So, I am a month late!!! Where did March go? That means I owe you two months’ worth of blog posts. I am not going to lie, I haven’t been manic, rushed off my feet or lacking in time. I have just been a little down.

Last year was hard for everyone and I feel as we roll into 2021 it isn’t getting any easier. I am seeing the effects that time has on us. Strange times for sure.

Please forgive me if I have started by being a mood hover. I’ve got this. You’ve got this.

A couple weeks back I was doing a photo shoot for Madame Mu Mu. An outfit I made to rejoice the arrival of spring. I cannot wait to show you the pictures. Whilst shooting with Chloe and Leroy, my go to team of likeminded creatives, I was walking around this beautiful stately garden, freezing cold, in heels. Then it struck me.

“Being a creative is like walking in heels on soft ground.”

Do you feel the same? If so please reach out, if not to me, to other creatives. I feel like if we communicate and share our hints and tips on surviving the highs and lows of what we do, as creatives, we would feel a lot better about the bizarre times we live in.

However, a silver lining, I feel like my latest mood perfectly illustrates my times. I would say our times but I am teaching myself to take ownership of my feelings and how they are reflected in my work rather than moving with the trend. I’m on a mission to really own my art and put it out there without worrying about what others thinks and thriving for their “blessing” or even their “approval!”

Right! This collection began 2019 and samples started to be made early 2020, around March. We all know what happened in 2020 March. I had just been temporarily laid off from the part time job that I had worked at for 8 years. My eyes stung as I left the office but there really was nothing I could do. I came to realise how privilege I am and how lucky I was. I will point out, I’ve worked for that luck, it hasn’t been handed to me.

I desperately wanted the collection to come to life by using high tech fabrications that unfortunately, however fortunately out of respect for the creator, are expensive. I needed to go back to the drawing board and edit. Cut down. Redesign. It would mean I had been would continue to be, resourceful.

The work began.

Whenever I start a new collection or as I am working through the old processes as well as the wave of new processes I often wonder where I get the ideas for it. When someone asks me I have to admit I panic. In all honesty, it can just come into my head. Inspiration really strikes anytime. I find that a little alien to me...see what I did there?

I have also noticed a movement within the fashion industry and world. As we learn as humans, all be it too slow. We are learning to and most importantly, how we treat one another, respect each other and the cultures we grew up in or are surrounded by.

The movement is taking us to a place, gratefully so, where our imaginations are being allowed to create something that is fantasy. We are finding new ways to express ourselves.

Right now it isn’t noticeable in our everyday fashion, but as the work of designers like Iris Van Herpen, an inspiration of so many, become diluted into mainstream everyday fashion and clothes finally lose their gender. I truly believe we are heading towards a time where fashion will become more exciting. I believe we will be seeing fashions on our streets and people willing to wear them be other worldly. Watch the 3D printing world play a huge part in this as we move forward. It already is and if it doesn’t, I’ll eat my hat.

Perhaps it is my own journey as an artist that is allowing me to create what I want. Regardless, I have noticed it and I am going with the flow.

The times also speak for the collection. None of us have lived through a pandemic this big before and the whole time has been pretty alien to us, certainly to me. There are many things, both good and bad that I am grateful for. Lessons of life right?!?!

At the beginning of last year, I had plans to launch a new product to my remit, scarves. Luckily I was able to with a welcomed tax refund. The first one since I moved to this country. Couldn’t quite believe it. These scarves have been introduced and they are very much a doorway into this collection. I want the wearer to use them as a scarf, a comforter, or a piece of art. The fluidity and repeated pattern of the designs were inspired by nature and what I see when I take a long walk amongst the forests. We already live in a dimension alien to others and we most certainly take it for granted.

The designs and shapes of the collection are very simple and efficient. I introduced new styles that challenge me as a milliner to achieve lightness. I have designed and had printed my own fabric to tie in with the doorways to this dimension, the scarves, the wearer will enter.

A little secret, each collection I do, there is a nod to my next mood within it. I always want my brands story to tie and tangle into one another. Even without my conscious decision to do so my work always will. Why? The reason, because I’ve made it. It’s my perspective of the world I’m putting out there. My artistic signature.

Luckily Fenwick agreed to hold my Pride collection until they reopened this year to give it a chance to sell which meant that certain straw effects I had created would seep into this new collection, Alien SS21.

My favourite three pieces of the collection are, Oblivion, Aura and Unidentified. Oblivion is haunting. I view this piece as an experience, one I’ve never had, where I am face to face with something from another world. It’s scared me a couple times when I’ve locked up my studio late at night and it sits there, glowing in the fire exit light.

This collection is also a reminder to me of how I can be resourceful and not wasteful as a brand. It showed me I could work with very little. From the shoot down to my Instagram posts of each hat (Instagram - @JulianGarnerHeadwear) I forced myself to be as creative as possible. Usually every collection I will shoot with Chloe and my trusted and beautiful Muse, Jeanie Wishes. This time around, I was laid in a bath in a black morph suit on top of a black sheet whilst my partner shone a blue day light lamp above me and he shot the imagery on my iPhone. I later edited it and grovelled for forgiveness from him, as many a times he could have easily, just dropped that lamp, into the bath.

Last year and this year has also reminded me quantity is not important. Thus going forward, I will not be producing masses of samples for Autumn Winter 2021 and a stripped back, in terms of sample units, for Spring Summer 2022 and of course there will be some Preciosa crystals to bring that trusted sparkle.

Work has already begun on this mood and it’s very playful.

For now, go walk in those heels on soft ground because the struggle of being a creative doesn’t change, however, you do.

Write soon...xoxo

Chris Garner



Footwear embellishment