31 May, 2009


Current Project: Denim Design Project

Number of denim fabric dye/bleach/treatement etc samples: 15
Number of GOOD denim fabric samples: 4

Level of inspiration in regards to the project: -1

Some bleach tests, and my favorite sample so far: a print of a jeans pocket that I will then make pockets out of. Ceci n'est pas une poche.

This one isn't a sample so much as trying to recreate the color of the rusty 90 year old Levi overalls pictured as a comparison point to a more current look.

That's all for now. Nothing good to show you at the moment.

When I have a free moment I'll show you my Retrieval Project I handed in the other day. I actually liked parts of it.

I Feel Ya, Jack

Perhaps it is the bleach fumes pared with the unbearably stuffy dorm room that is leading my mind to wander, but I find myself staring at my new sketchbook and wondering if Jack the Ripper was perhaps a Central St Martins student driven to murder by piles of homework and lack of free time on beautiful sunny days like this one...

30 May, 2009

A Random Day with Absolutely No Homework

In the unexpected heat yesterday, I found myself at a fascinating talk at the Architectural Association about the future of cities and architecture. I only caught the last three speakers, but it gave me lots of food for thought for my own design.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the talk was organized by the writer of one of my favorite blogs, BLDGBLOG. If you have any interest in architecture, urban spaces, or the history of cities, keep an eye out for the BLDGBLOG book that is being released in a few weeks in the UK. This man is utterly brilliant. I approached him at the end of the talk and said his work was fantastic. I think I might have creeped him out a little. Sorry!

I went to see my friend Warren Ellis speak, but I was most intrigued by the speaker right before him- Francois Roche (sorry Warren, you know I still care). The way he approaches the design of a new building makes each of his structures feel like a story is being written. His focus is always on the process of creation, the cycle of death and life. Good stuff! I will follow his work from now on, and you should too.

That would be me, far right.

At the end of the talk, which was being live streamed, I gave Warren a congratulatory hug. Apparently the live stream was still going and Warren immediately began getting emails asking who I was. Shortly thereafter I got about 30 new followers on Twitter. Funny, that. If only I was an artist with a body of work I could be using this publicity for!

Warren and I then proceeded to a nearby pub and, forgetting that neither of us had eaten since that morning, got each other very drunk very quickly. I stumbled home and he hopped on a train and I ended my day curled up in a warm bed after a sympathetic room mate made this drunken redhead pasta.

And now, back to the regularly scheduled program: homework homework homework.

28 May, 2009

Oh god, I need sleep.

27 May, 2009


I just shuffled zombie-like to the school to hand in my retrieval project. Apparently they want us to come back at 3pm today to pick them up. Which means that they will probably flip through each one very quickly and grade it without a second look.

Scares me to think that my future at this school is dependent upon a 5 minute glance at my work...

20 May, 2009

So Bad, So Good

The Bad: Today I blew up at some of my friends for trying to help me in ways that weren't helpful. I felt so bad afterward, and made it all better. No hard feelings.

The Good: Designer Mentor girl asked me to style a photo shoot in her stead with one of my favorite photographers next month while she's away on business.

19 May, 2009

I Got It

Well, it seems I now have one good thing going for me- I got a kickass internship with an up and coming designer. Yes you read that right! The girl who fails every project has been picked up by someone fabulous who will teach her the ropes.

First of all, let me say that this designer's work is amazing. You will probably hear of her in a few months if you haven't already. She is also connected with some INCREDIBLE designers, performers, and artists. These are the sort of people I want to work with. I feel so lucky that she wanted me to be a part of her work.

And she is going to teach me so much. I am already helping her make things for a few notable celebrities (I'll keep you posted). I am thrilled! I am dying to work with her again as soon as possible, even if my own work doesn't get as much of my attention as it should.

I feel much better working for someone of this caliber than someone like, say, McQueen. He is an amazing designer, but the word on the street is that he's an absolutely bitch to work for. And when you intern with a big name like that, you are a nobody. So with someone like the designer I met yesterday, I feel that she is someone who will go places and be huge, but right now she is still approachable. That is the right place for me to be.

