Although Notting Hill Carnival takes place on a route around W9, the parade of floats is comprised of mas bands who have camps spread out across the whole city. During the rest of the 363 days of year, every postcode of London has it's own hive of carnival activity hidden away in spaces that can accommodate the grand scale production. For instance M2K (Masquerade 2000) are renowned for voluminous King & Queen costumes which not only require large surface area for creating but also storage. Here are images from their HQ in Leyton where their history of artworks hang from the rafters and are stacked up in racks out the back like a museum volt. This archive is brimming with shimmering sails of satin and sequins on steel frames which attach to tailored harnesses and corsets. Luckily and uniquely this team have an on-site welder to construct these elaborate engineered designs. Above you can see a sketch of wings from this year's theme "Resurrection of Eden" and also the frame which is taking shape to replicate the vision.
M2K's MO is to support new designers helping nurture the art-form in the next generation so that the Carnival Arts can continue. For example when I showed my photos from their section at Hackney Carnival, a girl was pointed out who has just graduated and been with the band since she was four. Infact one of my very favourite memories from children's day last year was their baby in a pink decorated pram / float which melted the hearts of everyone in the crowd - see here!
Across the road from M2K's camp is another flourishing designer who once trained under the inspirational guidance of their programme.............. see my next post on UCOM.