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2020 Furniture Exhibitions And Fashion Shows Reimagined With A Mindset Of Re-Use

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With many of us questioning the purpose and practice of trade fairs, industry shows and exhibitions, a lot of brands are shifting their attitude in the participation of them.

The temporary nature of such events has resulted in endless amounts of waste with the sets built for each show often discarded upon completion. Alongside this, the purpose of regular shows is to connect with the industry, showcasing new collections and products each season or year. With this encouraging further consumption on each occasion, approaching them with a distinct purpose in mind could take the emphasis off the products and allow more time for valuable industry conversations. The need to re-think systems, business models and buying habits is critical to reduce our impact as a society, whilst still allowing consumers to engage with design without any compromise on aesthetic.

At the recent Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, a selection of brands designed their stands with a second life in mind. Putting a huge emphasis on materiality and acknowledging their footprint, many brands designed eye-catching displays which could then be repurposed easily upon completion. Vestre, who’s stand was designed by Stockholm-based Note Design Studio and won the Best Stand Award, has a strong inherent ethos of sustainability and, therefore, this was a priority when choosing to exhibit at the fair.

Note Design Studio also designed the exhibition stand for Tarkett. Their Natural Bond exhibition was a true example of how a beautiful design aesthetic can be achieved with circularity in mind. Utilising lashing straps to hold the structures together, this exhibition was designed to provoke conversation around the topic and symbolise a potential future within our grasp. “Recognising your multiple responsibilities as a designer is important.” states Jesper Mellgren of Note Design Studio. “We made seven stands during the Stockholm Furniture Fair this year and whether it came from the client or not, in every case we had sustainability at the forefront of our minds. A prerequisite for all designers with these kinds of commissions should be to think of and plan for the afterlife of a stand design. Our work serves an important purpose in terms of communication, informing others of new and innovative ways of doing things.”

With Tarkett seeking to close the loop on their own production, all the materials used were recycled, and will be recycled and re-introduced back into the system now the show is over. Upon returning to their Swedish factory, the materials can be ground down, re-bonded and transformed back into flooring of equal quality and some items will be re-used throughout their schedule of exhibitions over the next two years.

The brand, who opened a new recycling facility in Waalwijk last year, hopes to bring industries and organisations together to inspire other sectors to transform their linear systems into a renewed circular economy. The Fenix oak flooring used on the stand was also a recycled product. Salvaged from a sports hall in Norway, the parquet was cleaned free of nails, metal and moisture damaged areas to then be re-processed into the top layer of the new Fenix flooring. Referencing the original parquet in its design, this was the second pilot project for the material and displays the opportunities which lie in this circular mindset.

Acoustic pioneers, Abstracta, also chose this approach to the stand design, which goes hand-in-hand with their own business principles. While each component of the stand will be reused in showrooms or upcoming exhibition, their focus on recycled and natural materials simultaneously engaged visitors in a tactile way to showcase the solutions which can be achieved.

Baux, also acoustic specialists, turned heads with a bold and colourful display. Again, emphasising the use of natural materials, the brand will be repurposing all the coloured panels used within the stand to create visual installations within its’ own showrooms. Designed to launch its’ new Book of Acoustics, the brand displayed their full range of 3D Pixel tiles as well as the bio-based acoustic pulp panels.

Founded by Jan-Olof Torstensson in 1979, Swedish furniture brand Mitab adopted a new vision for their exhibition stands back in 2017. Alongside the architecture and design studio Forstberg Ling, they created a display system which could be reused year on year. Now in its third year, the modular, structural skeleton is clad in different paper designs each time with the paper being easily recycled once the show is over. Each year has seen the brand use a different colour and engage with modes of folding and origami to create different aesthetic finishes. Again, creating a design statement whilst eliminating waste as much as possible.

At this years London Fashion Week, which runs from 14th -18th February, the Global Fashion Exchange and Patrick McDowell are attracting attention with their distinct approach to the event. In collaboration with Swarovski and the British Fashion Council they have chosen not to design a new collection for the season or partake in a runway show but rather to curate a ‘Swap Shop’ for consumers to engage in. British designer McDowell has gathered interest from industry heavyweights with his radical approach to fashion, incorporating upcycling and re-use within his striking collections. Once again, he is making a bold statement by showing no new clothing and creating a collection that begins with a swap via donated pieces from the wardrobes of British Fashion Council members and the London Fashion Week community.

The Swap Shop will be open from 14th-16th February within the Positive Fashion exhibition at The Store X on 180 Strand. Giving guests the chance to participate by bringing items to exchange and swap and walk away with a piece from the rail will also challenge the industry to re-think future collections. Swarovski will also be providing upcycled crystals for use within the event to embellish garments as part of their Conscious Design Initiative in collaboration with McDowell. With the fashion industry often influencing other sectors and design worlds, this is a positive step towards a circular economy.

Brighton-based Katie Briggs has also recently launched a new initiative to eliminate textile waste from exhibitions. Working with a variety of exhibitions halls and locations, The Textile Review salvages discarded material left over by brands and offers them for sale and hire to then be re-used in other installations and interior spaces.

