PORTRAITS : TOM FLATHERS
Portraits by Tom Flathers
Summer in Britain, not exactly known for its days of blazing hot sunshine and wonderful warm evenings. It more often tends to be 5 random days in mid June reaching over 25 degrees (which obviously happen on days that you are stuck inside) which are then followed by weeks on end of on and off rain with the occasional bit of hail thrown in for good measure. Not exactly the best weather for cracking out the shorts and the T shirts really. Now shorts aren’t exactly a best friend of mine with my tree trunk legs preferring to be in their happy place being wrapped up in 3 pairs of tights. However when if I see a beautiful summer dress then it will tend to weasel its way into my bag and somehow end up back home with me. This ‘summer’ has been no different with long, short, patterned and plain ones all being added to the collection. So even when the weather is looking no better than truly pants I just try to embrace the breeze, throw on my favourite floral dress and remember there must be at least 1 place in the world right now which is 30 degrees and sunny.
This gorgeous cherry print dress from Topshop pretty much ticks all the boxes for me. With its collared shirt detail down the front, to its pretty blue and red print, to the fact that is manages to have no funny cut out sections and actually have with fully functioning sleeves! Actually managing to find a dress with sleeves that isn’t ridiculously short or low at the front has seemed to be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Last year urban outfitters came up trumps and this year it has seemed to be Topshop’s turn. From this i’ve learnt 60’s is the way to go with it’s slim fitting shift dress/shirt dress shape and pretty cherry pint print nicely bringing a touch of vintage to a modern outfit. Despite my yaking on about it being a gorgeous summery daytime piece I definitely think that this piece will stand the test of time being able to take you from day to night and summer to winter. Whack on a good thick tight and a chunky knit jumper and your good to go for a wonderful wintery look.
PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS
After sitting down and staring blankly at my computer screen wondering what the hell I was going to write (something which happens all to often) it suddenly occurred to me that this little corner of the internet has existed for a whole 730 ish days, or 2 years to the slightly less maths savvy. As someone who spent her own 21st birthday sat at home eating pizza (don’t worry I splashed out on the expensive shit), I haven’t been cracking out the party poppers and cocktail sausages for this little milestone quite yet. However I knew I had to at least acknowledge it.
After staring the early remnants of Fabric Forward back in the summer of 2015 it has gone through many a face lift, style change and focus to become what it is today. As some who has never known her HTML’s from her SEO’s, is not only just bad but scared of writing and used to run away when anyone got a camera out, the idea of me creating a fashion blog all being rather dependant on those 3 things would have seemed somewhat silly. However I think if from nothing else than my own determination to not have another hobby flop (lets not make a repeat of the tennis lessons), we’ve persisted through the technical confusion, writers block and pubic awkwardness to see ourselves here 2 years later.
Despite 2 years seeming like a rather long time I think it has taken to this point for me to finally feel happy and pleased at what I am creating. From finally finding a layout that I like, being more comfortable in my personal style and knowing the kind of posts I want to create I feel it makes me eager to want to write and create more rather than it feeling like a chore. I think the fact I have managed to post twice in week I think says it all.
Is it at a level which I might have hoped it would be by now? Not really, however at then of the day, as long it’s stays enjoyable and interesting then what does it matter if there is 1 or 1 billion of you out there.Through all the ups and downs of daily life Fabric Forward has been a wonderful little escape as my little part of the internet and somewhere which I am able to pour my creativity and love of fashion and photography into. So roll on the next 2 years and lets see where it takes us!
As I write this on my first day off since early January, , a good old easter break is definitely what the doctor ordered. For me it always tend to be this time of year when things all start to get a bit hectic. Deadlines start coming in thick an fast and work get busier so relaxing evenings in front of Iplayer with (you guessed it) a bowl of Weetabix become a thing of the past. Despite the fact I wouldn’t want it any other way, feeling knackered can become a every day occurrence and if you have an immune system like mine then it won’t be long until you get the mother of all colds that won’t just bugger off.
Any workaholics like myself will know that when you start getting your teeth into a new project or venture it will be all that you think about and will start to take over everything that you do. Free time will become a thing of the past and all you waking hours will be filled with sending emails and catching up on that massive backlog of work.
