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What’s your name?

John “Mr Future” Vagabond.

Who are you?

I’m the manager for the Future Gallery.

Why did you decide to get involved with the project running tonight?

The event tonight is a great thing to associate ourselves with. Plus the girls involved are really lovely.

What did you do before you became the manager of the Future Gallery?

I worked with the Secret Garden Festival and was the manager for a lovely building called the Porchester Hall.

Why did you take the job at Future?

I took the job because the people here are ridiculously sound and it’s something new, interesting and creative.

What’s coming up at the gallery?

We’re making a lazer maze – a bit like in the Catherine Zeta Jones and Sean Connery film, Entrapment. People can come and be involved and have a go. That is scheduled to open around June 1th, but it’s still TBA. We’re also going to be doing some video mapping.

What is fashion to you?

I feel that fashion is a black mark on England’s culture. It’s about throw-away things that aren’t broken creating environmental problems for no reason. It doesn’t make sense to me that things should be useless just because they’re ‘out of season’. People should be happy with what they have.

What have you learnt about fashion after tonight?

Fashion brings people together.


Illustration: GABRIELA MOT




Kath is one half of the Bitching and Junkfood label, debuting at The Live Issue launch. The fashion designer, originally from Australia moved to London 4 years ago. She originally worked as a buyer at Kookai, where she met Marion. The two decided to start up Bitching and Junkfood, an online store selling niche brands with an eclectic mix of styles. We caught up with her whilst Gabriela took a quick sketch at The Live Issue launch…

Why are you here tonight?

I’m showcasing unisex fashion collection “Two Weeks” and a fashion film.

What was the angle behind your A/W 2010 collection?

We wanted to create a unisex label, a casual sportswear direction with a tribal twist that feels both chaotic and organised, showing the different sides of Bitching and Junkfood.

What’s making you tick right now?

Red wine and Keith Harring.

What is fashion to you?


What was the first thing you did today?

Took my dog Pepper for a walk.

Who is your idol?

My business partner Marion.

What are you working on right now?

Our second collection for Urban Outfitters, a pop-up shop in Old Street and getting a suntan in London Fields.






Last week, brother and sister jewelry brand, ZOE AND MORGAN, cordially invited Sketchbook Magazine to view their pieces and new “YES” collection for 2010. This season, and beyond, is all about positivity and confidence. Zoe and Morgan have encapsulated the essence of happiness and love through fashion forward geometry and statement words like, ‘love’, ‘hope’ and ‘yes’.

The collection hosts a menagerie of familiar creatures who add energy and playfulness to the wearer. Foxes, snakes, spiders and rabbits add a cute tone to the collection, which is mainly built around rock ‘n’ roll, edgy designs that feature angular cuts and punky skulls. The newest addition to the collection’s zoo is the dexterous and cheeky raccoon, a native American creature and a popular cultural icon in Japan that’s said to bring good luck. The brand have also paid tribute to the Alice in Wonderland craze with their rabbit in a top hat pendant – adorable!

The “YES” collection is based around art deco designs that are simple but graphic. It is a definitive collection that is ready to wear, with pieces that will go with any outfit. Zoe and Morgan are also well known for their love of precious and unusual jewels, which Morgan travels the world to find before the pair set to work designing wearable pieces.

Zoe started her career as a hat designer, while Morgan had more of an interest in music. But after Morgan returned from a trip to India with pocket full of precious stones, the two became fascinated with the different qualities and color combinations of the treasures and their collaboration began to take shape.

Zoe and Morgan are the children of the jewelry designer, SILVER FOX, who led them around the world, as they grew up, in pursuit of precious gems. They launched their first collection in 2005 at Paris Fashion Week. “WE LOVE JEWELS” was an innovative collection of handmade pieces from a combination of modern and traditional techniques. Since then, the brand has enjoyed much publicity and positive response. Many of you may have already come across the jewelry designers’ work, which has featured in magazines such as VOGUE, ELLE, POP and INSTYLE and has been worn by style leaders such as ALEXA CHUNG, KATE MOSS, LILLY DONALDSON AND EMMA WATSON.

