Sarah Kilkenny Design

It’s often the case that creative types draw a lot from their childhood, after all we are each one of us products of our upbringing. It was natural then for Sarah Kilkenny to make the move from embroidering with her grandmother in Manchester to studying fashion design full time at the Edinburgh College of Art. Following a slew of fashion opportunities in sixth form, including the Fashion Awareness Directive and the Vauxhall Fashion Scout programme, the latter of which granted Sarah the research award, the young designer gathered enough confidence and experience to continue her passion into higher education. She is now entering her fourth and final year of study.

Often cited as the fashion capital of the North, Manchester plays host to a number of creatives, many of whom have been featured as part of the ‘Born in Britain’ project. Between the experience her home town has leant her, and those which she has learnt in Edinburgh, Sarah’s style is one that is comfortable and cool. Growing up around many artistic influences has allowed her to broaden her own repertoire and she cites illustration and writing as areas of interest to be explored, as well as photography, film, and design and the impact and relationship they share with fashion design. As well as this, the designer talks about the merging of fashion and academia as a growing trend, alluding to Anja Aronowsky Cronberg and her work at Vestoj, and with such a multifaceted nature to her work, Sarah imbues creation with meaning, drive, and interest.

Currently, her work is largely fashion design with a focus on surfaces. Studying at the ECA has lead to an endless number of awesome opportunities, including the chance to work with high-end designers Duchamp and Michael Kors, both of whom selected Sarah as a finalist in their design competitions. The accolades don’t stop there, either, she also made it to the finals of the British Alpaca Society Student Knitwear Designer of the Year Competition and the Mackintosh Competition, narrowly missing out on the top spots. The latter two competitions were of great importance to Sarah because of their positions as forerunners in a long line of British heritage brands, which, alongside Gola, support and sustain the tradition and economy of Great Britain. That’s why, when a young Scottish brand announced her as winner of their design competition, she was so enthusiastic to see her designs realised. That’s all under wraps for now, but watch this space.

Inspiration comes from many areas, but Sarah stresses that they are mainly visual ones. Feelings and characters play into her ‘imaginary muse’, but the main theme is a focus on perception through vision. Work with other creatives is also impactive, and she describes working on a collaborative sketchbook project that involved sharing visual illustration ideas and building upon them as a group of artists.

This summer, Sarah has embarked on an internship with another heritage brand, Pringle of Scotland. Living and working in London, Sarah tells me that she will be ‘assisting with all areas within the design team, knitwear and wovens but predominantly knitwear as this is where I have been specialising this year. Also research, colour palettes, fittings and working with the lookbook shoot’. The formal part of her training begins here, but she is no stranger to the hard-faced world of the fashion industry, and has previously worked with clients such as Chanel on their 2013 Metier D’Arts show in Edinburgh.

Sarah admits that the future is anyone’s guess. She’d like to do an MA in Womenswear, but with such an extensive and impressive CV already, the sky really is the limit for this impressive young designer.

Top Photo: Coat, Sarah Kilkenny; Hat, Emma Lawrie; Top, Catrina Murphy; Trousers, Birgit Saviauk. Model: Marju Kaps.

Sarah may be contacted at:

Ria May Heighington

After being a fan for Ria May Heighington’s work for a while, I finally had the pleasure of chatting to her in depth about her designs, as well as seeing her latest collection. As always her work is stunning, enchanting, with so much life. The vintage style Ria favours is one she has worked with and developed over the years, but she is not someone who is afraid of pushing boundries or her self. Her work is not only vintage, but modern, with an identity of it’s own. With so many young fashion designers out there, it’s difficult for each to develop their own unique style, but Ria has done this almost effortlessly. The beauty and depth of her pieces have so much character, they almost seem to tell a story. It’s all these things that make me a big fan of her work, and because of this I’m delighted to introduce you to her today. Here’s what she had to say…

Can you tell me a little bit about you and your work?

I’m a fashion design student graduating from Cambridge School of Art. I love the forties and fifties, bows, lipstick, dolls and Disney princess!  My interests of Vintage and childhood memories bring feminine pieces with a creepy and humorous twist to my collections.

