This cover turned out to be my break into the fashion industry that set up the next 10 years of work. I had been a model for a couple of years prior to this and was fortunate enough to have worked quite well but this was the work that meant I could start to build a long term career.
Since then, through experience, I am able to advise anyone that the big-break will arrive but only if you are in the right place at the right time to recognise it and of course only if you are ready for it.
Its interesting that the theme for the script I am currently writing is quite similar to that theory.
Had I needed a few days to get ready for this job on the morning I met Tom Ford, I would not have been booked and the next worthy candidate would have jumped in my place. Fortunately my work ethic has always been to always be ready. This is often the hardest part of modelling, you spend weeks and sometimes months staying ready, with absolutely no reward.. but as I say, when that break comes, you have to be there and you have to be ready.
This was also the job where I first met Tom Ford, who continues to be one of the most inspirational people I've ever worked with. It was a privilege to observe his work and be part of his vision.
PUBLICATION : AUGUST MAN
PHOTOGRAPHER : ALEX BEER
STYLING : GRACE GILFEATHER
MAKE UP : JONAS OLIVER
HAIR : DANY MIKHAEL
I should note that this was one of my favourite shoots ever. To be allowed the freedom to get fully into character for the entire day was a privilege. The creativity and craft required are exactly why I became a model. Days like this make me love my job! I am very grateful to the team who each pulled off a near-perfect representation of the subject whilst also putting up with my interpretation of a very moody off-screen Charlie Chaplin!
PUBLICATION : ODDA MAGAZINE
PHOTOGRAPHER : JENNY BROUGH
STYLING : ZADRIAN SMITH
HAIR : HIROSHI MATSUSHITA
MAKE UP :
SET DESIGN : ALUN DAVIES
EDITORIAL : THEFASHIONISTO.COM
PHOTOGRAPHER : DIRK MESSNER
STYLING : UDO HOIN
GROOMING : MIRA HAKE
PRODUCTION : ISLAS PRODUCTIONS
It also takes 7 PINTS of clean water to make a SINGLE COTTON BUD!!
As a result of the water used by the cotton industry, an entire sea (THE ARAL SEA) is no longer there.. To me that is ridiculous.
Of course we need clothing and 100% organic cotton is arguably the most sustainable material to make clothing with BUT the disposable nature of fashion means we use far too much of it.
Style comes from learning about and developing our personal wardrobe, so buy clothes with a view to wearing them forever, buy good quality and make the most of a purchase..
Whatever you do, DON'T BE A DICK and buy something to wear once.. its pathetic behaviour.
As part of a shoot I was taken to a very weird theme/experience place, based on the American West. I should clarify that all the people in these pictures were innocently having fun and enjoying themselves but the atmosphere was still strangely disconcerting none the less, not least because of the confederate flag hanging above us.
After our honeymoon, Kim and I lived in New York for a while. New York is my favourite place to go for a dose of inspiration. Its always been good for work as well. Kim went to DJ college, we ate a lot of cheese, drank good wine and did a lot of walking about with the Leica.
'Kimberly and Lukas'
Its no secret that I love taking stills or video of my wife, especially when she is in her element and there is no place you're more likely to find her in her element than the dance rehearsal studio.
This is where her incredible talent is explained...
She demonstrates why her refusal to ever 'mark' a rehearsal results in her pushing beyond her limits with every single dance step she makes. As a result she has improved her craft every time she has danced, since she was 7 years old.
That level of attainment, focus and dedication is why she is the talent that she is today. I didn't know her when she was younger but I would assume that she wasn't born with her talent for dance.. but she certainly earned it with hard graft.
Kimberly doesn't seem to have an idea of a finish line or what is perfect.. it is only about working harder, striving further, starting earlier, staying later. She refuses to ever acknowledge that she can't do something and as a result she works hard enough until she can do anything!
I tried out a nickname for her a while ago: 'Kaizan' - a Japanese management philospohy meaning 'continuous improvement'. My intention was to be complimentary but to be fair, the name is about as cute as a steam roller falling down some stairs... It didn't last!
On this day she was working with our friend Lukas MacFarlane, who is himself an extreme force of dance - his incredible strength, technique and of course dedication to his craft resulted in him winning Got to Dance - Season 4 and in my opinion he was the most worthy of the 5 winners of the show and one of the best dancers I have ever seen.