The new “YES” collection, along with other classic Zoe and Morgan pieces can be bought on their website, and in stores across London including Selfridges, Matches and Beyond the Valley on our very own Newburgh Street – to name a few. A full list of stockists can be viewed on the website.

Here, at Sketchbook, we’re quite smitten with the mysterious animal mask pendants and “love” rings, which would do well to add character to the plain utility trend for s/s 2010. The prices may not be exactly wallet friendly, but the inevitable quality and intricacy of the designs makes the pieces all the more unique and lust-after accessories. Go indulge yourselves in a bit of happiness and say “YES!” to life.


Images: Courtesy of ZOE AND MORGAN 



If Those Walls Could Talk

As I walk through The Fashion and Textile Museum in London, I can’t help but remember my auntie’s house. The walls on her dining room were decorated with a bold pattern, with massive flowers and dark colours, gaudily topped with a wide range of frames with family pictures that used to give me headaches. I’m sure she’d never have thought, nor did I, that years later I would be admiring that same wall –minus the relatives – as a part of the legacy of the most successful brand of interior decoration in England.

“Very Sanderson, 150 years of English decoration” is more than what it says on the tin.

It is a journey throughout ingenious tactics on innovation, customer care and artistic designs that makes this brand a true English asset. The exhibition runs from the 19th of March till the 13th of June and takes the visitor through the 15 decades in which Sanderson Ltd. grew from wallpaper dealer to fashion inspiration.

The exposition welcomes you with the first wallpapers made in England, backdated to 1870, created by the use of block-print, taking you down to the introduction of colour brochures, the first Disney wallpapers (featuring the first sketches of Snow White with all her seven dwarfs), the invention of the hinged display screens, and the creation of the first –and largest- showroom of its kind in London.

Also on display is the iconic Chintz, a mass produced design with high quality, but at the same time affordable that came to decorate houses all around the world.

Historian Mary Schoeser and co curator of the exhibition, showed us around with true passion for Sanderson’s work: “from the beginning they took risks. With block printing, they went for simple patterns, against the Victorian “over the top” style of the time. Sanderson believed the consumer deserved something artistically designed and affordable”.

This is the history of an entrepreneur that certainly loved designers and artists, counting among its vast archive contributions: C. F. A. Voysey, William Turner, Pat Albeck, Lucienne Day and even Pablo Picasso. For this special occasion, creations by Nina Saunders and independent footwear designer Tracey Neuls blend the colourful inheritance of Sanderson’s fabrics with art and fashion, a well deserved homage to a legendary brand that has set trends from our own living rooms.

“Very Sanderson, 150 Years of English Decoration” 19th March – 13th June. Wednesday to Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. Last admission 5.15 pm.

Tickets £6.5 adults / £3.50 students and concessions. Under 12s free entry.


Photography CHUN P. LIN



A day @ The MoMA

New York City: Our first day in the city, sunny, bright, refreshing, sunnies perched high– nothing could wipe the smiles off our faces.

Yet, getting into our first yellow cab of the trip with our faithful Egyptian driver Yahya (us Arabs really are everywhere), all we hear of is this ‘blizzard is a-comin’. A’comin? Really?? Last time I heard that, it was in a Steinbeck book in my high school English Lit course (then again, my dictionary doesn’t go back too long).

So bound by memories of the sun, editor in chief WAFA ALOBAIDAT and myself trek out in our reliable converse on day two (big mistake; also known as Blizzard Day) onto our first trans-Atlantic cultural stop, 11 West & 53rd Street, where we find ourselves at The MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MoMA).

Watch out for our upcoming review of the TIM BURTON exhibition at the MoMA.

Text/Photography LUMA BASHMI



Filep Motwary… The New Ideal

Filep Motwary is the mastermind behind international blog Un Nouveau Ideal and his very own fashion label. After graduating from fashion school in Athens, Filep’s experience boasts of some of the most respected designers in the fashion industry including Galliano, Dior, Chloe and Loukia. Constantly surrounded by fashion since he was young, fashion design came as second nature and it seems like major success is never far behind. In collaboration with jewellery designer Maria Mastori, his next womenswear collection comes out this month for A/W 10/11 and if that wasn’t enough; a movie and book are also in the works. Here we talk to Filep about his journey into fashion, blogging, projects and what he really thinks about Sketchbook.