So now, school can go to hell. I will work, but I can't be bothered to kill myself anymore. I have other, and possibly better options.

Take that CSM. I don't suck after all.

17 May, 2009

Love + Distance + Confusion = Shitty Shitty Situations

The boy and I are both ridiculously busy and so I am not going to get to see him this term.

After term ends I need to stay in London for a while because I have to see what happens with moving on to 2nd year and my potential internship and all that stuff. I don't think the school will tell me about my position there until late June or early July, and I believe I have to be present at a meeting at that time.

Whatever the outcome of that meeting, I have to then sit down and decide what I'm going to do next. Here is where the situation gets shitty. If school does in fact want me gone, then I have to make my own way in the fashion world. At some point I would like to go back to San Francisco, but I think that when I am starting out it would be wise to stay in London where there are far more opportunities to do that.

But that means that I am now choosing my career over my boyfriend. And I can no longer point to school and say, "I have to stay here because of that." If I have to leave school then I must make the decision every single day to stay in London and not be with my boyfriend, because there won't be anything but my own choices keeping me away from him. And that's a shitty thing to have to deal with.

Every single time I have to decide something about my life in London, I am going to be having to decide between whatever my options are here, and my boyfriend. Good opportunities will feel like heartbreak. And how shitty would it be to feel that all the good things that happen to me are bad for my relationship?

My boyfriend thinks I should stay here and sort things out. But he is a much stronger person I am. He can't move here with me, and so I have to choose to be here alone but focused on my future, or with him in San Francisco. If I want to be in fashion and make my own way, I need to be somewhere where I can get opportunities. And there are far more of those available to me here in London.

On the other hand, maybe staying here is just plain stupid. Maybe it's just my ego talking. Maybe it's simply that I don't want to go home and admit defeat by CSM. Maybe I should just give this up and go back to SF. But if I did that, I probably wouldn't ever have the sort of chances I'd have here. And I don't know if I would ever forgive myself for giving up so fast.

Fuck, this is so confusing.

On Dealing With These Next Few Months

I have found a strange place of calm about my rather impossible situation with the school. I am realizing that no amount of work is going to save me at this point, and no one inside the school system is going to help me. I think it comes down to the fact that they don't actually want me to succeed.

There is something political and money-related going on behind the scenes at CSM. We are all aware of it, but of course no one in the school is going to talk about it. They let too many people in to our program, and then put someone who is the head of a much bigger program and hates what we do as the head tutor for first year. A lot of students in my program feel that we have been forgotten, like we're an afterthought. It should be noted that almost a third of the class is failing. CSM has also sold their amazing arty buildings and will be moving to a new complex in King's Cross area in two years. In this new building the fashion programs will lose almost 25% of their space (a bad move for a school that is known for its fashion, don't you think?). So it makes sense that any student who is a little behind on the learning curve is immediately being failed out. They are trying to slim down the student body. The won't admit to it of course, because accepting students into the school only to kick them out a year later isn't legal. There is something going on, but the administration is talking around it.

So I've come to a place of calm resignation. I can only do what I can do. I will do the projects to the best of my ability, but I have no plans on redoing everything in the portfolio. Evil Tutor will hate it no matter what I do so I might as well focus on the more important projects like the retrieval project and our current assignment. I figure I'm screwed either way so there's no harm in making sure I get lots of sleep and watch the occasional movie. I can't be bothered to push myself past a certain point. That is not to say I am not working very hard on my projects, but some of the feeling of panic is gone (for the time being), and resignation has taken its place.

I can't be bothered to work harder than I want to right now. I am well aware that the school wants me out, and unless a miracle occurs, no amount of work will change that. So I'm going to work today, watch some battlestar galactica before bed, and then go to my internship interview tomorrow and see if that doesn't help clarify my future some.

