CHECK IN: ELIZABETH SALTZMAN

Elizabeth Saltzman is a Celebrity Stylist, Fashion Editor and Consultant. Having started her career in her homeland the states, she now lives and works in London. We sat down for a chat in mid-December 2016, and discussed everything from global crises to her favourite magazines…

  1. What do you do, how would your friends describe you?

 

You’d have to ask my friends to describe me to you as I don’t know what they’d say. I hope they’d say that I am never taking and very, very giving. And what do I do? Well I try and be a fairy godmother. I am a stylist, a brand consultant, a fashion editor for magazines. I would have loved to have had a house, I don’t mean the actual building, but a house where we could entertain all sorts of brands, and people – or open a school to help designers grow… nevertheless, I do what I do, I love it and essentially I get to be all of that with what I do.

  1. As a child, what did you want to do when you were an adult?

 

Aha well, I should have wanted to be a movie star. No, I do have a good life. I am very, very, very lucky! I like when people look at me and they say ‘you’re at the top’ and it’s like, Oh no baby! I’m still at the bottom – I am climbing. That is what is important to me, you know, there is always room to learn. Always. Also, If you’re not having fun, don’t do it. Because this is fun. Obviously doesn’t mean it’s not hard work, but if you’re waking up suffering then you’re not being honest with yourself. Being honest with yourself, in saying actually this is what I want to do. Even if there is no money in it, there is a way to make money if that’s what you need, but just figure out what you truly want to do. That is probably my biggest goal for people; to feel confident in their everyday, everyday. That is what is really important, its everything. That is what I would have wanted someone to tell my younger self. Just to be honest with yourself. Even if only you know, write yourself lists of what you really want do and then what my mum and dad will accept that I do, and I always think that’s important. My dad had to lie to his parents to say he was going to dentistry school while he was being an interior designer, so I think that really sunk home with me that he couldn’t be honest because it didn’t seem like it was a smart enough job with enough money in the industry. I’m really happy he wasn’t a dentist haha. Although I would of had a whiter smile haha.

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Gwyneth Paltrow, Styled by Elizabeth Saltzman (Picture source: The Wall Group)

  1. How did you get into the work you do now, styling?

 

I didn’t really get into styling, i haven’t gotten there yet haha. I guess what I did get into was solving people’s problems. The styling aspect came from being an editor at magazines, and that came from trying out every aspect of fashionland. I started folding shirts in the basement of a clothing shop, which I think was good, and I think everyone needs to work in a clothing shop or a restaurant and serve people before do anything else in life. It’s rewarding to have some sort of job where you start at the bottom, learn how to grow and how to treat people. I got into styling celebrities, when I moved to London. It was mainly for red carpets and moments, that seemed so obvious and natural to me because it wasn’t such a big thing back then. There weren’t 10 thousand stylists, and being a stylist professionally was not really spoken of or heard of it was kind of a fun natural progression and it was just really wonderful. I started working the girls that I knew over here in London and it was just really fun. I’d say I specialise in giving women confidence. That’s my goal – not only to have good taste or help designers, or brands or women finding their red carpet dresses but to give them confidence to wear those dresses to feel the best they can feel not to let the dress ever wear them.

  1. What would you describe as the turning point in your career?

 

I’d say there have been many, many, many doors to walk through. I wouldn’t really say there was a turning point but sliding doors, and making the decision to take a risk, walk through them, and work really hard. The biggest turning point was probably at the very beginning of my career when I was offered a job at American Vogue and I was probably offered quite a few jobs as an assistant there before I accepted the one, because I had a lovely job where I was working at Giorgio Armani at the time. On the 3rd or 4th time that Vogue had asked, they asked if I wanted to be Polly Mellon’s assistant. The night that I got offered the job I happened to be out for dinner with a bunch of designers, and I said oh I got offered this job with this woman named Polly Mellon and they all just turned around and they were like take it, she is one of the most amazing women in the industry, and I just thought there you go, I can learn. So I accepted the job, and I remember taking a massive pay cut, i mean like over 60% of my income to work with her because i knew it would be all the education I could hope for. It was like a dream. It was hard work and wonderful work, and that was probably one of the greatest pivotal points. Other turning points would also be leaving Vogue and growing up through Vogue, and having Anna Wintour come in. Anna really helped me by setting me back a little bit so I could grow.. she was wonderful. Graydon Carter who gave me the opportunity at Vanity Fair. Then deciding to move to London clearly changed things, and that was 17 years ago, before everyone was moving to different parts of the world. So that was a big moment in my life.

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Gwyneth Paltrow, Styled by Elizabeth Saltzman (Picture source: The Wall Group)

  1. How would you describe your style?

 

Right now i would say I’m in the Navy Blue phase haha. I always like navy blue, white gold, black pink and green. I think my style is just very classic – but not boring. Lots of long lines. And my style for others, is not my style for myself. I like to find things that work on the people I work with. I like to put them first. But for myself I like to put myself last, I am the last person I think about. Which is not the way it should be people, you should put yourself first and foremost.

  1. What were your Favourite looks the past year (2016)?

 

Alicia Vikander in the long white Louis Vuitton (below) was definitely one. I just loved it and I wish i’d styled it, i was just so happy as i just thought it was so great. I also loved Saoirse Ronan in Duro Oluwu, one of the girls that i am lucky enough to work with, January 2nd/8th i think she wore it in Palm Springs. I loved Brandon Maxwell on Uma Thurman. Loved, but im not sure if that was this year.

