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Australian Designer, Australian Fashion Industry, Global Fashion Industry, Interview

Heavenly Scarves

August 16
Model sitting in a photographic shoot wearing an emerald green dress on a colourful green patterned modern chair, covered in green colourful scarves.

She is feminine, vulnerable, creative, and kind. Always confident and probably an environmental activist. Supremely human, flawed, constantly in flux, and always learning. A perfectionist of course, and highly passionate, but not fettered by the passing of time or conventional boundaries. Aspiring to soar and constantly on the search for inner and outer freedom, she has embarked on a life long journey to find creative fulfilment through which she can finally liberate her soul.

Linda Valentina Avramides

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wrapped in a scarf and wearing a faux cream shaggy jacket.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

One of the things that I love most about Australian fashion is the freedom of expression, inspiration and diversity that is ever-changing, ever-present and ever-evolving.  One such brilliant example is Valentina Avramides, a wonderfully luxurious, colourful and contemporary scarf range.  The collection exudes sophistication, class and finesse. I am not especially a scarf ‘donner’ but since discovering the superb quality and silky luxury, I am proud to announce that I am probably the newest convert. Scarves, especially silk, are incredibly versatile and they hide a multitude of sins, not to mention incredibly warm in cold weather.  The designer, Linda Avramides, a Sydney graphic artist, has just launched her first collection. Her strict upbringing ensured that old Hollywood films took the place of her social life and early influencers were the glamorous and great iconic beauties, Ava, Grace, Audrey, Elizabeth, Natalie and Sophia, who engendered a love of photography, architecture and dance. About to unleash her creative masterpieces in London, Paris, Dubai and New York, the collection is available for pre-order now at Valentina Avramides … but you better get in fast girl because these babies won’t last for long!

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides in a red dress and high black shoes.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

How was the Valentina Avramides label concept birthed?

VA

I was inspired to do a show of my paintings in 2012, ‘Spirit Dance’; a series of illustrations depicting women in various stages of life and love. The paintings were multi media; collage, Japanese ink brush, vinyl paint, watercolour and pen on parchment. Deeply inspired by the fluidity and energy of dance, I knew it would transpose beautifully on silk showcasing the flow and sensuality inherent in its texture. This showing lead to the creation of my scarf collection where women can literally wear the specific dance of their own life’s journey.

LM

You once mentioned that the inspiration for your label comes from outside of yourself. Please explain the relationship you have to your product?

VA

This is true of creative processes for all people, however, I believe I am especially and consciously connected with my angels. When I began to paint, I had no clear vision; no real idea.

Just raw passion.  An inspired, subconscious emotion. Almost a blind compulsion, which I felt the need to express and communicate visually.

At times, I would paint and rest and then I was asked to continue. It was almost trance like. I felt my hand was guided, a little like automatic writing. When the feeling of my trance subsided, I knew my image was completed.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a black dress and scarf wrapped around her head.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

Who is the Valentina Avramides woman?

VA

She is feminine, vulnerable, creative, and kind. Always confident and probably an environmental activist. Supremely human, flawed, constantly in flux, and always learning. A perfectionist of course, and highly passionate, but not fettered by the passing of time or conventional boundaries. Aspiring to soar and constantly on the search for inner and outer freedom, she has embarked on a life long journey to find creative fulfilment through which she can finally liberate her soul.

LM

How did you decide upon the chosen colour palette?

VA

I am very well known for my monochromatic, and grey tonal wardrobe. I almost never wear colour or patterns. I believe strongly that colour heals. I intuitively choose colours to reflect a particular mood and soothe my aura. That is why I always adorn my tonal canvas with a bright flash of colour. A ring, a statement piece… a scarf.

In early 2012 I visited the retrospective Picasso exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, ‘Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris’. I was truly transported by the fluidity of line and extraordinary use of colour to convey narrative and emotion, as well as his ability to depict the female form in all its unique beauty. I was compelled and inspired to paint again.

LM

Where do you see your product in years to come?

VA

I see my scarves in huge demand in all the exclusive boutiques and stores throughout the world, bringing to light Australian design as leading edge and as current as any major fashion capital.

I also intend to expand my range incorporating silk evening coats, wraps, stoles and silk designer evening bags.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a white contemporary jacket, white pants, lounging on a purple lounge.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

What kind of retailers will stock your luxury scarf label?

VA

High end, exclusive retailers throughout the world across the globe.

LM

What designers are your heroes?

VA

Christian Dior has inspired me in all its incarnations, from its inception to its latest collections. I would always opt for vintage Dior and Dior inspired creations.

LM

You have always believed that your product is most suited to the overseas market. Why is that?

VA

I find there is greater sophistication and emphasis on history and culture in Europe. I have strong family ties and friends scattered throughout the world. Culturally I align myself more with a European salon than the Australian outdoors and beach culture.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides in a black dress and high black shoes.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

Your range consists of three different sizes and two different styles? What inspired you to create the feminine tie, as well as the conventional square scarf style?

VA

In my first collection, I found that the large square scarf was a shape that would best showcase the proportions of my paintings and artwork. I then expanded my collection with a smaller version of the square scarf to make it more versatile, later bringing in the tie scarf which is unisex and current.

I have always found my design inspiration in street-style as opposed to runway. My silk scarves are statement pieces that add an edge to any wardrobe and the ties can be worn as statement unisex jewellery.

LM

Your scarves are made in Australia, with only the hand rolling of the square scarves being finished overseas. How important is Australian manufacturing to you?

