Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Foray Into Fashion

Scottish Style Awards

Last night was the event of the "Scottish Style Awards" for which I had been nominated as Scotland's "Most Stylish Male". I am really glad to be able to report that although I found the nomination - and the fact that I was presenting a prize - highly stressful, I did enjoy myself enormously, thanks in part to my chic and intelligent "plus one", Janine Bonner who is looking good accessorising with my "Ich Gaben Keine Gold Fur Dieses Eisen" collar.

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I should explain that Dingo point-blank refused to go with me and, after about two minutes of being in the place, I realised that he was right and would have hated every moment of it. I won't deny that I was exceptionally apprehensive and driving to the event was hazardous as I could barely focus on controlling the car, never mind dealing with other road users and I have to apologise to anyone I encountered on the journey there.

Immediately I learned of the nomination, I had decided - on the back of conversations had at the Craft Scotland conference earlier in October - that I was going to wear a wholly handmade-in-Britain outfit and here it is:

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What I'm wearing -

Jacket - Harris Tweed, made by Alan Moore at Ten30 design. Alan normally designs womenswear but this is his first foray into menswear, commissioned by the Harris Tweed Authority and worn by me for the first public showing;
Kilt - Howie Nicholsby of 21st Century Kilts, made from organic tweed from Mull (the wool is undyed and is the natural colour of the sheep);
Socks - Hand-dyed Scottish wool by Natalie Fergie, hand-knitted by Judy Wilmot;
Shoes - Trickers brogues;
Waitcoat - Linen by Sir Plus, made from reclaimed scrap fabric;
Shirt - Cotton, by Susannah Hall;
Cravat - Printed, woven silk from the Cravat Club;
Belt - Handmade in Edinburgh, from Gordon Nicholson's kilt shop;
Jewellery - including belt-buckle, by me.

I have to thank David at Grey Fox Blog for his suggestions for menswear made in the UK and Susannah Hall, Natalie Fergie and Judy Wilmot for customer service above and beyond excellent in providing some of the clothes on incredibly short notice.

The event was held in the incredible and prestigious venue of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, a museum which is held dear to the hearts of people in Glasgow and, it seems, has ever been thus. One of the advantages of going to something like this is that you can be quite cavalier with the exhibits and we were:

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There were, of course, cocktails before we kicked off:

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And lots and lots of blogging and tweeting action!

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Here we can see the enthusiastic, stylish - in Obscure Couture - and charming fashion blogger, Sheri Scott making a post. I cannot thank her and fellow enthusiast Claire Stewart for making me feel more relaxed as the paparazzi "red carpet" moment approached (yup! I had to pose on the red carpet). In my opinion, two of the four most stylish women present at the event.

It was good to meet people I already knew at the event too and the ever-playful Howie Nicholsby, who made my kilt and who was also up for the nomination of "Most Stylish Male" had a startling trick up his sleeve. Here he is, with Janine, wearing one of his kilts made from a specially-commissioned tweed, showcasing my cameras excellent low-light capabilities:

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(Janine would ask me to point out her Vivienne Westwood shoes!)
He insisted that I also take a flash photograph:

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The tweed has been woven with a reflective material through it. Remarkable! Perfect for cycling, not that I can imagine cycling in a kilt.

We all trooped downstairs for dinner, where the catwalk-stage awaited:

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Now, gentle reader, I have to say that if I had been wearing a hat, the time has come for me to raise it and to allow the little fellow of the Apis family to buzz on her way, because although I very much enjoyed the event, it was seriously marred by one thing. The compère.

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This man - who not only thinks it acceptable to wear a grey suit with brown shoes, a turquoise tie and a yellow pocket-square (and there are more horrors to come) - is one of the sleaziest, most lecherous, most boorish, most banal and utterly untalented people I have ever had to listen to. He would have been booed off stage in a working man's club. What possessed Mary, the organiser, to book this "malignant homunculus" - a phrase borrowed from WTFFashionShark's brilliant political and fashion blog this week -  is beyond me. From openly leering at the women to making off-colour comments about Liam Gallagher to singing like Vic Reeves as the pub-singer, this man had absolutely no sense of embarrassment and left large swathes of the audience cringing on his behalf. Who is he? Good question... His name is Mike Keat and despite the wonders of Google, I'm still not really sure. I am, however sure that he was utterly dreadful.

Rant over, though there will be one more comment about this!