 

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Alicia Vikander (Picture source: NY Mag)

  1. What is the most important part of your job?

 

Most exciting part of my job is helping people – I like being able to work with designers who need to get back on top… that’s my favourite thing and I also enjoy solving people’s problems. The challenging part is to keep it creative with myself and to entertain myself, and to keep figuring out a way to help others. I wake up every day and I think there are I think 20,000 people left in Aleppo, and they have no hospital, food, way out or way to stay in. I just think that I’m sitting here complaining that its cold out. I have an issue with that, why can’t I help people who can’t get a place in school because their son or daughter doesn’t ‘fit in’. Why can’t I help feed every family that needs food, why can’t I bring warmth – why cant I educate people against teen pregnancy. I fight with all of that and understanding that it’s not my business. I feel that it has to be all of our business, it has to be mandatory business to help others. And I also worry about our planet, every day of our life when I see people who don’t care about it. I don’t understand that people don’t understand that this is very real, like I might not be around but maybe if I am lucky enough to have grandchildren then they’ll be around and they’re going to see this change. It might not be in 10 years but it is definitely happening, it’s happening now, fast. I worry – that’s the most challenging part of my job, thinking how can I use my job to give back. How can I make sure that I keep all the girls in my office happy, and how do I make enough money to give enough new people jobs. And how do I continue on, cos that really matters to me – the challenging things are the frustrating things of never wanting to get too big for your boots, and sometimes I’m like urgh do I really have to lug 14 suitcases through an airport and why am I doing this – and then I think I am the luckiest person in the world to be doing this. And other people are like that’s what assistants are for and I’m like now I like to be a part of it, you know if they’re doing it I’m doing it. But that’s not always true a lot of times I’m like you guys can do it. Because I do a lot more than no one else can do. They’re not meeting with designers every night, they’re not on the phone to LA with agents and advice central, with everyone who wants to know what they should wear via facetime.

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Rosamund Pike, Styled by Elizabeth Saltzman (Picture source: The Wall Group)

8. How do you go about telling a story through your styling?

 

We make a story board! We like to move someone from A to Z, so if we start out the season in one thing we like to finish it in a totally different thing. So you can see the person changing and evolving throughout a season, especially in an award season you can see my girls changing. Storyboard in the sense like so we’ve done short sparkly and green now let us slowly move into long chiffon, then more masculine clothes. So I like to tell a story, about the woman that is. I always talk to the person, find out what their concerns are, and what parts of their bodies they love what parts they’re worried about, who they’d like to become who they admire, things they don’t understand and I really try and listen to that person and bring out the best in them. You don’t have to be a size 2, you can be a size 42 and be just as wonderful as that person who is like perfect sample size.

  1. What is being brave to you?

 

Being brave is being honest. I don’t like it when people say; I love it, you’re so great you’re amazing, and then you hear that they think the opposite from another person. I wouldn’t do that to anyone. I like to make people feel like they can’t be 100% honest and say, hey girl I’m just not feeling it, or I love it but, or this isn’t for me. I like pure honesty, in pure honesty is about being open I much prefer that. Brave is also being yourself so that has to do with honesty, but also, being brave could also be pretending, if that’s what you want to do. You can be whoever you want to be.

   10. What inspires you?

 

The sun! Haha. I like finding my inspirations in really simple things, for example in manners, in the ocean, in art, in music, in sun-light.. I love finding them in my kids when they’re just talking and I don’t have to talk or teach, I can just listen and learn. I’d say I get my inspiration from upbeats, meaning I have gone to see an emotional movie and it is so draining – it makes you realise how much emotion you’ve been through in just an hour. And a bit, and I feel like wow – if someone can do that in 2 hours surely I can come up with something.

  1. Favourite new designers and shows on the London Fashion Week show schedule?

 

Well I have to say maybe not so new but I do love Erdem, Christopher Kane and Huishan Zhang. I’m also really interested to see what Mother of Pearl does and I love, Simone Rocha! I like what Jonathan Anderson does for Loewe, more than Jonathan Anderson for Jonathan Anderson! That’s just my opinion though.. I’ll also say Burberry is always good for a show, but I say that I crave and wouldn’t miss the above.

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Gemma Arterton, Styled by Elizabeth Saltzman (Picture source: The Wall Group)

  1. How has the fashion industry changed?

 

I feel like I am on a spinning ride, like a carousel, and the swings are falling off one by one. Because the industry is changing so much that there is no same old same old. So I don’t know how the industry hasn’t changed. There is no stable anymore, which is tremendously scary and exciting and you know I guess they call the present today because it is a present, but the future is undetectable – ever since Instagram, Snapchat, iPhone’s were invented the world has changed and everything has become fast. It’s just a new way of thinking, the world has changed people used to have to wait for letters in the mail, to find news of their loved ones, and now they can facetime them 20 times a day if they want to.

  1. Print vs Digital?

 

Both. I don’t want lose either! At the moment I am into digital, but I collect prints. I don’t want to lose a magazine as I don’t want to just be looking at something on a screen. And I like paper, and I like the touch of it and its a different colour than it is on digital. But I love digital. And I get crazy when I cant see something move. So I like them both.