By researching and adoring print designs from the 1950’s known as conversational prints, this is where my ideas formed and for this collection and my previous collection I collected random vintage items from charity shops, vintage fairs and markets and scanned them straight to the computer and presented them in a story like way, this time dolls from around the world were used.

What are your biggest inspirations as a designer?

As a designer my inspirations come from girly and cute styles from the 1950’s, the innocence and dreamlike fairytales from Disney Princesses and the creepy context of Alice in Wonderland and also the use of dolls for the outstanding exhibition by Viktor & Rolf that I adored at the Barbican art gallery many years ago.

You have a very strong visual identity, do you have any advice for young designers looking to develop and establish their own style?

Advice I would give to young designers trying to establish and develop their own style, would be to try every aspect they can; if it be print, embroidery, womenswear, menswear, childrenswear etc and once you have the aspect you prefer then bring everything you love into that and experiment as you might surprise yourself!

Finally what can we expect to see from you next?

After graduating I hope to set up my own label named Little Dot and hopefully collaborate with other up and coming designers.

In the future I would love to have my own boutique shop whilst working on many other collections which is very exciting!


To see more of her beautiful pieces, visit her page on the Cambridge School of Art website.

All the best


Laura Callaghan

Laura Callaghan’s work is just oh so very Vogue in every sense: the definition of elegance and beauty.

Strong women with intense stares and impeccable dress sense is a reoccurring theme in the London based artist’s work, no doubt at least partly due to her weekly fashion illustrations for The Sunday Telegraph and various works for those such as American Apparel. The illustrations she does are always full of detail and beautiful patterns, making them lovely prints and pieces of artwork in their own right.

Normally working in watercolour (switching between black and white for a stately effect and full colour for a vibrant one) Callaghan also regularly releases new screen prints and tote bag designs, which never fail to have eye catching designs on them that’d make anyone envious.

She also looks to be gradually doing more narrative pieces, which promise to be very interesting: there’s an achingly romantic melancholic vibe to her style that would translate very well to comics or graphic novels. The bold yet slightly jaded girls that populate her prints remind me of the protagonists of Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World; fully modern and totally self-aware.



Her website





Fine Artist Scarlet Standen

Now this amazing girl has an almost unbelievable story and you get to experience it through her work. Mostly acrylic paint on canvas and pretty tradition in most sense but still heart warming and questioning all at the same time.

An intro from her.

 “One must always draw. Draw with the eyes when one cannot use a pencil.” – Balthus. 

 My name is Scarlet Standen and I am a swimming teacher from Winchester and at the age of 22 I will be starting university this year to study Drawing. I have had an unconventional upbringing; moving onto a boat at the age of seven, traveling the world, being home schooled for four years and spending five years in Fiji where I attended an international school. All these experiences have helped develop my imagination and broaden my vision of the world. 

After returning to the UK in 2008 I studied art and sculpture at A level.  I then completed my foundation year in Art and Design at Eastleigh College before taking a gap year. During my break from full time education I moved to London and was determined to continue to work and develop my artistic skills.  I really wanted to improve my drawing technique so I started by making regular visits to the V & A, the British Museum and The National Portrait Gallery to study the sculptures there.  I then enrolled in weekly life drawing and portrait drawing classes which I am still taking now. This year long break has re enforced how much I want to study art full time. I have recently been offered the opportunity to attend Falmouth University to study a BA in Drawing, I know I will value and make full and good use of the expertise, facilities and materials available to me. I start this September and I am really excited and also slightly terrified. 

So Scarlet Talk to us about your art experience and how your work developed.

My work explores the broad definition of drawing. I enjoy working in different media; working with pencil, charcoal, ink and bleach, wire, paint, drawing in 3D as well as 2D. But I know my understanding of the possibilities of drawing is still limited, and I am excited about the opportunities and extensive knowledge that will be available to me at university. Every drawing I make is an emotional response and is new and exciting but to some extent every drawing I make is inconclusive because as I change and grow, the way I see my drawings change and grow. Always searching to improve and make the next drawing better than the last, my progress is often difficult to measure; because as I gain I also lose.

