savviness abound amongst tweens in a way that I never witnessed growing up and certainly never had the smarts to do when I was that age. This doesn’t just apply to fashion though, as similarly I saw some ish promising music coming from a band that had the average age of about 11 with a similarly aged fanbase decked out in outfits that were from my perspective, pretty spot on, leaving me baffled as to what has happened to that ‘dodgy/naff clothing stage’ that supposedly tweens/teens go through. Back to the editorial though, the clothes are also mostly vintage which got me thinking about the aforementioned fashion savviness of the young ones that now does effectively mean certain 13 year olds are referencing Criterion DVDs and injecting the sort of thought and intellect in their outfits which I never imagined doing at the same age. They raid Annie’s Vintage and Cloud Cuckoo Land for Victorian petticaots and hope to channel Louise Brooks.

Don’t mistake this for a rant as it is merely an observation that fascinates someone like me who is a fan of style formed around an array of inspirations that trascend the basic structure of trends. These are merely thoughts expounded from a series of images that I may have over-analysed. Oh well.

If we delve into the true sense of the word ‘indie’, what we really are saying is independent. No hip/cool associations. No style associations really. The essence of the word is independent and that’s that. Spork Fashion highlighted the work of Gazebo Textiles, run by Ricki Lee Moler who lives in Pennsylvania. Without meaning to cause any offense to the designer, the website is a little on the basic side. Nothing flashy (quite literally…zero flash content). No background music. No minimal backgrounds with simple fonts (the favoured format of new fashion designer websites…). No slideshows which don’t allow you save the images. No slightly poncy or quote worthy ‘philosophy/mission statement’. No ‘fashiony’ photographs that might obscure the clothes. It‚Äôs all honest and plain, letting Moler‚Äôs hand dying, fabric painting and batik techniques speak for themselves. I am sort of ashamed at just how swayed and instantly impressed I am by swish websites or fantastic campaign imagery when really, at the end of the day, it‚Äôs the clothes that have to do the talking.

However, even looking at Gazebo‚Äôs images, some of you might be thinking ‚ÄòWhat sort of freaky tea has Susie been drinking?‚Äô as in brutal honesty, some of the pieces can come off looking a little ‚Äòhippyish‚Äô? In the season of all things painterly, delicate, floaty and just a little bit whimsical though, with the right styling, these pieces, though pretty in their own right, would look a lot more ‚ÄòSusie-ified‚Äô once my own wardrobe has been incorporated. What I‚Äôm honing in on though is the unique nature of each garment in that the dye effects are more organic as opposed to the high street dip dye offerings (of which there will be many judging from the magazine high street supplements…). What I‚Äôm really saying is that I need to be looking beyond the cache of cool that often new designers swathe themselves with because sometimes it can yield pleasantly surprising results.

Ah… to be 20 and full of bright ideas again.  I’ve always wondered why fashion blogging in the UK hasn’t taken off at the same pace as it has in the USA or even Europe (I can name top ten French fashion blogs but I can’t do the same for the UK….).  Of course, unlike fash-geek overe here, London’s young things are out and about or else, they’re creating sites like Pollocks that isn’t of the usual fash-blog ilk.  Newly set up by Josef Valentino, Callum T and Nantay who have an average age of 19, Pollocks is a space for individuals to upload and share their work on their Blank Canvas, be it photography, fashion design, video or anything that can be displayed on the web.  I believe they’re also going to be asking people to bring their work into a monthly gallery event to tack their work up on the walls. 

I’ll be watching the Pollocks with great interest.  Some recent finds include…

Gloria Loves Valentine has created these images for Swear Shoes to celebrate Swear’s greatest hits…

Scott Webster’s image of something blurry yet beautiful…

Simian Coates’ photography as featured in War! magazine and styled by Molaroid.  A great little freebie mag, which came out a while ago and featured many fresh UK graduate designers…