Around Camden

Camden is, without a douubt, one of the most colourful, eccentric and interesting places in London to take a camera. Markets wind off of the main high street, twisting and turning through shops with just about anything you could possibly imagine (except for sushi mats. I didn’t find any of those and I was looking). We ate Turkish lamb and mushroom kebabs and Chinese dumplings then sat by the edge of the canal eating gooey brownies and winter tea made from white tea, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger with orange slices floating on top.

Here’s a handful of Camden photos for today.

Laylie Birds

Tattoo

Cleaning Up the Tables

New Wardrobe, Anyone?

Faded Paint

Singing on Camden Canal

Belts for Sale

Yellow and Pink Shacks

Haven Street Lion

I <3 London

Indian Food

Chinese Food

Icons

If you have any London market pics, add them to the Flickr pool for a chance to be posted.

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Neal’s Yard

Surrounding myself with vibrant colours usually makes me happy, and what better place in London to do that than a little walk through Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden?

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The walls scream sunshine and summer and while there isn’t too much going in in the little square, it’s a great place to escape the main crowds and though it’s pretty small, there’s always something interesting to look at.

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While you’re in the area, stop by Stanfords books for some great travel-related reading material that will cover any country you’re dreaming of visiting this year.

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They even happen to have a Sacred Cafe in the back of the shop. Savoury muffins galore. Mmmm spinach, feta, warm, melted butter…

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And a relax tea. Relax and forget you’re in one of the most crowded parts of the city, forget that family block of tourists who made you walk .05 km per hour halfway down the road.

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Breathe and think of pretty colours. And, er… fashion weak? ^^

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Okay so the street art sticker stuff doesn’t exactly compete with the East End, but the colours of the buildings certainly aren’t as drab!

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And there’s even a few blades of grass somewhere in there.

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Did I mention funny mirrors and amusing quotes?

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London Street Art: C215

C215 (real name Christian Guémy) is a stencil artist from Paris, but a few of his works have popped up on the walls around London.

Here’s a great little London stencil blitz video from his MySpace (where there’s plenty more of his fastastic work).

His images are colourful and bursting with itty bitty details. The ones below were all captured by GutchinLondon and added to the LLO Flickr pool for us to enjoy.

C215 @ Cargo

Ace, C215 & Toxicomano
(C215 work is in the middle, the others are by Ace and Toxicomano)

C215

C215

C215

London Art Spot: Karishma Shahani

Brightly coloured designs marked Karishma Shahani’s award-winning catwalk collection for the London College of Fashion’s Graduate Runway Show 2010. She came away with an award for “Best Surface Textiles” to add to her CV alongside the “Nina De York Fashion Illustration” award and “Fashion Graduate of the Year award.

It’s no surprise her eye-catching work has caught the attention of staff at Vogue, Grazia, Elle and ID magazine alongside quite a few others around the world from France to Russia to Hong King and Japan.

Her values of longevity in clothing, ethical fair trade and using “upcycled” and organic materials match the values of the forward-thinking audience she will reach with her vibrant collections.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Karishma tells us how life in her native India plays a massive part in her work, shows off some photos of latest stunning collection and lets us in on the details of her collaboration with American artist Amy Sol.

LLO: Give us an overview of your latest collection, Yatra.
KS: The collection draws inspiration and elements from the multiple layers of India’s vibrant culture that continuously create colourful, vivid and eclectic experiences for the onlooker. The colours are picked from traditional paintings of Indian Gods, and recreated through natural methods of dyeing. The surface texture adds to the multi-dimensional feel enhancing the use of natural fabrics alongside upcyled packaging materials.

In its essence this collection is a reflection of the Indian lifestyle of re-interpretation of materials and their function at every step; always re-using and recycling; creating heirlooms that are passed down through generations. Each garment is made with beauty, simplicity and versatility as its core which lends it a multi-layered and personality-driven charm. The designs combine a fusion of two extremes, making the collection experimental and unconventional, while being hinged on modern functionality.

LLO: Which aspects of life in your native India most inspire your work? What about aspects of London life?
KS: A lot of aspects ranging from the people on the road, to our vast history, culture, architecture, crafts, travel, the list is endless. London’s cosmopolitan nature is very appealing. Being a melting pot for people from all around the world is quite inspiring. UK too has a comprehensive history and its ties with India are aspects I like exploring.