Your work seems very personal to you.

My drawings are created with an expression of my personality, my unconscious impulses and an intuitive judgment; sometimes it becomes a struggle between all three. I use drawing to learn to see. For me drawing is almost a lifestyle. I find myself drawing even as I watch television, looking at the forms, structures, spaces and surfaces and all the while gaining a greater understanding of them. 

How important is keeping up to date with art movements and trends to you.

Engaging in what is happening within the art world today is also beneficial to my drawing; living in London has given me ample opportunities to visit galleries/private viewings, keeping me up to date with modern art. Seeing contemporary work in the flesh is a very effective way of embracing the art world of today and learn more about the kind of art I want to create. 

I know you have just gotten in to Falmouth, congratulations it is going to be an amazing experience. 

I want to study drawing at Falmouth because I know I will be in a stimulating and nurturing environment where I will be encouraged to think openly and be given the confidence to create new opinions and challenge old ones. Drawing continually encourages me to see and describe the world in which I live with reverent interest. Therefore I know whether or not I get a job in the art world after university I will continue to practice art for my own benefit. 

Posted in Art


Some really great music is coming out of Scotland these days and one of these super sweet sounds is Discopolis, an electronic four-piece band from Edinburgh. Although they aren’t exactly new to everyone as they had quite a lot of success two years back (especially in Japan it seems) and managed to get a spot on stage at T in the park in 2011.

However, since then, they have been making some pretty great new music so I felt the need to share that with you. With people in the music industry coming and going from the spotlight in just a mere snapshot, they are definitely one to keep an eye out. Here is an interview with front man Fergus.


Tell us a bit of background about Discopolis: Where it all started, who is involved, how you define yourself and what’s happened for Discopolis in the past?

Laurie, Dave and myself went to school together. Bar a few shows in Germany, Laurie and I enjoyed minimal success in a basement rock band called Ryan’s Mothership, while Dave bewildered and amazed as – every inch the misunderstood genius – DJ Canon.

More recently we opened our doors and hearts to Cat. Adding live drums to our set up had seemed like the next logical step for a while, to a certain extent, I think we’d been putting it off because we’d been warned that the search for a drummer is generally long and arduous. So what luck that Cat was the first drummer we went into the studio with.

We’ve never been very good at defining ourselves… Between us, we enjoy a myriad of different genres, so when we write together, it’s all about connecting the dots and hopefully finishing with something catchy and coherent.

 Now you were selected to play at T in the park in 2011, where has this taken you and have you been continually inspired to make music? How has your music evolved since then? Are there any recent influences? 

The T-break gig was a very early show and while personally it gave us a massive boost we still had a lot of legwork to do as a band – we’re still figuring out what works for us, whether it’s live on stage or in the studio. Naturally when you write music together for so long, you start to get a real feel for what makes the others tick, so we’re definitely more efficient when putting a piece together and I like to think we’ve been able to retain our original sound to a certain extent.

Recently we’ve been enjoying Foals, Toro Y Moi, Bonobo, amongst others.

What are your future plans as of now? With the festival season fast approaching do you have any gigs lined up that you are looking forward to?

With the mad rush to get ‘Committed To Sparkle Motion’ out, summer bookings have all become fairly last minute, so I’m going to play it safe and play the ‘bound to secrecy’ card. After the tireless meetings and sessions in the studio producing the single and other new material, all we really want to do is get out there and play – to really hone our live show.

 Tell us a funny story or a memorable anecdote you have shared as musicians. Have you ever had any really random but funny experiences or some strange coincidences happen to you?

Poor David is a lifelong Deadmau5 fan. He was understandably giddy at the prospect of catching his hero after our set at Rockness last year. So you can imagine his pain when he passed out in his tent after one too many lager shandys and awoke to the news that not only had he missed the set, but Laurie’s mother had in fact met Deadmau5 in person. While we’re on the subject of Dave’s affinity for the Mau5, it’s worth mentioning that Boards of Canada (who Deadmau5 cites as one of his biggest influences) were big fans of one of our engineer’s previous projects. So we like to think that in a roundabout way, Bryan (the beloved engineer) had a hand in shaping Discopolis prior to us even existing!