VA

I believe in supporting local industry and talent, in the same way that I wish to be encouraged and mentored by my peers. I worked closely with Think Positive (Digital Fabric Printers). A group of artists and technicians who strive to maintain high values, have uncompromising attention to detail, strict quality control and believe strongly in sustainability.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides in an emerald green top with open shoulders and white trouser.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

As an Australian artist I want to collaborate with like-minded, creative Australians. Australian design is leading edge and world class, and we must commit to our future by nurturing the amazing talent we have here.

LM

What do you see as the current problems in the Australian fashion industry? Do you feel supported?

VA

I feel that new designers need help to establish a business plan and general business advice. Too many designers start big, invest big and fail quickly.

LM

I know we don’t like to focus on difficulty, but it does inspire other designers to know of your challenges when launching a label. What have yours been?

VA

My biggest challenges have been to find locally made fabric, an almost impossible task, and competitively priced local hand finishers in order to produce a 100% Australian designed and manufactured product.

Model sitting in a photographic shoot wearing an emerald green dress on a colourful green patterned modern chair, covered in green colourful scarves.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

How important is it for you, to follow the dream of realising your own label?

VA

I believe totally in my creativity and passion which is reflected in the Valentina Avramides label.

It is and will continue to be, my life’s work.

LM

You see your label in London, Paris and New York … what retailers do you hope will stock your amazing collection?

VA

Saks, Barneys, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, Victoria BeckhamGalleries Lafayette in Paris, and Corso Como in Milan.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a black dress with converse.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their own label?

VA

To carefully do your research, have a clear business plan, and engage professional advice.

LM

How would you like Australian designers and creatives to be better supported?

VA

I would like to see more open access to government grants and workshops for new emerging designers.

LM

When can we look forward to another collection?

VA

2018!

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a black strapless bra and covered in a scarf.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

What Australian designers inspire you?

VA

Zimmermann, Scanlan & Theodore, Constantina, Dion Lee

LM

And international?

VA

Giambattista Valli, Gucci, Prada, Christian Dior, Armani, Nina Ricci, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Balenciaga and Lanvin

LM

How would you best describe the Australian aesthetic?

VA

Colourful, outdoorsy, wild, unfettered and free.

LM

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

VA

Designing my successful label and travelling between the major, global fashion capitals.

Meet Valentina Avramides on Instagram

Shop Valentina Avramides … pre-order now!

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a black open shoulder top, white pants on a bright yellow chair.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

 

Accreditations

Designer | Linda Valentina Avramides

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives

Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai

Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry

Production | Cartel Public Relations

Model | Kyra Charalambu

 

Until next time,

Jade xx

 

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Photography, Styling

Karlstrom Creatives

November 8
Picture of a girl in black and white with large round sunglasses and long brown hair.
Model with blue hair standing in colourful skirt and top with high heeled white shoes for a campaign shoot.

Karlstrom Creatives | Photography | Peter Karlstrom | Stylist | Leigh Karlstrom

 

 

The passion and love comes from creating something that is yours. We see what we do as a story and the characters just come to life.

Petter Karlstrom

 

One of my most favourite topics within the realm of Australian fashion is the creative team. We often take for granted the contribution that these teams make to the success of independent designers, important events, and the general gorgeous hype that our industry rocks. No other creative team is more deserving of this kudos which is the topic of my latest editorial.

Who are they? Karlstrom Creatives.

I absolutely love the work of Petter and Leigh Karlstrom.

They have reached, what I consider to be, the pinnacle of creative prowess.

Petter and Leigh Karlstrom are the dynamic duo. Quite literally. Petter is the photographer,  Leigh the stylist.

I first discovered their work when I interviewed the amazing Chisato Chris Arai, another creative genius. Definitely one of Australia’s most coveted makeup artists. If you have not discovered Chris Arai yet, do yourself the pleasure of checking out her work. Just navigate through the menu to her article. Truly inspiring.

But back to the Karlstrom duo. Their work is fresh, inspiring, different, engaging, and pure creativity. It is the epitome of imagination and fantasy, and I love it!

I can’t sing the praises of these people enough. I know, I know. You think I say that about everyone I interview. Well I do try to sing everybody’s praises. That’s true. But it is never undeserved, as I am blessed to be granted interviews with the very coolest of people!

Every now and again, you come across people and talent that is truly special. And this article is about these human gemstones.

Petter told me, “the streets inspire us. Characters and spaces. I usually get an idea from being at a cool location and then the rest just comes naturally”.

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Fashion Designer, Global Fashion Industry, Interview

Frederick Jenkyn

September 26
Model | Kelly Hockey Place | London Designer | Frederick Jenkyn Photographer | Chris Fatseas

Frederick Jenkyn, Australian Fashion Designer, TAFE Ultimo. The Innovators.

As all of my devoted followers already know, earlier this year, I had the pleasure of perusing on mass, the breathtaking young smorgasbord of talent that Australia serves up each and every year at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. After the week long event, which is the highlight of the years for all Australian fashion devotees, I methodically work my way through the incredible mix of entrepreneurial youth, offering them the opportunity to publish an affordable and effective public relations interview to promote their names and their emerging brands.

Frederick Jenkyns collection was outstanding. I met him the very day of the unveiling of his collection, but am bringing you this interview after corresponding with him in London, his new place of residence.

As I am sure you are aware, and if you are not, please consider this.

Our emerging designers are quite literally our fashion future.  They represent the group of people who will lead us strongly, both locally and internationally, in the ethical and sustainable production of our beloved fashion industry. Young people such as Frederick will most likely be the names behind your choice of dressing and the other interiors of our design lives for decades to come. It is essential that we support them, read about them, buy their product and offer them our gratitude and encouragement.

Please remember to share  the love.

Australian fashion is depending on you …

 

Meet Frederick Jenkyn.

