Archive for the ‘One to Watch’ Category

Designer Spotlight: Ara Jo

In British, designer, Entertainer, Fashion, Fashion Heat, In the Know, London, One to Watch, Trend on August 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm

After musing over some ridiculously talented designers, it’s time to extend the platform. You see, of course a designer’s clothes are their main cred, but it’s the OZ – the creative genius with the fuel to tackle this business – that shapes the industry. So, come on now, let’s hear it for the future of fashion.

As much as I am a fan of fresh paint splattered (neatly) within Vogue’s coveted pages, I’m also a fan of the artist who smashes a window. Or, in Ara Jo’s case, adamantly gets her shit on Lady Gaga.

Ms. Jo, a 24-year-old Londoner and Central Saint Martins alumna, has a way with forging her own opportunities. Like I said, Gaga — for one. Then there’s the audacity of turning the surrealist, un-wearable side of fashion into an enticing ensemble of glam-rock pieces. Ms. Jo has evolved since her graduate collection which showcased an infectious cobweb of nude hues and sequenced sculptures. Though it’s clear that a woman’s anatomy is still Ms. Jo’s thing, the concept has taken on a more tangible form: a Gothic collection of body-con attire.

Ms. Jo works abundantly. In conjunction with new releases each season, she’s joining forces with some other new talent by way of music, and the cerebral. And no, not more mind-bending clothes, but she’s “collaborating with a Jewellery Designer – publishing a fashion book.” When asked if she has her sights on other big name prospects – obviously, she’s on it. “Roses Gabor (Gorillaz vocalist). [Hopefully] a customised outfit for the Red Bull Festival,” she explains. And so the hustle continues…

Safraonfashion: What was it that inspired you to become a Fashion Designer?

Ara Jo: When I was thirteen [I would read a lot of] fashion magazines, [and I noticed] when most people see the nice clothes in them, they’d want to buy them – or try them on. But I wanted to make them! That’s how I started to create clothes. Yep. I wasn’t good at it – considering I was only thirteen – and [I had] never made clothes before. But I was really into creating something that I could wear!

SOF: What do you want people to think of when they see your designs?

AJ: I want to be told that my work is crazy and different. That’s what I always seek, and I express that through my work. And actually, that has always been my biggest goal as a fashion designer: to be noticed as a different.

SOF: What have you learned about the fashion world that you were not taught in school?

AJ: That communication with people [is imperative]. And building contacts with [like-minded] people. But it can’t be taught, so I have learned this all by myself through this tough field. It was tough to study in Central Saint Martins with such competitive creators when I was a student. But I have been through so many things since I’ve graduated (Dealing with people, working with people, collaborating with people). I just have to experience everything that happens in fashion world. The real fashion world.

SOF: In an interview with Dazed Digital, you said you wanted to work with Lady Gaga. How did you go about bringing that idea to life?

AJ: Since my garments were worn by Lady Gaga, a lot of things have changed in my life as a fashion designer – of course. More people have curious about me, my work. So I am still keeping trying to create something cool, by designing for celebrities not just Lady Gaga. I don’t want to limit myself, now. There are so many creative people whom I want to collaborate with, and who want to collaborate with me. There are a lot of upcoming projects happening: collaborating with Buttafly – a new British singer – Junior Brat and more!

SOF: Based on a theme, which four songs would be at the top of your runway show playlist?

AJ: Oops, I always listen to hip hop and R&B, but I don’t have particular favourites in mind – it always changes. So I would say it all depends on what kind of theme I have. I will [either] select or literally make some unique tunes for the show.

Ara Jo’s Price tag: High End (from £100.00 as a little piece ~).
Where to by : Not Just a Label.

You can also contact Ara Jo here.

One-to-Watch: Cédric Charlier for Cacharel

In Fashion, Fashion Heat, One to Watch on June 24, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I remember trying, passionately, to pitch a story on Parisian-born designer Cédric Charlier. Of course, as you can imagine, my emails went unanswered. When was named the Creative Director for 50-year-old design house Cacharel, was it really that surprising? Now, three collections later, he’s dropped the print-bomb to luminous effect. When I first came across this 2011 resort line, for some reason, I couldn’t help but think Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror The Birds. The intensity of the prints, the vivid colourways, I just can’t help but feel as though it’s the dead of night, and I’m sitting next to a swamp that’s flooded with Viola odoratas and white oleanders, with nothing but the moonlight hovering over me. And as I peer up. Looking ahead, there’s a black flock of crows swarming the moon and coating the sky like death. It’s scary – as hell – but at the same time, in a twisted way, there’s beauty in it all.

One to Watch: Jean-Pierre Braganza

In British, Canadian, designer, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Good Look, London, One to Watch, Rouse, RTW, Trend, Trend Report on April 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Jean-Pierre Braganza is not a newbie. He’s been designing since 2002, but I’m hoping to see a burst of mainstream recognition going foward. This British-Canadian Central Saint Martins graduate worked as a designer for Roland Mouret before being selected by Karl Lagerfeld for the Protégé Project, then debuted his eponymous collection in 2004. He creates both men’s and womenswear, and there’s a slew of celebrity fans including Kings of Leon, Estelle and Cheryl Cole.

