Saturday, 26 September 2009

Make, Do and Mend!

So, you love clothes and want to find something new and exciting. Where should you start? My advice is NOT in the shops. Shops can lead you to a very wrong and potentially expensive path. We are students, so first we should at least try the free zone. The first step is to look for inspiration. What do you want to dress like? What are the pieces you need to have right now? You can browse the web or magazines to find the things you like.

Go to your wardrobe and search. Be creative. Look carefully to find the pieces you might be able to reinvent with the new season. If you really don’t have anything interesting or remotely close to what you want, then it’s time to play the pirate game and raid into the wardrobe of other people in your social circle. Starting from mum and dad to friends, neighbours and pretty much anyone who will grant you access to the things they don’t want to wear. You’d be surprised at how many beautiful things you can get!

Now it’s time to think creatively. You have a bunch of old clothes and you can see that they are a bit out-of-date. The key here is to revamp. Cutting is the first step. A simple t-shirt can become a wonderful top if you just cut the sleeves or shorten it. A old dress can find its youth again by being shortened or altered. Make sure not to ruin the clothes though. If you are inexperienced try to alter cheap things first. It’s also best never to alter tailored clothes and coats, since altering the structure might be a huge risk if you don’t really know what you are doing. Also, it takes a long time and too much effort. So stick to quick and simple alterations at the beginning.

Embellishments are the next option. Change buttons, add embroideries, chains, studs, lace, ribbons, beads and sequins to make something unique and special from something average. Be aware that haberdashery can be expensive, so look for embellishments you already have somewhere (or at least the ones your mum or grandmother have). The key here is recycling.

Another very popular technique is ripping jeans, an option you might want to think about if you like this season’s grunge look and you have an old pair of jeans. Why pay for a new ripped pair if you can do it yourself? The internet is full of websites explaining step-by-step how to do it. Try YouTube for example, or blogs such as

Dying can be another option. From tea to ready-made dyes, you can go crazy with the whole process. You can even paint with fabric colours or print something on t-shirts.
Remember that you can turn items of clothing into new ones. You can make a dress out of a top, or a waistcoat out of trousers, a scarf out of the bottom edge of a pretty printed dress (that way you would have a shorter dress AND a scarf!).

If you found some yarn in grandma’s closet, you may try to knit some decorations, sleeves, shoulder-covers to add that extra touch to your outfit!

Then: ACCESSORISE! Yes, it should be done wisely, since nobody wants to look like a Christmas tree (not even in December!), but accessorising can really transform what you are wearing and give it a different flavour, be it bohemian, grunge, punk or vintage.

Once you have planned all the opportunities for your newly found pieces ready to be customised, think. Nobody is stopping you from going for some healthy shopping! Now that you have investigated what you have, you can really go and hunt for some new material that will complement what you have created!

And remember: in October we will begin our Sewing Classes, which focus on teaching some basic skills to customise clothes even more!

So, get working and keep it MODO, people ;)!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

MODO Activities or How to Be Creative in Academia

Before suggesting ideas on how to learn to find the tools necessary to express yourself in public, it is important to describe what we offer to our members at UCL as a society.

MODO Fashion Show 2009 - Designer: Mary Williamson, Model: Vicky Bond

As mentioned in the last post, we want UCL students to DESIGN CLOTHES. You don't need experience with sewing or pattern cutting, you just need to be able to think creatively. The clothes for the MODO fashion show should be theatrical and expressive one-of-a-kind pieces. To do that, you just have to take the theme selected by MODO each year and start being inspired. For the 2009-2010 Show, we are going for The Green Fashion Show. The reason for this is to raise awareness in our designers about environmental issues and the relationship between humans and nature nowadays. Ideally, the designs created should portray an understanding of the issue and an original, personal interpretation of it. It all sounds incredibly difficult, but we are all amateur designers who like to experiment with ideas and materials. We will start recruiting deigners from October 2009, so if you are a UCL student and are interested, keep an eye on this space or on our facebook group, website, newsletter.