In five years? I want to have my own studio with pattern makers/design assistants. A machinist and a social media/online manager.

Rolls and rolls of fabrics and a stock room filled to the brim.

I would like to think I’ll be complaining about needing more space. But then I will think, I need to pay for the embroidery for next season so it’s not a good time to upgrade.

I will only wear black. In case someone visits the studio and I won’t look a mess.

And in the bottom draw of my desk, that looks like a filing draw, I’ll keep some throw rugs for the “before show” all-nighters.

Frederick Jenkyn

 

Model Kelly Hockey modelling in London for Frederick Jenkyn. Photographer Chris Fatseas.

Here is Frederick Jenkyn’s story so far …

Frederick Jenkyn as a brand emphasises wearable innovation through unconventional textiles and hand crafted detailing traversing the borderline between couture extravagance and everyday wearability.

Frederick Jenkyn

 

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Global Fashion Industry, Photography

Lights. Cameras. Heaven.

June 28
Bill Cunningham, New York photographer. Passed away at age 87 years after a stroke.

“The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

– Bill Cunningham

This morning, as I drank my morning coffee and dreamily looked out the window, my eyes rested on a postcard sitting near me. The title was, “The King Is Dead”.

It is not often that I am totally affected by the passing of someone whom I have never met, spoken to, or even seen in person.

But this time was different.

Saturday, June 25 2016 was a sad day for the global fashion industry.

I woke that morning, Sydney time, with a heavy heart, to find that the iconic Bill Cunningham, the famous bicycle pedalling street photographer, and dedicated columnist for the New York Times, will no longer be seen in mid-town New York capturing his special version of visual fashion delights.

Bill has crossed over, and is now travelling on a runway of a different kind.

Bill Cunningham was special. Eccentric. Dedicated. One of a Kind. And. He Will Be So Missed.

It has literally taken me days to comprehend that he is gone. At least from my current world.

And so this post is dedicated to Bill.

A man I never met, but a man that I know has affected so many lives with his work. As I write these words I realise what an incredible thing that is.  To actually be such a contributory pillar of artistic genius that causes fashion lovers across the world to mourn his passing.

Bill is someone that I would have loved to have met, even briefly. For whatever reason, that was not to be. But it actually doesn’t matter because I hold such gratitude for the contribution he has made to my life. And to my own passion for fashion.

And there is that word again. Contribution.  Ahh yes! That word has been spoken about a lot lately, post Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Sydney 2016.

Contribution.
Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Fashion Designer, Interview, MBFWA

Monster Alphabets

June 8
Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Every year at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, which this year has just come to a close, I do a series of interviews about Australia’s emerging fashion designers.

An important part of my week, and perhaps my greatest passion, is to review. to meet, and to bolster, the amazing collections of these designers who are newly graduated or who are nursing their young, wonderful labels through the tender years of their fashion infancy.

This year was no different. A broad array of talented and passionate individuals  whose collections graced the Carriageworks runways at MBFWA 2016.

The life of an emerging designer is a tenuous one, fraught with complex decision making, all weighing on the scales of balance combining creativity and commercialism.  In a world of fast fashion, and the universal hub of fashion manufacturing China, it is no wonder that these designers feel unloved by us all at times, trying to carve out their niche in the small consumer base of Australian fashion lovers down under.

I do my absolute best to make people aware of how dire our industry will become if we continue to ignore the importance of supporting our own.  My thoughts are not revolutionary, but I am completely devoted to my local designers and their hopes and dreams. My wish is that you are too.

So, may I leave you with this thought?

The next time you walk into Zara, TopShop or H&M think about the young Australian designers, who have studied for years, working second jobs just to support their chosen careers.

They need us. All of Us.  Me. And. You. To buy their product.

Their emerging labels need to find a permanent lodging in our heads, as the “Go To” for our next potential fashion fix. That is. If we still value the Australian fashion industry, which I am sure you do!

Meet Sarah Watanabe, the name behind Monster Alphabets, yet another of Perth’s fashion  talents …

For an independent label like Monster Alphabets, we try put an emphasis on slow fashion and an ethical way of producing.  This means that we do not produce big quantities or a large number of styles.  We want our customers to value our clothes and treat them as investment pieces.  Social media speeds up the process and everyone wants new images of new products on a daily basis.  This is not sustainable and works against small labels.

 

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Alana | IMG |Photography | Shuwen Yu | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

I believe that you and your sister started “Monster Alphabets”. How did this eventuate?

MA

I was in between jobs in the latter half of 2011 and I saw a gap in the market for black clothes that expressed a unique twist with modern design.

As the label grew I dragged my sister Kacey into the business. She assists on the business side of the label.  She does the bookkeeping and basically makes sure I don’t do anything stupid.

LM

I love the name. Where did the inspiration for the name come from?

MA

Kacey briefly studied art at St Martins College in London. One of the projects she produced was called Monster Alphabets.

It was the study of implementing different characteristics and personality to each letter of the alphabet.  I liked the curious concept of the name and decided to steal it.

LM

What is the philosophy behind your label?

MA

Jenga. Design is like playing a game of Jenga.  How many elements can you eliminate before it crumbles. Less IS sometimes more.

LM

You talk about the “Japanese Design Pysche”. Could you please explain this further?

MA

It’s the subtleness in the detail. The alternate expression of beauty while not exposing too much skin.

LM

What is the inspiration behind your label? As an architecture student, does this influence your garments and collections strongly?

MA

I actually graduated from my architecture degree and worked full time before switching to fashion.

The design principles that I learned during my architecture days are the same minimalistic approaches and ethos that I now apply to my designs.

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Anna | Photography | United Images | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

As an emerging label, how difficult has it been for you to secure a position within other markets, such as the US?