  1. Favourite exhibitions and galleries?

 

I like the Serpentine Gallery, because its a non-profit, is a special tiny place that reaches such a vast audience and has so much going on. When I go to NY every single time I go to 3 or 4 different galleries. I like a lot of galleries, I love the Tate Modern. I tend to go anywhere and everywhere, if there is an exhibit I want to see, I just go, and I like to just roll into places, like small galleries, where you can actually find things. Maybe even acquire something, you know that’s better than buying a throwaway sweater at a mass brand. I like to invest in young artists. Not for the sake of one day they will hit it big, just for the sake of if I like someone’s work and I can afford it it’s a nice thing to be able to do for both parties.

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Gemma Arterton, Styled by Elizabeth Saltzman (Picture source: The Wall Group)

  1. Where is your favourite place to shop in London?

 

In London, I would say my favourite place to shop is in new environments. I like new things, when I say new things I mean finding something to do at maybe 150 years old. I am a creature of habit in one sense in that I’ll go to Casa Cruz and I’ll go to wherever else I like to go for classics I’ve always had. But also if you tell me there’s a really cool food truck I’ll go to that, like I think there’s angel dumpling? Did I just make that up, haha… Angel something. That I’m really into at the moment. I like finding things because that’s how I learn. And I like finding from friends, I also like love going to people’s homes. Districts wise? What I don’t like, which is an awful thing to say… it’s not that I dislike it, it just isn’t where I chill… I don’t like Chelsea at all. And I don’t understand why I’m advert, it’s like I almost have an allergy to it. I won’t say I do or I don’t like areas, but I just seem to have a thing where I’m just like fighting against being in an area like Chelsea. I hate the fact that they’ve made great streets high streets. So like the kings road doesn’t have lots of pop shops anymore it’s all chain stores. Or like Westbourne Grove has lost a lot of its pop shops. I like places that are unique, which is probably why dover street market works so well. You shouldn’t be able to find things there which you can find at Matches or wherever else. I’m not opposed to Gucci or all the brands, but I do feel like we need to have fewer Starbucks and I don’t mean the actual coffee place, but I mean what they stand for which is taking over. So no I don’t love chain stores, or areas where they mostly exist.

  1. How do you relax?

 

Usually by chilling with my boys, I try and find a way to chat to them for an hour or so every day, if I’m lucky. I take our dog for a long walk every Saturday and Sunday, lie 2 or 3 hours and that’s how we discover areas! I usually start off walking and then figure an area we want to go to and walk around. Not usually around the obvious parks like, Regents, Hyde, Holland I just kind of walk until we find something and I love that. As a matter of fact my favourite walk was along the river and I didn’t even know it existed and one as I was walking home from one of my sons schools, and I saw someone on a bike turn down this little dirt path and I was like oh lets explore, and this whole wooded area was there and I didn’t know it existed as I don’t live on that side of the river. And I think that most exploring has to happen on foot.

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Elizabeth Saltzman

  1. Favourite magazines?

 

Obviously Vanity Fair is number One! But I’m bias on that one. Apart from the obvious I’d definitely say The Gentlewoman! I love it! I am also into Another Magazine, and read American Vogue. You know what my favourite magazine is and I’m not even joking and people laugh at me for it, all the time. The Week – people think it’s just ridiculous. But I always tell them, that’s my guilty pleasure because I get to catch up with the news, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to read it, it’s super quick and I love it. It comes on Fridays and I just catch up. And it seems so silly that I’m saying that I do but I just love it, and it’s not a fashion magazine. I read it and I make my kids read it. Which is why I think I really like it as I have to read it and they have to read it. Oh and I also love the turtle, another one of my favourites. It’s not really like a magazine it’s like something that’s put out by the turtle conservancy, I think it’s so interesting. I like interesting magazines, like Herself or Lula. They’re fun, but I don’t read them regularly.

  1. Favourite Instagram accounts?

 

Well I love my baby, my son Derek Blasberg. I like funny ones like, Angela Hicks because i think she’s witty, I love Donald Robertson cos I think he’s interesting, and witty and smart and talented. And I like his career story. I love, like I really like my genuine friends’ accounts that are usually private, not for publication, not for likes, just for the simplicity that they are actually sharing a moment that might be important to them. I do enjoy quite a few.

  1. Favourite way to bring in the new year.

 

I don’t have it.. Used to be to travel to a warm weather destination and to sleep outside, and start the day by running into the ocean. That’s my favourite way, my most dream like way… then my second favourite way when I’d started bringing my kids home to my family in NYC was to do the midnight run. I’d just cheer them on but they would do a 5k run, dressed up as ridiculous things, it takes place in central park and the run starts at about 11:45/midnight, and as the whole thing happens, a band plays and fireworks go off its so great to start out the new year healthy. And then last year we were in NYC, we didn’t do the run but we did go to central park. Oh it was spontaneous, we flew to NY to see my mom as a surprise, what I loved was that we woke up on the first really early, and we all went to the tallest part of NYC, looked down and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, and just spent the day exploring and doing things you don’t have the time to do. So more than ending my year, I like celebrating the start of my year, and starting it with positive vibes. Not making any promises I cannot keep like I will lose the 40 pounds of flubber, but more that I like to be thankful. And just make everyone upbeat.