When a similar thing happened at the end of December last year, my trip to the lake district in January was exactly what I needed in order to get away from busy city life, recuperate and have a good old rest. With the easter break closely approaching I am excited for being able to do exactly that all over again! It can definitely be hard sometimes to let your self stop worrying and try and so absolutely nothing (I imagine I will never be that far away from my emails) but if I have learnt anything recently it is that in order to be able to work effectively and productively you need to allow yourself a little bit of a rest.
As you can see I am still trying to stretch the New Years thingy out as much as possible, slotting in another new years related post in just enough time for it to be acceptable before they start getting to easter eggs out already. You can probably tell from the not very SEO friendly title its taken me a while to get round to doing this but finally with it the end of January approaching I have got round to deciding upon some new years resolutions!
After a crazy christmas in panto land, some time to properly get as far away from anything that remotely looks like work as possible and the hustle and bustle of starting back at uni, this didn’t exactly feel like the perfect time to be turning my life upside down and making changes. From having the month to settle down a bit I feel now is as good a time as any to put together a list of a couple of goals of the year.
A lot of them are rather internet/bloggy based and I know none are particularly ground breaking. If your looking for someone who is going to aim to see the severn wonders of the world and read the complete works of shakespeare, backwards (probably something I should actually think about doing for uni :/) then you have come to the wrong gal. But with last year being how can i put it nicely… a bit pooey, i’m determined for the beginning of this new year to push myself and try and give myself the best chances to enjoy the year as possible.
Any long time readers here will know that over the year and a bit that Fabric Forward has been residing in this little corner of the internet, having a set schedule of content going up weekly has been some what of a distant dream. So with giving myself a little kick up the arse I am going to try and stick to having 1 post go up every Wednesday morning and 1 video up every Sunday with maybe a couple of extras thrown in for good measure (you will probably be able to tell when I have had a rather boring week). Blogging and youtube is definitely something that I have found a new love for recently most likely due to looking at some many other peoples wonderful blogs out there which I would love mine to be as good as. So over the coming year I hope to continue to push forward with it hopefully making both bigger and better. Now I have written that down it all seems far more scary than it should. At least it is a good start with this going up on a Wednesday, all pray for me this Sunday ;)
This is obviously very much linked with the last one but since moving to London this year I feel like i’ve let the videos slip in number and in quality. Any other student doing youtube will know that it’s not easy trying to film when living in halls with noise coming from all angles, rubbish natural light and not a particularly instagram friendly background to film in front of. Because of this over the year there have definitely been some videos that I have posted for either the sake of feeling like I should be posting a video to be regular or just to trying to get on board with some of the current youtube trends. Obviously I still have a tiny audience and in the grand scale of things this probably isn’t something that I should maybe be worrying myself with but being something I enjoy I want to be able to create quality interesting content that I love and that I am proud of and would want to watch myself.
With realising I don’t have the best set up at home this year I am aiming to take the camera out of my cardboard box of a room, get out into the world and start doing more daily vlogs and lookbooks. Of the few that I have done these have always been my favourite to shoot and and edit (with there being only so much of your badly lit face on a strange cream background that one can manage). I know I am no editing wiz with having two pieces of footage in the same frame still making me far to excited but I do have a couple of ideas for some slightly different videos up my sleeves so when I find some free time I will be looking forward to getting cracking on those!
If you read my last post all about ways of busting the new year blues you will know that I spoke about how I find coming up a with a couple of new meals for the new year is a good way bust the blues and make life a little bit more interesting. Well, I’m not going to lie, having had to ready meals in a row over the past two nights Pret still drawing me in for lunch, this one hasn’t been going so well for me however slowly in time I will explore the depths of Pintrest and find some new and hopefully healthy dishes to brighten up my evenings.
