Personal Style

Berlin Tattoo Ink Lovn’

When I first came to Berlin a few years back, it didn’t take me long to work out that Berlin women love their ink.  What I found particularly interesting was the more petite and ‘innocent looking’ the woman looked, the more ‘in your face’ her tattoo was.  I’m aware that London girls fly their tattoo flags high as well, but now I live in Berlin, from the considerable artful displays I’ve seen adorn the bodies of their female population, I think that Berlin girls fly theirs a tad higher.

When I’ve been out and about, I’ve always wanted to stop the Berliners I see with the most interesting tattoos, but so far, I haven’t had the guts.  For some reason, I find it easier to stop randoms on the street to take street style pics.  So I got very excited when during my fashion editorial shoot last week, I saw that the photographer’s assistant- Tintin Jonsson– had a mighty fine artistic display creeping up her arm, and I decided to pry into each one-

My Fashion S/ash Life- Talk me through your tattoos, which is the first one you got?

Tintin- That would be this old Irish-pattern tattoo I got when I was 16-

Tintin- I really wanted to get a tattoo at 16 and when I asked for my parents’ permission, my dad gave me his blessing- he is actually covered in tattoos, so he was like ‘Yeah, for sure, do it!’

My Fashion S/ash Life- What came next?

Tintin-  Then I got this roses friendship tattoo

My Fashion S/ash Life (laughs)- Wow, that must have been some friendship!  What came next?

Tintin- My whole family is Catholic, so I got this Virgin Mary tattoo

My Fashion S/ash Life- Well, you certainly found a more visually arresting alternative to going to church! Who out there inspires you when it comes to getting tattoos- apart from your father ofcourse!

Tintiin (laughs)- Actually, my dad has awful tattoos! I’m really inspired by the French tattoo artist called Guy Le Tatooer and he comes to Berlin every second month to do tattoos at the AKA shop.  The shop often has guest tattoo artists and it also doubles up as an art gallery.

I think Guy is amazing and he is famous for doing these Mandala, super detailed black and white tattoos and this is the Mandala tattoo he did for me-

My Fashion S/ash Life- What’s a Mandala tattoo?

Tintin- I think it has its roots in Hinduism/Buddhism and it’s when the tattoo starts at the centre and then goes out in shit-loads of detailed, repeated patterns.

My Fashion S/ash Life- Any plans to get more tattoos done?

Tintin- Yes, but although I love colour in general, I really want to focus on super-detailed black and white tattoos.

My Fashion S/ash Life- Do you plan to get these tattoos to follow-up your arm?

Tintin- Yes, I’m going to continue on my arm that already has tattoos and then I’m done.  I think!

Personal Style

Ask Biki

Question

Hi Biki

I have an event next week in New York, the dress code is ‘Fashion Week Chic’ and the party is happening in the evening.  Please advise on which of the below outfits is best?

Outfit 1

Outfit 2

Outfit 3

From Chichi.

My Response

Dear Chichi

The event’s dress code imply that you are to look fashionable and chic, so the second outfit best fits the theme of the night.  Reason being, the low neckline and length of the romper, make it more youthful than the other options(and as we all know fashion favours the young!)whilst the olive-green hue and silk texture still make it chic.
In my opinion, the first and third outfit are far too formal for a fashion event and most importantly they hide your best assets!
As New York is still mildly warm at the moment, you can afford to show your fabulous pins in their full glory.  For this ensemble I would like your prominent colour themes to be olive-green and gold, because I believe the two tones really compliment each other.  Furthermore, with your skin tone the combination will make you glow and gleam like a Greek goddess. 
Your accessories– namely,your jewellery, shoes or bag– will be a great way to incorporate a golden hue into your ensemble.
I would especially love to see a vintage-inspired gold and black belt cinching your waist.
I would also advise on using soft golden hues, olive-green and earth brown hues with your eye-makeup.
Lastly, I would say that to really show you know your ‘Fashion A. B, C’s’, accessorize your outfit with statement accessories, because with fashion it’s all in the detailing.
Sounding Off..., This & That

Dear Fashion Editor-In-Chief

Dear Fashion Editor-In-Chief

I hope all is well.  This week for my blog I flirted with several fashion ideas namely, giving my take on New York Fashion Week, commenting on the start of LFW, A/W 2011 Colour trends, accessory trends, style tips and the like.  However for this post, I feel I am more inspired to delve into underbelly of fashion- to speak of what most creatives whisper about in fear of being ‘outed’ and their work drying up.  The topic kind Sir/Madam is money and when it comes to (most) fashion and art magazines, the extreme lack thereof.