Are you worth a King’s Ransom?

Meghan Hamilton-Wilcox and Komali Scott-Jones are the girl bosses behind King’s Ransom London (@kingsransom_ldn), a streetwear brand with a difference. The girls are born and bred Londoners, who first formed a friendship aged 11 at secondary school, and have been inseparable since. The dream is to get to a place where you have total creative freedom, can work with your best pals and inspire others. This is a dream they’ve achieved; all whilst still in their prime. I sat down with the girls at the Mall Tavern in Notting Hill and discussed absolutely everything from being brave to being shortlisted for their first creative prize earlier in 2016.

Komali: Obviously having the friendship element can be challenging because there are times where things are just about business.

Despite sharing a secondary school, sixth form and now a business together, the two girls took two different paths to King’s Ransom. So how did you get here? “I went on to work in production following Sixth Form as a runner and now I am working at an agency where creativity and production are combined.” said Meghan. “My passion for creative production began when I was in college, when I used to bunk off and go on shoots. One of which was a shoot for Converse, which was a turning point for me as it was then I realised production was a potential career path. I realised that I could use my creativity in that environment and also hire my friends and earn them money, and that to me was so fun, as the shoot literally consisted of raving at this amazing location which happened to be a cave, and having our first taste of shoot food. About four of us from the class were ill that day. Komali was one of them. For me that helped inform my decision regarding uni – they were passing out the UCAS forms in class, and i was like erm nah you’re alright. I’ve been working my way up since i was 17 and tried lots of different areas including post production, creative agencies and now i’m at an agency called J. Walter Thompson where we do a mixture of production and creative which is defo where i wanna be. I feel quite lucky to be in this position as i didn’t go to uni. “I went on to study English Literature at University of Middlesex. My parents worked really hard to put me through a really good school, and i’ve always been academic so i felt like university was the final step in the process.” Said Komali. “It is traditionally seen as a hiatus – three formative years where you can find yourself through being wild and doing the whole freshers thing.. I didn’t go for that reason, as i didn’t feel I needed to find myself, I just wanted to work. It’s not necessary to have a degree when you’re working In the creative industries. They do teach the essential things like how to process information, to apply yourself and how to cope with deadlines – which by the way are not just for christmas, they are for life haha.. But they’re definitely not required. You need to have a balance of the hard work too, a degree is not enough for a job as you will still have to do the hard work, like making teas and starting from the bottom. I think if you get that balance, then uni is never a bad thing but if you don’t and you think it’s a doss and don’t actually work out by your last year that it is a real thing then you’ll probably gonna have a hard time haha.”

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Personality is essentially the driving force behind King’s Ransom. Even the models are chosen because of their vibrant personalities, Meghan states, “It’s not just about having a face for our instagram, you’ve got to be invested in the brand and want to work with us” It’s not hard to want to though. The brand has connotations of royalty and generally being rich in life. Meghan continues, “You’ll never have a bland conversation with someone who wears King’s Ransom.” “It’s a natural progression, we wanted something that was purely our ideas, thoughts and feelings and where we can control the direction. The brand itself is built on something i felt was missing.” Said Komali, “There are lots of brands out at the moment and they’re FAD’s. Not to be shady or name any names, but people are wearing slogans that don’t mean anything to them, or point blank at all, across their chests. As consumers we should think whether it’s something you want to represent us as people. We’re not pushing out shit just to push it out. It’s about people like us, who want to mean and make something, and elevating that. Whether you want to be a rapper, singer, an athlete or a mathematician, we support you, as there are more important messages to push out than lip fillers and big bums. Big fake bums.”

Komali on Meghan “Super persuasive, really charismatic and charming when she wants to be. She’s also really caring, considerate and crazily confident. She does think very highly of herself which pans out because others naturally form a high opinion of her.”

Meghan on Komali “Extremely driven. A lot of people are afraid to be in the spotlight or achieve their highest potential, but that is something Komali has never been worried about. 100% she will get the job done if it kills her, and i love that about her.”

Bravery is defined as courageous behaviour or character in Gemma Collins’ favourite book (The Oxford Dictionary). With 2016 officially being the year of change, being brave as an individual within the ‘millenial’ generation is stepping out of the norm, listening to your gut and following your dreams. King’s Ransom’s values are rooted in bravery. Where, the country’s arts budgets are being cut, and creativity is becoming increasingly discouraged in schools, not to forget our current political climate where risks surrounding starting a business are higher than ever – believing in your vision is key. However, bravery is in the eye of the beholder. Komali related, “I’m not sure if i’ve done anything that loads of people don’t do everyday that is overly brave.” “I thought you were brave through choosing to study English at university for the people that you love.” Meghan says, “It wasn’t just a logical decision as obviously it is one of your passions but it was also a selfless act. I’d also say that although many may say, I don’t think starting King’s Ransom was brave, i think it was a very logical, obvious decision. It was quite organic, as it’s something we’ve always wanted to do. What i do think is brave is when someone is emotionally vulnerable – i admire that a lot in people when they put their emotions on the table. I think bravery is seen as these big amazing milestones when in daily life it’s actually the small things that matter. Like telling someone you love them, or that you’re worried about them. It’s simply not being selfish.”

