Yellow Tulips



Last weekend in Edinburgh, on the round curve of Victoria Street up in a high annex window above the sixth floor, I spied a very lovely old gentleman tending to vaseful of fresh yellow tulips. He was so contentedly framed by the blue wood frame — and utterly oblivious to our cold-noses and wind-swept faces as we craned up at him. Quentin Blake could have done something perfect about it.

Old Man 2


… But I gave it a dab hand anyway.

Charlotte xx



Year Abroad: Design Arts Fashion Festival, Shanghai AW 2013


As a study abroad twenty-something in the big city, it’s not the easiest think to find out where the best events are, the best meets are, or where you’re going to find other people similarily additcted to the creative arts. But thank goodness for The Ice Cream Truck, who tootled along on the 20th of September, bringing one of the biggest and bestest Design/Arts/Fashion collaborative events that Shanghai has to offer in the fall:

DAFF by The Ice Cream Truck.

DAFF Shanghai 2013: Catwalk

From the stunning location on Shanghai’s Puxi Bund, to the perfect weather, there was nothing about this event that wasn’t humming with the atmosphere of an event finely tuned. Looking chic in the cool breeze, the billowing, white tented stalls displayed the exploits of creative business scene here in Shanghai.

As I weaved through shoals of designers, creative-types, fashionestas, and big name brand reps who chilled in the ultra-cool outdoor venue to the unobtrusive house beat background the air was zinging with chatter and euphoria – nothing like this kind of break from city life!

The draughts and sweet snacks a-flowing, a wooded grass-garden rest area and not to mention the free entry with suggested 20RMB donation, blend to give the even a open and welcoming feel so that besides us creative junkies, the riverside event attracted students, shoppers, familys alike – upbeat generational and international mixing abound!

From the dozens of different designers and artists showcasing their wares at DAFF, there are pieces from every spectrum and to cater to bizarre tastes you maybe didn’t know you had. I can guarantee whether cutesy scented candles, eco-art, fresh, home-made organic food, or the wacky acrylic mould-injected necklaces, numerous fixie bikes and live art, there’s something for everyone…



At 1630 and 1730 sharp, the crowds make a surge towards the psychedelic, colour-mix catwalk at DAFF as FASHION takes the limelight from the bustling tents and chattering strollers.

The Eastern-Western design fusion La Rose de Shanghai kicks of the show with an eclectic mix of traditional Chinese shapes on a black and white base, with splashes of print detail in bold primaries.

While some of the shapes are beautifully dramatic, the blooming trousers with tight calved fit, the floral detail crop waistcoat, some of the more streamlined pieces are a little to flat-fitting for my taste (and possibly my hips). The sharp, slicked bunned models sure did their strut, and I would have loved to see this combo with a softer make-up foundation complimenting the look.


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Move over Topshop and Urban Outfitters cut-outs, the Front Row Shop hit the catwalk at 1730 and blew us away. Beautifully clean cuts with an oh-so-now grunge edge stormed the catwalk in platform-chunked, you do not want to mess with shoes. A real London-scene feel takes this collection with a diva-ish edge of “I’m wearing this. And what?”

The wicked shoes, layered pieces and to-die-for accessories are transfusions tapped straight from fashion week runways and given a street-struttable kick – and I’d back them on giving Zara TRF and H&M a run for their money any day. Set up in 2012 by the TaoBao designer Ying Wu, the wealth of people that have built behind the label give it a cutting-edge feel that I would die to walk off the catwalk with.

While they don’t have a physical store operating, their online website delivers world-wide and in this day and age, what can’t you do over the internet. Seriously, hit them up online…

Front Row Shop Homepage 2013



As the walkers are wearying, night falls on DAFF and the event kicks up a notch as the bustle of light fixing and flicker of bulbs bringing a pretty, sultry glow on the events along the waterside. Keflione is finishing provocative artwork, with my appetite is perking up with the smell of food is hitting its peak; Pommery Champagne Happy Hour is over, but the DAFFTER PARTY is on its way.





Before the night ends I bump into two brilliant creative women under the electric glow, Steffie Wu and Monkia Mogi (who you’ll be seeing more about soon in the ARTS and FASHION section of DAFF is a great way to meet with and connect to other all-things-creative types here in Shanghai, be it arts communities, marketing and design houses or even musicians and chefs. I even manage to make use of a few of my handmade business cards, and of course, get a few in return…




As they say out here “You’re nobody in China if you don’t have a name-card”.
If you’re DESIGN/ARTS/FASHION is your thing, make sure I see you at the spring DAFF!

Thank you @TICTCREATIVE! You can check out more of their events on their WEBSITE, or FACEBOOK and as always, keep an eye out on for everything that’s happening in this big ol’ city.

Charlotte xx


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Statement Shoes: China

razz china shoes

It has to be in for when?!