Jean-Pierre shines when he nourishes his talent for psychadelic prints. I do however, feel he should leave the modernism to Jil Sander and concentrate on his gift for knits and draping. Maybe he’s still trying to find his comfort zone. But if he cultivates what he’s best at, he’s bound to flourish.

One to Watch: Pedro Lourenço

In Collection, designer, Fashion, Fashion Heat, In the Know, One to Watch on March 11, 2010 at 5:51 pm

So this is the part when I bite my tongue in excitement. Just when I’m lacking inspiration, something – in this case, someone – turns my life around and proves to me that faith work wonders.

Pedro Lourenço, a 19-year-old Brazilian native’s Paris debut stopped me dead in my tracks. Rummaging through NY Mag’s fashion section, as  I zoomed in on the first look, I was locked. I cared not to see anyone else. As google would have it, this kid is fresh. Not only when it comes to his style, but also in his place in the fashion scene.

Why is it when I look at him I see references of Monsieur Nicolas Ghesquière? Could it be that as fairytales would have it, he’ll be scooped up by a major fashion houses strengthening a fashion empire based soley artistic talent?

Of course his collection could use a lot of work, but at 19, so what? His well-groomed up bringing, and his historical knowledge of fashion makes this young lad something of a prodigy. He’s not just about making “hot” clothes” there’s a cultural significance in his concepts. I wouldn’t be surprised if he can speak about five languages, well I mean, maybe so, considering that he was born into an atelier thanks to his parents Gloria Coelho and Reinaldo Lourenço. I’m also pretty sure that his bloodline runs through that of the legendary Novelist Paulo Coelho, if you pay close attention, there’s a bit of a “dreamy nightmare” in Pedro’s collection. An army, of some sort.

One to Watch: Sam Frenzel

In Collection, designer, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Good Look, In the Know, One to Watch, Trend on January 22, 2010 at 7:49 pm

You always seem to think you know, but quite frankly, you don’t. One should always treat life as a continuous learning journey. Searching lead me to Sam Frenzel, a Berlin-based Fashion designer who launched his first solo show at Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week for Fall 2010. He’s been getting a lot of heat for the past couple of years, and his niche for meshing traditional with modern ranks him high in my books. Trends are futuristic for 2010, but there’s a serious`90s reference manifesting in the fashion world. His vision very much reminds me of Christian Lacroix, but with a more accessible tone.

Frenzel made it fun for fall 2010 playing with a candy-coated colour palette. However, I preferred his previous collection. He had a bit of a new wave Donna Karan thing with the architectural cuts and multi-layering. But then again, I guess I’m a bit intense.  What wins me over is that once things are stripped down, he’s got some valuable separates. And he’s a star when he plays with the synched waist concept.

One to Watch: Style Stalker

In Fashion, Fashion Heat, Good Look, One to Watch, Shopping on January 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Whenever fashion gets loquacious it’s always nice to be brought back to reality with some  simplicity. Australian-born and bred Style Stalker‘s a good fix for that…

Kind of like a mini ASOS and launched in 2008, the team behind Style Stalker has taken the e-tailing route turning their line into a full out brand. Very high-street, and minimalistic, it’s got the skin but not too much down packed; great  it you want ‘sexy enough to pass as a groupie but I’ll sock you if you try thing’ look. With price ranges of  between $60 to $200 (USD)and international shipping, it’s a good idea to get a bit of staples now before you end up on a waiting list due to popular demand.

I Heart Amapô

In designer, Fashion, Good Look, In the Know, One to Watch, RTW on January 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm

I was browsing relentlessly for Rio De Janeiro Fashion Week images and low and behold, I found something better. Courtesy of Lilian Pacce and noted through Hint Mag, I was astounded by the punk rock fashion funk brand Amapô that made a round at São Paulo Fashion Week F/W 2010. The unisex clothing line by Carolina Gold and Pitty Taliani launched in 2004 and has become a staple for crazy edgy, avant-garde concepts.

From what I understand, you can only get Amapô through their collaborations with Surface2Air in Brazil. They do have a website, though it’s been in development for a while now.

Fashion Blogs ALL respectable men (should) read

In blogger, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Good Look, In the Know, Men, One to Watch on January 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I’ve gotten a bit of feedback since starting this blog. The main thing being I should add men’s fashion too. I’ll be the first to admit that I can whip up a mean men’s critique. I’ve got a good eye, considering I was raised by a single fashion conscious father. But while I can add some meaty men’s fashion, why should I when there’s a collective of passionate peepers geared towards men’s interest? For those of you men who haven’t been paying attention, here’s a run down of the best of the lot. If you need some inspiration, please, look no further.


Anyone, and I mean ANYone who wants to know about fine men’s tailoring and grooming goes to This site is the business.  Even I go on there, but then again, I aim to know about fashion writ-large.  They also have typical content like women, profiles and current events. It may seem a bit debonair at times, but every man can use some cultivation no matter how nonchalant he may be.

