Hello Everyone! I was able to finally find the video of interviews with some of my study abroad peers and I filmed before our graduation ceremony. This is the sorter version of the video but I will post the extended version that is also available to watch. If you want a better understanding of studying abroad at London College of Fashion this will give you that with the interviews from other students who are from the U.S. and other parts of the world. Favorite courses, moments, best memories, and others experiences in London are just some things spoken about in the video. You are getting to meet some of my LCF peers. Enjoy!
Hello Everyone! I just wanted to share some pictures with you from my London College of Fashion graduation. Not your typical graduation ceremony. I honestly had have no idea what my grades were for any of the courses I took this past semester until about a month and a half ago when my report card in the mail. Those of you going abroad be aware of that, there is no exact date but try not to stress to much they will eventually come. This seemed to be more of a farewell ceremony with presentations done by some of the students on their projects from various courses this semester. I was so impressed with some of the work that was being presented. I wish I had taken more pictures of some of the other amazing things that were being showcased but I got so distracted with the incredible work being shown that I didn't get to takes pictures of some.
Earlier that week, I had been asked by the study abroad office- along with some other students who participated in the program this semester- to be interviewed in front of a camera by a newly made friend of mine who is also a fashion merchandising and communications student. Brian asked about ten questions that basically were about our experience abroad, classes, how London compares to back home in the states, and favorite/memorable moments abroad. I must say, since my return I have been asked that by many people and yes there are particular things that come to mind and I love talking about but this experience as a whole was so memorable. My experiences and memories made in London will always be with me forever. They have opened my eyes showing me that there is so much more outside of Texas and the United States. London's' history,culture and beauty of has inspired me in so many ways from my personal and career goals. So just naming one particular moment would do no justice in truly explaining the amazing time I had while living abroad. Something that made me feel so much more connected to London was that in living there for as long as I did, I felt less like a tourist and more of a resident of this incredible city. To be honest the only times I felt I looked like a tourist was when I would be walking the streets with the camera around my neck snapping photos of things that caught my eye. Other than that I really never felt like a tourist which was a feeling of relief because I wanted to avoid being the typical obnoxious american tourist that most do not like. I became aware of my surroundings and probably even more than I have back in San Antonio where I go to school. I really tried to do as much as I could to make the best of the short time I had. The video that we shot before our graduation will be posted on the college website but I have no idea when. I will post that as soon as I find out.
For graduation we were told that it was going to be extra special this year, so we were continuously told and it was stated on our invitations to dress in our most fabulous outfit. With my obsession with ballerinas the dress I wore was inspired by that. I have to thank my mother for sending me the dress in the mail and after a chaotic afternoon before the ceremony I finally got it in my hands to wear that evening. Everyone else looked beautiful and ready for a wonderful evening.
After waiting around for the last touch ups on the decor in the room by our study abroad advisors and tutors we were finally able to enter about five minutes after the stated time. As soon as I walked into the room, I could tell they really did put so much effort in making it special for us. A red carpet affair, literally. The lights were dim, elevator type music playing in the background and tables decorated with a big bottle of campaign as the center piece, teacups with strawberries, streamers and chocolate rabbits and eggs for each of us. All very thoughtful on the staffs part. The evening was started off with a toast by Michael- our host for the night- but he had instructed us to eat the strawberries before to enhance the flavor of the champaign. Someone from our table was to open the champaign bottle and my friend Dylan was the chosen one on our table, who did that for the first time. That was very amusing. She had to have been the last one to finally get the bottle open and threw the top so quickly to the side not even worried about hitting anyone, too funny, you really had to be there. Then most of the time was spent listening to presentations by students and seeing some work from draping, corsetry, shoe design students and work from other courses- mostly in design- this semester. I was absolutely impressed with some of the work being shown. So many talented students took part in the program and I had no idea of the work they were capable of producing until that day.
I just wanted to share with you these photos I took from that evening. Those of you going abroad to LCF in London in the future do not put your camera down. You are going to want to record as many memories and moments abroad as much as possible. Trust me! You are going to be doing so much and so many things that your brain is going to have a London experience overload! And you may forget little things but as soon as you see a photo or a video of something it trigers that lovely memory:] Studying abroad and this whole experience has been amazing experience I will certainly never forget with the help of these blogs and photos I took. Well, Until Next Time!
These girls were modeling the corsets they made this semester.