Where were you born and raised? What was growing up like?

I was born in Cyprus. Which was at the time, during the aftermath of the 1974 war. So there was an echo of silence, if you know what I mean. But on the other hand my childhood was quite carefree. I lived in this area which was very close to the green line which separates the Greece Cypriots from the Turkish Cypriots and there were these huge fields full of greenery with high plants. We also had this horse stable there; they raised horses there, old horses that no one could use. So we used to ride these horses without permission. So that was my childhood (laughs).

Your mother is from Cyprus and your father is Syrian, do those places have any influence on your work?

I never saw it this way, although the more I grow older, the more I see a reflection of the history of both civilizations in what I’m doing.  But its never intended. Its something that in a way comes out naturally since I’m coming from both heritages.

How did you get into the fashion industry; when did you know that was where you were supposed to be?

It’s a bit cliché because my mother was a seamstress, a dress maker, so we had all of these people at home all of the time, all of these ladies, and the greatest magazines and all of that so it came naturally I think. When I was about 12 I discovered the power of the Mtv and shows like Fashion File with T. Blanks and that was a major influence I would say. But of course now that I’m involved in the business, what I thought about the business back then has nothing to do with the reality of it today so…

You and Maria Mastori seem to be completely in sync with your designs. Can you explain the dynamic between you two and how your work comes together so well?

Well we work in the same space; we have an apartment studio where we both work. Its divided into rooms. There’s a room where we see our clients, there’s a room where we expose the collections and there’s two other rooms where each of use work on our own collections. But when the time comes to create the new stuff for the season we always have a central meeting to discuss the ideas and then have a second meeting to have some, you know, sketches on the table and see how we can start with the procedure. I would say it comes naturally, as I said before, because we’re in the same space. The thing is also, although we have an age difference, we like the same things and in a way we behave the same way towards our life. So I don’t know how ideal it sounds that we’re a perfect match, because although we work together we do not interfere with each other’s space.

Could you explain the transition from being just a designer to being a designer and well-known blogger? How do you balance both?

Well, um…Blogging came as, it was actually and invite from a friend, Diane Pernet. She wanted me to write for her blog but in the meantime I discovered that writing and exposing my knowledge, or my connection to fashion, or my connection to people in fashion was something that was never exposed before. So a lot of people discovered my work through my writing and thinking that if it wasn’t for the blog my work would still have been, not unknown, but not as known as it is right now. So by combining my experiences through the world’s fashion weeks or through a visit to another designer in combination with my own collection each time, and Maria’s, it has become a sort of melting pot of information. Some of this information is indeed about us, but on the other hand, its not, I don’t know if that makes sense (laughs).

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Meet Rana Salam

Middle Eastern graphic designer/artist RANA SALAM is just about as vibrant and colourful as the work she does. RANA has lent her Middle Eastern pop art style to clients in retail, fashion, design and press along with publishing her own book on Middle Eastern lingerie, launching her own product line and using her studio as a gallery space. We met in her studio to talk about her work.


I was born and raised in Beirut until the age of 16. Then I came to London to start my design education 15 years ago. Applied to foundation course, built up a portfolio and applied to London College of printing, CSM and Royal College. When I came all the way to study in the UK I thought I would be a Western designer all cool and trendy and they actually said to me: “No, go back and discover the Middle East.” And I thought what is in the Middle East? There is nothing. No design really existed, there wasn’t a design movement like here in the West. So, when I went to do my thesis the only design I could use was what I found on the streets. I was fascinated by that.


I thought it was something where I could be creative and make money. Combination of commercial and art. So that is why I call myself a graphic artist rather than a designer. I love things like labels, I already collected things when I was younger, I used to put it up on my wall. Like my wall of inspiration here in my studio…it all goes back to my childhood. Finding random things but not knowing what to do with them but eventually with graphic design I learnt how to manipulate things and how to use them.


Yeah, for sure, that is what I did for my thesis at the Royal College..the concept of Pop Art. The concept of Pop Art and the philosophy behind it, understanding all the pop artists, how they work. I started to apply that to my own work to justify it. It is not just grabbing a pretty image.