The Fashionisto

This blog is a personal favorite. It’s very editorial and dramatic at times, but if you want to know what’s happening in men’s fashion it’s really all there. If you’re looking for a bit of lifestyle, you’re not going to get that here, but it’s a great reference site for the latest on designers, runway shows, male model of the month and the like – and yes, even if you’re a hetero man it’s okay to get the skinny on a male muse.


I’d probably get in trouble for saying this, but I actually think Selectism is better than GQ. It’s a service site; bang on for the latest releases and where to buy. If I’m looking for Tom Ford’s latest drop or the lesser known Lyle & Scott, they’ve already got it posted with lookbooks and availability. What more could you ask for?

Style Salvage

This site’s more refined than The Fashionisto, ediger than GQ, but more in-depth than Selectism. It’s for men that have a genuine interest in men’s fashion and what that world has to offer. He’s great for interviews and giving you a more personalized look at the fashion world.

A Continuous Lean

 A Continuous Lean is a very wordy blog – not for people that want quick references. While I won’t rubbish it by labeling it a smart man’s style guide, it’s more of a lifestyle blog than anything. It’s very American suburbia, very Vampire Weekend. Ultimately, you will have to be bit die hard to get into what he’s about, but he’s good at what he does.


This site’s the most ‘street’  of the bunch, but they’re so big on the map right now that everyone’s literally trying to get on. Ranked in the top five fashion sites on the Internet, it’s a strong source for men’s fashion. What’s also really cool is that they’ll link you to online stores you’ve never even heard of – they dive in really deep. Hypbeast’s a tough pill if you prefer the aforementioned sites, but if  you’re looking for a cool pair of sneakers, a really interesting t-shirt, or something alternative, then Hypebeast is your guy.

ONE TO WATCH: Police, Adjective

In Film, One to Watch on January 21, 2010 at 2:16 am

And speaking of adjectives, considering its been a while since I’ve posted any entertainment, I wanted mention the highly stylized Romanian film Police, Adjective.

I’ve read countless of perplexing reviews by film critics whipping out complex linguistics to describe a simple story. Sure, it’s great that the film centres around words and their dual meanings, but why use “solipsism” when talking about a scene? Are you trying to discombobulate (confuse) me into seeing – or not seeing – the film? For the record, I have not seen the film yet, but if it’s what I think it is, then it’s one of those feature lengths that are short of talking but high on suspense. But not the kind of suspense you’d expect.

I’ve been a hardcore foreign film fan since I was little. Sure, subtitles always helped, but the settings and body language were driving forces behind the plot. The intensity in the actor’s eyes, the shrivel of the mouth, the decadent village setting, that stone house, forest, wherever the characters resided. Even when they were comedies, there was something haunting about the ambiance. The only North American films I ever remember having somewhat of that effect were David Lynch ones.

Police, Adjective centers around a police guy named Cristi living an ordinary life in a post-communist Romanian town. He’s been assigned the mundane task of cracking down on a high-school joint smoker and his supplier. But Cristi doesn’t want to bust the kid because it doesn’t seem necessary, besides, with Romania’s newly implemented democracy, the laws will be like the rest of western Europe, anyway. But he can’t not do his job, because he’s apart of a new society still haunted by a regimented, old school system. What’s interesting is Cristi’s fascination for words, and their semantics (meaning) juxtaposed (placed side-by-side) with the moral dilemma behind this supposed situation.

Y’know, something damn well tells me you don’t have to live in post-communist countries to understand the point of this film. Those of us stuck in the middle (born in the late `70s to mid-`80s) to immigrant, or hard pressing  families in particular are battling this semi-oppresed state of existence; condescending grandparents, ruthless parents, relatives and co-workers, even neighbours. Why else are so many people crying about the state of affairs we live in today?

I’ll write a personal review once I’ve finally seen the film. Stay tuned…

One to Watch: Roberta Furlanetto

In Collection, designer, dress, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Good Look, In the Know, Italy, One to Watch, RTW, Trend on January 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Just imagine: you’re an Italian-based textile designer with a love for the school of baroque art. So much so, you create a fashion label that plays on the romanticism of the era, and its influence runs rampant throughout your handmade collection. While I’m not sure that this was Roberta Furlanetto’s motif, it would add character to the storyboard I’m sure.

What’s quite interesting, I must say, is who Furlanetto worked with before launching her eponymous prêt-a-porter collection in 2007. She has handmade textiles for body-con king Azzedine Alaïa, collaborated with Christian Lacroix , Nina Ricci and Ungaro. Her work with the house of Dior seems to be  most prevalent, particularly with her shoe collection.

Furlanetto’s spring/summer 2010 lookbook swims in organza and seashell cuts  drenched in a coral, vermillion red and silver colour palette.

The only thing I wish was that she put her own spin on that Thakoon-Michelle Obama inspired Sea Anemone dress; Imuch prefer the black sculpture dress. It’s the same concept, just shorter, and presents a fresher outlook on a concept that was done into oblivion. Otherwise I can’t complain, only in heaven could I be a muse for such a fine clothier.