Hannah (Study Abroad Co-ordinator), Dylan, Michael (tutor/our host for the night), Basia (Study Abroad Director) and ME:]
All dressed up in the tube station ready to head back to the flat.
Hello Everyone! I hope your finals week went great and you are all finally enjoying your summer. I have been back in the states for almost three weeks now and as much as I enjoy being home I do miss London so much. Watching all the coverage of the Royal Wedding last week really made me want to go back to London, plus it did not help any when people would ask me ‘why didn’t you stay for the wedding?’. But I am just thankful for even having the opportunity to go and become familiar with such an amazing city. Well, I am finally coming around to tell you about my last days living abroad.
My last Monday was wonderful for the most part. I was invited by a friend of mine to have breakfast with her and her mother bright and early at the Wesley which was so lovely. This was the first time having breakfast at a really nice place in London. It was nice to be around a mother figure. I had some green tea with a nice filling breakfast of eggs, bacon and then shared some pancakes topped with whip cream and blueberries. Quite delicious. We chatted a little and after a lovely breakfast said our goodbyes but would soon again meet later to eat again for dinner with some other friends of hers and one of my flatmates. Any time I have spoken about food or eating out my friend Ying was usually almost always there with me. She loves to eat, as do I. Since I was close Regent Street I decided that I would do some shopping. Not for me though. After a nice day of doing a little shopping and walking around it was getting close to meeting my friend for dinners so I headed back to the flat. My flatmate and I had gotten ready and left early so we would not be late or get caught in the rain since it randomly decided to after a nice day out. We ate at this really nice japanese restaurant in the same area as the Wesley, where I had breakfast at earlier that day. I ate so much sushi it was not even funny. My friend Ying, who invited us to dinner, is always having me try foods I do not usually eat. That night I tried everything that was placed in front of me, and I mean everything, an entire whale. Okay not literally but I ate enough to get me sick. The food was all delicious but I was eating beyond the limit of being full. Guilty of gluttony. I went to bed with a fever and woke up feeling so weak that I just wanted to lay down and sleep all day. Which is exactly what I did. For some reason things like this always seem to happen to me while I am away from home, so I have gotten used to it. Long story short, I learned my lesson. Seafood was one of my favorite things to eat and now I despise it, well at least for a while.
Since my Tuesday was dedicated to recuperating from Monday, my week resumed on Wednesday with more trips to Covent Garden to do some more shopping and walking around enjoying what I would soon be leaving behind. Living in London was wonderful because there was always something to do when you had nothing to do. I could just walk outside and wonder somewhere and find new and interesting places or I would just go out and take photos. The city was just so amazing and inspiring.
Thursday was all about getting ready for my LCF graduation. My mother had sent me a package which had the dress and shoes that I would be wearing that evening. I had been waiting a week and a half for the package to come in but did not get it until that day. My mother told me she had looked online and the package had arrived days earlier but there was no note left behind so I had woke up early that day to go to the post office down the street and see if it was left there. That may have been one of the most hectic things that I had to do there. That post office was no help but sent me to another in Notting Hill- which is not a walk away may I add- and of course it started raining just as I headed to the tube. After going to that second post office the lady that help me at first just said we do not hold those packages after looking at the number that I had. At that point I had no idea what to do and I think she could see that look on my face so she took the number from me and went to the back. She had looked on the system to try and track it for me and what do you know it was at a different posting office in another part of the city. So once again I was back on on the tube heading towards Camden to a main parcel office where my package was being held due to a fee that needed to be paid.Thankfully after two hours of going from one post office to another and in the slight rain I finally got the box in my hands. I had to pay a VAT tax for bringing these goods into the UK. I was finally able to wear my dress to the graduation and looked fabulous, as did some of my other peers. The night was wonderful and my next post will have pictures and a little more on that.
I had told one of my flatmates that I would help her out with her luggage when she went to the airport, so on Saturday I did just that. She had quite a lot but it was no problem with the both of us. When I left I had wished I had an extra set of hands to help because it was tough with three suitcases and only two hands but I made it work and got a workout along the way. This whole experience has had many memories with this flatmate along with some other wonderful people who are all from different schools in the states. Living in a completely unfamiliar country was amazing and although the other girls and myself went through similar experience, London had different affects on us all. The friendships you make in life - I believe- are meant for a particular reason. In my life I feel the new people I meet have helped me grow as a person in many different ways. Despite our short time abroad- which at the time seemed like it would never come to an end- we all became very close and learned a lot about each other. I will cherish these friendships and the memories we made abroad and will definitely make sure to keep in touch. After waking up extra early that day, walked to the train station down the road and to the airport and back, I was exhausted. So I took a two hour nap to reboot then once I woke up headed to Portobello Market for the afternoon. I was on the search for some gifts for friends of mine back home. Along the way I found some really awesome pieces that I missed the weekend before. That has to be one of my favorite markets in London.
