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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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…

Packing for Catching Kelce, Avery Schlereth on fashion and dating

Catching Kelce was the most amazing, insane, and trying experience I have ever endured…and packing for the show was a beast of its own. We were not told anything about what we were going to be doing on the show, so when I was putting my suitcases together my thoughts were to over pack. I would rather have way too much than too little, so I packed pretty much everything.

Since it was a dating show, I wanted to be sure that I stayed true to myself and didn’t over do it just because I was going to be on TV. Fashion is one way I can express who I am. Although, fashion is often defined by clothes we wear, it is so much more. Fashion, to me, represents a world where confidence, inspiration, personality, and creativity collide.

Continue reading to find out more about Avery Schlereth’s take on fashion and dating…

I’m Serving…

An essay on beauty by Brooke DeVard Smith.

Andre Leon Talley proclaims, “It’s a Famine of Beauty, Honey!” in the behind-the-scenes Vogue documentary September Issue (2011). It’s a declaration I find myself repeating inside of my head as I flip through fashion magazines or scroll through my Instagram feed. Something peculiar is going on with beauty these days: everyone looks the same.

Maybe we have YouTube to blame. Everyone can become a master of blended foundation, a contouring queen, or highlighting guru in the comfort of their own bedroom after watching a handful of tutorials. Normal girls are becoming make-up artists, and more power to them, but I see little that moves me in terms of beauty inspiration from these vloggers. Where’s the Pat McGrath of YouTube? Diana Vreeland explained it best when she said ‘Too much good taste can be boring’. What’s the point in looking perfectly polished if you look like everyone else?

Continue reading “I’m Serving…”