I've never been one to go about things the normal way, so maybe this is just another chance for me to carve my own path. Doing things your own way is never easy, and I will probably bitch and complain about it every step of the way, but maybe someday I'll look back and think, "wow, CSM was such a mistake. But it got me to move to Europe and it helped me think outside the box. And here I am with my own fashion line, and everything is going well."

Who knows, right?

15 May, 2009


Right so apparently I managed to give the designer I want to intern with an incorrect phone number. The past two days I was in a state, sure that she took a look at my work and ran the other way, but in fact she had been trying to call me.

She just emailed me to ask if my phone had been turned off, and told me she'd like me to come in on Monday.

I spoke with her on the phone just now and we scheduled a time for me to come in and meet not only her, but the latex designer she shares a studio space with. Oddly enough, I found this latex designer on another website and she contacted me about modeling for her. Small world.

So on Monday, I'm going to hop on a bus and head up to a fashion studio in Bow and meet two fabulous designers and see about interning for one or both of them.

Could be worse. ;)

14 May, 2009

Thinking in Fabric

I hurt my back today doing godknowswhat so I've been sitting perfectly still, and not working for the last five or six hours.

Since I can't work on my current projects (all six or seven of them), I will share some experimental draping I did during the shirt project. I just threw some fabric on the stand and had my way with it, sketching each shape until I eventually came to the final idea that would become my shirt a few days later.

So, here are some thoughts of mine, expressed via fabric and pins one dreary afternoon in London:

All of which finally culminated in:

And finally in:

12 May, 2009

Good News

In a moment of "I don't give a fuck" last night I shot out an email to a new up and coming designer in London whose style is VERY much in line with what I want to do with my own work. She is theatrical, sexual, unusual, and innovative. I basically said, "look, I don't have a fantastic portfolio to show you and I don't have a ton of work experience yet, but I think your work is amazing and I would like to work for you. Here's a bit about how I approach design. blah blah blah." I figured I had nothing to lose, right?

To my surprise, she wrote me back this morning. I couldn't believe it! I read the email three times to make sure I understood what she was saying. She said she liked my email, liked that I was ballsy enough to write to her that way. She asked me a bit about my education, asked if I ever studied fine art (I have), or if I've ever focused on the technical side of design (I have). She also expressed interest in working in latex, which I have also done. She said she would like to bring me in for a test run and see if she could use me. It would be an unpaid internship for the time being, but she said that she has brought a couple of her unpaid interns back and hired them.


Things might be turning around.
I'm feelings hopeful. I'm actually smiling for the first time in weeks.

11 May, 2009

The Dean, Where I Am, Fear, Stress, and Uncertainty.

The meeting with the dean didn't go badly, but it didn't go well. He suggested I meet with Evil Tutor and himself to discuss my workload and how to manage it. He sympathized with my situation, even told me about a similar situation he had with a tutor he had in grad school. But he said the rules tie his hands and prevent him from helping me. He did offer to look for a loophole in the rules, though. He's been very friendly to me, and I really appreciate his candor. I just wish he could do something more to help me.

I spent this weekend trying to work on my retrieval project. I get a new project assigned tomorrow. And I still have to redo all the work in my portfolio and redo the portfolio itself. By the end of the month. It isn't possible, and I am a wreck. I am falling apart in every way, every day. I really need someone to help support me right now. I just need the monstrous load of work and stress to lessen.

So I emailed the Dean again, and I've included the email below. Names have been changed for obvious reasons. It is a very familiar email, and I did that in part because I don't give a shit anymore, and in part because he responds very well to honesty about a situation. I tried playing it professional at first, and realized that he will mirror my approach to a situation. I only share this email because I feel it expresses where I am emotionally about the potential of being kicked out/asked to repeat first year/etc...

" Dear "Dean",

I have been considering your offer to meet with "Evil Tutor" (henceforth ET) and me to sort out my workload. Although I worry that he will take it personally and it might affect my grades even more, I think perhaps it is a good idea to talk to him about how to manage my pile of homework. I have nothing to lose, right?