When I came back from China last summer and got a plea for the editors of Razz My Berries to submit something for their summer edition ‘Style and Drift’, I hadn’t picked up a 2B pencil, let alone a paintbrush for about two years. Still, I knew I wanted to draw something. But I was also terrified that two years of artistic hibernation would have killed all my paint-soaked brain cells. The article was written. The equipment was hauled out dusty and mouldering from my cupboard. I had a blank page in front of me, and I had to do something with it.

Razz Shoe 2 Cycling Beijing paint edit
Razz Shoe 3 - Great Wall paint edit

Razz Shoe 1 - Emei Mountain 3099m Paint edit

And OK, so it’s not some of my best work; I was clearly out of practice and evidently, I hadn’t worked up the knowledge of post-editing (which the wonderful digital age has provided us with) quite yet. Those lines were dragged out, kicking and screaming, by the stress of a looming deadline. But as a rough and ready, quick blast illustration of some genuine fashion articles from the streets, mountains and walls of China? I’m fairly pleased, actually! To top it all off, the magazine gave me the OK and took my work off to be formatted and edited.

Clearly the ability to draw doesn’t die, it just sleeps quietly for a little while, and is, understandably, cranky when you wake it.

Don’t let your creativity hibernate.

Get in there and poke it with a stick.

I promise the results will be interesting, if nothing else.


(I hope the bemused ladies who let me photograph their scandalous shoes are proud too.)

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Article written for Razz My Berries Magazine |Issue 12. Words and illustrations my own.

Fashion (+) Illustration (=) Bliss

There’s something wonderfully paradoxical about fashion illustration as the endpoint of an artistic process. Clothing of the fashion circuit has it’s genesis in the same  medium as the conclusion of these’s artist’s works; for these artists, the illustration is the piece. Hana Müller and Sabine Pieper’s illustations both capitalise upon and play with their relation to the fashion development process; Pieper’s in her use of material like swatches on a designer’s board, Müller’s in her focus on a character creation that harkens back to the good old process of branding.

The Seductive Monochrome:

You may know her better from her online presence as Myltan from days of old, but Swedish fashion illustrator Hanna Müller is moving up into the big corporate world of art and exhibiting from 11 May – 14 July 2012 at Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion. Working in aquarelle and ink (and always by hand) her smooth lined illustrations are simplistically and rather stunningly, beautiful. Granted, it helps that her subjects are model-esque figures clothed in a style blatantly aiming for high-fashion, but her soft, muted-tone shading and barely-there use of colour strikes a cool and sophisticated balance in her work.

Stalk @

The Colour Explosion:

Sabine Pieper, also exhibiting this May with Müller, works in fashion and illustration from Berlin, and her mixed media creations are a sensual experience to kill for. Abstract and leaning heavily onto the art side of illustration, her work is an eclectic haven of rich colours, fabric, thread, and photographic manipulation. Her Vlisco ‘Delicate Shades’ campaign, 2011 [read more about it from her interview] showcases the exceptional innovation of her work and having established herself in commercial world, as well as making the foray into print, Pieper is moving swiftly up on the illustration circuit.

Stalk @



What a beauty to behold… Ladies and gentlemen: paint me green, I’m dying of creative jealousy. x

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Beijing, TUESC: Fashion Show!


In a slightly less important note this week, although entirely mortifying on my part as this post reminds me, Annie and I took part in the Fashion Competition at camp – and yours truly won the Camp T-Shirt Customising Competition in the Volunteers section for Blue G!

I definitely don’t have the same pizazz as the Blue G Boy Band (who received many paper origami flowers from their female classmates, I didn’t fail to notice), and without Annie twirling me down the make-shift catwalk I certainly wouldn’t have looked quite as graceful. But the early morning rushed sewing (of course, I don’t travel anywhere without a kit) paid off with improvised polystyrene and cardboard flowers with a braided hem going to show you don’t need much to make something cute, if not dubiously weather-proof.

Just don’t look too close at the quality of the stitching.




Personally I like Annie’s decoration better, but as many of the volunteers have noted in our travels around Beijing, Chinese fashion has something against showing the shoulders, let alone the chest area.

I’m not particularly keen on showing skin myself, and part of me (literally) reckons it’s the Asian in me, if not the Asian mother upbringing.

Rather unnervingly, another volunteer commented that Chinese girls wear clothes like… “Charlotte,” pointing at my loose T-shirt and short combo. Sans cleavage (not that there’s much to show), shoulders covered, and typical cute design logo. Sigh…

Unlike my Western volunteer counterparts, I’m too conscious of the hubbub of curious looks and comments to want to make more ripples than a group of 老外 (lǎowài) already do; it’s hard not to feel influenced by my surroundings, especially when I can understand them. The style here for women definitely has an emphasis on femininity displayed as “girly” and delicate, rather than as accentuated sensuality. And the results of the Camp fashion show seems to act as a demonstration of this hypothesis anyway…

On the other hand, there’s no problem with short shorts, although by comparison to the Taiwanese style I’m used to, these barely count as short at all. Certainly high-heels are worn all round. We’ve even seen high-heels, bizarrely, on mountain trails where we foreigners are decked in hiking gear…

Though, I don’t think that’s something I’m about to be influenced by.



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