If you are thinking of exhibiting over the next year, take time to really challenge the purpose behind your intentions. Re-think your approach and don’t give into the pressure to create new designs specifically for each season, or show, and take pride in encouraging your customers to think differently about their buying habits. If you do choose to exhibit, take inspiration from the brands and designers discussed above to ensure waste is kept to a minimum. The emphasis lies on a future where a design-led aesthetic can be achieved in the most conscious way possible.

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Brit Awards 2020: Best red carpet fashion

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Written by Marianna Cerini, CNN

Last night, the Brit Awards — the UK music industry’s biggest night — took over London’s O2 arena to celebrate some of the world’s most famous artists and emerging acts. It was an evening that saw lots of great black British talent, a few politically charged speeches and, disappointingly (but by now in no way surprising), too few women recognized for their work.

But female artists grabbed the spotlight nonetheless. They did so on the red carpet, where they outdid their male peers both in style and their playful approach, and on stage, offering some the night’s best performances, from R’n’B star Mabel, who opened the night, to Billie Eilish, Celeste and Lizzo.

The latter owned the event on all fronts. She looked delicious (literally) on the red carpet, wearing an asymmetrical floor-length Hershey’s wrapper dress by Jeremy Scott for Moschino. The gown featured the chocolate brand’s logo, a barcode, price tag and even nutritional details.

Lizzo attends The Brit Awards 2020.

Lizzo attends The Brit Awards 2020. Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

Never one to forgo accessories (remember her tiny Valentino purse at the American Music Awards?) Lizzo paired it with a drool-worthy chocolate bar clutch by Judith Leiber with “100%” written across it — a nod to her chart-topping song “Truth Hurts” and its most memorable line, “I did a DNA test and found out I’m 100% that b*tch.”

The singer slayed on stage too, performing a high-energy medley of hits, complete with dance breaks in a woven tan leather bodysuit with matching sandals and a high ponytail. She might have not won Best International Female Solo Artist — the award went to Eilish — but she sure demonstrated she knows how to do fun, fierce and fabulous all at once.

Billie Eilish attends The Brit Awards on February 18, 2020 in London, England.

Billie Eilish attends The Brit Awards on February 18, 2020 in London, England. Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

Eilish, too, went for tans, beiges and cream with her outfit, though in her signature oversized style. The artist wore head-to-toe Burberry, and we mean it: She donned trainers and socks, a tracksuit, trench coat and a transparent bonnet. (Her nails — which are quickly becoming as representative of her aesthetic as her clothes — also got the Burberry treatment, featuring the brand’s immediately recognizable tartan motif).

It’s not the first time Eilish has taken her red carpet look to the literal extreme — she did so with Gucci at the Grammys and Chanel at the Oscars — but the choice to sport Burberry, was a clear homage to classic British style.
Other fashion highlights of the night came courtesy of Paloma Faith, Celeste and radio host Annie Mac, who nailed the retro glam look. Faith arrived in a Miu Miu floral dress and a statement hat, which seemed to be straight out of “My Fair Lady.”
Celeste arriving at The Brit Awards 2020 held at the O2 Arena in London.

Celeste arriving at The Brit Awards 2020 held at the O2 Arena in London. Credit: Ian West/PA Images/Getty Images

Celeste, in a Gucci bead- and pearl-encrusted shirt dress with black lace gloves, channeled the roaring 1920s, and paid homage to the style of her soul heroes, The Supremes. She then went on to stun everyone with her haunting performance of “Strange” in a Wed Studio custom black ballgown with puffball sleeves and cascading ruffle train.

There were also classic red carpet ensembles, from model Adwoa Aboah in a slinky white satin dress and feathered black bag to Charli XCX in Fendi, radio presenter Maya Jama in a va-va-voom black ballgown and Mabel in custom Valentino.

Men alternated between dapper — rapper Dave in a straight-shooter patterned suit, Stormzy and Dermot Kennedy in Dior — and the scruffy hipster: Tom Walker, Lewis Capaldi and Bastille.

Harry Styles attends The Brit Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020.

Harry Styles attends The Brit Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020. Credit: Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images

But the one star that made a standout style statement? Harry Styles. Again getting red carpet fashion down to a T, the artist, who attended both as a performer and nominee, showcased three different outfits during the evening, each one a mix of feminine and masculine pieces — proof he’s increasingly embracing genderless fashion.

Styles gave us a 1970s-esque brown suit by Gucci on the red carpet, with signature pearls, a broderie anglaise collar and a black ribbon on his left lapel, a sign of mourning for the late TV presenter Caroline Flack. On stage, he sported a custom Gucci lace jumpsuit, which he wore barefoot in a rather moving performance of “Falling.” He then wrapped up the evening with a resplendent yellow suit by Marc Jacobs, with a bowed lilac neckline.

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Fair Isle: The remote island where jumpers are always in fashion

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A family of Shetlanders pose wearing Fair Isle jumpers and tank tops on one of the Shetland Islands in June 1970Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Image caption

Chris Morphet spent several days photographing people in Fair Isle and other areas of Shetland in 1970

Fifty years ago, the allure of Fair Isle knitwear inspired freelance photographer Chris Morphet to travel to the UK’s most remote community. His pictures documented the lives of Shetland islanders and the distinctive designs which are still influencing fashion today.

