Hanging On By One Fine Thread

by United Blogs of Benetton on: May 6th, 2010

When I spoke to one of It’s My Time‘s UK finalists, Soraya, she was very proud to point out that her style was very much influenced by her Ghanian roots.

I was really inspired by the fact that she actively supports Ghana artisanal crafts by going back regularly to have clothes made up or to buy pieces of locally made jewellery.

It almost puts my own complete disconnection with local artisans in Hong Kong where I’m originally from completely to shame but then again, they’re two entirely different cultures.

Which brings me to jewellery connoisseur Anna Haber’s venture One Fine Thread, a website which aims to highlight the global traditions of craftsmanship and ancient skills that are slowly becoming extinct due to the rise of mass production.

After encountering bushmen of the Kalahari in Botswana (through the model Lily Cole funnily enough!), Haber wanted to create awareness of the Bushmen and their specific craft of jewellery made out of ostrich egg shells. The range entitled the ‘Desert of the Kalahari‘ was quickly snapped up by super boutiques such as Dover Street market and shot for Vogue. The new collection shown here photographed BEAUTIFULLY by photographer Boo George, is a collaborative effort between jeweller Sabine Roemer and the Bushmen.

By applying traditional techniques to a fashion-led collection, comes a stunning alchemy that really showcases the ostrich egg shell beads which are coloured by frying and roasting. Porcupine quills are also used as well along with more conventional materials like silver, velvet and satin to make these beautiful pieces that I would wear in a heartbeat.

I may not have reconciled my own problems with incorporating my own culture into my personal style in the same way that Soraya has but I’m definitely intrigued by the fusion of age-old tradition of global cultures together with contemporary fashion as exemplified perfectly by One Fine Thread’s ventures.

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 Winner’s Glee

by United Blogs of Benetton on: April 16th, 2010

Susanna Lau, from New YorkIt is in person that all 20 winners from all over the world properly shine and come fully alive, demonstrating why they were chosen as the winners.

At the beautiful Boom Boom Room at The Standard Hotel overlooking Manhattan, it was clear that the twenty winners had already done a good job of bonding and I think I may have spied an ongoing afterparty after the official event ended.

At the party where plenty of bubbles mixed with bubbly personalities, I quickly honed in on the UK winners. Soraya who lives in London but is half-Ghanian and half-Jamaican was showing some fashion chops with a Margiela-esque black shoulder padded dress and couldn’t contain her excitement over the impending shoot. Her upbringing is reflected in her personal style; “I usually have a lot of African clothes and when I go back home (Ghana) I have stuff custom made. I also mix and match African jewellery with more basic pieces. It’s a bit of London influence and things from Ghana too,” explains Soraya.

Francis also from the UK, also has a distinctive look that comes from being half-Chinese, half-English said friends always pointed out that he should be a Benetton model, which just proves just how iconic the brand’s use of diverse models has become. Francis has recently just quit his waiting job to concentrate on making music despite the financial instability. I salute his braveness.

I also caught bubbly Elizabeth from Hong Kong (also my original hometown…) who captured the colourful spirit of her profile with her dress. Last minute thoughts on being shot by Josh Olins? “I’m so nervous and I feel like such an amateur because his work is so amazing! But you know how they say you should seize the day, so tomorrow I’m just going to be really energised.”

Let the energy roll in at the shoot…

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