The Super Humans of 2015
For the last four years I have been bringing my blogging year to a close with a list of fabulous people who have made the last 12 months awesome for me in one way or another. The list began as an opportunity to spread the word and give thanks where they’re due – celebrating achievements of any kind – and every year it makes me very happy to write it. Here are my Super Humans of 2015.
- Cora Harrington – Although this list is mostly made up of people I have had the pleasure to meet in person, sometimes there is one person who I only know online but absolutely had to include. This year, it’s founder and editor of what is unquestionably the best lingerie blog in the world (The Lingerie Addict), Cora Harrington. Always keen to broaden public understanding of what underwear is and can be, Cora often writes about the perception of lingerie, the lack of diversity in the industry and now also has a fantastic columnist who covers queer issues for TLA. Check out 2015’s best posts.
- Rob Phillips – Working in an admin role at an arts university made me realise that creative folk can sometimes be… rather disorganised. Occasionally, however, someone will come along and prove that it actually is possible to do both really well. Supremely well organised, inspirationally creative, refreshingly honest and endlessly entertaining, Creative Director Rob Phillips teaches drawing, organises countless industry projects, manages the LCF end of year BA exhibition and show, plus still somehow found time to draw Paris Fashion Week for SHOWstudio. I often wish I was studying one of our BA design courses so that I could join in one of his drawing classes.
- Deirdre Murphy – Not only does Deirdre head up the Costume Society (explicitly keeping the old fashioned and seemingly gendered title Chairman, which I love), but she’s also Senior Curator at Historic Royal Palaces. I never thought I was that bothered about this country’s royal history, but being part of a private tour of Kensington Palace where Deirdre showed us the Duke of Windsor’s plus fours proved that anything’s interesting if you find the right angle*.
- Alyson Walsh – I met the woman behind the blog That’s Not My Age at a blogger breakfast for the Design Museum’s Women Fashion Power exhibition, and then again at an event at London College of Fashion after the launch of her book Style Forever. Alyson proves that you don’t need youth to have style, and shows people of all ages that dressing well is not only possible on any budget but it’s also fun too.
- Efi Ntoumouzi – Much like Rob, my rather wonderful friend Efi is that elusive mix of organised and creative, plus utterly unafraid of honesty. I featured her on this blog, as part of my Exploring Creativity series, and have enjoyed many in-depth and passionate conversations with her on a wide variety of topics. A mutual love of drag queens and ridiculous shoes means that we are never stuck for places to go or things to chat about when we’re there!
- Amy de la Haye – One of an excellent team of professors at London College of Fashion (the Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History & Curatorship), Amy is not only extremely knowledgeable but also very approachable. Despite being very busy researching books and curating exhibitions whilst also running the Centre for Fashion Curation and the MA Fashion Curation course, along with Professor Judith Clark, Amy always seems to find time to help students and early career researchers. In a world where many academics look down on those who aren’t, this is a wonderfully refreshing attitude.
- E-J Scott – Some people are endlessly full of energy, but in a way that is infectious rather than tiring. E-J is one of those people. A fashion historian and trans activist, I have come to know E-J via the Costume Society and then discovered that he curated the exhibition for the Brighton Trans*formed project. We are currently working together on something rather exciting for 2017, so watch this space!
- Bethan Bide – Another person who I have come to know via the Costume Society… and also via Twitter! I attended a fantastic conference that Bethan helped to organise at the Museum of London this year and am always inspired by her enthusiasm. I’m hoping to find a gap in her research schedule soon so that we can meet up and I can work out how to harness some of that enthusiasm for myself.
- Emma Parker – The founder of Playful Promises and also Wolf & Whistle, Emma has shown me how much hard work goes into making bras in larger cup sizes and this year launched a truly wonderful full-bust range which just blew me away. Not only are her designs great, but she listens to her customers and so knows exactly what they want.
- My Coursemates – It’s now becoming a trend that there’s always got to be one spot on this list for a collective, so this year it’s the recent MA History and Culture of Fashion alumni from LCF. Especially Ellen, Jana, Julie, Paula, Fenella, Tara and Teleica who have all helped me through this last year of “so… what do I do now?!” Coming to fashion-related research from a variety of different backgrounds has helped us all to draw on our strengths and seek out help from others to combat our weaknesses. One day, we will take over the world, I’m sure of it!
*The lining was detachable so that they could be cleaned more easily. Early sportswear innovation!
Image of Rob Phillips © James Rees