To give you more of an insight into what we as a team are up to at StArt, we’re going to cut out the middle man and write some of our own articles, so expect to see some updates from myself (Jack), Jonny and Kate in the near future. I’m kicking things off with a write-up of London Fashion Week and my time there as a photographer. Residents of the capital will probably be accustomed to LFW, but for those that aren’t, this should provide some insight into what goes on over the week.
I headed down to London last Saturday on a days notice to shoot for The Style Column, an online fashion publication, at London Fashion Week. In truth, the first day was a bit unsettling as I had such high hopes and excitement, but spent most of my time running around trying to get accreditation and struggling to shoot in the rain. Because I didn’t get a pass until late, I didn’t get to meet the Style Column people and felt really out of the loop. The day ended on a high, as me and Kate managed to worm our way into the Ashley Isham show at the spectacular Goldsmiths Hall. This was my first ever catwalk, in terms of both attending and photographing, so I was quite blown away by the whole atmosphere of it.
I was still buzzing from the energy of the previous night on Sunday, and got some great street style shots. As a bit of an outsider to fashion, I sometimes found the situation there quite daunting; speaking to extravagantly dressed people who often give off an air of self-importance. On Sunday I started to overcome that feeling, and realise that 99% of the people there are friendly and approachable if confronted in the same way. It’s a huge relief when that feeling arrives, and I had the confidence to wander round and talk to people, resulting in better photos.
Monday was predominantly taken up by more street style photography, however the day took an exciting turn when Kate managed to swindle us into a Vogue Italia cocktail party on Belgravia. If you’ve never tried prosecco cocktails then I would advise you to keep it that way, but I met a director/screenwriter there just before we left and spoke about doing some principle photography for his upcoming film which was great. Meeting interesting people like this was one of the highlights of the week, and makes fashion week worth attending even if you abhor everything fashion stands for.
Tuesday was probably the day that I finally felt both relaxed and confident in the workings of fashion week. I shot 3 catwalks including Holly Fulton, a star designer for my first (proper) fashion week, and attended an exhibition in the Portico rooms at Somerset house, which probably left about 20 minutes all day to stop and have lunch. Kate worked her magic again and got us tickets to Ozwald Boateng’s private showing on Saville Row, so I met up with Beth to go photograph while Kate covered another show. If you imagine a high end shop where the mannequins are real models, and the music is played live by a lady on a cello, then you get a good idea of the Boateng show. We also managed to get tickets to his after-party at the Whiskey Mist on the edge of the Hilton which was cool, and Elliott from the Style Column was kind enough to lend me some suave clothing for the evening. This pretty much topped off the events of the day which were already quite surreal to my inexperienced little head.
Wednesday, traditionally ‘mens day’, was a great end to fashion week. Vaskar from TSC had thankfully been impressed by my photography so far and asked me to cover the Topman Design show at the The Royal Opera House. In the mix of changing clothes at Elliotts house, I’d left my pass at home, but through methods that I still don’t quite understand I managed to get a photographers pass from a lady outside the Topman show and filed in with the press before the show to get a great spot in the pit. The pinnacle of the week has to be being stood in the photographers pit, waiting to shoot an amazing show, when Ronnie Wood walks in and shakes Philip Green’s hand practically within reaching distance. Regular shooters at LFW will probably be used to this kind of celebrity appearance, but I certainly am not, and as a big Stones fan I think that the experience will stay with me for a while. The day didn’t end there though – I shot 2 more shows at the smaller Vauxhall venue (one of which attracted Amir Kahn to attend) and finished another long day at about 10pm.
Thursday was intended to be a relaxed day, but I received a reply from a fashion photographer that I’d emailed asking if I could meet him at his place in Shoreditch to have a chat at 12pm. Considering I was reading this email at 11:30am, it was a panicky moment as well as an exciting one, but he extended the time to 12:30pm and I got straight on the underground to meet him. The friendliness, advice and contacts that I received from the informal meeting made it both worthwhile and another highlight of the week. If I am to decide on fashion as my direction, I’ve been given a lot to think about, and hopefully I’ve come a bit closer to discovering that with this week. I dashed off from Shoreditch to meet another photographer James Arnold. James and I are both of similar ages and locations, with our mum’s workplace being the connecting line between us, but this was the first time we’d actually met. It was great to finally meet and discuss both our work and our ambitions to move to London – hopefully when we both end up down there we’ll keep in contact, as James is a nice guy as well as a talented photographer. I arrived back in Chiswick about 6pm and helped Kate put together her portfolio for her Central Saint Martins application on the following day. After a chilled morning in Chiswick I headed to Euston to (regretfully) catch the train back to Blackpool.
Something that’s confusing me a lot at the minute as a photographer is my direction, and whether fashion is the way that I want to go. I’m not sure if this week has helped me decide on that, or how much closer it’s brought me, but I have met some fantastic people and had a hell of an experience. The main thing that I would say I’ve taken from it (as well as contacts, photos, and a better knowledge of catwalk photography and fashion week), is confidence.