When I was younger, like the creative genius Natalie Massanet (Founder of Net-a-Porter), I too wanted to be Editor-In-Chief of my own magazine, however several internships working in the esteemed fashion cupboards of magazines like In Style and Tatler, made me reconsider.  Why, I hear you ask, because after doing some press pick ups and learning how much particular magazines owed stores and showrooms due to not returning press pieces, I (for lack of a better word) got pretty freaked out.  Also after befriending a certain Editor-In-Chief who had started up a fashion and art magazine that was continuously praised in the media, but could barely make his rent, like Fagin (Oliver Twist), I told myself, ‘I think I better think it out again’.

As of late, I have seen a sharp rise in fashion and art magazines finding new ways to get creatives to work for free.  In fact one such magazine who of course is trying to sell itself as ‘more than a fashion magazine’ has this written on their Facebook Information page-‘Should you be brave enough to join us in our adventure…we want to hear from you!’  When I got in touch to see if this ‘more than a fashion magazine’ would be funding creatives to go on this ‘adventure’, as usual the response was negative.

Just this week, I read the blog of one my favourite fashion editors, Vanessa Friedman, Financial Times (Material World), and she too seemed to be showing her ‘astonishment’ at a certain fashion and arts magazine that has just started up, who instead of paying creatives for submitting their work insists that the payment is the world-wide exposure they give that creative through publishing their work.  Now this is one hymn I am tired of hearing being sung, in fact, I’d very much like to throw the book at all ‘choir conductors’ who orchestrate this hymn.  However, violence is never the answer.

I am so tired of seeing magazines use the ’emerging creative’ loop-hole to skirt away from financial remuneration for services rendered.  If most of these magazines were publishing the work of fashion students, then maybe, just maybe that reasoning would fly.  As it stands, having studied magazines like ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ that insist that they are all about ‘new talent’- a few issues in, most of these magazines begin to use much ‘older talent’ to raise the profile of their magazines.  Despite doing this, because they remain hidden under their ‘doing it for the new creatives umbrella’, they manage to avoid payment.

I have also noticed a trend of new magazines avoiding to pay for editorials by setting themselves up as pure submission (as opposed to commission)-based magazines.   By doing this they are saying, ‘Hey, for our next issue, the ‘edgy’ theme is ‘Sex,Drugs & Rock n Roll’, we won’t be paying you but here are all the rules and high standards we have set which you have to adhere to, to  be published. Furthermore, due to the large scale of submissions we get, we will only be in contact with you if we want to publish your work.  BTW we won’t be giving you a commissioning letter for this shoot either as the less contact we have with you before the shoot, the less likely issues of fees are likely to be raised.’

Some might argue that most magazines are pretty upfront about non-payment and that creatives have a choice on whether to work for free or not.  But here’s the thing, they don’t.  Emerging photographer’s, stylists, hair and make-up artists need portfolios (be it online or printed) to get jobs, and the more published work they have to show potential clients,  agencies and so on, the higher the chances are of them landing a job.  This is the way the industry works, so in fact, creatives have no choice in the matter- they need to be published, if only to get the ‘golden tear sheet’.  It is my belief that many an Editor-In-Chief realises this and exploits it.  They base their ‘business idea’ on exploiting the fact that there will always be creatives out there who will do ‘anything’ to be published, in time these magazines always crash and burn (Wig, Anglomania, Colures, War, Panther Style, Random-anyone??!!) and then from their ashes rise more non-paying magazines and so the vicious cycle continues.