With blogging being all about photos and imagery and with snapchat and instagram being at our fingertips only a click away, you do feel like you are sometimes taking photos of everything from your dinner to our feet on a pretty flooring just to try and bulk out that instagram theme. Come on, you know you’ve done it. However sometimes it feels its the most enjoyable times be it being with friends of family, working on something cool or exploring the world are the moments that we forget to photograph. So this year I am keen to get snapping and start documenting these occasions to look back on and remember in the future. So beware, if your around me you may have a camera in your face ;)
Also another photography aim of mine is to have saved up to able to buy a swishy new camera lens. The 50mm will always have a place in my heart but a 70 – 200 has been calling my name for a while and my pennies are finally starting to mount up so hopefully it won’t be long until one of them in mine *insert evil movie villain laugh*. Also its rather nice that I can already tick one aim of the list of putting together my own photography website *moment of shameless self promotion* www.chloeknottphotography.come. So if you would like to take a gander please feel free to show me some love and click the link above :)
Its around 4 month now that I have been living in this big old smoke that we call London and despite feeling like I know my way pretty well around central London, I know that with it being so big (shocker) there is so much there for me still to discover and explore. One of my favourite past times over the years has always been exploring new cities with having no fear of going off on my tod to explore all the ins and outs and nooks and crannies. With it being such a cool and vibrant city with always sometime new and interesting going on, its such a shame to let it go to waste and keep doing the same old thing. Having a couple of free weekends down here in the coming weeks I look forward to making the most of and exploring places which aren’t Piccadilly circus and Covent Garden.
Any long term readers may remember that during the summer of 2015 after leaving art college I started up my own brand of makeup bags being made and designed by me. This started off quite well but as is ever the way life gets busy and some things get pushed to the back burner and unfortunately this was one of those things. However now it is finally time to dust of the sewing machine and get cracking on the finishing of the products for the brand new range. (ooo a range how exciting, and I promise they don’t have dust on them really). I have some brand new designs which I love and am proud of which I just need finish so hopefully it won’t be long until they are finally out there in the world!
Yes, guilty, my room is a mess. As someone who used to pride herself on her organisational skills and would tidy her room for fun (what?) its a bit sad to see it all descend into what can look like a pit of madness. It definitely gets worse when your busy and the last thing you want to do at 12 at night is hang all your clothes up neatly and tidily. However this year I am going to make extra effort to try and keep my room looking vaguely organised so at least I can see a good chunk of my flooring again.
So another year rattled its way around and I now find myself somehow getting to the grand old age of 21. Seriously, how the flipping hell did that happen! It feels like yesterday that I was playing in sand pits and panicking about what GSCE’s I am going to take ( I can confirm that they were not both happening at the same time).
Anyway, I thought I would bring the celebrations into blog form in a 21 for 21 round up, 21 special occasions to me from the past 21 years. Now I say 21 years, with my memory not serving me in quite as much detail the further back we go I’ve had to sort of narrow it down to the last few years. (but “21 for 21, well from the last 5 years of said 21 years” wasn’t such a catchy title.)
These occasions may not have been special out of their grandure, just out of something small happening to make it feel special. Obviously there are going to be some that get missed too but these are some which have stuck out to me. So after a good old trawl through my Facebook to see what I have actually been up to without further ado in no particular order as I really don’t have the brain power for that, lets get onto no.1.
p.s. those who don’t like theatre may avert their eyes.
In a rather snazzy hotel with probably the best gravy I have ever tasted, we had a great time in a very cool location and managed to get some pretty great photos (even if I did have to freeze my feet off in a very thin dress in very cold water.)
I’ve been involved in many a show over the years from being on the stage to my new life behind the scenes but the final night of Pool (No Water) will always hold a very special place in my heart. On the whole my 2 years at 6th form was a brilliant experience and it was great way to bring them to a close and say goodbye to some wonderful people who I loved working with.
Take me anywhere which involved very high things and very fast things then its highly likely that I’m not going to enjoy it. But with best friends by your side it really did make some scary experiences so enjoyable. From getting on my first rollercoaster, to the creation of “Hampshire rules” in UNO (something even we will never truly understand) and getting well and truly “gazeboed” in a £22 a night hotel in stoke it all made for a very special and memorable experience.
Rather ironically as someone who spent most of their youth performing and now studies costume I have never been much of a fan of fancy dress parties. But our disney themed fancy dress party in 2014 was fab with everyone giving it their all and creating some fab costumes, (maybe not including my slightly below average Mary Poppins), and having a great time and was the start to many a great party to come.