It sounds like there is even more in the pipeline for Discpolis, and they will not divulge any information yet, but I encourage you to follow them on facebook and twitter to keep updated.

Check out their EP, Falling (Committed to Sparkle Motion) on iTunes and check out their video which features the stunning landscapes of Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park.


Tommy Ramsay

Tommy Ramsay is a recent graduate of Chelsea College of Art and Design, where he received his BA in Fine Art.

At first glance, Tommy Ramsay’s work appears way too abstract to be understood straight away. However, with the right context and enough concentration, it is easy for the viewer to become almost completely immersed into the artist’s paintings. Stemmed from the idea of re-contextualizing and re-figuring every day, common spaces, Ramsay deliberately looks to combine the every day with the unrecognizable – the ‘non-places’, as the artist refers to them. The artist re-addresses these ‘non-places’ within the every day, giving them some sort of value and merit, looking to find an interpretation to them that would otherwise have been unknown before. He looks for specific details in these spaces – Rubbish, wear and tear, human interference – Anything that can become re-contextualized and brought to life in his paintings. By painting these spaces in his abstract, surrealist style, Ramsay allows the audience to delve into a place where time is slowed down, experience evolves and the space becomes a new, unrecognizable experience – Breathing new life into the painting.


– Killian



Fuse ODG

Hailing from Mitcham in London, Nana Richard Abiona AKA Fuse ODG, has become the leading British exponent of Afrobeats, allowing his Ghanaian descent to firmly influence his musical output. The UK urban music scene has recently seen the popularity of Afrobeats explode, with mainstream pop music increasingly influenced by the West African origins of this musical origin. Fuse ODG is at the forefront of this breakthrough, staying true to the Auto Tuned , synth glossed rhythms that have become the genre’s watermark. Born Richard Abiona, the Londoner describes his style as “life-changing music seasoned with African roots”. Fuse’s aim is to elevate the world through music and earlier last year he made history by becoming the first UK act to be nominated for a Ghana Music Award. As well as being a versatile artist and producer, Fuse works with young people helping them to explore their own artistic abilities. He also works with ex-offenders and runs a group called Escape that aims to help young people in the UK and abroad achieve their potential.

Clappy snares and tight hi hats drive Fuse’s music as heard in his track Azonto featuring Tiffany. An incessant rhythm and bass drives the track forward allowing for catchy party tunes that represent themselves well on the dance floor. Vocal harmonies play throughout this and many of Fuse’s other tracks to create a distinctive sound and melodic progression, made infamous by the likes of Wyclef Jean and Akon. However, not all of ODG’s music plays in the stereotypical hands of Afrobeats music. His track The Women (A Man’s Nightmare) is more UK Hip Hop than Afrobeats. Here we see an ability to not always needing to rely on the gloss of Autoned vocals and instead preferring to tell/rap a dialogue, harking back to the likes of Mike Skinner from The Streets. With a new EP coming out this June and a You Tube channel that is expanding as quickly as his credentials as an Afrobeats producing powerhouse, Fuse ODG is slowly etching his name on the urban UK scene in a major way.

Story Books

Having supported the likes of  Bloc Party, American sensations Grouplove, and supporting the Rolling Stones this July Story Books, a five piece band from Kent, are quickly creating a name for themselves as a formidable force in the UK indie band battle for recognition. Combining the use of traditional instruments (guitar, bass, drums, piano and voice) Story Books maintain a traditional sound whilst exploring the hybrid genre of melancholy ballad fused with that undeniable indie party vibe. Utilising dynamics and sounds from the post-rock landscape, and melding them with studious, warm vocals and fuzzy overdriven guitar, Story Books have hit a winning formula right, and have resultantly won love from BBC 6Music and beyond. Too Much a Hunter, their debut EP, displays a maturity that would fit any later bands output. Self produced at Squarehead Studio in Sittingbourne and mixed by Tony Doogan, this four track EP follows the success of a limited vinyl release last year.  