The face of fashion is constantly in a state of change, with young entrepreneurs starting brands that allow it to be easy to identify with as opposed to your usual topshop and other stories. The message of a brand is now as important, if not more important, than the clothes themselves, as it allows consumers to feel more connected with the brand. This is why starting a brand is seen as such an exciting concept. Being allowed to potentially disrupt the status quo visually is a target one and all want to meet. So what are the key pointers to starting your own brand? “To be bleak, don’t think it’s a doss. Like i’m just gonna put something on a t-shirt, and it’s gonna be really easy because it’s not. It’s fucking hard work and it takes over. Start a creative instagram if you want something light-hearted because starting a brand is not. It’s a huge commitment of time and money.” Komali begins. “You have to be ballsy, make sure your brand’s ethics match yours and don’t ever apologise for what you want in life. Always be nice and respectful but understand that you are in charge.” Meghan continues. Like most creatives, the girls run Kings Ransom as well as having a day job, with Komali working as a Junior Booker at Premier Hair and Make Up, and Meghan as a Production Assistant at J. Walter Thompson. Which obviously isn’t easy. With there being no option to drop the ball at any time, it makes making it all happen all the more harder but in turn so rewarding. “I feel like it’s just about finding time to fit in what you love. Anyone who says i am so busy i couldn’t pick up the phone or can’t make time: a) thinks too much of themselves; or b) can’t function in life. There is definitely no consistent time when me and Komali will leave work, so we have to work on King’s Ransom in the morning, wherever we can really” says Meghan. “There are times when it feels quite harsh, like you wake up and work, go to sleep and work – this is usually the case when there is a big project on, but we try to be as on it as we can, and find time to fit fun things around that. I mean it is tiring to work sometimes, but i literally love production on a nerdy level so it’s fine.”

Meghan: Some of the time as a young person you won’t be in charge of your career. We can feel massively frustrated at work as you won’t always be given the opportunities you feel you deserve.”

As of 2006, according to research conducted by the Cambridge department of Technology, only a fifth of the UK’s annual consumption of clothing was manufactured here in the UK. With London being home to some of the world’s best fashion education institutions, it is so important to support British talent, as there is so much of it, and it is more economical to buy via the UK. Sustainability is at the heart of King’s Ransom, as it should be at the heart of every brand – don’t you think? “As a brand it is so important to us to remain conscious of it. All our stuff so far has been made here, which reduces air miles and we keep a track of our carbon footprint it and the effect the products have on the world. It’s all good running around taking photo’s etc, but if you killed a rainforest just because you brought out a t-shirt it’s not worth it!” Meghan highlights, “I think that we must all remember that we are here for a short period of time, i mean hopefully the brand will live on as a legacy but the world is here even longer than that and we have to remember that. Your great great granddaughter will still be rocking King’s Ransom but if they cannot breathe clean air then what is the point.”

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Members of the King’s Ransom Community are all striving for greatness within their daily lives and supporting one another, helping them to reach their goals. What is the best thing about being young and creative in London? “You can be out at completely different events, on completely different scenes, meeting completely different people 7 nights of the week… It feels endless here.” says Komali “There is no excuse for you to not be in the right place meeting the right people to help actualise your dreams. It’s so amazing to be in the city where so many different movements have been born like for example music genres from punk to grime. There’s just so much history, and you don’t have to watch it through your phone screen or google it – you can actually live it and i think that’s one of the biggest influences. It’s definitely shaped me.” “There are 8.7 million people in our London bubble. A lot of the time in society, people cut themselves off and don’t learn about each other’s cultures but in London you have no choice.” continues Meghan “There’s foreign food, colour and smells everywhere – it’s impossible to be ignorant. Like if you are ignorant in London, you have specifically chosen to and you are a special person. You’ve been given every opportunity to not be a dickhead, and here you are being a textbook dickhead. Londoners have an understanding – a love, an appreciation for difference. I feel like our generation as a whole has woken up to it more, there’s been an increase in the feel of community.”

Meghan: “You’ve been given every opportunity not to be but here you are being a textbook dickhead.”

In February this year, during a conversation with two American friends, Great Britain was described with admiration for our opportunities for young creative people in our cohesive society, which is sad because that’s no longer the picture that comes to mind when you think of GB. On June 24th 2016, we were all shocked by a result that no one saw coming. The UK voted to leave the EU in a referendum that was brought into existence, non-ironically, by a self-serving politician who didn’t see the possible consequences of his actions. On a recent trip to Copenhagen, a Danish man heckled “it’s your fault Trump is here!” When we informed him that it was in fact not our fault, as we were British, he responded with Ah, you guys voted for Boris. In the land of the Danes, a nation famed for its peaceful communities and Hyyge, it was not what we expected. But it affects us all. How do you feel about Brexit? “Well, i think we may of just covered that with the dickhead response! I think there was a lot of misinformation. The main things are that, firstly, here in London, 59.9% of the vote was Remain, and also that our generation mostly voted to remain.” highlights Meghan, “I was working with a creative the other day and he said the best projects he’s ever worked on are where the older people look after the logistics and make sure everything is running and the younger people are there to inspire and give energy. And that’s what we should be doing.” “[Komali]: I think the result was a joke. The worst thing is that it fed into sadly the inherent, and now quite covert, racism and xenophobia that exists in this country. It was a poorly run campaign, with both sides both failing to give the true realities of what a result for either side would be like.” continues Komali, “Personally, it’s going to be a nightmare when we do finally leave, as at work i have artist’s i have to get to Paris at a day’s notice, and, practically, when there’s the possibility of travel becoming less easy so close by it doesn’t make sense. I’m sure we’ll adapt as we always do. Also, all these f**kers stepping down as soon as the sh*t hits the fan, it doesn’t fill you with confidence does it. Hopefully it won’t be as brutal as everyone is saying it is going to be but i’m not too hopeful.”