My work is going to get better. I need to discover new things, learn new things. There is a lot of homework to do and you can’t do it when you are here. What I have been doing for the last 15 years is collecting, collecting, collecting and I am going to continue to do that there.


My god, very good question. How do I keep it fresh? Well…a lot of my archives have actually been with me for 15 years….I’m stocking and stocking and stocking. And suddenly I can revive it through a project and it is about how I apply it 15 years later. The mood has changed, the graphics, the fashion has changed. When I design it today I hope it will still look cool in 20 years. I want it to be timeless. Like the cups for LA COMPTOIR will still be cool in 20 years but you do get graphics which you feel are part of trends.


For LA COMPTOIR we worked with an architect. The brief was obvious…it had to be a Lebanese style restaurant/cafe. We brainstormed with the architects how we were going to create visual imagery of Lebanese culture so that was the main thing….understanding what makes something look Lebanese. So, naturally we looked at the history and the architecture. Of course they came to me because I have a huge archive of Middle Eastern imagery. We went through my archives, selected images and cropped them. It was the art of cropping and editing images. It can just make it or break it…how you crop, where you crop it. The client, of course, was perfect for expressing all of this pop culture and it became really successful which none of us expected.


They approached me having seen my image of a woman with butterflies. We made a collage out of that injecting some Itsu style butterflies to make the wallpaper that is part of the Itsu brand now.

So it does not look Middle Eastern necessarily, it is just my style. This is an interesting point…am I packed as a Middle Eastern popular artists/designer? Or am I packaged as a designer who can manipulate all different languages…Japanese, Middle Eastern…I trained as a designer but I am also an artist. I feel it is my duty to embrace the Middle East through design. It is kind of my mission.


With a bit of a shock! The reaction to my HARVEY NICHOL’S window display, one of my first projects, was that I collect the rubbish off the street and put them in glamorous retail stores. But now it is very much celebrated. When I go to Beirut I’m like a little pop star but not here. Here when you walk down the street nobody knows you but in Beirut it is fantastic. After 20 years of doing this it’s nice and rewarding! I’v done something worthwhile.


No, but we are developing our own product line for our shop MISH MAOUL. We are trying to develop our own products with our own vision, carpets, cushions and jewellery. There will be an exhibition in my studio in two weeks time on the theme of love and in a couple of months there will be another exhibition on theme of belly dancers.


A book on Egyptian posters from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Other projects…I don’t know. I don’t look that far ahead.


Photography NATHAN PASK



5 Minutes with the FAT Kyds

"FatKyds will never be commonplace"

T-Shirt designers FAT Kyds launched in 2009 creating a range of unique, exclusive T-shirts, designed by renowned fine artists and graphic designers. FAT Kyds keep charity close to their heart, donating £1 of each T-shirt sale to charity. We caught up with them over Christmas to talk to them about their designers, future collaborations and why they are called FAT Kyds.

Where did the idea of FAT Kyds come from?

The idea of Fat Kyds came from my desire to create something individual.  An individuality born out of the frustration of finding clothes that spoke to me and at the same time wasn’t commercialised.  I love clothes and appreciate the craft and creativity that goes into not only to the design and manufacture of items, but also the wearer’s ability to use their own personality and taste to combine them in ways that say something about their individuality.

Where and how did it start?

I wanted to create something that had no geographical ties or an identity that belonged to everyone.  I wanted to create a label that would be able to merge my love of art, music and fashion and the humble white t-shirt was the perfect canvas for this concept.

Why the name FAT Kyds?

It’s a bit tongue and cheek really. I was always fascinated with kids at school who were often ridiculed for being different and non-conformist as I regarded it as a way of early self-expression. The irony of life is that when we become older we go out of our way to be individual and different from the crowd. That’s how Fat Kyds came about; I wanted to create a name that encompassed these so-called ‘outsiders’ and ‘individuals’ as a means to showing their true fashion potential.

You pride yourself on being original and unique, who would best represent FAT Kyds?

Anyone who defies the odds and has the ability to create something great and unique, whilst attempting to forge their own path. These include people who have started with a concept and achieved remarkable things and garnered respect as a result and especially those whose circumstances don’t prevent them from accomplishing their goals. 

Are there any plans to branch out, or just to stay with T-Shirts?