I mean... all I want from CSM is for them to take my money and give me the chance to TRY and learn something. The tutors can tell me I'm shit, they can laugh at my work, they can tell me over and over that my work is awful. I truly, honestly do not mind as long as they tell me why. I just need the chance to do what the rest of the succeeding students are doing- work on one project at a time.

I will take that sketchbook course that is offered over the summer. I will take any extra courses over the summer that will help me improve. I will do extra work over the summer to make up for the retrieval projects, if the school will only let me spread out the work. I would even suffer a blow to my ego and grovel, beg to move on to 2nd year if it would help. I have met some of the 2nd and 3rd year tutors and I connect with their teaching styles much better than I do with "ET"'s. I could do this. But if I had to repeat 1st year with him again.... I can promise you I would not finish, even if I COULD afford to repeat. He and I, despite getting along in person, do not mesh well in the tutor-student situation.

I don't know if I mentioned this to you yet, but I have ADHD- attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Focusing, laying out timetables, understanding time, planning... these things are unusually hard for me to do. I usually take a medication for this, but the medication I am on is not available in the UK, and so I am operating at a huge deficit. And despite that fact I'm only 2 points short of passing. That is an achievement. I only mention this to make sure you know that I am not a slacker, nor do I expect an easy ride. I just need a little help from the university, and the opportunity to have the time to delve into one project at a time, try new things, really FOCUS on one concept. I can get this, I know I can.

I belong here. I belong at CSM. I am sure of that. Ask any of my classmates, even the ones who don't like me or my work. They will tell you the same thing. That may sound cocky, but it is also true.

All I ask is that CSM continue to take my money, continue to insult my work, and let me move onto 2nd year. I ask that they let me spread my work out a little bit. I stumbled early on in the year and I have never been able to catch up. I'm not asking a lot. I am not asking them to let me off the hook, just dull the hook a little. Give me some more time.

If you think that talking to "ET", or the head of the university, or anyone will help, please tell me what to do. I spent this whole weekend trying to work on the retrieval project sketchbook and I'm finding that I am failing in all the same ways I have before. I am so stressed out I can't find a new way to approach it, you know? I am trying to focus, but the looming monster of another set of double projects, plus the portfolio, plus the work IN the portfolio is really setting me up for failure. In case balancing all that for someone with ADHD wasn't difficult enough, the stress and fear of not being able to move on to 2nd year is making creative thinking nearly impossible for me. Any artist understands that, and I am sure you do too.

I know you cannot bend the rules for me. Who can?

Thank you for yet again reading another inappropriately familiar rant from me,

I feel utterly destroyed these days. I am so down on myself and my design abilities I can barely get out of bed in the morning, and barely sleep at night. I am making myself ill with stress and contained fury at feeling powerless over my situation. I don't know what I want anymore. Do I want to stay? Do I want to just drop out? If I dropped out could I forgive myself? I want to stay and give it one last go, but the amount of work I have to do is almost impossible, especially when I am this stressed out.

I am so lost and confused, and have never felt more alone in my life.

I just want someone to help me.

07 May, 2009

A Change of Direction

Well. It looks like things are most likely not going to work out between me and St Martins. Despite all my work and all my desire to stay here, it seems the university does not feel the same way.

I have another meeting with the Dean tomorrow, and that will determine a lot about what I do next.

I am distraught at the thought of leaving London. No, "distraught" is putting it mildly. Let's say I feel as though my very being has been battered and humiliated. It's all I can do to get out of bed and face the day ahead of me. I feel as though I was offered the chance of a lifetime and then laughed at when I dared to reach for it. There was a moment when I really felt I could do this. I felt I could make this happen. I felt I could be the next big thing. But I stumbled a little early on in the year, and the school has never let me recover from it.

I cannot bear the thought of returning home to San Francisco right now. I can't bear to face people when they ask why I'm back. My every instinct is telling me to run as far away from home as possible and never look back.

