Rena Niamh Smith

Misbehaviour

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Sashaying in the footsteps of Made in Dagenham, Battle of the Sexes and Hidden Figures to sprinkle Hollywood dust on milestones of the fight for gender equality, Misbehaviour offers a post-millennial viewpoint on the women’s liberation protests at the 1970 Miss World pageant.

With over 100 million viewers, the beauty contest was then the most-watched television programme on the globe – or as the show’s compere tells us on screen, more than the moon landings or the World Cup final.

Bubba

Issue section: 

Despite the digital art form, Bubba is brimming with old-fashioned musical ability. The second full-length release from Haitian-Canadian producer Louis Kevin Celestin has an ever-evolving sound of swung, syncopated rhythms, hip hop beats and woozy house grooves.

Kaytranada’s music is constructed drums-first with complex patterns in percussion that twist and turn, layering synths and vocals with intricate brushstrokes. Each track takes the listener in a totally new direction, from the beat-switching “10%” to 80s-inspired “Midsection” to sultry house number “What You Need”.

Waiting Game

Issue section: 
Issue: 

“Break down the walls til patriarchy falls” goes the line in “The Anthem” on Waiting Game, the new album by Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, a collaboration with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens. On No Justice (For Political Prisoners), the words of activists, newsreaders and prisoners echo.

Since becoming the youngest union card holder in Boston aged 10, Carrington has been politically engaged for all of her 40-year career in music, as drummer, producer and educator.

Extinction Rebellion calls time on fashion

Issue section: 

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have announced plans to shut down London Fashion Week (LFW) this month to raise awareness for climate change caused by the fashion industry. On 26 July XR delivered a letter to the British Fashion Council (BFC) calling for the cancellation of LFW, co-signed with Maria Chenworth, CEO of clothing reuse and international development charity Traid, and Safia Minney, founder of eco fashion label People Tree.

Mary Quant

Issue section: 
Issue: 

For their latest exhibition, the V&A invites the viewer to “discover how Mary Quant launched a fashion revolution on the British high street”. The R-word features heavily throughout, used to describe everything from her use of coloured tights to a prescient view of the sweeping social change which characterised the 1960s.

Women of the World Festival 2019

Issue section: 
Issue: 

The Women of the World Festival will mark its 10th anniversary next year. The event has been so successful that Jude Kelly has quit her day job as artistic director of the Southbank Centre to head up the venture full time. The festival has since been expanded into 17 countries around the world with 65 festivals in countries from Nepal to Finland to the US.

The festival aims to “celebrate women and girls, taking a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raising awareness globally of the issues they face and discussing solutions together”.

Karl Lagerfeld, 1933–2019

Issue section: 
Issue: 

“Those social networks, there’s something sad about them. It’s like a talkative mirror where people talk to themselves.” So Karl Lagerfeld told Women’s Wear Daily in 2014. When the designer died in February, there was an outpouring of grief on social media from across the fashion industry for the self-styled pope of fashion.

Lagerfeld was known to hold contemptuous views of the same world he profited from. And social media was key to the promotion of both his businesses and highly recognisable personal image.

Dressing for the revolution

Issue section: 

From the gilets jaunes to the sans-culottes, clothing might not be the central question when considering radical movements, but there is more to it than you might expect, writes Rena Niamh Smith.

When I titled a recent talk on the politics of fashion “What will you Wear to the Revolution?”, some queried if a consideration of what we wear may be beneath the serious politics of the Marxist tradition.

Yet if the revolution were to happen tomorrow, we know exactly what we would wear. The once anonymous hi-vis vest has proved such an electrifying feature of the French anti-establishment protests, that their sale was banned in Egypt, site of serious revolution in recent memory.

A whiff of change in the air

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Rena Niamh Smith continues her series of columns with a hopeful look at how the desire for a better world is feeding into the fashion world — but a more fundamental shift will be required for lasting change.

Flick through any fashion magazine and you get a taste for the current mood of change in fashion. Features on gender fluidity, the renaissance of slogan tee shirts, models of size and colour, shopping guides to the growing sustainable market suggest a brighter future led by Gen Z. Even the trend for baby pink has been linked to renewed interest in feminism.

Donald Trump’s model agency, founded in 1999, quickly went out of business following his election as the industry dropped connections to the odious mogul-turned-president.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Rena Niamh Smith