People would generally expect a typical capitalistic answer, to grow and grow and make lots of money. However, I’m not looking to get our shirts into department stores, or any such commercial angle. If I were to, it would effectively betray the principals this brand was founded on. The aim is to keep numbers low, to be safe in the knowledge that there are only a select few individuals who will be privy to the artwork and the knowledge that it will never be repeated again. The whole point is that as much as anything, we are promoting individuality. The low runs are meant to insure that. If we saturate the market, it really no longer has the same feel. We want to gather a small group of people who have the same outlook on fashion and art and cater to these people by providing the clothing they want.

Who are the designers of FAT Kyds, where and how did you come about getting involved with them?

It’s a collaborative effort. The prime brand was designed by renowned British artist Athier. I have been a keen follower of the young art scene from some of the prominent art colleges for some time now and Athier’s work grabbed my attention early on. I kept track of his career with great interest and when FAT Kyds took form, I had no hesitations in asking him to participate. I wanted to collaborate the first ever line with someone who would truly grasp the concept and create a totally different design ethic that is inherently FAT Kyds. I felt Athier was the best person to do this. He designed the logo and shirts in a style which broke with his traditional fine line art for something fresh but equally detailed and unique.

Following this, I contracted out to a Montreal based firm called BK design who took the assets and ran with it to create the website. A lot of extra artwork was created uniquely for the site from them and I appreciated the effort and time taken to understand the unorthodox methodology.

How do you select artists and designers, what is the process you go through with them?

For me the artist’s ability to understand the concept is of the utmost importance. The ability to understand who a FAT Kyd is and the ability to create amazing pieces of art that are powerful in their own right. When the next artist is brought on board to work on series two, the whole look of the brand and site will change. The site and perhaps even the logo will take on visual elements derived from the new artist’s style. The brand is as much a part of the current series as the shirts themselves, so we will continually be evolving. The challenge that inspires me the most is keeping up with fashion trends, and using this as inspiration to blaze new trails.

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

I have a short list of possible artists we may use for the next collection. The most important element I look for in an artist is their ability to really capture the spirit of FAT Kyds and create designs that will strike a chord with the FATKydologists. As you can imagine there is a lengthy process involved in picking the artist but I have faith that each artist will always bring a certain “je ne sais quoi” that makes FAT Kyds… so watch this space.

You work closely with Nordoff Robbins charity, how did this begin? How are you involved with them?

Even before the creation of FAT Kyds I have always had the strong aim that my first venture would involve a strong element of charity, ideally one with a strong artistic foundation. I have been donating to Nordoff Robins for some years now and as FAT Kyds was being shaped I couldn’t think of a better charity that I wanted to be involved with. We were blown away by the enthusiasm NR showed FAT Kyds and especially proud to be one of the first products ever they have lent their name to. Our current involvement is such that we donate a pound from every T-shirt sold, whether that is the main line, the Connoisseur edition or the unlimited edition to the charity. We are also starting work on a Nordoff Robbins inspired T shirt , with all proceeds going to the charity.

Where do you see FAT Kyds in 5 years?

A tough question to answer considering we have just begun! I hope that we would be enjoying modest and sustainable success, enough that the majority of the focus would be placed solely on the creativity and the FAT Kyds ethic. I would love to create a small community around FAT Kyds where discussions, suggestions and enthusiasm were common; a tangible and ongoing connection with the audience.





Dempsey’s Musical Stamps

For many these days (with the exception of my grandmother and an elementary school penpal who I will not embarrass on this blog), sending letters, in general, seems to have become a thing of the past and stamps have become something that philatelist collect.

Self-adhesive stamps were first introduced in May 1940 and they went from being just a means of paying for postage to miniature art. Philately, the art of stamp collecting, is one of the world’s most popular hobbies. The  ROYAL MAIL creates a range of Special Stamps that capture the richness of Britain; from music and cultural events to heroic achievements and significant anniversaries. 2009 saw a range of stamps from those celebrating the life and work of Charles Darwin on the 200th anniversary of his birth, to first series of the stamps counting down to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games.

The Royal Mail describes this issue as one that “explores some of the most potent graphic images of modern times, many of which have provided a visual soundtrack to people’s lives”.