MA

I’ve only been active in Australia so I am not an international label yet but hopefully one day!

LM

Who are the people from whom you take inspiration and most admire within your industry?

MA

Diana Vreeland … her eccentric philosophy on fashion and life in general is so inspiring.

I am still looking for the Diana Vreeland of this generation.

LM

Lol! Aren’t we all?

LM

What do you love about the fashion industry in Perth?

MA

The fashion industry in Perth is so small that we all know each other and are extremely supportive towards each other.  There is nothing better than seeing a Perth face at events like MBFWA.

LM

Do you see yourself living and/or working in the eastern states?

MA

It is definitely something that I am asked about all the time.

With the digital proximity that is available to us now, I don’t think the geographical location is as crucial as it was before.  I am bit of a cavewoman so even if I lived in New York, I would probably still stay at home 20 hours a day sewing up a storm in the basement … #getalife

LM

What do you think of today’s street fashion?

MA

I personally feel that social media has made such an impact on street fashion.  My personal view is that girls want to stand out from the crowd – thus their focus is on creating an image that will outshine everyone else’s on Instagram and other social media outlets.  The priority now is to stand out even if it means compromising on style.

LM

What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?

MA

To accept the unpredictability of fashion.  Sometimes things just doesn’t make sense in fashion.  Just accept it and move on…

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Subah | IMG | Photography | United Images | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

What is your advice to young women and the way they dress?

MA

Be true to yourself.  Wear something that makes you comfortable physically and mentally.

LM

What influence do you think social media has had on our current fashion industry and do you think it is a positive or negative influence?

MA

I think it has changed EVERYTHING from marketing strategy to the retail environment.

I think bringing any interest to fashion is always a good thing for the industry.  However I think providing the social media influencers with too much power when it is not justified will eventually become a questionable reality.

LM

Agreed!

For an independent label like Monster Alphabets, we try put an emphasis on slow fashion and an ethical way of producing.  This means that we do not produce big quantities or a large number of styles.  We want our customers to value our clothes and treat them as investment pieces.  Social media speeds up the process and everyone wants new images of new products on a daily basis.  This is not sustainable and works against small labels.

LM

Agreed a million times over!

LM

What is your favourite social media platform?

MA

Instagram. As a fashion designer, visual images is our currency.

LM

What age bracket do you design for?

MA

It’s not so much the age bracket, but I do tend to design for professional ladies who have a strong interest in the arts.

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Juliette | IMG |Photography | Shuwen Yu | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

What do you think of the phenomenon of fast fashion and how has it affected you as a local designer?

MA

It has crippled my label but it has also motivated us to create designs that cannot be recreated by the fast fashion business model.

LM

Wonderful!  When you refuse to  join them … 

LM

Do you think fashion in Australia differs greatly to other countries?

MA

Yes. I think ultimately we design clothes to suit the climate we live in.  I also think that the climate dictates a lot of the cultural aspects too.  In Australia, we have beautiful sunny weather and gorgeous beaches. It is inevitable that we design garments that celebrate and accentuate this gift from Mother Nature.

LM

When your designs are photographed how do you like to see them represented and on whom?

MA

I think once the garment is handed over to the wearer, I enjoy seeing how they style them.

LM

Do you rely on fashion bloggers to spread the word about your label and how serious an effect do you think they have had on our industry?

MA

My label belongs to a very small niche.  Not a lot of bloggers endorse my dark aesthetics.

I think bloggers have been a major catalyst in this social media phenomenon.

Sometimes I feel like there is no censorship and at times I am wary about the opinions that are broadcasted on the web.

Blogging is not a protected profession so when they upload misleading information or weak content which can defame people, I find it very upsetting.

 

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Anna Orsman | IMG | Photography | United Images | MBFWA 2016

LM

Why do you think fashion bloggers often look the same at events?

MA

Wow I thought it was just me that noticed! Ahhahaha!!!

LM

Nope!

MA

I think this could be due to the necessity to attract more and more people?  I ‘m really not sure.  It’s really unfamiliar territory for me.  I have never been the popular kid at school.  I was always the weird one who avoided the spotlight.  This desire to be so loved and get as many “likes” as possible is a very foreign concept to me.  Perhaps that is the reason why I have such modest number of followers haha!!!

LM

Well. I could argue that one’s contribution to the industry is more important than one’s following …

LM

Do you feel the industry needs to have a set of slightly older fashion bloggers to create a wider and broader space for a diverse representation of labels?

MA

ABSOUTELY.

Every human needs to wear clothes to protect themselves from the weather.  It is a primary necessity to wear clothes for human survival.  Style is what makes this process fun.  I strongly agree that there is a desperate need for more diversity in fashion.  My mother has a blog because she felt like there was a gap in the blogger world for older people.

Her idol is Iris Apfel.

LM

Mine too!

LM

Do you think our obsession with youth and only directing fashion to the very young has created a restricted playground for designers at large?

MA

No, not for my aesthetics.

Perhaps it would if I was running a label that solely relied on social media to measure success. If the interested in a label is largely generated by the power of the Instagram shock factor, then this would apply as only girls of a certain age can pull off the “half naked”, “sheer- sequinned” bodysuit … top … dress …nipple cover …

LM

How hard have you found it to show your collections and make connections overseas?

MA

I do get invited to take part in overseas events but as an independent fashion label, it would be irresponsible of me to do so when I am not ready to fund a bigger production line in keeping with greater demand.

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Bianca IMG | Photography | Getty Images | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

Do you feel that the industry as a whole helps you to succeed?

MA

The panelists of Project Nextgen were all very important members of the fashion industry.  The fact that they saw something in a small label like mine with such a small social media following restored my faith in the industry.

