The secret is out folks.  Not Just a Label, a directory of designers that has become a squirelling resource for bloggers like myself.  The shop launch of course hasn't gone amiss and even before I saw the selection, with Robin Schuli√©, head buyer of Maria Luisa in Paris, hosting the shop, I knew he'd give us some good picks.  The store has also launched on the day of that 9Festival for Fashion & Photography in Vienna organised by Unit F b√ºro f√ºr mode has begun and is sort of like the online shop contingent of the festival, showcasing and selling Austrian designers like Anna Aichinger, Ute Ploier and Awareness and Consciousness.  I will also be attending the festival in Vienna next week for the Fashion 2.0 Blogger Day... basically a day of geeking out over fashion blogs with Diane Pernet, Imran BOF and Julia from Les Mads.

But back to the shop, it's not the easiest to navigate and once you get into the nitty gritty, you fast realise that this is not a fashion e-shop in the fullest sense of the word given that they're selling one-off pieces, each in one size, kind of along the lines of Soup and Fish which is alas no more…

The selection is of course incredible and it has given a platform to people who don't have a production line and might still be students themselves.  So I will forgive the site for not having larger images or image views or a designer directory on the store.  The roster of designers is meant to change with Diane Pernet taking over the selection in July but it's already started off well with designers hailing from all over the place…. I've picked out only a handful of peeps with my favourites being Jiwon Jahng, Pia Stanchina, Su Pei Ho, and Anna Aichinger

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If you're up early enough, you might have already seen it.  If you're not, then you might see it later.  Or if you hate Metro and all that it stands for, you won't see it at all and you'll scorn me forever more.  I'm writing this post beforehand so I haven't seen it yet but in the Metro should be a double page spread with these pics all over it and a wee interview.  Pourquoi you ask?  For once, I can explain it and don't have to shrug "I dunno…" the way that Tim Bisley did on Spaced.

For this year's Graduate Fashion Week (June 7th – June 11th), I will be at the event throughout the entire time, blogging away at a designated stand.  Sadly it's not a plastic bulbous bubble which would have been HILAR.  I'll be seeing all the uni shows, thrusting a dictaphone in people's faces, taking a hideous amount of pictures and going a bit mental with the blogging given that I'd be sitting full time doing it.  Yes, some people still don't seem to realise I hold a separate full time job outside of blogging…

So I went and chose a few of my favourite pieces from a selection of graduates that will be at GFW and the lovely Philip Waterman shot me in them and had the hard task of getting me to move properly given I'm not great in front of foreign cameras.  I tried to choose a variety of pieces, representing what I think are superb pieces in their own right and what I would actually wear in reality… different facets of my style as it were.  I'm looking forward to meeting the students who made them and discovering the rest of their collections.

I'm getting myself involved in a few graduate-related projects at the moment and GFW is a key one just because it's nice to have the resources and time to talk up students outside of the bigger schools like Antwerp/CSM.  This will be a bit more invasive and if the students don't know what the hell this blog is or in fact what a blog is, I'll just invade my way in anyway.  If you're free to come down to Earls Court for a bit, a student/exhibitor or you're going down regardless, please do drop by and say 'Hi!'.  I promise I won't be distracted by IrfanView batch resizing too much…

Kasia Bishop (Ravensbourne College of Design & Communication) – I'm so glad the cut-outs at the back of this dress came out fairly sharp on camera because they are mind blowingly intricate in real life and I was actually shitting myself because I thought I'd break it when putting it on. 
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Meera Stannard (University of Westminster) – I'm told this is actually a menswear ensemble.  Not that that's gonna stop me.  I loved the print that is a sort of scratchy paint print and the way that it contrasts with the lovely yellow mohair….

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Iwona Pilch (Middlesex University)
– The rest of this collection actually blows my mind and this dress I'm wearing isn't the best piece in my opinion but clues people into the covered wooden bead motif which runs through… had to breathe in a bit for the dress…

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Lois Porte (University of the West of England, Bristol) – This inched its way into the ensemble of the day.  I had so much fun flinging this gigantic knit around the place to make it move.  It made zero sense when it was on the hanger but once on, the volume of it seemed to have a life of its own.  The matching silk printed leggings were a treat too…

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Holly Russell (Manchester Metropolitan University)
– I believe this piece has been photographed on Alice Dellal.  Sure she looks heaps better in it but it does weirdly look like my black hair is running into the shoulders where there are these flowing hair shoulder pads.  The make-up/hair woman had to keep brushing the shoulder pads down to keep it smooth…

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DSC_0552 You'd think at this point what with i-D going down to six issues a year, Mixte folding and plenty of rumours adrift, THAT dream that I mused about over a year ago would well and truly be dead.  Yup, it's the 'I-Want-To-Start-A-Teen-Zine-Without-Any-Funds' dream.  The one that ain't gonna happen for the time being because any discerning bank manager would laugh at me and throw their branded cheap biros at me as I leave dejected and sorry.  Still, I continue to gather research materials and imagine parallel universes where such dream magazine would exist.  Vogue Girl Korea has always intrigued me despite the fact I've never actually seen it in person and only really existed for me in the form of scans of delightful editorials from TFS.  Turns out, that it's bloody impossible to import Korean mags and not even mag wonder gods RD Franks could do it.  Still, I managed to get one copy via a colleague and proceeded to peruse it with gusto. 

