“Get out there and do something curious” Selina Blow.
Walking in to the college with my beautiful boss & friend Ali Chapman on our way to the presentation room, I noticed a quirky ‘fashionable’ lady sitting on the sofa. “That has to be Selina, that’s her,” I pointed out to Ali. Admittedly I had done some research online and so had an idea of what she looked like but amongst others, Selina stood out from the crowd – what a cool lady!
Standing in a beautiful velvet jacket, Selina began by talking about her greatest passion – textiles. Even though we say ‘fashion designer’, it is the textiles which means the most to Selina which I could instantly relate to.
Jumping further to her background, Selina described how her mother was Sri Lankan and her father English that meant a huge sense of eccentricity from a seriously early age. (Almost a clash of cultures which has been able to come together beautifully through her work.)
Living as a student with Phillip Tracy and Alexander McQueen, the colourful history to Selina’s life was being painted in my mind with inspirations and influences flying in from all directions. ‘I just wanted to make interesting things and so didn’t see as yet the aggressive way of promotion and marketing’, Selina.
Listening to Selina’s background and how she got to where she is today was hugely interesting but what was so important to me was Selina’s take on fashion, what it means to be a fashion designer or ‘fashionable’ and how being a designer is like ‘giving up a piece of your soul’. I described Selina as ‘fashionable’ when I saw her but to me, to be fashionable isn’t to wear the latest labels and trends, its to be different, to show your personality through your clothes and I felt that Selina also had this outlook upon it. The difference was that Selina was incredibly confident in being different… ‘who says what is precise to wear? …Who says that those boots should go with that skirt’. Wear something that is beautiful and be proud to wear it. Myself on the other hand will still question others people opinions in what I wear.
The confidence also shone through when Selina continued to say that we should dare to be different, be ‘curiously unique… fill yourself with courage and do not be too fearful,’ some people shall love your fashion/your work and others will not but it is up to that person to have that observation and so what?
After recently changing the way that I work as a designer, this made me think about the entire process and how I have been influenced by others, almost ironed out a little as I was worried about others/ if it would sell and so in the end almost loosing myself. Selina had reminded me about what it means to be a designer and that our work is art and so was incredibly inspirational to me.
To conclude, the floor was open to questions and ‘fast fashion’ and ‘throw away fashion’ was brought to light. People seem to be now changing our high street into these cheaper, fast alternatives where consumption is key rather than appreciation for the workmanship of a garment or accessory. Selina explained how we should slow life down again, we should save for beautiful things, purchase them and be proud to own it by wearing it to death. I completely agree but in my mind I couldn’t help but think that…I just can’t afford designer labels, even if I did save. However, now stopping and really thinking about it, I actually was in a panic thinking that if I stopped buying and saved then I would be behind on the changing high street trends… but after this talk and Selina’s words, it is ok to be different and you don’t have to follow trend to be fashionable.
The two talks that I attended during CFW (the other being by William Steggle, Wardrobe Master) where so different and should be as they are very different professionals but they both finished with the same thoughts on,
‘If you’re decent to people, others do not care if you make one of something or a hundred’, Selina. Its about being a good person, having appreciation for things and not being afraid to stand out and stand up for what you think is right. Lets ‘slow our lives down and see the funny side’.
Thank you Selina & CFW
Cotswold Bride, Cheltenham