In order to present the designers' creations on the catwalk, we also recruit models among students at UCL. We welcome every shape and size as long as they have charisma and presence on the catwalk, have a confident, good walk and are not too shy or intimidated by the idea to wear hand-made potentially crazy designs, which might sometimes not fit perectly. We will have auditions in October as well, so come along if you are interested. An important thing to note is, however, that we cannot select everyone who comes to auditions. We will only choose a small number which in rotation will wear up to two or three outfits in the show. The reason for this is that we do not know how many designs our designers are willing and able to produce until the fashion show. So, in order not to disappoint, we cannot choose too many people.

The weekly Sewing classes are one of the most established activities in our society. This year we aim at making them even more interesting by introducing classes such as embroidery, mask making and shoe covering. We aim at making these weekly appointments as fun and creative as possible, so come along every Monday from October, 7-9pm, in the Bloomsbury Conference Room (2nd floor, Gordon Street) and for a mere £4 for members and £ 6 non members you can learn some fun and easy techniques to make your clothes look unique!

The photoshoots are a new introduction in our list of activities and are generally organised into small sessions with one or two of our models and a photographer. The pictures are usually used to create our posters and banners or for articles of various kinds. For this purpose (and for the Fashion show as well) we have developed a Hair and Make-up team, which is in charge to prepare the models for the photoshoots or smaller fashion shows we organise throughout the year. During the main Fashion show, the team is responsible to prepare the models for their various changes of outfits.

PR and events management is another area we are expanding on. Our PR team has always done a successful job in getting media attention on our productions. In terms of events management, we are trying to introduce new fashion nights and gathering of various sorts for our members and we welcome anyone who is willing to help in achieving this.

If you have unused clothes in your wardrobe, GIVE THEM TO US! MODO has a boot sale twice a term, which aims at recycling and re-using clothes between students. Our MODO collection bin is in the CSC, 2nd floor of the Bloomsbury building in Gordon Street. Drop the unwanted and come to our boot sales were we re-sell the clothes at ridiculously cheap prices and give part of the income to charity! So far, some people have even donated brand new coats and clothes! Again, we welcome people who might want to help out!

MODO is always ready to get involved in new projects and that's why we always need people responsible for productions of our shows and visual and audio coordinators to make sure our activities are presented well and run smoothly. So come along if you like organising all the practical aspects of a show!

Last, but by no means least, is our volunteering activities. Each year we try to get involved in a number of volunteering projects. So if you want to raise awareness about eco-friendly materials or teach children basic sewing and knitting techniques, join us in our venture to make the world a more eco-aware place!

That's it for now, but don't despair if you haven't found something you like so far. We always love when people suggest new ideas!

If you would like further information come and see us at the UCL Freshers Fayre on the 1st and 2nd October 2009 in the Main Building, Gower Street.

Keep it MODO people :)!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Welcome, University Fashionistas!

This blog was created for you.
Whether you are new to university life or have been here for a while, this is the place to read about ideas on how to survive university life with style. As a London-based university society, we try to include creativity and inventiveness into our activities. The reason for this is that, being part of an academic institution, we fear that our creative interests might be undermined.
Our solution for this was to create a yearly fashion show where UCL students get the chance to design and others to model or work behind the scene. We also started to set up photo shoots and events aimed at allowing students to interact and use their skills in collaboration with each other, no matter if it is make-up, photography or any other creative activity. We love open-mindedness and readiness to experiment in every creative form.
Some people misunderstand the purpose of our society due to the "fashion" bit in our name. They assume that we are all about sitting down in a cocktail bar discussing the new Laboutin shoes or Isabel Marant collection in our brand new DvF dress. Let's not forget that we are students and as such we cannot afford most of these things (unless through some well planned hunting for bargains! we'll keep you posted about places and ideas on how to do it!).
Fashion to us indicates the ability to express YOURSELF through your image.
We love individuality and inventiveness.
This blog is therefore supposed to be a window of communication of our thoughts, finds and activities to the outside world. We hope that our members will be happy to share their experiences on this blog in order to inspire other fellow students from across the world.
We sincerely hope this plan will work.
Until then,
Keep it MODO, people ;)!