The first issue of stamps for 2010 starts with a set of stamps celebrating British album covers, designed by STUDIO DEMPSEY. The 10 specially designed stamps illustrate old school records with the vinyl out of the sleeves, and required Royal Mail to enlist the help of music magazine editors to help narrow down the vast choices of significant album artwork by British artists. And here are the winners:

BLUR Parklife

COLDPLAY A Rush Of Blood To The Head

THE CLASH London Calling

DAVID BOWIE The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars



NEW ORDER Power, Corruption and Lies

PINK FLOYD The Division Bell

PRIMAL SCREAM Screamadelica


The stamps can be purchased in various formats from stamp sets to souvenir sheets, or as a Prestige stamp book including comments about each album cover by Editor-in-Chief of Mojo Magazine, Phil Alexander. Available from the Royal Mail, prices range from  £1.95 to £5.50.




5 Minutes with Designer Ara Jo

Graduating Central Saint Martins just last year, designer ARA JO’s Margiela-like designs have already been seen on the likes of Lady Gaga. Sketchbook caught up with her over Christmas where she told us about her love of dancing, Lady Gaga and her mermaid-inspired s/s collection.

What is your background? What inspired you to choose a career in fashion?

When I was 13 I saw fashion magazines and I just thought, I want to make clothes like in this magazine, I just didn’t want to wear it, I wanted to make it. After that feeling, I used to make things for my styling; leg warmers, skits, accessories. It was simple to make it because I didn’t know how to make it properly, but I still remember all things that I made by myself.

So was it always fashion design, or were there any other options?

When I was young I wanted to be a Ballerina, I learned dance; ballet, jazz, folk dance for 7 years, but I couldn’t go on without my parents’ support because they didn’t want me to do it. One day my mom told me “why don’t you do drawing?” I liked to draw for my hobby but as soon as I started to draw for my future, it became as my aptitude. And I really liked it.  But I still love to dance, if I wouldn’t be a fashion designer, I would be a dancer.

What does a typical day involve for you?

 I make plans everyday before I go to bed and my days styling begins in my head. Oh, and weather in London, even if I want to wear my chiffon dress, I am not really brave to wear in this weather, you know what I mean!

What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?

My family and Lady GaGa! My parents have always supported me whatever I do, they trust me, and I want to show them what I can do as a fashion designer. Even if this job is a really hard, tough field, I want to prove that I can do as they trust me.

And Lady GaGa, yes, it is still hard to believe my collection was worn by her, I will make her wear my collection again and again. I like her own style and I want to be a part of her styling secret!

What do you feel the highlight of your career has been, your greatest achievement?

Again, Lady GaGa, she has such influencing power. Everyone says I saw Lady GaGa was wearing your collection, yes, it’s very powerful. And I also really like to see that my collection is worn by celebrities. It’s usually strange, crazy and amazing outfits! I like the madness.

Which of your collections do you prefer?

My first collection in my life, Hypnosis collection. That’s how I can start as a fashion designer in London, that’s how people know about me, that’s how spread my name in fashion field.

What was your inspiration for your 2010 Spring/Summer collection titled Mermaids?

I  was surprised that there are such amazing creatures live under the ocean! Amazing colours, shapes and they are so mysterious.I am always interested in Myth and I chose my muse as a mermaid for my 2010 S/S collection.

A very curious woman who lives under the ocean. She is indescribably beautiful and she knows how can attract men. That’s what I wanted to know through her beauty. And also her friends; sea slugs, corals, tropical fishes. They are as amazing as my beautiful mermaid.

Are there any designers that you admire for their achievements, and would like to see them gain more support from the fashion industry?

I like Hussein Chalayan. And I’m sure he is quite big designer now.I think I am the one who needs to get support from the fashion industry!

Do you feel there is adequate support from publications for new up and coming designers?

I only know the way I can get sponsorship or supports (I mean financial sides) is winning competition. And that’s what I am planning for next year. 

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

Well, I never worked as collaboration with other designers. But it would be great making really eye-catching project and work together. I would like to work with up-coming fresh designers like me.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Spreading my name, ‘Ara Jo’ as a fashion designer. To make it happen, I will never give up my madness in my mind and I will make people enjoy my collections. We will see!