Here’s an idea Fashion Editor-In-Chief, if you really want to support fashion, art and new talent, why don’t you treat setting up a magazine as a business and leave of starting up your fashion magazine until you have the necessary financial investors?  Why don’t you spend more time seeing how you can pay the people that you commision?  When will you realise that ‘exposure’ can never, ever compensate for lack of payment, as one cannot use ‘exposure’ to pay the bills.  When will you stop taking the more lazy option of setting up a business where from the get-go you are content with the fact that the people who work (really, slave) for you are never going to get paid?  And if you cannot pay for the editorials you crave and commission, can’t you at least work out how you will pay for the basic expenses needed to execute these editorials?

I fully admit that although I am well-versed in the creative aspects of fashion, I still have a lot to learn about the commercial side and I am more than willing to learn. So maybe your response to the above questions will help shed some light on why ‘non-payment’ has scarily become the norm for (a lot of) new fashion and art magazines.

I look forward to your response.

Many thanks

My Fashion S/ash Life

www.bikijohn.com

Personal Style

D(esign).I(t).Y(ourself) Style

One of my earlier posts was about me fashioning a jacket, having got the material from a Lagos market.  Whenever I wear it and people ask me where I bought it from, I always feel a certain smug satisfaction when I tell them that they can’t buy it anywhere in the world because it was designed by yours truly.

Recently, I had to admit that I lost the ‘D.I.Y style’ award to this fabulous lady who goes by the name, Titi.  Having spotted her statement ankara print jacket a mile off, I rushed to ask her where it was from and got a taste of my own medicine when she replied that she had designed it herself.

Like me, Titi got her ankara print material from a market in Lagos and she cleverly decided to give it a youthful and chic flair by adorning it with sequins, which she got from the same market.  Titi will be happy to know that she is bang on trend with this jacket as this A/W 2011 season, the waist has made a shapely return.  International designers like Rouland Mouret, Gucci, Valentino, Loewe and Emporio Armani  all sent their models down the catwalk in jackets that cinched and pinched their waists to hourglass perfection.

Alexis Carrington (character played by Joan Collins in the iconic ‘Dynasty’ TV Series, as if you didn’t know!) would adore the exaggerated shoulder detail, n’est ce pas?

Courtesy of vintage-lasdivas-blogspot.com

A clutch with a similar colour tone compliments the jacket-

What I love about this look is how Titi has managed to fuse two cultures, namely Western and African.  One of the great things about fashion is its ability to unite various traditions and styles in perfect harmony.  Titi illustrates this by modernising her African-inspired jacket by pairing it with a skinny belt from Topshop, bag from Reiss, leggings from Asda and shoes from New Look.

Ladies (and adventurous) gentlemen, my advice is to take yourself to your nearest market, buy some material and like Titi, bring out your inner Tom Ford.

Sounding Off..., This & That

Selfridges’ Magical Window Display

As my last Topshop mannequin post indicated, I am going through a ‘mannequin’ phase.  At the moment Selfridges, Oxford Street, London window displays will make you feel like you are on a chemically induced trip when you see them.  Case in point-

What I have always loved about Selfridges’ windows are the way they manage to blend the creative and commercial aspects of their business and portray this union through their windows.  Somehow they manage to set amazingly styled mannequins against impressive set designs and manage to throw in kitchen ware, home accessories and the like.

After the recent lady bug invasion I had in my room, I felt a particular connection to these little monsters.  Don’t be fooled, what they lack in size, they more than make up for with their bite.

This window reminded me of the Alice in Wonderland…must have been the clocks.  How adorable are those lambs?

Also when I saw the windows I felt like I had fallen down a rabbit hole of my own, where people have elasticated ‘Go-Go Gadget’ arms and legs like so-

I adore these little workmen-

Like Topshop’s window,lips played a large (pun intended) part in the displays.

It’s raining style.

Nautical is the only way to sail.

Do you dare wear tomato-red from head to toe?

Subscribe to my Blog!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: