Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Tues 7th May: Design Road Project / Tashkeil Creative Space - accessories workshop, Jeddah

Here are my photos documenting the final stages of the accessories workshop in Jeddah at the Tashkeil Space.  Once finishing making the pieces, the participants got together to help each other shoot the outcome with styling and site specific installations.  Edited shots were then uploaded to a new Tumblr page set up as a platform for the project ........................ see those shots and artists compiled over at http://jeddahstyle.tumblr.com/

I have taken a few days to process the experience of the trip and there is too much information to start putting together a story that best sums up the amazing interchange that happend between everyone involved. SO Im going to copy and paste an interview from the Saudi Gazette instead which probably better sums up an account of the inititave:

"JEDDAH — Multifaceted designer Fred Butler creates accessories, works with stylists to use them as props for fashion and music video shoots, and is an active fashion blogger. But being in the fashion industry, she says, is not a bed of roses.

“A lot of people gets into the field for the glamour, thinking that it’s all about madness and excitement. But if you’re actually in the industry, it’s not. If you see the backstage of a fashion show, people haven’t slept for days,” said Butler.

She added: “I just think you need to have stamina to work, especially because it’s so competitive. People come to it for the drama, when it’s actually about trying to make beautiful things and the effort that goes into it.”

A fashion aficionado, Butler works seven days a week at her studio in London, and takes few holidays. The work has paid off with notable clients such as Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj under her belt.

She has also worked with corporate clients like Swatch, which she says was a childhood dream.

“They loved my design and asked for no changes, so that was a wonderful turnout,” said Butler.

Butler has designed the blue headgear for Lady Gaga for her music video ‘Telephone,” and says that she was very pleased with that experience as well.

“Sometimes you make things for people and they don’t get used, but in this case I was happy to see that the item was an important part of the video,” said Butler.

She added: “Lady Gaga is very actively involved with what exactly goes into the making of the video, as she finalizes everything. She finalizes every decision with her stylist.

“So he’ll tell her, ‘I’m thinking about having to make this for you,’ and she would say, ‘Okay, that’s fantastic.’

“Then they’ll ask you to present different options, from which she chooses. So she’s clear about what she wants.”

While Butler formally studied fashion at the University of Brighton, by the end of her degree she wasn’t too keen on designing clothes as a career. “I didn’t enjoy pattern cutting, and was more interested in art direction and doing fashion shoots, in making props for sets.

“But then I missed working on the body, so I moved from working in the background to creating accessories.”

She described her creative process as very instinctive, as she experiments with different materials and techniques to create her props and accessories.

She often uses everyday objects like chips packets, cardboard and various other materials for her pieces.

She said that this was initially because they’re economical, but also because it forces one to be more creative.

“Conceptualizing a design depends on what the client wants, but you also want to put your personal stamp on it. For me, that’s making 3D architectural shapes that are tactile, tangible.”

Butler’s creations can be characterized by bold use of colour and various geometric patterns. On working with designs often categorized as “outrageous,” she comments: “I’ve always been interested in things that stood out, and it so happens that when I make things, they end up like that. I like the way fashion can be like art, so it really makes you think and pushes your creativity.”

While bold items can work very well with photo shoots and fashion shows, incorporating that kind of taste in one’s everyday style can be tricky. For this, Butler says, accessories can be very helpful.    

“A relatively plain outfit can be accompanied by a large broach or statement necklace, which you can simply put on after work for social gatherings. You can also put these items up in your home to decorate, to put a nice touch there,” said Butler.

Butler was one of the instructors for the Design Road workshops held recently here, along with Jorge Rodiguez, Laura Beckett and Samer Yamani.

While all instructors covered various practical aspects of furthering one’s work in the design industry, Butler dealt with making accessories as props for fashion shoots. Hers was termed at “Accessorizing fashion stories — branding fashion.”

“My idea was to guide people into creating their own accessories, but to also let them have the confidence to experiment, to follow their own ideas.

A lot of people have been asking me what I think about what I thought of their work, but I wanted them to get an inherent understanding of what works for them,” said Butler.

“Design Road Jeddah” was Butler’s first workshop outside the UK, and she was pleased to be associated with the project.

“Tashkeil and the whole team have been wonderful, and I was very happy to see the creativity that the participants have shown.

“I had left the theme and the kinds of objects we would be creating completely open, and they seem to have responded well,” said Butler.

Butler was particularly impressed by a participant who made a prop from objects she found from building sites. She had used these to make a structure that depicted the changing face of Jeddah, and how she fit into it.

The world has gone digital, with communication becoming faster through phones, email, and social media. Butler stated that while this has been great for easing the whole process of working, the new fast pace has also rubbed off on how people operate in general.

“Everyone just wants everything quicker, quicker. So instead of having two collections per season, we have several,” said Butler.

She added that as a result, trends have become very disposable.

“I think so many collections coming and going quickly is unnecessary. And then there are the high street stores that want to replicate everything as soon as they see it.

“I think its wasteful because we don’t have as many resources, so it’s better to get a few items that you love rather than having that moment buzz— just buying many things and then throwing them away isn’t good,” said Butler.

Her advice to newcomers in the industry is to be patient, and just persevere. She explained: “People ask me how I did it, and I know that there was a lot that went behind it.

“I spent years just working and working, so you have to understand that not everything is instant. In my life I’ve never wanted to do anything else other than what I do now, so that kind of commitment to survive amongst the competition is essential.”  Sana Abdul Salam

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