Backstage at Somerset House... The Event, The People, The Nerves... The aftermath...
Thoughts and Musings...
Text - Dom Read Photography - Gloria Ogunyinka
It is hard to believe that it is just over a week since I took Dread Decks and the team for London to the NAMESldn event, PINES. This was at Somerset House in London as part of London Fashion Week. The event was a showcase of up and coming fashion designers and brands who focus on sustainability.
Since the event I have been following up with the people we met, continuing work on bespoke clothing commissions and really trying to develop more healthy, balanced working routines (This is something that I have needed to develop for a long time and has, I think, been something that has held me back in the past). It is hard to know what the best next steps are but things have continued moving forwards which I suppose is all one can hope for.
Okay, so rewind a few days...
I'm in London. I've had the prep meeting with the wonderful people from NAMESldn, the models are briefed, booked and on their way. There is no more waiting to be had, the event is tomorrow Saturday the 15th of February!
The alarm beeps, I roll out of bed and I'm sat on the toilet contemplating the day ahead. My phone rings, the models are at the train station in Norwich, all together and on time. The only problem is the train I told them to get isn't direct!! I explain they have to change at Cambridge. Chet says that is all good and they continue on their journey. First disaster averted, I think to myself, time for a strong coffee.
After getting ready with Gloria it is time to head to Somerset house and take the clothes with us. Any nerves have quietened, there is no turning back now, it's all in motion. If issues arise they will be dealt with as and when, but for now I am incredibly excited! We arrive at the side entrance to Somerset House, me dragging my collection along in a massive suitcase. So many questions danced around my head, what will it be like? Who will come? Will the day go fast or slow? Will the models train breakdown? Will Somerset House blow down? Will I say something stupid or know what I'm talking about? Will it work? Will I handle myself? etc? etc? ETC???
FINGERS CROSSED, FUCK IT AND HOPE FOR THE BEST!!!
Me and Gloria headed in, we showed our designer lanyards and were directed by Museum staff to where we needed to go. Richard, Rebecca and Oksanna, from the NAMES team, greeted us, introduced us to the backstage team and showed us were to put out the clothing. It was all feeling very professional and very real. I was glad that I was there nice and early so that I could work out my surroundings and get accustomed to the people I would be working with. It also allowed for a couple of nervous trips too the loo which is an absolute necessity!
The models have arrived. I run over to them in the centre courtyard of Somerset House. I am just telling them to grab a coffee as we don't quite need them just yet when I get a call from Gloria - Richard wants the models getting their makeup done now. It is go time!
I take Chet, JJ and Laura to where they need to go and explain to the makeup artists what the look is going to be. The artists begin by moisturising and smoothing their faces and then apply the first layer highlighting their features before applying the blue and white details on top. This is all quite an experience as I have never worked with so many make up artists at the same time, who are all asking me to check their looks, it is great fun! The boys hadn't had their makeup done in this way before so it was an experience for them too! They were looking amazing straight away and I was getting really excited to see them in the clothes.
Once all of their makeup was done and Laura had her hair pinned up we were pretty much sorted, just a waiting game. We took the opportunity to get a few photos taken.
Richard then collared us and showed us to our spot. We were right in the entrance to one of the rooms and right by the bar which was an ideal place to get a high footfall. I had to work out the lighting for the spot, where the models would be stood and where to position the sofa. I was a little overwhelmed by this but with a discussion with the lighting specialists, the team and trusting self intuition we got the space popping. We had two smaller lights one blue one purple that really perked up our area. I loved the fact we were placed next to the fire place allowing the models to pose next to it as well as on the sofa and in the space surrounding it.
Time to get the models dressed and get front of house, people were already starting to queue up outside. They were all looking in the windows, I managed to pick out my Mum and Dad from the crowd and gave them a wave! Mum showed off the one off jacket I had made for her, she was looking pleased as punch with what she was wearing. Backstage, the models all knew what they were wearing and me and Gloria helped them into their outfits. The looks came together in a matter of minutes. I swapped my tee for the ship shirt and we were ready to go. We took our places and waited for the fashionable hordes to fall upon us.
The anticipation was electric! Whatever happened was a bonus, I was happy and content. The models arrived fine, Mum and Dad arrived fine, we were at Somerset House, the set looked beautiful, my models looked even better, the plan had worked and we had made it. We got some product placement shots for the NAMESldn team which was very fun. We then waited for everyone to come in and out. I didn't quite know what to expect and was amazed by the amount of people who came through.
People stopped and chatted and asked questions about the collection. People also were taking photos of the models and asking to pose for photos with the collection. It was an unbelievable feeling, the general public were interested in Dread Decks clothing. I dished out business cards and stickers to anyone who stood nearby, striking up conversations and asking how people were finding the event!
And then it was all over. I was so grateful to be there and that people wanted to be involved too. This was a taste of the future and has helped me believe in my brand like never before. People want to see what I make and want to wear what I make.
Set Sail - A Coward's Tale, my graduate collection, kicked the shit out of me and ground me down. I was disappointed with my efforts when I first finished the collection and took it to Graduate Fashion Week. I had been pulled in so many different directions and taken so much advice and criticism that I no longer knew the difference between the warp and weft of my collection. Since then, after a lot of self reflection, I reframed it in my head. It was the best I could do at that point of my life in the situation I was in.
Getting invited to show with NAMESldn and then executing the event reframed my collection again. People adored the collection, something I was initially ashamed of!! I was proud to see this and felt the warmth of new fires igniting.
Just you wait until you see what is next.
Special thanks to everyone who read about the event or engaged with us on the day.
Thank you to Richard and the team at NAMES LDN and everyone you got involved - @itschrisyates @hairbybrendan using @unite_hair @michelle.strain for @aofmakeup using @dermalogica
Thank you to Dread Decks Team Manager Gloria Ogunyinka and Models Chet Hutton, JJ and Laura Jellings.
Thank you Mum for the handknitted hats and Dad for always being there.
Keep Swimming, Keep Smiling and Keep Believing.
Thanks for reading.
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