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Moving forward in 2017, “we’re just concentrating on designing our new collection. It’s a long process of finding the right fabrics, getting every last detail correct.” Komali continues “I don’t wanna keep trotting out stuff that is available from like five different labels, it is more about producing stuff i want that I can’t find which in theory is quite difficult as what you’d want to curate your vision is not available everywhere. It sometimes feels like you’re hitting your head against a brick wall.” “We have recently released our limited edition bomber jacket which i am incredibly proud of.” said Meghan “It’s an MA1 Flight Jacket but we’ve renamed it the MK1, because of ‘Meghan and Komali’ but also in memory of my Uncle who passed away, and was very influential to me and educated me about the history of fashion, about why the reasons behind designs of the MA1 and its functionality.” Originally, the MA1 bomber was originally lined with a fluorescent orange as when air service men hit the water they could turn their jackets inside out so that when planes flew over during the war they could see them and weren’t stranded. And secondly, it’s also suitable for wear in sub zero, -15 to be exact temperatures. “We do like to take our time with stuff and have a consistent work rate. If something doesn’t fit with our brand, it won’t go out. It’s about quality and not quantity.” concludes Meghan. And that is what it’s all about for Kings Ransom; being the one amongst many.

KR recommends:

Kate Cutler: @bangbangnails – Manicurist, signed to Premier Hair and Make Up

Vinn: @darkhorsevinn – Photographer

Chidera: @theslumflower – Blogger

Nyanza D: @nyanzad_, http://nyanzad.tumblr.com – 21 year old illustrator from London.

Hamish Stephenson: @hamishajs – Film maker and photographer based in London. Represented by DMB Represents.

Keep up with the KR Girls on: 

FacebookTwitter and Instagram

CHECK IN: LAURA BUTLER

 

Laura Butler aka Lazza B (@lauragwyneth) is the reigning Queen of Streatham (and Leeds). Respectively. Whilst studying her main passion in life, Maths at the University of Leeds, she’s also one of the fresh faces of London’s modelling scene (signed to Named Models in London and Industry in Manchester). She was kind enough to check in on her experiences and views so far.

How would your friends describe you personality wise?

I think this is one of the hardest question in life as it’s hard to come across as modest.. i’ve just asked my flatmates and they’ve said caring, loyal, determined, passionate and kind haha..

How do you want them to describe you?

Erm sweet, hardworking.. A people pleaser?

So what is your favourite thing about your job?

Whats my job? ..Modelling? ok? Haha, i love being surrounded by creatives, as it is such a contrast to my maths environment and i also love working with stylists/photographers/makeup artists that have a strong vision and will do anything to execute it.

How did you get into modelling?

It started with my friends older sister’s friend Abby who studied Fashion at Southampton and would use me for her uni work. And then i met a photographer called Katie through doing that, so i did a few shoots with her – and through her posting me online some other photographers wanted to shoot. So from ages 16-19 my social media presence grew as i was testing with lots of different artists, and a model scout saw me on the Instagram explore page quite recently and then took me to a few agencies and named picked me up! So i’ve only been signed and modelling professionally since July.

 

Any shoots that you’ve really enjoyed?

It’s so hard to pick one fave shoot, but my favourite shoots to do are usually editorials when there are less rules and restrictions with what we can do with the photos. I really enjoyed a shoot i recently did for Red Thread Journal: Josh Shinner shot me and a Parisian model, and the concept of the shoot was us doing a scene from a silent film, and the photographer would shoot stills. It was just such an aesthetically pleasing location, the house was absolutely gorgeous, our characters in the film were really cool and the clothes were beautiful so that was fun. Also, another fun one was with a photographer called Markus Lambert, it was a really cool shoot – the theme is blue, so they went all out and put blue in my hair, blue clothes blue background – i really love a creative vision! Also the Hypebae shoot was also really fun, it was a beautiful day and we had a sporty theme. The photographer, Joel Claude was 17 at the time and he’s now 18. Gotta love a young gun… Last but never least Isaac Marley Morgan is also a really cool photographer. I always feel really comfortable with him doing nude shoots which is so important. We’ve done a few shoots together and i really like working with him. He always shoots film too which is just so classic.

Favourite supermodel and favourite new face?

My fave supermodel is of course Kate Moss the queen of life, and favourite new face of this season has to be Cassey Chanel! (@casseychanel)

Theme song to your life?

Such a hard one but i’ve probably got to go with Fade by Kanye West haha, just the line, “when no one ain’t around i think i think too much”..

Best thing about being young and creative in london?

London has to be the best city in the world! Individuality, which i feel is one of the most important values one can have, is not just welcomed but almost required in London. Waves are made in London, there are so many opportunities and people to inspire you, so i’d say that’s the best thing. Having so many pave the way.