LM

How could you be better supported?

MA

I think by educating people on the importance of shopping local would help alleviate the pressure that is experienced in the industry.

I think at the end of the day, if our business flourishes in Australia, we are one step closer towards international success.

Don’t we all want to see more Australian labels gracing the catwalks of Paris, New York and Milan?

LM

Yes. Yes. And Yes. We certainly do!!!

LM

What designers do you love in Australia? Overseas?

MA

I am a big fan of TOME.  Their minimalistic approach to design is breathtaking.  Yohji Yamamoto is my idol. He studied at Bunka as well so our teachers would often use his garments to demonstrate pattern making skills.

LM

Who do you think dresses the best, men or women?

MA

Men.  There is less to choose from so less chances of getting it wrong.

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Alannah | IMG |
Photography | Getty Images | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

If you could change anything about what’s trending right now, what would that be?

MA

Narcissism ..

LM

Me too! Have you read my recent article NarcisSista Fashionista???

LM

What do you think about the prevalence of tattooes? Piercings?

MA

I don’t mind them at all.

LM

Do you think they had their day?

MA

Tattoos and piercings?  I think the phenomenon that was attached to it, ie. the taboo side of it, is gone.  As my friend Jono once said, having “NO tattoo is the NEW tattoo”.

LM

If we were speaking about fashion today, do you think we are becoming more modest or less so in our self expression?

MA

I think modesty is very rare when we talk about the fashion of today.  I think the danger is when the clothes end up wearing you, rather than you wearing the clothes.

LM

Why do you think some designers have gone broke in recent times?

MA

I think it is a combination of the difficult retail environment as well as the impact that social media has had.  The speed at which we are expected to develop new collections is ridiculous and just not financially viable.

LM

What advice would you give someone moving into fashion design?

MA

Develop a very thick skin. Get used to hearing “no” all the time.

LM

When you hear an emerging designer, with a full heart, and exceptional talent, describing the pursuit of their passion in this way, something needs to change. And. Fast.

A picture of Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, standing at the foot of the runway, dressed in a black dress and black boots, after her show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Sydney 2016 in Sydney.

Monster Alphabets | Designer | Sarah Watanabe | St George NextGen | MBFWA 2016

LM

How do you cope with the commercial aspects of your design trade?

MA

The most challenging thing is finding the balance between design that is still commercial enough that it will sell and bring an income while maintaining the Monster Alphabets aesthetics.  I don’t want to produce watered-down designs just so I can make a sale.  This is not the reason I started the label.  Kacey and I sit down every week to balance the books and see where we are and strategise.  This part of the business is just as important, if not more important than the other, more fun aspects.

LM

Who are your favourite bloggers?

MA

I am really bad at this kind of stuff. I am not really familiar with many of them.  I do like whiteandcapsule.com however. I think her style is very unique and so refreshing!

LM

How important is the role of a stylist to a fashion designer?

MA

I enjoy how the stylists can challenge the way we see clothes. At times I see my garments styled with items that I never thought would match, but when put together it works!

LM

How important is runway exposure when offering a new collection?

MA

It helps to draw attention. In a setting like MBFWA a lot of the heavy weight industry members are present, together with key national buyers. It is the perfect opportunity to present a range.

LM

What do you feel the fashion industry needs to offer in Australia which it is not?

MA

Diversity.

LM

What are you most looking forward to this year, showing at MBFWA 2016?

MA

Being selected to show at MBFWA was a huge step for my label.

Until next time,

Jade xx

Meet Monster Alphabets | Monster Alphabets Facebook | Monster Alphabets Instagram |

Accreditations |

Photography | Stefan Gosatti | Getty Images | Joe Corcoran | United Images |

Assistant | Model | Bailey Jones | Bailey Jones Instagram

Mother and Father PR

Thanks To |

TheFashionSpotOfficial | Zara Wong | Perth Fashion Festival |

Fremantle Fashion Collective | Mother and Father PR | Getty Images | United Images

Coat Hanger Logo done in black on white in the style of chinese calligraphy and paint brushing style with the words Label Ministry placed in capital letters below it.

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Photography, Styling

Colouring In

April 6

 

If you put something together and it doesn’t look so good, the fashion police are not going to come take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail.

Iris Apfel

 

The wonderful American Style Queen, Iris Apfel, commenting on how women combine the elements of good dressing …

well, after all, Iris should know …

 

Picture of the American fashion icon and style influencer, Iris Apfel.

 

 

Who better than Iris to show us all how to put the ultimate in fashion craziness together with some other garments which equals perfection?

Our current world is so homogenised in every way. And the way we dress has become a victim to it. Whatever happened to wearing crazy colours, either on their own, or together?  I have styled many people over the years who have been afraid to wear colour. Want to add colour to your wardrobe? Here’s how.

Remember that colour does not have to be always worn near the face.  It can be introduced into an outfit with colourful shoes or a handbag.

Wear colours that make you feel good and remember that as we age, hair colour and skin tone changes. Revise your colour choices often. Finding confidence in this ability is how we all secure a connection with our own confidence and creates our sense of wellbeing. Be prepared to take a “fresh look” at yourself and reassess how you can improve your image.  If you’re not comfortable wearing colourful garments introduce colours through nail varnish, lipstick or your hair!

 

Model with blue hair standing in colourful skirt and top with high heeled white shoes for a campaign shoot.

Photography & Styling | Karlstrom Creatives

 

Colour does not have to take the form of block colour. Sometimes we look better in plain colours or colours that are infused within a pattern.