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Given that it's supposed to be the Korean version of US Teen Vogue, I decided to do a quick geeky page/ad count.  It's visibly thicker for a start.  I discounted inserts and gatefolds and counted up 318 pages in Vogue Girl Korea and 132 pages in Teen Vogue.  Ads wise, including advertorials Vogue Girl Korea stacks up at 85 pages of ads and Teen Vogue at 41 pages of ads.  The percentages are as expected fairly even with Vogue Girl Korea weighing in at 26% of ads and Teen Vogue inching ahead with 31%.  I can only judge by pictures as I can't read Korean text but a scan over the content and there were striking differences.  Firstly, there's a pretty hefty chunk of editorial in Vogue Girl Korea dedicated to skincare which is in line with Asian mags in general and their appetite for trying any new wonder products.  I long for the day when I go into Sasa in Hong Kong and get bombarded with SAs trying to sell me some product or another and come out HKD500 lighter.  Mugged?  Much?

Then there's just the wider breadth of content that with more page space allows Vogue Girl Korea to muse over a broader range of topics… giving much food for the brain to think about whilst gathering up information for my parallel universe self. 

Was pleased to see that Ari of Advanced Style got profiled and the piece also gave props to older peeps like Irene Williams, Iris Barrel Apfel, Lynn Yaeger and Anna Piaggi….

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Life beyond fashion doesn't necessarily mean flimsy investigative pieces into girl gang bullying and bulemia.  It's also positively reflected with restaurant reviews and a feature that profiles different places to take a pleasant walk along with music suggestions.  A touch on the trite side of things but if I could read the text and lived in Korea, I might take suggested walk and feel a whole lot better for it…

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Amateur photographer profiles that asks ppl about their equipment and their favourite shots.  Flickr potential aplenty…

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A peek inside noted people's drawers?  Not sure if they're actual people or imagined but the contents are lovely all the same…

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There's much to be said about the tendancy for youth-focused magazines in Asia to be demonstrative, instructional and at times very literal.  If it's actually useful information, I quite like presented to me DUMMY-like… in this issue, they survey studying abroad at various universities with I guess what are profiles of the various facilities at each uni.  The really useful bit comes where they pick out the best bits from a ton of Korean e-fashion shops.  Call me cheesy but I love these kind of lists that clog up page space with oodles and oodles of product…. Japanese mags do this especially well… 

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Then of course there's the fashion that has taken that particular Teen Vogue aeshetic and added their own flair…

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Like I said before, it's not a perfect specimen just like Nylon/Teen Vogue aren't for this particular mag genre but I really wish someone would find a way of getting it stocked somewhere here… if not for the occasional browsing that keeps feeding that far and distant dream..

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When I last discussed Gemma Degara's work, I was joyous that at last, the mid-levels is upon us, a wave of designers who aren't up in the clouds about the pricing of their pieces who are threatening to bankrupt us all through retailers like Pixie Market (give me a UK-based version and I'd be a happy bunny indeed…). 

I might be playing a cynical game here but Degara's latest A/W09-10 'Sleepless Night' collection has been significantly ramped up a notch design-wise instilling a fear that perhaps her Etsy prices of USD100-200 won't be the case anymore.  A look at Spanish online shop Doshaburi confirms this slight pricing up.

That said, in an upward curve in design, this collection is also a standout in terms of design, warranting the wee price hike that still wouldn't be out of place on Pixie Market (Hint hint hint: Stock Degara!)…

There's something in the shapes of the pieces that have become that slightly bit more complex yet it would all deliciously fall into place into most people's wardrobes with that longer back, shorter, cropped front shape.  The colours are kept simple in a deep navy and green enhanced by a beautiful feather and barn owl print.  I'm intrigued by the pairing of the  floopy rucksack with the draped dress, as lately I've been overwearing the boyf's Material Boy leather one and browsing at deadstock military rucksacks.  Naturally I do hope the frilly gloves she has going on in the lookbook are up for sale on her Etsy which she hopefully will update with this collection around summertime…

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