“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie
Nearing the end of a challenging 2019, reflecting on how grateful I am for the all those who have been rooting for Deco 22 in one way or another. Sometimes it is the challenges in life that help you to realize the wonderful people that are around you. Turns out this year’s half full glass was priceless!
After just over 13 years of Deco 22, I finally organised a photo shoot WITH models just over a year ago today….yes yes I know! To begin with I was a bit overwhelmed with everything I had to plan. Good old internet to the rescue. I searched for tips on planning a photoshoot and was able to come up with a plan. I basically googled “How to plan my first fashion photo shoot”, used the advice that worked best for me. One of the blogs I found very helpful was Fashion Angel Warrior Before the shoot I had a schedule of the order of the shoot and listed what items would need to be ready for each "look". I also had an estimated time of how long each “look” would take. I discussed with the photographer what backgrounds I wanted and sent him the schedule before the shoot. I knew I wanted a studio fashion shoot because when I thought about a location shoot the overthinking gremlin popped into my head and freaked me out! I knew I wanted images for the website and for social media platforms. My research for what type of “Looks” I wanted was basically seeing what others have done and choosing images that I thought would work for me. This bit of the planning the shoot reminded me of one of my day jobs planning a teaching session. The shoot was on a tight budget so my first attempt at styling a shoot is on display for all to see (EeeeeeeK!) I knew I wanted to maintain the design ethos of Deco22 – “Simple Clean Lines”
For my women’s images I selected items from my own wardrobe and old samples from past collections that I thought would complement the accessories and took some test pictures to see if they would work. I also asked Louise my model to bring some pieces with her for the shoot, plain shoes/boots. As this was on a tight budget Louise did her own hair and make-up. For my male images I had no clothes, so I asked my model to bring a white shirt, black shirt, black trousers and black shoes. My male model Andy was actually an old classmate from University days, who was my model for my final collection many moons ago, so it was a lovely catch up as well! Now of course I made mistakes, I completely forgot to take some of the product only shoots and forgot to bring some pieces to the shoot! However, I am glad I kept the overthinking gene corked and got it done! Huge thank you to photographer James Champion, Models Louise and Andy and my assistant for the day Teresa who took my fast panic rambling at the beginning in their stride. I also want to thank Huawei for the runners up bursary prize which helped make me finally take a leap into to right direction.
The more I have delved into Leather craft the more chaotic my studio space had become! Now I am a messy worker and accept this will always be. But spending half an hour looking for my Beeswax is just not on!!! Also, my pattern cutting tables were fine for cutting patterns and cutting out pieces but most definitely not suitable for marking stitches and punching holes for leather craft, and I kept injuring my hand.
So the Summer of 2017 lovely Matt Nicholls a fellow Cockpitter helped me to arrange a temporary solution until I had the funds to commission a proper work bench - he reinforced a table that was already in the Cockpit Arts Leather Hub on the ground floor. (I had managed to get access to the hub before I won the Leathersellers award 😉) So, from June 2017, whenever I needed to mark stitches etc I would gather everything I needed and head downstairs. Yes! Time consuming, but on the bright side I did manage to fit in a bit of exercise during studio time! Finally, in March 2018 I was able to commission Matt (of course!) to make me a small workbench and some shelves so I could have a dedicated Leather craft area.
Matt fitting the shelves
New leather craft space
Recently my slapdash storage “system” for my patterns finally reached appoint of “this has got to stop!” When I spent a couple of day (yes days!!!) looking for the Angelou collection patterns! I have now ensured finalised patterns are correctly hooked up WITH a sketch!
The studio rejig is not complete yet. It is still a mixture of equipment and components for garment construction, pattern cutting and leather products. I am still figuring out what to let go of and what to keep and what will be the most effective storage solution. I am also redefining my working style – although I am aware that “creative mess” will always be a part of it! On the advice of another Cockpitter my neighbour Hannah Bedford (whose studio is sooooo organised!) I am working with what I have for a while before beginning phase two.