If you prefer to wear plain, block colours because you feel they suit you better, try introducing patterns and interesting prints through cute shoes and handbags.  Another idea is the simple layering of colour underneath another block colour, such as white or black. I like to call it ‘colour referencing’.

Remember, all you are trying to achieve is a “joining of the dots” effect – a visual reference of design and colour, continuity and harmony.

Colourful tops, and even tops with a blend of more muted colours, can look great underneath plain understated jackets.

 

turquoise

 

An outfit of block colours works a treat with a gorgeous pair of leopard print ballet flats and a stylish Gucci handbag! Things do not necessarily have to match but there does need to be a marriage of harmonious elements and colour tone. Tonally they work together and there is enough visual space between the two items to make the combination work. The natural balance of the outfit then becomes effortless and an understated elegance of good quality and taste becomes the highlighted theme.

All beautifully constructed outfits and exceptional dressing comes down to the combination of colour and texture, and the ability to achieve the all-important balance of proportion.

It is always a good idea to be generally aware of what is trending, not because your individual style depends on this, but because it allows you to have a choice of product in every season to add different elements of value to your wardrobe.

 

Picture of a girls face with clear round plastic sunglasses in a 1950's style showing the reflection of the surrounds in the lenses with bright red lipstick.

Photography & Styling | Karlstrom Creatives

 

 

If you wear black or grey, wear colour that compliments your main palette. Try to move outside of the normal combination. For instance, lime green and acid yellow are exceptionally beautiful with black. Gerbra pink is divine with charcoal.

If you are teaming these items with jeans or casual trousers, bring the reference of colour from the top of your body (ie. lime green top), down to the feet with gorgeous flats in a tonally appropriate colour, or paint your toe nails in a tonally balanced shade in open-toed heels.

Introduce visual depth and weight and experiment with colour, tone and texture.

Adhering to these general rules will mean that you achieve a lovely balance in your wardrobe that you will be pleased to visit every day!

Until next time,

Jade xx

website_logo3.2

Bloggers, Editorial, Global Fashion Industry, Instagram, Interview, Photography, Styling

To Love, Honour & Instagram

February 16
Anna from Mother Pukka, with her daughter Mae, in Shoreditch. Photographed outside the Splice TV building painted by Camille Walala.

 

My husband recently showed me a video he thought would interest me. … what an understatement!!!

I loved it!

And I’m pretty sure you will too. With over five million views already, I guess I’m not the only one who thinks it hilarious. To all the wonderful Instagram Husbands out there, I’d like to thank you, for lots and lots of laughs.

I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate you and love you … our Instagram lives would not be the same without you!

I was so intrigued and fascinated by the way the video was produced, I just had to find out who was behind it’s creation.

Michelle and Jeff Houghton, a married couple from Springfield, Missouri in America’s mid west, are the ingenious creative minds who birthed the concept. They are parents to their little boy, Elias and Michelle is also a counsellor and an artist.

Her Instagram husband, Jeff, is a comedian and talk show host.  Jeff creates a syndicated show called The Mystery Hour, which is what Instagram Husband was written and produced for. Michelle also writes and performs for the show.

“we thrive on keeping things interesting and are driven by a desire to connect with others and chase after our dreams. I am an avid Instagrammer and I love tacos, philosophical conversations, indie music, podcasts, and creative expression”.

Their Instagram account is the “official account bringing support, comport, & praise to all you human selfie-sticks out there …”

It is truly brilliant and hilarious. Quite simply, I’m hooked!

I hope you love this piece as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.

 

 

 

LM

I absolutely love what you are doing … how did you start Instagram Husband?

IH

Jeff, my husband, came up with the Instagram Husband concept and wanted to do it as a video for his show, The Mystery Hour. He thought of it last summer, after having a lot of experiences where taking a pretty photo got in the way of experiencing the moment in both our lives and the lives of our friends.

LM

Is Instagram Husband a collaboration, as often I see many things that are posted by different people?

IH

In some ways, yes, it was a collaboration, in other ways no. We have a group of writers who write for The Mystery Hour and we collaborated on the video for that entity. The idea of Instagram Husband was Jeff’s and everyone who was involved was doing it for the show.

LM

How has Instagram changed your life?

IH

I have a lot of good friends who I have met through Instagram, actually, which is the greatest impact it has had on my life.When I find a new Instagrammer from my area who has similar taste, I follow them and then start commenting on their posts out of mutual respect and admiration. Often that has lead to online friendships which have lead to hanging out in real life. Some of my closest friendships started that way over the last five years. Instagram has also enhanced my connections with my friends because we have access to knowing what is going on in each other’s lives. It starts conversations about things we otherwise wouldn’t know about, and I love that.

LM

Do you feel we have created a problem of “oversharing” on social media in general? Do you feel that Instagram specifically has created an aspect of “oversharing” in our life?

IH

I think we do have a bit of “oversharing” going on in our culture, but I don’t think it is unique to Instagram. I am a counsellor and work primarily with adolescents. To them it’s not Instagram, it’s Snap Chat. For others, it’s Facebook. Regardless the medium, we do go to ridiculous lengths to provide interesting and appealing content related to our lives. I think we are going to look back in 50 years at this time period and see a lot of good things that have come from social media, but we will also recognise a lot of mistakes we have made culturally with regards to our obsession with it. We cannot learn those lessons until we go through them, however. I do see a lot of individuals online who go to extremes to get “likes” and ultimately gain validation from that, which creates a culture of comparison, and as Theodore Roosevelt said …

 

Michelle Houghton and her Instagram friends sitting around talking in a large room with a big open window on a cloudy day.

 

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”

– Theodore Roosevelt

LM

Are you addicted to social media?