Give a group of 18 year olds some free time and access to some camera equipment and what do you expect them to do? Make a short film of course. with my silver screen debut (maybe more slightly grubby tin screen would be a more apt analogy) we spent 3 days from day break to dusk filming
Genuinely one of the funnies nights of my life with the Student Theatre at Glasgow scratch comedy night proving sometimes that we may just be students, but there is definitely a lot of talent within us.
Obviously getting a phone call while standing on a windy and rainy mountain in the middle of deepest darkest Shropshire trying not to be blown over was not quite how I imagined the moment I found out that I had got into drama school. Drama school was aways somewhere that I had dreamed of going to. It may have previously been for acting but now for my new life backstage in costume I was over the moon to finally be moving down to London to one of the world’s leading schools.
This is one going a bit further back but devising and rehearsing this show basically turned into having a huge laugh and a giggle with obviously working hard to get the job done at the same time, obviously ;). I had a fab few years at Lightsdown Theatre School from being a student to a teaching assistant leading to far to many good memories and shows to mention with it being the highlight of my week for a long time. I will always hold some of the shows we did here as some of my favourites I’ve done and it was so great to be part of a group of people having the same passion for performing and theatre that I did.
With the story line being such heartfelt one of a true story I will probably won’t be the only person out there who has any emotional attachment to this film. However, this is definitely one of my favourite films I have ever seen added to the first occasion of seeing it being with a very special person.
Proving that all the hard work, late night, blood, sweat and tears had all payed off (even if I haven’t used any of that knowledge since!)
I think getting to sit next to Sam Claflin on the premier night of Me Before You, a film which I loved from the book and had waited so long to see was a stroke of luck leading to an evening that I will never forget.
From Billy Elliot to 42nd to Macbeth and all the others in-between, all of these shows have lead me to some great times with some wonderful people and have shaped me and inspired me to pursue what started as a passion into a career.
As a theatre lover it is probably considered some sort of a crime to have only ever seen 1 show by the Royal Shakespeare Company but seeing Death of a Salesman in Stratford upon Avon in 2015 was a wonderful first show to see and the first of many to come.
I never imagined being someone who has their own textile design collection but at the end of my foundation year I had just that. Now it may not be on your Debenhams bed lined quite yet but now having my range of makeup bags with new designs sat waiting to be sewn together after my small break due to pure busy-ness, I’m determined to keep going with it.
Something starting as a new hobby just over a year ago has turned into something that has grown to be a big part of my current life. It may not be getting 1000’s of views a day with sponsorship deals coming in every direction but I still love styling and putting together posts each week for the little community on here. It may also have had a couple of face lifts and content direction changes, but it is still the good old miss spelt, badly punctuated and poorly scheduled Fabric Forward at heart!
Kind of the thing which started off Fabric Forward in the first place. From those first few shoots me and Tom did in our home town we have trawled the country in search for cool photo locations and have come up with some pretty cool shots (if I do say so myself). I look forward to many to come!
Its not everyday that you find yourself in a room with the walls entirely covered in pink fur and Ru Paul booming over the speakers. However some how I did. As part of uni we were tasked to dress some mannequins to be shown at the Barbican Ball this year running along the theme of Vulgar which is their being exhibition going on at the moment. If you follow me on Instagram you my have seen a couple of pictures from the event on there. I’d never done anything like this before and was a really cool experience to be part of (along with having a new appreciation for people who dress mannequins, and I thought actors were difficult sometimes ;). )
This summer I became a member for costume of The National Youth Theatre and with it being their diamond year at the end of my course I got to work on their Diamond Anniversary Gala at the Shaftesbury Theatre in hair and makeup. This was my first occasion working and going backstage of a west end theatre so it was all very exciting for me. Despited being full of the worst cold I have had in years I powered on doing more victory rolls and beehives than I have ever done in my life. It was a long and tiring day but it was all worth it seeing such a great show come together (Plus and having Matt Smith acknowledge my existence in the corridor twice was the icing on the cake!)
This year I lucky enough to get the chance to do some work at The Libertine at The Theatre Royal Haymarket on The Libertine doing wardrobe maintenance on a Saturday morning. It may have only been washing and ironing shirts, but its washing and ironing Dominic Coopers shirts.