Spending an afternoon watching these two share their love and talent for dance was an afternoon well spent... and I'm glad I took my Leica!
A glance at my website would highlight the obvious fact that I’m not just a little bit inspired by my wife; she is my muse.
It’s not just her unrivalled talent that inspires me, which it does to the Nth degree but more so her determination and work ethic.
It was meeting her that taught me how having talent is nothing without not just hard work but harder work than everyone else.
As a couple we talk a lot about everything and more often than not, we discuss our work. I think this might be because we have both made our work reflect our passions in life and therefore like to talk about it. Becoming parents helped formulate that theory in a way I hadn’t recognised before because we often talk about the example we hope to set for our daughter as she grows up.
Apart from keeping her safe and healthy, my only hope for our little girl is that she finds a passion and then creates as much room in her life for that passion as possible.
Kim decided early in life that she wanted to dance and so has spent 26 years making it her living. I was fortunate at 29 years old, when I realised I wanted to write and direct that I was already doing a job that provided me the space and time to do those things, which is a big reason why I love my job as a model.
However we are able to do it, the point of pursuing a passion is that it doesn’t matter how we do it, it doesn’t matter who is watching, it doesn’t matter if we are successful or appreciated or welcomed into successful circles of glamorous peers, it also doesn’t matter how many people are tweeting, liking or favouriting it.
All that matters is that we just do it. Simply pursuing a passion should be reward enough in itself, any feedback, however it presents itself is welcome but should be secondary.
To that end, Kim and I were recently planning for a rare day off work together (feeling that we deserved it, having just finished a short film called ‘The Red Pillow’, which I wrote and directed and Kim produces an acting master class opposite the equally brilliant Danny Kelly and Freddy Bradshaw).
Having hoped to spend the day in the park, we woke up to pouring rain and so adjusted our plans, deciding instead to call our friends at Sunbeam Studios and hope there was a spare space where we could mess around for the day.
We took some camera equipment and Kim took her dancing shoes, we also took our daughter and we started the day with no plan, hope or expectation for what might happen. With a few hours to go before Willow’s bath time, we remembered a track Kim had recorded with the Next Room a few years ago. It never found a home at the time but we both loved it and knew at some point we would use it in the future. We turned the stereo up, switched the cameras on and decided to see what happened.
An hour later (and after a bit of post production) ‘Punk Lolita’ had happened.
We decided to launch it for free on Willow’s birthday, to show her that despite being devoted parents and busy with modeling and being a TV chef (which Kim now is, since using her ridiculous determination to become Masterchef Champion), we are still able to find the time and circumstances where we don’t have to sacrifice any of the above in order to make room for our passions… because its no good having the theory (or posting the quote on social media) if you don’t JUST DO IT.
My favorite thing about the week was the excuse I had to not have to worry about what I was wearing. Just throw on a jacket depending on the weather.. and go!
I should start with the downsides though because this was a mission to see if could be done, so I was searching for problems and there were a few to list:
-The big one was feeling under dressed at the Erdem event. I hate feeling under dressed as it is basically rude to the host of the event and although looking at pictures I didn't look too bad I would have liked to dress up a little bit more.
Having said that I attended about 25 events during the week and only felt underdressed at 1, which is a pretty good ratio.
-Walking the dog and training was also something I completely overlooked. It definitely wasn't practical to walk the dog and then train outside (mostly in the pouring rain during #LFW) and then wear the same clothes for the rest of the day. I had to break the rule for the first 2 hours of each day and wear gym kit - I did however, wear and wash the same gym kit every day.
-The washing - this was somewhat of a drawback because I wouldn't normally have washed clothes every day and in the interest of saving water I was hand washing rather than just loading the machine. However, it only took ten minutes a day, which was a worthy sacrifice for the cause.
-Expressing myself - The major thing I felt I needed to sell to people, especially at #LFW was that you can still express yourself with just a few items.
We all use retail therapy and the occasional new outfit to boost our confidence and self esteem. I assumed that after a few days I would start to feel a little uninspired by the same clothes every day. However, I was really surprised to enjoy building a new image on top of the basic look every day.
It actually made me feel more creative and the fact that quite a few people assumed I had given up on my mission because I managed to look so different every day, shows that I was creative enough to make it work!
In actual fact, I usually only changed the jacket and towards the end of the week added a few accessories as well.
What I wasn't expecting was that I really enjoyed removing the decision of what to wear every day! The day after my mission finished, I very nearly threw on the same look again just to continue that enjoyment.
I have since spent a day donating all the clothing I haven't worn for a while, so that now the choice of what to wear each day is drastically reduced. I'm looking forward to working with my basics and continuing to be creative with how I style myself for all occasions.
I am also pledging that any further clothing purchases MUST be investment pieces that I know will last for a long time and help develop my style. I hope to never make a cheap and short term solution purchase again and I will continue to avoid cheap vanity purchases to attempt to turn a bad day into a good one!
I was asked many times during the week about the more political and environmental battles that my cause could be directed towards. I feel I should explain that whilst those factors are a HUGE priority and that I am proud of all the work I have done to that end over the past 6 years, the focus of this mission was to highlight what everyday people can do to help.
People are always shocked and keen to help when I list some of the facts about the cause, however people also have a busy agenda focussing on their own lives and causes and not everyone is able to dedicate a life to ethics in the textiles industry.
For those that do, I look forward to joining you in battle on another day but for now I am trying to highlight what the everyday person can do to help and more specifically what they are doing to harm, without realising.
It is a fact that the demand for cheap clothing on the high street to indulge the consumer's attempts to look different, new (and affluent) every day, means that the stores on our high street must cater and compete with one another to supply that demand, which means offering cheap prices.
This results in the stores demanding cheaper and cheaper products at source, resulting in manufacturers facing the decision to either cater to that demand and cut corners OR risk losing business to a competitor that will.
When you consider that the consumers buying the products are the only people on that chain who are not acting in order to maintain their own livelihood, you start to realise where change in consumer trends can affect the system. This is especially true when you consider those that binge buy these products because they are cheap and not because they need or even particularly like the products.
I spoke to someone this week who said he couldn't be bothered to try a jumper on but because the jumper was so cheap, he bought 2 different styles in 3 different sizes with the intention of throwing away the ones that didn't suit him. He was completely oblivious of the damage he is causing to those who make the products and it is that habit and lack of knowledge I am trying to challenge.
I hope I have been able to inspire people to buy things they love and learn to develop them as part of your style. Hopefully people might try to express themselves using their own creativity, rather than that of the person who dresses the mannequins in shops and if nothing else I hope people are a bit more aware of how consumers are contributing to such tragic events in a world that seems so far away from us all.
Thank you all for following and supporting! See you at #LCM
Day 3 continued..
After dinner with the Storm Men and bookers, we headed to the big party of the show season, which this year, seemed to be Versace, who were showing for the first time in London for years and who also invited pretty much the whole of London to their event.
It started a bit hectic but we managed to carve out an area to call our own and had a good laugh.
I smartened the look up a bit with a Tux jacket and I think it did the trick. It also inspired three people to assume that I had given up on my mission because they thought I looked completely different from the previous day... thus highlighting that even with the same outfit, you can still express yourself differently with a simple jacket change.
The evening ran late and therefore provided the worst preparation for day 4...
A 1st birthday party in the country....and DaddyDayCare all day!
..whilst I was delighted for the mid-schedule break from the fashion world, to spend a day in the country with my daughter, to celebrate the birthday of our friend's son, I could have done with a bit more sleep to be on top form!
However, the look was slightly more versatile than me - It worked at Versace with a Tux jacket and it worked at the birthday party, with a pair of very dark glasses!
A full day of shows ending with my favourite collection of the season from Erdem.
It was raining so I went for the Burberry jacket again and despite feeling good all day it was at the Erdem show, where ironically - given that the clothes on show were entirely sustainable, in line with my mission - I felt under dressed.
Standing between Colin Firth, decked entirely in Tom Ford and the always demure Anna Wintour, I look down at my ripped jeans and for the first time all week, wished I was wearing something else!
In a week where I have been to what seems like a million events, of all different kinds.. I feel like this one concern is not nearly enough to consider my mission a failure.
..just another minor road bump and fortunately, everyone was looking at Mr Firth anyway, so its unlikely anyone even noticed me!
The Christopher Raeburn Show.
I love this designer, not only does he use sustainable fabrics but he represents what I love about London fashion.
He manages to take traditional shapes (sportswear- such as hoodies) and make them innovative with choice of fabric and design features. The collection was jungle inspired and as a result there was a lot of green, however my favourite colours this season have been the basic white and black, which Christopher Raeburn showed in abundance.
After the shows the day took a slight change of pace as I headed back into soho to judge a design competition for @head_bags The winner was a worthy choice in terms of the beautiful bag she designed and as a massive bonus, she was inspired by her concerns over the disposable nature of fashion and in particular the water usage by the industry.
Did you know it takes 7 PINTS of clean water to make a single cotton bud!!
This means that the amount of clean water that goes into making clothes for the fashion industry is astronomical.. so much so that you have probably never heard of the Aral sea?
That is because it now longer exists. we have drained it to provide for our cotton needs.
If the humanitarian reasons to support my mission don't engage you then surely environmental facts such as that, must at least raise some concern? If we didn't dispose and waste so much cotton, this sort of thing could be avoided.
Fashion Week OVER!
.. but my mission continued!
Kim and I Attended the Cool Earth event at the Barbican, hosted by Vivienne Westwood.
..and what an inspiring event it was too.. Vivienne and Andreas as well as Pamela Anderson spoke and inspired a room full of people on the importance of our rainforests.
It was nice as well because Kim and I finally got to hang out together, we have both been so busy juggling work and childcare all week this was a great chance to catch up!
As a result, we wore matching outfits by Haifa Fahad, which gave a very punk rock twist to my look.
A fortunate choice because we spent most of the evening chatting to the Punk Rock legend Marky Ramone.
Cool Earth is a charity I was honoured to be able to support a few years ago; shooting the below campaign by Rankin, with Vivienne herself.
The final day of the mission.
Kim and I are heading to the event I have been most looking forward to all week! My favourite thing to do is watch films, so the cinema is my favourite night out.
If the film playing happens to be a premier that means you get free popcorn on your seat, so a film premiere is my absolute favourite thing to do!
So to close the week, we will be walking the red carpet at the European Premiere of The Martian, starring Matt Damon.
I haven't even decided how I'm wearing the look yet but I will attempt to dress it up a bit to keep up with the standards of the Red Carpet. Wish me luck!
I will report back tomorrow with all the conclusions I have drawn from my week in one look!
I was up early to be at the American embassy to pick up another 3 years of being allowed to work in America (Fuck yeah!). I then spent the day editing my short film #TheRedPillow before heading to the Kit & Ace store launch party in Shoreditch.
I managed all of this quite easily in the same outfit, although it was a bit weird leaving the house without getting changed for the occasion. It sort of felt like I'd forgotten something... mildly irritating for a second but definitely no reason to abandon the mission.
Day one - a success!
On the surface a bit more of a challenge and as I got up to walk my dog and train in the park I realised that I forgot a simple loophole that I should have allowed myself.
Gym Kit.. a minor failure but not one that goes against the philosophy I am trying to promote (I would hardly expect people to train in the same clothes they spend the rest of the day wearing).
The evening came and began with the screening of the FrostFrench short film 'Will Nature Make a Man of Me Yet?' at the Bulgari Hotel. I smartened up the look with a Burberry Mac but the basic outfit did the trick.
The film was great as well by the way- seriously jealous and inspired by the DOP and colour grading in particular.. good work!
Then on to one of the more 'out-there' shows of the week.. The On-Off show, always fun and always inspiring. Not before stopping in a Covent Garden pub to watch England kick off the Rugby World Cup.
Next was the Hunger magazine party in a sweaty west end nightspot. After a few hours of fun I realized that I might need to throw in a wash cycle in the morning.
..and finally to see the fam for Ashley Roberts birthday drinks. Kim is away working this weekend so I was representing the Rogers household and therefore was forced to get fully involved. A few drink-spills later and the T-Shirt is definitely heading for the wash in the morning!