Dinner was served - an excellent dinner, to be sure and the vegetarian food was not the usual cop-out nonsense of "pasta bake" or "mushroom stroganoff" -  and I found that Janine and I were seated at a brilliant table, sitting next to Irish Times journalist, Rosemary McCabe on one side and Leroy of "Diary of a Clotheshorse" on the other, as well as some other great people, the names of whom I didn't get. It was actually nice to be seated with other people who couldn't understand how some of the awards went where they did and who were appalled by Mr Keat.

It was on with the awards which were much like any other awards ceremony: the nominees are put on the screen, the names read out, the people presenting the prizes walk onto stage and read out who won, the person who won then comes onto stage and collects the prize. Couldn't be simpler and it was really good fun, during which people in stylish jackets cheered:

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And a large man in a kilt tried on his partner's transparent raincoat:

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It looked good on her. This table, next to mine, seemed to be having quite the best time of all the tables!

One of the most genuinely stylish women at the event is the unbelievably chic Pollyanna McIntosh and it is a real shame that she didn't win anything herself, though she did present the prize for the "Most Stylish Retailer" to "Strathberry" in Edinburgh.

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Needless to say, our leering compère made distasteful, sexist, sexual comments about her.

I was presenting the "Most Stylish Menswear Designer" prize and we had a fashion show to showcase the works of the designers of both that and "Most Stylish Womenswear Designer".

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During the fashion show, Keat found time to change into what he quite correctly observed to be his "Harry Lauder" outfit, claiming some spurious relationship to the music-hall turn of a bygone era and making himself even less stylish and more farcical than before.

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The womenswear prize went to Judy R. Clarke, and is well-deserved. I had to present the menswear prize:

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Along with Emma, who's surname I didn't get and for which I apologise. The prize went to Gianni Colarossi for Duchamp which was, for me, somewhat disappointing as this company seem more mainstream and aren't - in my opinion - as interesting as some of the other nominees such as Cathal McAteer at Folk, Kestin Hare at Common People or Patrick Grant at E. Tautz (and who I thought would win). I'm not really complaining, however, as they make all their clothes in the UK and are to be applauded for that as well as for challenging the pallet of male fashion.

Next up was the award for which I was nominated, that of "Most Stylish Male". Most of you will already know that I didn't win but I am not at all bothered by that as it was such a blast to have been nominated and to have attended the event, as well as for it to have generated a lot of interest in my work. Here I am on the screen!

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The prize went to Martin Compston, a young actor who has been getting a lot of recognition since his appearance in the film version of Irvine Welsh's book, "Filth".

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Part of the reason I've found this whole thing so stressful is that I am not an actor, not a public persona in the way that someone like Martin is. He is used to being looked at and being personally judged for his performance. For me, my work is usually what people know about me first and they can judge that, which I am happy about. If someone doesn't like my work, it is impossible to take it personally but if someone doesn't like me, what I am wearing, how I choose to look, that is personal. This is also a large part of why I don't mind not winning and also why Howie and I could find it both flattering and funny.

The end of the night was approaching and founder of the awards and one-woman powerhouse, Mary McGowne took the stage to give a vote of thanks before the final night of the award.

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The final award was the "Special Achievement Award" which was presented by this feisty lady , Miss Honey Dijon and whom the whole table agreed should have been the compère for the night. She would have been amazing as her energy and humour just thrilled the room:

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The award went to Andrew Fairlie, chef at Gleneagles Hotel and apparently the longest-standing holder of a Michelin Star anywhere in the world, which is pretty impressive. He also gave the most down-to-earth, funny, warm speech of the night and it made for a brilliant end:

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After which, we gathered up our gift-bags and left.

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It's over!

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Further to last week's photoshoot, the images appeared in the "Scotland on Sunday" magazine along with an article about a "Maverick Metalsmith"! I rather like that. Thanks to Ruth Walker for the text and, of course, Simon Murphy for the images. There are links to all the participants in the previous blog post here.

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My mum, of course, wanted to see the article and hear all about the awards, so I "remixed" the outfit for daywear!

Style Awards - Day Variant

Other than that, my friend Wing Mun Devenney's new book on soldering came out, containing lots of work by friends and colleagues of ours, as well as many Crafthaus and Flickr friends:

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Work continues on "Futurism":

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Some of the chain is started now.

And finally, I went to see Hawkwind! Click here to go to their Web 1.0 website...


Last time I saw them was in 1978 in the Glasgow Apollo and I can honestly say that their concert last week was better. Better sound quality, better variety of tracks, more together. There is always a danger in re-visiting old favourites but this was wonderful, right down to "Silver Machine" in the middle of the set!