Favourite clubs/pubs?

Gotta be the Bussey Building in Peckham! Fave pub is probably Old Blue Last in Shoreditch.

What is next?

Next for me is probably maths maths and more maths.

Favourite Instagram accounts/shout outs?

@yukihaze: co-founder/creative director at Sukeban Magazine

@emilyalmo: photographer/dancer from london! 

CHECK IN: DARREN HOWELLS

Darren Howells is the Director of Public Relations at Dutch UK, the parent company of Equipment, Current/Elliott and Joie. He studied Fashion Communication and Marketing at the University of Leeds. I checked in with Darren on his views on the industry and life in general.

  1. What are the main differences between working for a PR agency vs working in-house for a brand?


There are many differences from agency life to working in house for a specific brand. Agency life is exciting (not that in house isn’t) but you work on so many different brands, and projects at the same time, the pace is fast – hours can be long, depending on the type of agency you are working for, there can be lots of travel, working on events, fashion weeks.  In house feels like you have a lot more say and involvement in bigger projects, you get to work with many different departments such as Marketing, Digital, and Sales – you get an insight into how all of these functions within the business work together. I am still lucky enough to work with a mixture of brands, so it can still feel slightly more of an agency feel, working on various projects, I get to travel, and have fashion week projects.

  1. Who are your favourite designers/brands at the moment?


I always have a fondness to any designer I may have worked with before, I love what Simone Rocha is doing, she is still quite a young designer to be exploring retail, opening stores in London and in NY. Charles Jeffery seems to be making a real name for himself – and adding some fun back into fashion. I think it’s an exciting time in Fashion at the moment, with many designers and brands coming up with their own calendars that work from them and their customers, challenging the Fashion Week calendar. As soon as brands as powerful as Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger challenge these formulas, you know there are big changes to come.

  1. Who are your favourite people to follow on Instagram at the moment?


These change all the time, I find that people often take themselves a little too seriously on Instagram – I know it’s now a core part of people’s business, and people can make serious money out of it, but really…? My friend and stylist Fran Burns has fun with it. I think Lotta Volkova has a cool approach to it along with Hari Nef!

  1. Did you have a passion growing up and what/who is your biggest inspiration?


I always had a passion to be creative. My true inspiration is my family – I think that family is so important in helping you achieve what you want out of life.

  1. What is your favourite part about your job?


The diversity, working on various projects, meeting so many incredible and talented people – not one day is ever the same. It feels like one big adventure.

  1. What is the bravest thing you’ve done in your career so far?


I think the bravest thing was moving to London from a small town on the border of Wales knowing I wanted to work in Fashion – and making it happen.

  1. Have you any advice for fashion students or aspiring artists?


Never give up and always believe in yourself. It is hard to break into these creative industries, but people always see when someone is truly passionate and has that special thing!

  1. Print vs Digital?


Print – there is something about a magazine that you cannot always portray through digital. It seems more truthful in some ways.

  1. Who has got the best style Londoners, Parisians or New Yorkers?


Londoners – everyone has their own thing going on – you can truly be who you want to be – I like that.

 

The Kids Have to Look Alright

In Conversation with Lotte Goodwin, founder of OTTI.

On a cold March morning, i met kidswear designer Lotte Goodwin who is starting a kidswear line called Otti that puts style and sustainability at the forefront from her living room, in what has to be Peckham’s coziest pub The Montpellier and discussed her plans for the future over paprika croquettes, and a glass of their finest organic house wine.

Lotte started her creative career at the University of Gloucestershire while studying on their Art Foundation course. It was this course that gave her the skills, and the versatility to go on to study a Bachelor of the Arts in Fashion Design at the University of Brighton. Brighton is known for being an amazing environment for creatives and the course has an alumni including the internationally acclaimed womenswear designer, Julien MacDonald. Lotte technically trained through interning with Christopher Raeburn and Christopher Shannon, both amazing designers whom she remains fond of today and also assisted stylist John Colver. “John lives in New York now, but I assisted him when he was based here in London for 9 months, which was really fun. Working with a stylist is interesting because there are so many different aspects to the job. I’d be in Italy on a shoot one week and then back in the office or in a studio on location here in London the next. It was what you would expect fashion to be, very fast paced, really exciting.”

Lotte then assumed the position of a full time nanny for 4 month old Frida (who is now 3). This is where it all started. “Kids-wear was not on my agenda until I started looking after Frida. I really enjoyed it, and had grown an attachment to her but I wasn’t doing anything creative – with that being my passion, I had to do something… so I decided to start a kidswear line. I got the name ‘Otti’ from Frida actually, it was when she was just learning to talk and she couldn’t pronounce my name properly so she was calling me Otti. I was racking my brains trying to think of a name for the brand and she was literally just shouting it at me!” Otti is a new kidswear brand that Lotte is developing at the moment, with a main focus on creating gender-neutral denim. With the kidswear industry worth an amazing 5.6bn pounds, it’s an attractive part of the fashion world to start a business in at the moment. The small range of brands available parents to choose from include lots of spin off’s from designers such as Gucci, or Kenzo – but they unfortunately do not cater for those looking for a stylish, environmentally friendly option, which is the gap that Lotte is aiming to fill. “One of my inspirations for the line is photographer Vivian Maier’s work, she did a series where she photographed her children in New York back in the 80’s, and I just love the style back then. I’ve also been looking at pictures of myself as a child, and I’m dressed in baggy clothes, like dungarees; which I think is really important. Kids are always running around in skinny jeans, and biker jackets which is quite un-natural, my collection will provide space for them to be children, and to be messy and active which is important. Through my market research, I’ve learnt that there is not a lot of denim available, but there is a lot of jersey because it’s comfortable, but i’m making efforts to make sure mine is. I remember feeling really scared as I thought whether there was a reason that no-one had done this before me. I also think it’s important for clothes to be quite gender neutral, we’ve got to allow our kids to grow in every sense of the word.”