Up with a sore head - and despite hating having to operate and listen to the washing machine for the first hour of the day, my look will be ready for dinner with my agent and the Versace event tonight.
Thinking of dressing the look up a bit tonight with a tux jacket.
So far - so easy!
These charities raise awareness of the causes of such tragedies as the 1137 avoidable deaths at Rana Plaza in 2013 as a direct result of the disposable nature of fashion and the demand for cheap clothing to keep up with trends.
They also campaign to stop children as young as 7 being pulled out of schools in Uzbekistan to farm the cotton fields for little or no money and at extreme risk to their health, resulting in many deaths per year.
They also attempt to ban pesticides being sprayed on these same fields, which when exposed to adult skin in the amount of one teaspoon, could kill the adult.
These are just three bite-size chunks of information that could be added to many, many more to illustrate the size of the issue I hope to tackle.
In my years working with EJF one of the things I noticed is, the disconnect between these tragedies and the bargain prices on our high street is so big that the consumer can largely ignore their responsibility in the matter.
However it is our preference for low prices, so that we can maintain an ever-changing look, which creates the pressure on the manufacturers and cotton farmers to cater to these demands.
After all, if manufacturers don’t risk the lives of their workers by ignoring health and safety standards so as to produce cheaper products, the customer will take their business to someone who will, resulting in a loss of business to all those who produce our clothing in order that they can feed their families.
My issue is not with people who simply cannot afford expensive clothes and therefore don’t have a choice but to buy cheaply.
My issue is with the disposable nature of fashion, which has led to a culture where it is preferable for consumers to buy 20 T-Shirts for £2 each and wear those T-Shirts once or twice, in order to look ‘box-fresh’ every day, rather than spend £40 on a single T-Shirt of good quality that can be worn many times and be developed as part of a style.
It is my belief that creating a style takes work and development over time. A great pair of jeans only becomes great once it has been worn in, as a result becoming unique to the wearer.
Finding the right shoes or outfit to go with those jeans might take time as well and creating a look might involve a collection of accessories that can be mixed and matched to dress the look up or down and for any occasion.
Once a person journeys through that process, they will have created a style that is unique to them by getting to know and working with their clothes and any other element they may be inspired by.
The antithesis of this is dressing as a mannequin in a shop, which merely reflects the style of the person who dressed the mannequin.
My style icons are such not because I appreciate their clothing choices but more because they own their own unique take on fashion and style.
The best example that springs to mind is Jonny Depp. He never looks like he has bought a brand new outfit. His looks always appear like they have been added to, adjusted and developed over time, to create his own unique style.
I do realise the pressure to be seen in a fresh, new and exciting look every day.
This is evident in the workplace and social life with both adults and kids and there is no better example than when a celebrity walks on a red carpet or goes to a fashion event.
People looking on expect to be inspired by something new, so it is a sin to wear the same outfit twice - My wife was once heavily criticised for wearing her absolute all time favourite dress twice.
In order to challenge this disposable nature of fashion I am going to attempt to challenge this standard and set an example that is meant to inspire and provoke thought, if not be completely followed!
This week at LFW, I will be attending the usual array of events and shows as well as a few premieres with my wife.
I will also be going about my daily business of being a film writer and director as well as a model and of course a father to my 9 month old little girl, Willow.
I will attempt to do all of this wearing the same basic outfit in order to show that it CAN be done without any sacrifice to style, comfort, hygiene and most importantly the health and safety of those who manufacture our clothes.
If the clothes need washing, I will wash them overnight or perhaps strip down to my undies in the launderette in the style of Nick Cayman in the Levis advert.
If the weather turns cold I will put on a warm jacket, if the event calls for a certain style, I will accessorise accordingly.
I should also point out that nothing annoys me more than someone blatantly disregarding a dress code.
It is my opinion that if you aren’t comfortable making your best effort to dress the way the host of the event would like you to, then you won’t be comfortable at the event, so to show up would be pointless and you will look like a rude tit.
So, one of the challenges I will face will be to make my best effort to dress accordingly using the same outfit - This may require some creativity!
I will also write a few progress reports on here.
Hopefully I won’t get cold, hopefully I won’t get thrown out of an event and hopefully my daughter won’t throw up on me on the first day!