As St Augustine has said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” As someone whose profession revolves around books and learning, The JD Imagination Journey 2020, most certainly gave me a chapter that taught me new perspectives.
The Pride of Paris – The Eiffel Tower was our first stop, seeing it on many wallpapers, posters, stickers and even on videos cannot compare to looking at its majestic stature in Reality. The view from the top was absolutely breath-taking and standing on the second floor was enough to get anyone believing they have conquered the world. The river cruise at the base of the tower, just let anyone escape from their thoughts and relax for a while, the whole experience just makes you feel at peace, and the monuments you pass by like Notre Dame, Art Museums, Bridges all get your creative juices flowing.
Speaking of Monuments, Sacre-Coeur, one of the oldest Churches in Paris is a vision in white surrounded by emerald green lawns on either side of a long stairway. The Stained Glass Windows glisten in the light and create mesmerising streaks, when combined with the countless candles kept as offerings, it elevates the sanctity of the place.
The Louvre – every design student’s Pandora Box into the Ancient Eras, nothing could have prepared me for the amount of information present inside the infamous glass pyramids, from Egyptian Tombs to Ethiopian Cutlery, From Turkish Carpets to Michealangelo’s Muse, a gallery of detailed paintings from different Art Movements, also showcasing the Da Vinci’s Woman of Mystery – The Mona Lisa. One lifetime is not enough to be able to successfully understand everything the Rooms of Louvre have to offer, it solidified concepts I have read through the years and opened me up to a world which I am yet to explore through research.
As a Faculty of Fashion Design Department, one gets very engrossed in syllabuses and goes by the book methods, and it’s easy to forget that learning comes in multiple channels, one just needs to have a curious mind and a wandering eye. We started our Journey with Paris, the city of Love and Fashion. Every brand that has made a name for itself has its roots in this wonderful city.
Champs-Elysees, Paris’s go to shopping destination had a plethora of brands that offered surreal window displays complimenting the newest collections, the touch and feel of the garments was almost magical, the quality of craftsmanship was pristine and the variety of garments unending.
Paris’s shopping is exquisite in stores and interesting in streets, one can buy anything their heart desires and receive it with the Parisian Hospitality & Elegant Charm. The whole city feels like a real life version of the song La Vie En Rose, and will have you believing “C’est la vie, A Paris”
8 hours and a beautiful Ferry Ride away, on the English Channel we docked at the Land of the Brits, London welcomed us with bright lights, red buses and chilly weather. The 17 days we spent here helped me grow the most. I learned to be independent and manage finances even though the Pound Store is a bottomless vortex that will eat all your money and give you things you find cute but don’t need. London felt most like home as every corner had a friendly face, ready to help and an abundance of four legged furry friends who loved to come say hello.
London was the Education part of the tour where we started our Fashion Styling course at London College of Fashion, UAL. Ms Kerry Pannagio, our instructor was a wonderful teacher, having spent her career working for big brands like Vogue and more she had an abundance of knowledge which she happily shared with enthusiasm and a big smile. Her knowledge into the world of fashion helped us understand Fashion and Style from a global perspective. She helped us understand the complexities of paring prints, dressing up looks according to themes and concepts, networking with Industry Professionals and tips and tricks one can use while on set at a shoot.
As a Faculty, her conduct in class helped me learn how to better my content delivery methods and feedback mechanism. She handled all the students with ease and also was able to help them mould their ideas according to their individual personalities. She also provided a list of materials that could be useful in class. She inspired me to become a good student and a better teacher.
At the end of the course, we had to conceptualize and source for a creative styling look we have envisioned, all the classes were targeted towards this creative process, through this we were able to understand how to derive and implement inspiration, how less can become more with tactility. For Sourcing we got a chance to explore London’s Shepherd Bush Market and Charity Stores in and around the locality like Traid. All of London’s Markets have a personality of their own, Camden Market is where you go to find quirky items, Shepherd’s Bush is your Textile Heaven, Brick Lane Market is where you go to time travel into the Vintage Eras. I explored all these localities for various components for my shoot.
The topic I chose for my editorial shoot was: “ALICE IN REALITY” a grown-up and sultry take on the classic Alice in Wonderland, the inspiration for the same came from the circus elements in the reference pictures I had collected, and this seemed the closest to it. Tos tyle the look, I hand made a blue fur kimono and mini skirt co-ord set, paired it with mismatched stockings – one striped and one with harley quinn checks and marble print block heels. To accessorise, I added a pocket watch, a mini hat, and a purple rose. All the components chosen were an ode to the signature elements in the movie and book.
The learning didn’t stop at the UAL Campus, we visited many Museums and Art Galleries as well during the trip. Victoria and Albert Museum was one of the stops, the collection of artefacts, sculptures and paintings were awe inspiring, one could spend days getting lost in it. They had also curated a Fashion Section where pieces from different centuries, eras, art movements, designers from 1910 – present. They had a special exhibit on Mary Quant which played documentaries and video snippets of her life. The museum gave us so much information that we did not hesitate to visit multiple times. I also got a brilliant opportunity to visit world famous fashion designer Alexander MsQueen’s exhibition where his famous works and process of making garments were showcased. I feel extremely lucky to have visited one of those rare exhibitions.
Hyde Park houses two galleries under the Serpentine Sackler Banner, that had showcased 3 art installations: Albert Oehlen, Patrick Staff on Venus and Jacob Kudsk Steensen – Catharsis. The installations were engaging and creatively executed.
Adding on to the Design Experience we visited the Design Museum, which housed many interesting installations and exhibits. They had a special exhibit on Life on Mars, Evolution of Technology and an illustration of the non-recyclable waste produced on airlines and the solutions for the same. There were many interactive booths playing documentaries and an area to draw your own design. The museum is a must see for any person from the Design Industry, it gets the creative juices flowing and you leave feeling inspired to do more.
The fun side of the trip consisted of visiting a lot of London’s Well known tourist destinations, The Tower Bridge the location of the crown jewels and the perfect sport for photographs, The London Eye, where we got to see London from the Bird’s Eye view and identify all the landmarks, The Thames River Cruise where an enthusiastic and witty guide cracked jokes while explaining all the monuments we passed by, Covent Garden where one can get the full london shopping experience and scrumptious Fish & Chips.
We also got a chance to explore a lot of the locations on our own, one such place for me for the infamous, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The whole experience of the Globe was a dream come true for a fan of the Bard such as myself, you could get a sense of what it felt to watch a play during the olden times, the stage so skillfully crafted and the seating area complexities enhanced the whole atmosphere. I also got to witness a dressing demonstration, they showcased the entire look of Ophelia and explained every detail of all the components that made the character feel real.
London and Paris are on every fashion Enthusiast’s Bucket List at the top most spots, the culture it allows you to experience is unlike any other, But very few people actually get to tick off places like this from their list and I am privileged to have been able to experience this wonderful journey, I thank the entire JD Institute team – Mr Nealesh Dalal, Ms Sandra Sequira and Ms Shrishti Jaiswal, for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful journey, taking care of me through it and giving me tips and pieces of advice which helped me enjoy the trip better, also the 34 other people who are now my dear friends and students, who took this journey with me I have learned a lot and gathered many memories I will treasure till the end of time.+