Sampha at Manchester International Festival

In celebration of Sampha’s Mercury Prize win last night, it seems the perfect time to share our friend Ailsa McConnachie’s experience of his Manchester International Festival show.

I first discovered Sampha Sisay when he featured on four tracks of SBTRKT’s self-titled album back in 2011 and I was enchanted by his soothing vocals. Now, 6 years later, after the release of his highly anticipated album ‘Process’, I am lucky to see him as part of Manchester International Festival 2017 headlining a one-off evening show at Manchester’s Albert Hall – a beautiful, relatively recently renovated Wesleyan chapel dating back to the early 20th century.

The staging was simple, a white backdrop with a silver arc resembling a rising sun, and complemented the venue’s layout, without detracting from the exquisite detail in the stained-glass windows. Sampha opened the night with a more acoustic version of Plastic 100, his unique silhouette bathed in blue lights and his voice captivating the crowd. I feel like I’m being taken on a rollercoaster of emotions throughout his set, through a mix of slower ballads such as Too Much, to livelier, upbeat tracks like Kora Sings.
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Paradisia discuss their debut album, Sound of Freedom and musical bond

Sophie, Kirsty and Anna of Paradisia photographed by Lost in Talent Sophie, Kristy and Anna photographed for Lost in Talent. 

Every image comes with a story attached. These typically add a layer to either the subject or the moment captured. This is the story behind the instax images featured.

In a quaint coffee shop in West London, the girls of London based band; Paradisia, are chuckling and sharing how a “gangsta” had a part in the story of their debut album’s cover. The cover image features a portrait of Sophie, Anna and Kristy with their faces covered by blossoms. “That’s real blossom [Anna] picked in the streets in Stoke Newington.” Over smoothies they tell me about the album, Sound of Freedom and their musical bond.

Before there was Sound of Freedom, there were three friends who could not imagine doing anything else struggling as part of a larger band. “There was a time in our previous project where we’d have weeks of silence. No one would react to what we were doing. There was nothing coming in, in terms of press, gigs, interest in general. That’s really hard because online it is so easy to spread love. It’s like being ignored by your boyfriend —it’s the worst feeling ever.”
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From Waste to Wear: Alice Beyer Schuch discusses her ‘Further-textile rebirth catalyst’ project

Alice Schuch photographed during OSCE days in Berlin (circa 2016).

With the Open Source Circular Economy (OSCE) days beginning this weekend, it felt an appropriate time to introduce “Circular Fashion Change Agent”, Alice Beyer Schuch to you. About a year ago, I met Schuch (a Brazilian fashion professional with over 15 years experience living in Germany) during the OSCE days in Berlin. She was showcasing an all white outfit made from recycled cotton which she’d created as part of her MA (Sustainability in Fashion). For the project. Below she discusses how she got interested in fashion, the project and the importance of science in the fashion industry.
Continue reading to find out more about Alice Beyer Schuch and her work as a circular fashion change agent…

Emma Watson and Anne Hathaway the new faces of sustainable fashion?

Left to right: Emma Watson photographed for Elle UK and Anne Hathaway in secondhand Stella McCartney. Images courtesy Elle and Telegraph.

It is said often that fashion is the second worst polluting industry, however, every quarter fast fashion companies record growth and increase profit margins. At the 2016 Copenhagen Fashion Summit, New York Times fashion editor, Vanessa Friedman, suggested a solution to this disconnect: Sustainability needs to be sexy. She’s not alone in suggesting this niches needs a facelift. Last year, Berlin based writer, Elle Köhrer, shared a similar sentiment when we spoke about her book, Fashion Made Fair. The coffee table read was motivated by her want to shift perspectives of sustainable fashion.

It appears the community is taking heed; changing what and how the niche is communicated. Thanks in part to the efforts of Ecoage’s Green Carpet Challenge and the brilliant instagram presence of so called “sustainable” brands such as Patagonia and The Acey. As sustainable fashion heads mainstream, it has gained some celebrity endorsement. Emma Watson and Anne Hathaway are two of the names providing support for the sustainable fashion movement.

Continue reading to find out what Emma Watson and Anne Hathaway endorsement of sustainable fashion might mean for the community…

Out There Suits by Mira Kovacs

Mira Kovac of Schmeids Puls photographed by christian schneider

Mira Kovacs photographed on stage by Christian Schneider.

Mira Kovacs, who performs under the moniker Schmieds Puls, pays tribute to the suit and Janelle Monae’s style attitude.

Alright, now, I thought this would be easy. I thought writing about what outfits I choose when I perform would be simple. But when I started writing versions of this little essay here, I began to understand that a complicated process starts whenever I think of what to wear on stage. It’s almost a political decision.

The other day I saw an interview with Janelle Monae where she was asked about the inspiration for her grandiose outfits. She replied briefly “Don’t dress for boys”. I loved that answer. I want to believe that I hardly ever dressed for boys in my life. Maybe sometimes during my teenage years, but I would always add an androgynous accessory. I like big boots, big skater sneakers, I think one can combine anything with those. No matter how sweet and nice you may look in a dress or in a skirt, boots will make it look more aggressive, more “I put my foot down”, more grounded. I like that. Plus I can’t wear any kind of heels, they destroy my equilibrium.

Continue reading to better understand Mira’s relationship with the suit…

The use of style to represent otherness in Hidden Figures

Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson) with her mainly male counterparts
Image: Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) with her male coworkers as Paul Stafford gives a briefing. 

Hidden Figures represents other. Something Hollywood has continuously failed at doing well. The excuse for this failure is often that cinema goers (those who generate income at the box office) are usually white and need to relate to a character. An argument I feel is insulting to all parties. First because it suggests that the majority aren’t evolved or complex enough to empathise with people who look different to them.

That argument also undermines the importance of film and art in influencing real life. A power Ava DuVernay’s ’13th’ documentary emphasises as the connection between Birth of a Nation (1915) and the resurgence of the KKK. I say all that to say that representation and diversity and complexity of characters in the arts are important.

Hidden Figures struck a cord in those respects, portraying the lives and works of three African American women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) who had crucial roles (at NASA) in the space race in a beautifully layered way. The complexity of each character (from Katherine Johnson to Al Harrison) triggered curiosity. I found myself interested in how Mary and Levi Jackson had got together, wanting to know where Vivian Mitchell and Dorothy (Vaughan)’s relationship went and much more. It’s a brilliantly told story.

Costume was a pivotal part of telling the story -in highlighting those layers, exploring vulnerability and challenging the boundaries of what might be expected of women -specifically black women -today. It was particularly interesting how varying shades of red lipstick were used to debunk the myth that red lips don’t look good on us. Asap Rocky we are looking at you.

Continue to see 3 stand out style moments from Hidden Figures…

Solange’s fashion expression on ‘A Seat at the Table’

Image of Solange and a costar from her Cranes in the Sky video wearing outfits made from palm leaves

Featured Image: Solange in Cranes in the Sky via Saint Heron

“We put people on a pedestal that are just humans like us.”
Ironically, A Seat at the Table puts Solange Knowles on a pedestal of her own. I’m not sure why I was so taken aback by ‘A Seat at the Table’. I had, after all, got True, discussed its brilliance with friends, watched ‘Losing You’ obsessively and shared with Solange (via twitter) how I had almost lost a finger listening to it in the kitchen.  True, while brilliant, is different. Ahead of the 2017 Grammy award (which we will be live tweeting via @lostintalent), we share thoughts on the unique style expression featured with Solange’s ‘A Seat at the Table’ album .

Continue reading to find out more about Solange’s ‘A Seat at the Table’