IH

You know, it sort of depends on what lens I am looking through to say whether or not I am “addicted” to social media. There have definitely been times in my life where I have spent more time on it than others. Also, compared to some people who are rarely online, I am definitely addicted, and yet compared to those who very obviously check their phones every few minutes, I am definitely not. I probably check my Instagram and Facebook feed a few times a day, but I don’t let myself get sucked down the rabbit hole of spending a chunk of time there as much as I used to. I really enjoy photography and curating a space which exudes my asthetic, so Instagram tends to be my “addiction” more than other mediums of social media.

LM

Do you believe that people lead “fake” lives through Instagram, as is often suggested?

IH

I have a hard time saying what is “fake” and what is “real”– with social media, because I truly see a movement toward people sharing the rawness and realness of their lives online. This is probably in response to all the curated lives we are seeing others live through the social media lens. I think it takes a real balance to share authentically what is happening in your life online, because you don’t want to make things “too” pretty or you are not relatable, and yet you also don’t want to over-share your struggles or the not-so-pretty side of things, because if you’re doing that all the time it can come across as humble-bragging, which is equally off-putting. In the end, I think we all want people to see the best in us. It just happens to be on a different platform and a different level with social media.

LM

What was your motivation for starting “Instagram Husband”.

IH

We started Instagram Husband because we thought it was a funny concept. We really enjoy making people laugh, and Jeff has a knack for coming up with relatable concepts to do that. It just so happened that this video connected with a lot of people.

LM

What do you feel are the main differences between Facebook and Instagram and are you fan of both platforms?

IH

I like both Instagram and Facebook. I tend to lean towards using Instagram more because I am such a fan of art and photography, and I follow a lot of people who use Instagram to showcase their work in both genres. I like Facebook to hear about what is going on with family and friends.

LM

What do you see as the positives of Instagram. And, the negatives?

IH

Instagram positives: good photography, platform for people to connect, photos often convey concepts in an easily-deliverable way where people connect to an image, community, and inspiration. Instagram negatives: tends to lead us to compare ourselves with others (just as all social media platforms do), FOMO– personally I have a hard time seeing vacation pictures of other people or people around the world in beautiful places if I’m spending my hours at work feeling uninspired and unmotivated.

LM

What is your opinion of buying followers and likes?

IH

I don’t really know anyone, (well, at least to my knowledge) who “buys” followers and likes–  to me it seems like another marketing ploy mostly for businesses or brands wanting to seem culturally relevant. I would be very suspicious of individual people who do that for personal accounts but I haven’t really dealt with it.

LM

What is your view of people who share a difficult personal moment on the Instagram platform?

IH

I sort of answered this in #7, but I’ll add to it by saying this– I heard a podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong among other books about shame and vulnerability. She asked her about sharing personal stories in what she writes. What she had to say about it really resonated with me. She said that she never publicly shares a personal story that she has not already fully processed. Her rule of thumb being that if her healing is contingent upon what others say about that story, then she should not share it. She says she’s shared her story before she was ready, and learned a lot of lessons from that. When you share a difficult story before you have healed, it is not giving and generous to the people hearing it, and can actually be abusive to yourself. Attempting to gain deep healing from a wound in a public arena is just not the way to go about working out your issues– that is what close friends and therapy is for.

 

Jenn Fortner and Zac Fortner standing on train tracks for an Instagram pic

She missed another job interview today because the light was “just perfect”

“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world”.

 – Brene Brown, in her podcast, Big Magic

LM

Do you believe that social media is responsible for people having poor interpersonal and social skills in real life?

IH

People throughout the ages have had poor social and interpersonal skills in real life, so I don’t think social media is to blame. In my career as a counsellor I work with a lot of people who have poor social skills, and there isn’t one specific set of circumstances that lead them to be that way. Some have manipulative or abusive upbringings, some have disorders like Autism where social interaction doesn’t come as easily, and some are just downright introverted, which is fine, but is not always valued in our culture. I know some very inward people who are also successful bloggers or Instagrammers. Just because they are less likely to wow someone in person than online does not mean that blogging is what caused them to be introverts. Blogging, social media, and writing may just be the platform they feel the most comfortable socialising on.

LM

Do you believe that Instagram amounts to modern day narcissism?

IH

I think Instagram can portray a sense of narcissism, yes, but I also believe most people don’t go out and create Instagram accounts because they want validation and “likes”, and thus are essentially narcissistic. I think to some extent we all want positive social interactions, and naturally that is a healthy thing. When someone spends an inordinate amount of time curating a space online that looks nothing like their real life in the hopes of gaining followers and likes, however, that crosses the bounds of healthy living.

LM

What is your view of Instagram advertising. Do you feel that it is effective?

IH

Every form of advertising is effective if it gets people to buy things.

LM

What has been your personal response to Instagram Husband?

IH

My personal response to Instagram Husband? Wow, there’s a lot in this one question. I’ll start by saying that I have been a supporter of my husbands show since he started it in a crappy basement of an improv theatre 10 years ago. It has been his dream to consistently showcase his talents of writing, acting, hosting, and performing on a large scale, and Instagram Husband got him, as the creator, a lot of the attention he deserved because the video was such a big hit.  My biggest response to it therefore is just sheer happiness. Mostly because of the story of our struggle. For him to be doing what he loves in a very obscure way.

Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun posting the Instagram photos on our @ig.husband account, and have had a great time connecting with people all across the world who relate to the video through that, through interviews, and with people reaching out after they saw it. It’s weird that so many of us have had this phenomenon in our lives– asking our husbands (or wives or girlfriends or friends or sisters or whatever) to take our photos so we can later post them– and we didn’t have a term for it up until this point.

LM

Do you enjoy your food less when you are always wanting to photograph it in it’s untouched state first?