Growing up between the distinct and equally beautiful London and Cheltenham, Lotte is very passionate about being sustainable and caring for the environment. This is why one of the main values of Otti is sustainability. “It’s really important that we are more aware of how our lifestyle impacts our world. Whilst we still have people who buy their meat from Iceland and shop at Primark, we also have a growing population of people who are starting to think about how we can treat our environment better. It’s hard because it’s almost become like a trend, so lots of brands are now saying that they are sustainable when they’re actually not, so it’s also important for people to do their research. It is as simple as intelligently sourcing materials, and where we produce our clothes, for example here in Britain to reduce air miles, are just two of the ways that I will be making sure Otti contributes to reducing our footprint on the world. Its really sad because we used to be such an industrial hub, and now most of that if not all has gone overseas because it is cheaper – so I’d love to contribute to bringing that industry back.”

Funding a fashion brand is as expensive as you’d think it is. With PR, Production, Shows, Hiring a team, having a space to work from and running a website to name but a few to consider, it is expensive. Dedicated bodies exist to help with the costs of this when it comes to adultswear, for example Fashion East, Vogue’s Fashion Fund and the LVMH Prize – however the choice for kidswear is not as vast. This is an obstacle Lotte had to overcome while looking to start Otti. The Prince’s Trust is a charity headed by Prince Charles, which funds the bright and aspirational young things of Britain. “They help you write a business plan and also give you a 4k loan with a good interest rate. I was also assigned a mentor which is pretty cool as he helped me to figure out the logistics of my project and work out what I was definitely doing. I did look around and the Prince’s Trust was the best body to help out, Virgin also do a similar thing however I don’t think they offer a mentor, which is really useful as I am doing this on my own, as opposed to with a business partner, I have to make all the decisions by myself which is quite lonely so it really helps to be able to run things by him and have someone with lots of experience’s opinion.”

London is the creative and cultural hub of England, and Lotte could not of picked a more prosperous and appropriate city to start her business in. “London is great because we are just moving from strength to strength. It’s like we have a such a strong sense of community, that through the struggles of hardship we always find a way to overcome obstacles, and succeed. It’s such a great place to be young and creative. I’m obviously different because I am doing childrenswear but my friends who are doing adultswear are all killing it at the moment, for example Caitlin Price, has been sponsored by Fashion East and also been shortlisted for the LVMH Prize, which is absolutely amazing, and it just shows London is a great place for talented young designers, which I find comforting.”

When I asked Lotte if she had any advice for fashion students at the moment, her advice was invaluable “Intern! And intern whilst you’re studying, don’t wait until after. I initially interned during my sandwich year, but I would say to start even earlier than that. As soon as you know you want to work in the fashion industry, do it. The friends of mine who would intern during their summer holidays, and not just go off and rave, are the ones that are doing so well now – it’s not going land in your lap you’ve got to work for it! And work hard, get in early and leave late, make sure you stand out and don’t go in and expect to learn anything because you will most likely be making tea, running errands or sewing on tiny buttons. It is easy to feel really cocky in some internships, like why are they making me do the shittest jobs, do they not know I am a student and I am competent. Don’t be too cocksure of yourself, ever, and be ready to get your hands dirty. Intern now so you that when you graduate and have the inevitable feeling of uncertainty, you also have some experience under your belt to help you stand out to employers, and don’t have to intern for much longer – which is horrible as London is so expensive.”

The future of fashion is bright, with the fashion show evolving and the ever-growing workforce getting stronger, it could be argued that the only way is up. With the UK being home to 4 out of the top 10 best fashion design courses in the world (Central Saint Martins, Kingston University, University of Westminster and the London College of Fashion) as rated by the Business of Fashion, we cannot help but be optimistic. The talent that comes out of our fashion schools, and the land itself is remarkable. Brands like Wales Bonner, Thomas Tait and Craig Green are all breaking new ground every day, and it’s so exciting to be working in such a fast paced industry.

To conclude i asked Lotte who should be on our radar at the moment: Alan Auctor, by a friend of mine called Lily Cornell – she designs premium casual wear for women, and also Margo – by my good friends Bronwen Marshall and Charlotte Good who’s aesthetic is described as a ‘balance between earthy comfort and bold modernity’. And other than Otti, her favourite kidswear brand is Mini Rodini, a Swedish brand who are dominating the scene. Well that’s until Otti emerges.

Keep in touch with OTTI on Instagram @ottistudio and check out their website here.

Princes Trust is a charity headed by Prince Charles, who support young people between the ages of 14-30. Check out their website here: https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/ for information regarding obtaining an opportunity like Lotte’s and how to donate to support young people like her.