Chris felt drawn to Fair Isle after seeing the famous knitwear on the streets of London.

So in 1970, the 26-year-old photographer headed north to the remote island, which is located 80 miles off the Scottish mainland, half way between Orkney and Shetland.

A woman and two men pose wearing Fair Isle jumpers in front of the wall of a cottage on one of the Shetland Islands in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Three men pose wearing matching Fair Isle jumpers on one of the Shetland Islands in 1970Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Three Fishermen pose wearing Fair Isle jumpers on the deck of their boat 'Planet' in the harbour of the Shetland Isle of Whalsay in June 1970Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Image caption

These fishermen were photographed on the deck of their boat in the harbour at Whalsay

“I found it amazing that people lived on this island,” he said.

“I just went round a knocked on people’s doors and asked if they had any Fair Isle sweaters.

“It was quite a naive thing to do, but I was just entranced by the place. It was just something that caught my imagination.”

A woman poses wearing a Fair Isle style cardigan in front of Fair Isle jumpers hanging on a line in front of the wall of a cottage on one of the Shetland Islands in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Two women knitting Fair Isle style jumpers pose in the living room of a cottage on one of the Shetland Islands in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Chris, now 76, remembers everyone on the island being very welcoming.

“People just seemed happy to pose.

“I loved it all. It was a really wholesome experience, and I met amazing people.”

The people he photographed on Fair Isle included Stewart and Triona Thomson.

Stewart and Triona ThomsonImage copyright
Chris Morphet

Image caption

Stewart and Triona Thomson on Fair Isle 50 years ago…

Stewart and Triona Thomson as they are nowImage copyright
Thomson family

Image caption

… and how the couple look today

Presentational white space

Triona, now aged 75, said the picture had been taken while the couple were putting up a byre at their home.

“I have no memory of it at all,” she admitted.

“We must have put on our posh jumpers. The one in the photo – knitted by my mother-in law – is the only one I’ve ever possessed.”

Chris had two sweaters made for himself – one of which he still owns and wears today.

Chris Morphet wearing a Fair Isle sweater in 1970 and nowImage copyright
Chris Morphet

Image caption

Chris posed in a Fair Isle sweater at the time – and still wears a top he bought 50 years ago

He says the photographs he took in Shetland provided a historical record of the “very special” designs created by the people on Fair Isle.

The patterned knitwear developed in the early 19th Century in fishermen’s caps and jumpers, then gained wider popularity in the 1920s.

Fair Isle has since been adopted as a general term for multicoloured knitwear, but there are still small numbers of garments produced on the island from patterns which have been handed down through generations.

Each design contains an average of four colours, with only two colours used in each row.

A group of women and children pose wearing a Fair Isle sweaters in Lerwick in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Two women and a young girl pose wearing Fair Isle sweaters in Lerwick, Shetland Islands in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Three women pose wearing Fair Isle sweaters in Lerwick in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Mati Ventrillon, a French-Venezuelan designer, is among those who are trying to keep the tradition alive on Fair Isle.

She moved to the island from London in 2007, when local knitters were looking for new recruits.

“I felt attracted to the designs, and I wanted to try my own designs and colours,” she explained.

She eventually launched her own company, selling online to customers in the UK and in overseas markets such as the US and Canada.

Mati Ventrillon

Image caption

Mati Ventrillon moved to Fair Isle 13 years ago

Various women operate knitting machines making Fair Isle knitwear on one of the Shetland Islands in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Image caption

Chris also photographed knitting machines in operation in 1970

She also made headlines in 2015 when she received an apology from Chanel after her work was not credited for inspiring designs in one of its collections.

Mati said she was trying to work out how to grow the business while also preserving the traditions and heritage of the island.

“It starts to become a legacy. We are bringing people to the island and passing on the skills,” she said.

“It has been here for so many years, and you see it everywhere, it’s so beautiful. The design possibilities are endless.

“And it still has a long story ahead.”

A family of Shetlanders pose wearing Fair Isle jumpers in front of lobster pots on one of the Shetland Islands in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Two men posed wearing Fair Isle style tank top and jumper with cattle in a barn on one of the Shetland Islands in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

A man and woman wearing Fair Isle jumpers pose with three children on one of the Shetland Islands in 1970.Image copyright
Chris Morphet

Presentational white space

All images are copyrighted.

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The Best Street Style From London Fashion Week

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As it always must, Fashion Month has departed New York in favor of Europe. First up: London. And with brands like Simone Rocha, JW Anderson, and Burberry showing, it’s no surprise the fashion flock has come out in full force.

Last week, New Yorkers explained how they decide what to wear to the shows. Now we get to feast our eyes on all the stylish Londoners, with their color blocking and print-mashing galore. Between big romantic dresses and sharp tailoring, tie-dye, leopard, polka dots, plaid, gingham, stripes, checkers, and winter florals, you’ll never think of prints as seasonally specific again.

Our street-style photographer, Nicky Zeng, is documenting the European fashions all month. Keep scrolling to see the best looks from London Fashion Week, below.

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