All Those Arrows, their debut single from the EP, manages to play a fine line between the melancholy and party vibe as already mentioned. Mixing up a catchy chorus with a underlay of downhearted guitar riffs and pounding drums Story Books create something of a musical conundrum. This song is perfect in equal measure for blasting out in a drink soaked floor on a Friday night or for listening to on a rainy day whilst tending to your hangover the morning after. Simple Kids another highlight of the EP remains more in the traditional indie style of  prominent live drums and uplifting melodies. That alternative, saddened groove interweaves itself still throughout, however this really is a song you can sing along to and feel good doing so.  We see in this song, as in the rest of the EP, the piano playing an essential role in adding harmony and bulking up the sound of Story BooksThe reliance on chord progressions, effective hooks and traditional percussion strays away from the electro indie sound that has swept over our ears in current years. Kristopher Harris effectively uses his strong voice and spiky lyrics to wash away any need for frills an d spills in the form of synth sound exploration and splashes of vocal fx.

All in all, if you like your indie raw, expressive and straight to the point… then Story Books may just be your ticket.

Chantelle Bowker Photography

Chantelle Bowker can capture a moment perfectly with her camera. Whether its a striking fashion pose to a fun outdoors fashion shoot the energy and atmosphere is captured perfectly. Her models seem so relaxed and composed and this isn’t just because of their personality, Chantelle has to makes the model feel comfortable, happy and energetic to capture that real smile.Now a days anyone with a smart phone  and instagram thinks their a photographer, but to capture life and even nature in a way that needs no words is a hard skill to learn.

Chantelle’s photography speaks for itself, she’s not just a girl with a camera, she’s the girl with eye for perfection.

I wish I could upload more of her photographs for you  to see, so you definitely need to check out her Facebook page and Website!


What started your passion for photography?
I got the chance to study it at college. I had always enjoyed drawing and being creative but never thought about doing photography until then and I got to express myself through pictures and through other people within my pictures.

Whats your favourite thing to shoot?
People. They are so interesting and I love being able to capture their personalities by making them feel comfortable about themselves, even in the fashion side of my work; documentary photography really influences my style.

What/Who would you love to shoot?
I dont know anyone who doesn’t want to work with Cara Delevingne right now, she’s amazing!
I am also fascinated by travel photography and the amazing places in the world, so I would also love to shoot and travel the world.

Whats your camera of choice?
Im working with a Canon 50d at the moment. I love it and I mostly use my 50mm lens with it, especially when shooting fashion.






Dearest Heart Vintage Company

Now these lovely ladies are a true testament to true Vintage style, they appreciate and represent a dedicated field of people who honour times past. With a keen eye for a good deal they find new homes for women’s vintage fashion & accessories, repairing and altering pieces so they can have another life. You can spot these two, Leonie and Dawn stalking around Yorkshire in lots of their own favourites, finding new items of interest. You can find them online at either their Facebook or ASOS

Here is there little intro from their Facebook which I think is all you need to know about them.

My pulse, my passion… Remember when we fell in love with fashion? In peplums, pencil-skirts, and peddle-pushers we played. Clutch bags and corsets caressed us, blazers and blouses blessed us. We were teased by tea-dresses, seduced by shoulder-pads, adorned and adored in A-lines. All this and more we offer you. Treasures of the twentieth-century, cutting-edge vintage quality, for ladies of all shapes, sizes, and predilections. But this is not some jumble sale…we‘re not in the rag trade and we do not buy by the bag. The items here have been carefully selected because they inspire individualism. Like you, they’re beautiful, and they’re unique. You deserve nothing less…don’t let your colours fade.

In fondness and fervour,

Yours Truly,


But where these ladies really shine is at the fairs, Leeds, York, Sheffield, Manchester these ladies are always to be found at the best Vintage Fairs around the North. They are a lovely pair always bringing a sweet treat along with them and a mix of fashions along with some modern re makes sewn themselves, so there is something for everyone.

They also offer to keep an eye out if you are looking for something in particular and will offer you a good deal if you are passionate about it. I personally have a cute golden tulip skirt, several much loved items of jewellery and some great memories from them.