LLO: Tell us about some of the materials that have gone into your latest collection – the bright colours, the recycled concept, etc. What’s the most unusual material you used or the most difficult to obtain?
KS: The materials in the collection range from calico and cotton to pure silk and silk tulle and then over to High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). The last being a material used extensively in packaging in India hence lending to the upcycled nature of this collection as the patterns were cut from previously used sacks. All the material in the collection barring the HDPE have been hand dyed to suit the colour requirements that give enough homage to their source of inspiration. The accessories include secondhand hand-painted shoes and piece from chandeliers, cut away sneakers and blankets. The toughest material to obtain was the HDPE due to its varied sizes and quality control it required to obtain large pieces to create the garments.

LLO: Do you remember a precise moment that made you decide you wanted to have a career in fashion?
KS: Just the simple fact of creating new things. Consciously or without realising, clothing plays an important part in defining a person’s personality for the onlooker and I’ve always found this aspect really interesting. So I can’t pinpoint a precise moment.

LLO:Which signature elements of your designs make them unique to you?
KS: Colour, texture, contrast

LLO: Not only have you won some impressive awards (including “Best Surface Textiles 2010 LCF BA Graduate Show”, “Nina De York Illustration Award 2010” and “Fashion Graduate of the Year 2010 British Graduate 100 Award”) but you also started your own label. What has been your proudest moment so far in your fashion career?
KS: Receiving the “Best Surface Textile Award” at the London College of Fashion Graduate show 2010 was a great way to graduate, a fulfilling pat of encouragement.

LLO: Your bio includes a degree in economics, experience in at an NGO and a stint as a production manager. Does your career background have an impact on the way you approach fashion?
KS: Yes it does. I do think that one needs to know all the aspects of the industry they are a part of; it’s not about mastering all aspects but just simply about knowing how things work, because everything works hand-in-hand. All my previous work experiences have shaped my outlook towards design and its end result. The work has made me travel and live in various cities, that in itself is an enriching experience.

 

LLO: Where’s your favourite place in London to gather fashion inspiration – both in the shops and on the streets?
KS: Camden Town. One of my absolute favourites. I love how you can find ‘anything’ in the market and see ‘anyone’ on the streets. It always puts me in awe at the diversity that is around us.

LLO: Any other up-and-coming London-based designers we should keep an eye on?
KS: Felicity Brown, Manjit Deu, David Longshaw to name just a few.

LLO: What’s next for you?
KS: I am currently working on developing an AW 11 collection, alongside a brand that further promotes social responsibility and traditional techniques for a sustainable future of products and fashion; that continues to become more aware of its power to change and assist changes in lives of all those involved. Alongside this, I am working on a collaboration project with American artist Amy Sol, whose phantasmagorical paintings always depict girls in flowing dresses wandering through luscious landscapes. This project for a social eco-fashion enterprise called “Jhoole”, a non-profit business, designed to uplift female artisans based in a weaver’s village in rural Madhya Pradesh, India which will culminate in exhibitions and fashion shows in the summer of 2011. Another, being a textile development project for a textile producer based on recyclability and sustainability of fabrics combined with a base to provide further work for craftspeople in different regions of India.

Thanks Karishma!

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

Autumn Colours

The sprawling heath in Hampstead is one of the most beautiful places in London this time of year.

Roots

I took a walk through the trails in the woods and later up Parliament Hill (photos of that part for another time) and brought my camera along to capture the pretty colours.

Autumn Colours

Joggers, families walking dogs and couples holding hands stuck to the main paths so it was easy to find complete silence on some of the trails through the woods.

Out for a Run

The ground was a blanket of Autumn colour, the air fresh and wildlife scurrying about.

Through the Branches

The branches above were still losing their leaves.

Folliage

It was, of course, drizzly (it is London afterall) and the leaves were shining.

Fiery Forest

Wild mushrooms cling to the branches, some flowers are still in bloom and the bushes around Kenwood House are pretty reds and orange.

Forest Growth

There are even lots of pretty magpies flitting through the trees…

Magpie

Perfect for a lazy Sunday stroll.

Forest Floor

Crunching leaves under your feet, leaves floating down when a breeze comes through and squirrels chasing each other along the branches above your head, it’s a great escape from the rush of the city streets.

Hiking Trails

Either take the Northern line to Hampstead or the London overground to the Hampstead Heath station.

Fall Colours

After the walk, warm up with rum and chocolate crepes at La Creperie on the high street or pop into one of the many bakeries, pubs or warm book shops.

Fallen Leaves