I know this is something that came with moving to a university down here but moving to London is something at I have always wanted to do. I know many a young adult has said this same thing before me but but to live in such a busy and vibrant city with so much going on and the industry I work in centred down here is something I have always wanted. Sometimes feels a bit surreal that I am actually now here maybe partly not being quite as good as you thought it would be (the northern line at 5 o clock on a Friday would put anyone off!) Obviously is it not all plain sailing, realising you need to leave at least an hour to get anywhere and you wont find a cheap supermarket for miles but its the place for now that I call home and I promise to make the most of it.
It may not have been and intoxicating time partying the night away however spent with my nearest and dearest it was a time to say goodbye to the ups and downs of 20 and onto the next chapter of 21.
PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS
Now I can’t say that I am someone who is out every weekend “painting the town red” or blue or green or any colour for that matter. Staying in at home tucked up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and an episode of the crown on seems all too appealing. However when it comes to fashion, a good old piece of red is definitely is a good enough to get out of bed for.
If there is any colour that I am going to be wearing that doesn’t make me look like I am going to a funeral then it is going to be red. From tops to dresses to scarfs all of these nestle within my wardrobe in a variety of different shades. Its a good old trusty colour for me with never feeling too girly but is versatile when pairing with other colours. I feel its a colour that never really goes out of season, being bright and colourful for the summer months yet an obviously festive option for the christmas period.
Ever since I saw The Little Magpie repeatedly strutting her stuff in a gorgeous pair of Topshop red tapered trousers, I had been on the hunt to find a pair for myself. Funnily enough after searching high and low from high street to vintage, it all came back to Topshop with exactly what I was looking for. With them being a slightly more muted and darker shade of red I don’t think they end up being too bright and in your face. This style of tapered trouser is definitely a bit of a Chloe signature with them being great at showing of a waist with not being too tight and restrictive.
I’ve never been one to shy away from red on the basis of it being “fattening” because at the end of the day if you like it and feel good in it, the bloody well just wear it!
With my habit of dropping hobbies as nearly as quickly as starting them (those golf lessons only lasted a matter of weeks), it is a minor miracle that we have actually of this far. Having not done anything to celebrate one of my own birthday for the past few years, I can’t say I have cracked out a cake quite yet however having managed to stick at this semi constantly for the past year I thought it should be given at least a small nod somehow. From horse riding to knitting after taking up something new for over a year, you would hope you have learnt a few things new about it and blogging has been no different. So without further ado here are some of the things which this year has taught me about blogging.
From SEO’s to HTML’s no matter how much you consider yourself a wiz on the computer with being able to use Iplayer and photoshop at the same time, coding will always seem to be another language to you.
You may have noticed in the early days of the blog, nearly 1000 word essays seemed to be the order of the day, competing with War and Peace in terms of time taken to read. This is something which didn’t last particularly long realising 1. I’m not exactly the next Charles Dickens and 2. I don’t exactly have the size of following of Charles Dickens
No matter how many days that I give myself to sort the photos and write a new blog post, you can almost guarantee that I won’t end up doing it until the morning of wanting to post it.
With everyone and their dog seeming to have a blog nowadays to make someone read yours rather than one of the big guns’s seems to be a never ending struggle. I guess many many more tweets is the key.
I don’t think I can scroll through instagram nowadays and not see a picture of avocado on rye bread served on perfectly dainty crockery anywhere.
No matter how comfy and marshmallow like those big baggy winter jumpers are, sometimes when put on camera you realise their not the most flattering thing for you. A good old waist belt never did anyone any harm!
Any new blogger out there will know the feeling of panic that rushes through their veins when someone tells them that they have been reading their blog, then you just have to remind yourself, you did put it out on the internet.
Even if you are damn sure that when you wrote that post you couldn’t possibly have make any glaringly obvious grammatical errors or spelt any words practically backwards its highly likely that there will be a mistake lurking in there somewhere. it is aways good to go back and check everything through if nothing more than to save the embarrassment of having your friends scribble their hypothetical red pen all over it.
Its like having all you photo albums at the click of a button!
Photos – Tom Flathers