So if the meeting with the dean doesn't go well tomorrow, and this horror does in fact become my new failed reality, then I am going to indulge that impulse. I am going to stay in London for the next six months. I am going to travel alone and I am going to figure myself out, and reclaim what little of my soul I can.

I am going to go to Paris for a week. I am going to go to Milan and Venice. I am going to go to Berlin. I am going to buy a proper camera and I am going to take photos, indulge in my rediscovered passion for photography. I am going to sketch every day and drink too many cappuccinos. I will yell at Italian men for commenting on my ass, and I will smirk at the hairy french women that dress incredibly well. And maybe I will find something in those next couple of months that will enliven me again, and help me find the fight in me again.

And then I will decide what I want to do, and where I want to do it.

I have no portfolio to speak of, so I can't apply for any design jobs. But I am considering taking out one massive loan and getting a place for myself to work. I want to hire a seamstress and I will churn out a line of garments that are all Me. I will make things so ridiculous and amazing that when I show my friends at CSM what I'm working on, they will wish they could work with me. And fuck CSM and their ridiculous sketchbook/research book bullshit. I've learned so much about research and print and design processes that I don't give a shit if CSM doesn't like my sketchbooks. I spent all this time trying to figure out what they wanted so they wouldn't fail me.... so they would give me a fresh start, a chance to find out what I wanted. But they didn't. And I don't think they ever will.

The best revenge is success. Sometimes a good beating isn't so bad, but I'll settle for success.

04 May, 2009

A Visual Overview

I have a portfolio due on Wednesday, and so I've had to suck it up and take photos of all the work I've been dreading looking at. Going back over my work I can see now how poor the quality of work really is, but I can't quite figure out how to make it better. I can see why I failed. And failed. And failed. And failed. I found that staring at my work en mass was incredibly depressing and as a result I have barely done any work on my portfolio. I still don't know what the hell I'm going to put in there.

But I have had to take a few photos of my garments. Since I have them, I might as well share. More are forthcoming.

The Shirt Project: I chose to design with Vivienne Westwood in mind, drawing inspiration from the 90's attitude of apathy, and layered look of eastern European nomadic tribes.

The White Project: We could use only white felt or cotton to make our garment. While I HATED the other two pieces I made, the amount of time and effort I put into delicately shredding and hand-gathering this felt top stopped me from throwing it out like the rest of the project. Pared with black leggings, a pretty blonde, and a brick wall, it doesn't look too bad, I suppose.

The Accessory Project: The goal of this project was to try our hands at various printing techniques. I tried as many as I could at the time, but opted for a simple, elegant velvet devore of two bird wings.

The Retrieval Project: This was the "Congratulations you failed!" project that I was forced to do at the same time as all my other work last term. As a result of the time pressure, the garment was thrown together in one day, and has nothing fancy or insane on it. Except for the fact that the red sleeves are in fact long enough to touch the ground. It was inspired by deep sea creatures and by the vintage diving helmets.

The Metamorphosis Project: This was the team project that went to hell. I ADORED working with my team mate. She and I want to work together again. We started our project by sketching things at the Darwin exhibition, and focused on the ideas evolution, natural selection, and protection. We ended up designing two clashing prints- hers was a blocky, graphic print in two tones that felt like a tribal print of muscle fibers and cells. Mine was a print of black hair on a skin-toned fabric used to cover an exoskeleton that was to be worn over her muscle dress. It wasn't meant to be beautiful or wearable, just interesting and conceptual.
(Please pardon the shitty photo, we had to take it indoors in a poorly lit hallway due to rain.)

Ok, that's it for now.

03 May, 2009

How hard you can get hit

Given the current messy state of affairs I call My Life, I thought it apt that the boy sent me a reminder, ala Rocky Balboa:

"It ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward."

Thanks, Mr. Balboa.


"Sometimes I look at you, and all the work you do, and how stressed you are, and I am so glad I decided NOT to go into fashion design."

That is what one of my flat mates said to me this morning.