IH

Heck no! I enjoy it MORE! I love anything that is well presented, and especially food! It’s fun to snap a picture of it before it’s all gobbled up. Obviously the line of  “we used to eat our food, now we just take pictures of it…” is a comedian’s take on prolonging eating things when we are taking pictures of it– but I promise I would never sacrifice tasting food for a photo!

LM

Do you feel a certain pressure to constantly find new and interesting material to post?

IH

Yeah, to be honest, sometimes I do. If it’s been a few days since I last posted a picture, I start to think about what I should post, or why I didn’t post. To me, snapping an iPhone picture of a scene or a person or a thing that happened during the day is a way to look at it with a focused lens– to not miss the beauty of that moment. If I am just going through the motions of my days and I don’t stop to REALLY look at my surroundings, I notice because I generally don’t have any pictures from that time. Now, of course, it CAN go the other way, where you take so many dang pictures that you miss the moment entirely, but I do think there is some balance. There is always something beautiful right in front of you, you just have to take a moment to really see it. I just happen to do that sometimes with snapping a photo of it.

LM

Is your husband generally interested in Instagram?

IH

He’s so-so about it. He definitely doesn’t spend much time on it– a lot of his pictures are of our son or of something funny he sees and wants to share.

 

20640551995_4b7f06890e_o

“Vacations make the best Instagram posts…”

– Michelle Houghton

LM

What do you think of the selfie?

IH

I have so many mixed feelings about the selfie!! I have only recently upped my selfie game, realizing that people who follow you like to see YOU, but before that I mostly felt self-gratuitous and weird about taking them. It was when I read an article somewhere about how selfies actually promote people LIKING themselves (gasp!) when I started to see the logic in how it could be a good thing. We’re often so down on how we look or who we are. I don’t think its a bad thing if you like the way your face looks in a particular light to take your own darn photo.

LM

Do you believe we are over the selfie and the duck face?

IH

I am so over duck face. I’ve always been over it. That and women standing with their hand on their hip and their butt curved out. WHO STANDS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!?!?!

LM

For people who are looking for followers, what is your advice of increasing one’s following on Instagram?

IH

Offer something unique, special, genuine, and worth following.

LM

How often do you personally post to Instagram?

IH

I post to Instagram about once a day or every other day. It depends on what is going on in my life at the moment and how busy I am.

LM

Do you believe that posting to Instagram at a certain time is important? Why?

IH

I never really took the time to think about what time of day to post to Instagram for maximum exposure until I started curating the @ig.husband account — then I asked my friend who curates a famous blog about timing, and she gave me some tips. If you want to reach your audience, you need to think about when they are going to be online. So yes, I think it is important. Is it the be-all-and-end-all? No.

LM

What is next for Instagram Husband?

IH

There are some things in the works for what is coming next, but at this point we can’t share what that is. For now, we’re just trying to focus on putting out quality work with The Mystery Hour, and are having a ton of fun doing it!

LM

Where do you see yourselves in five years from now.

IH

I HAVE NO IDEA! As an artist, I just started selling my artwork online and in local venues, so I am hoping to get more exposure with it and incorporate it more into my life. I also LOVE counselling, I am planning on starting a private practice and other ventures where I share my expertise on a community platform. While all that is going on, The Mystery Hour is also a huge part of my life, and I hope that my husband and I continue to work together on the show or in some capacity to put out comedy to the world. Jeff is so incredibly talented and I LOVE working with him in that arena.

 

Photo of a girls reflection in a mirror

 

LM

What is your greatest dream?

IH

My greatest dream would be for Jeff and I to both be simultaneously employed doing what we love. “Chase your dreams” has practically been the motto in my house for a long time, but it has not come without sacrifices. More than anything I want us both to be happy creating unique things to contribute to the world, and to do it while providing for our family.

LM

What is your favourite food, country, and fashion designer?

IH

Food- tacos. Hands down.

Country- Croatia. I visited there last summer and FELL IN LOVE.

Fashion designer?? Hmmmm… to be honest I’ve never been able to afford designer labels, but if I would name a few that speak to me I would say Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, and Rachel Comey. I tend to shop H&M, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Need Supply, and Madewell the most.

LM

Have you ever visited Australia? Do you intend to?

IH

I haven’t, but its definitely on the bucket list. I’ve heard that it’s breathtakingly gorgeous, and I’ve never met an Aussie I didn’t like.

LM

Lastly, what subject do you believe makes the best Instagram post?

IH

Vacations!

 

Michelle Houghton sitting in a window box drinking coffee.

 

If you have enjoyed reading about Instagram Husband check out The Mystery Hour.

 

Feature Image:

 

Anna Whitehouse  “This photo took 15 minutes of her standing in front of that wall with the kiddo writhing like Gollum to get out of her grasp. It took 45 more minutes just for the little one to stop snot-crying”.

 

Photography Accreditations | Instagram Content | Appreciation :

 

Michelle Houghton @michellehoughton Jeff Houghton @ig.husband @themysteryhour

Jen Fortner @jennfortner  Zac Fortner @zachfornter Anna Whitehouse @mother_pukka Johnny Fly @johnnyflyco

Love Instagram Husband

I do!!!

Until next time,

Jade xx

Label Ministry logo which is a picture of a stylised coathanger

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping, Travel

Winter in New York

February 24

Recently, I was blessed to be gifted a trip to New York. Yep. Gifted! It was quite literally the adventure of a lifetime for more reasons than one. A wonderful three week holiday, full of endless moments of pleasure across all realms the city has to offer. New York is simply a mecca of activity. Whether your thing is food, sights, big cities, shopping or just chilling out, New York could never disappoint.

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