I hope to see these ladies in their own store very soon but until then keep an eye on their Facebook to find where they are going to be next.

Robert Manning

After departing from a Graphic Design career in favor of a love of music production, it’s clear that Robert Manning has still got a creative flair when it comes to illustration. This multi-talented creative loves anything that allows him to express himself. What started out as just fun has turned into an obsession of his, after buying various pens, inks, and watercolours to help create his ‘unfinished’ portraits. The amount of work that has gone in to these seemingly photorealistic pieces is just staggering.

Here we see the famous film star Bill Murray, as well as other beautiful and recognisable faces, depicted in stunning accuracy using an inventive colour palette and envying illustrative style, that somehow seems to come extremely naturally to Manning, who, has always stated that it was just a hobby (Studying music production at Kingston university is currently his main focus, as well as utilising his talents on an impressive collection of bass guitars). However the amount of attention that the portraits garner on social media websites suggests it could be a full-time occupation one day, if the multi-disciplinary can find the time.

‘Unfinished’ is usually a word associated with poor-quality work, but here we see the effect that an unfinished work can have on us, adding another layer of interest and meaning, taking them more into the conceptual fine-art realm.

There’s a real buzz about his work, and it’s clear to see why. With demands for prints of Robert Manning’s work, it would be easy for him, like so many others who decide to ‘sell out’, to profit from his creativity. However he has stayed true to himself by not replicating his work, instead deciding to use his work as promotional gifts to continue to gradually build an internet presence. I myself am even lucky enough to have an original of his work on my living room wall.

Creative Graduates from Edinburgh Napier University

Last sunny weekend I visited Edinburgh Napier’s University Creative Degree Show 2013. I hadn’t been before but as the underdog of creative university’s in Edinburgh there was a certain number of graduates that caught my eye. Main image – Product Designer Aimi Robertson, Bottom Images – Graphic Designer Sam Dexter.

Aimi Roberston is a graduate in Product Design with a love for furniture design and restoration. Lucky enough to have been on exchange in China for 5 months last year she has great experience and has a fun approach to her work as a designer. Her degree project shows a love for Scottish Industry using Harris Tweed in an interior context. It’s quirky use of Harris Tweed shows the traditional fabric in a new light.

Originally from Inverness Aimi has shown her Scottish roots by using the iconic Scottish Harris Tweed jacket in a bespoke piece of furniture taking direct influence from the jacket with the 2 pocket detailing on the sofa with a modern twist. The bespoke piece has a strong historic narrative showcasing Harris Tweed’s history yet comments on Harris Tweed’s recent resurgence. The sofa uses high class materials yet is designed to be extremely flexible and I can see it fitting nicely within people’s homes. It is a great take on the traditional and ties in nicely with the current handmade market with consumers seeking out hand made, quality items rather than mass made. Aimi’s branded her idea really well even down to the traditional bottle of whisky in the sofa’s pocket!

Sam Dexter‘s ‘Red Letter Day Project’ motion graphic piece informs the public about a particular event that is important to the history of Edinburgh. With an interest in philosophy and ethics, Sam chose the birth of the philosopher David Hume and his theory called the ‘Induction Fallacy’. As Sam explained to me ‘Induction Fallacy’ theory implies that nothing in our world can be predicted. In the stop frame animation she communicates this theory-which would usually be quite hard to understand- in a humorous way using dominoes, similarly tumbling but with one rogue domino breaking the rules in an extraordinary way! As her first stop-frame animation and using 112 dominoes Sam’s made this animation with perfect detail and you can watch it here. Sam said that what she likes about graphic design is that ‘you can communicate with the audience on so many different levels and make a subject like The Induction Fallacy something quite light hearted and easy to grasp. I like to think my work is light hearted and uplifting. Since this project a lot of my work has been motion graphic based, I really enjoy film and projects that involve interaction and involvement with the public…’. Her attention to detail is incredible! Make sure you have a look at her ‘Red Herring Route’ intervention project which made people in Edinburgh look, and see, the city differently from usual.

Good luck to both Aimi and Sam!