Towards the end of my time there, the city had just put up a bike rental station very close by my flat so I took one last bike ride on that Sunday. I really had no idea where I was planing on going but used this as an opportunity to try and discover places I had not yet already found. Traffic in London is pretty intense, this worried me since for some reason -even though I know how to ride a bike- I seem to be extra shaky when ridding these bikes. The rental system is really very easy, you pay with card and it is just one pound to rent and your first thirty minutes are free then about a four pound charge is added every hour. For some reason that day I could not seem to find a bike rack for almost two hours. I sure did get a really good workout that morning. The weather that day was once again sunny and warm. Those days were always extra wonderful just with the presence of the sun. After I searched everywhere for a place to turn my bike in- which does not have to be the same you got it from- I headed back to the flat to finally have lunch. Time was thankfully going slow so I decided to stop by Camden Market for the first time ever. This market was a bit different. I enjoyed walking around but shopping wise it not my favorite. A majority of the things being sold there all seemed to be the same with an enormous amount of vendors and not very one of a kind products. There was this one store though that was interesting. The store was called Cyberdog and it seemed like a dance club in there. Loud music, neon colors, black lights, people dancing to rave type music up on a ledge. I could not stop looking around at everything and the unique and interesting people working there. It was kind of funny cause the clothing sold there reminded me of the 1999 Disney channel movie Zenon:Girl of the 21st Century. No pictures were allowed inside the store though, I was so tempted to take some so you could see what I saw.
The rest of my time was spent cleaning and the flat and on my own might I add. The last person in the flat left that Monday morning and the housing staff left a notice that afternoon or morning stating the things that needed to be cleaned before the last person left or we would be fined. If there is one thing I dislike about any type of school housing is that they fine you for anything and everything they can. I must say after having to do that on my own I have no idea how some girls could live so dirty. Junk was left everywhere in their rooms like a tornado went though the room and in the kitchen no one felt the need to throw away their left over food or just move it neatly so that the cleaning ladies could take it if they had wanted. That really topped off my stress because I was already worried about my luggage and if it met my airlines luggage requirements. Ten big rubbish bags of food and junk left behind by the other girls is what I collected. Since I did not want to get fined and wanted my deposit back, I made sure to do it as correct as I could. My housing was very nice and I really enjoyed living there but some of the girls just did not know basic living etiquette or just how to be clean. Thankfully I did not have any problems with my actual roommate. Those of you thinking about studying abroad and are being placed in a similar housing situation please remember to be considerate of your other roommates and don’t forget those basic simple things your mother taught you growing up, please. Once I finished cleaning I headed to Harrods to pick up some macaroons for my family and friends that I wanted to try these amazing desserts, my last purchase in London.
The past three and a half months were some of the most amazing and memorable ones of my life. I will definitely never forget the new things I experienced and the people I met while living abroad. London will always have a special place in my heart and as much fun as it was, financially I was ready to come back to the states. It was all very wonderful and there is no doubt that I will be back again one day. Not a day has gone by that I do not remember moments or random things about London. I say this all the time but I am so thankful for having that opportunity, my mom kept telling me that I was living the dream she always wanted to do. Hopefully one day I can repay her for all the support and emotional support with a trip to London. I love my family and friends that have encouraged me and I will continue to make them and myself -of course- proud. I thank God everyday for everything and everyone in my life he has blessed me with. Remember to alway listen to your heart and follow your dreams and live life with no regrets. You can achieve anything you set your mind to! Look at me, and this is still just the beginning. There is so much more I still have to accomplish in life so I will continue to work hard and stay focused to achieve these goals. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me through my journey and reading about my adventure in London, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. This will not be the last you hear from me:] Until next time!
-Heather K. Martinez
These macaroons were a gift from two of my flatmates. Miss those girls:]
After I dropped my flatmate off at the airport when I was walking back I took a picture of the restaurant we had breakfast at for the first time in London:]
Down Praed Street
Hello Everyone! It has been too long since my last post, I would like to apologize for that. So much has happened in the past two weeks. The last time I left you all I was stressing out trying to get some final projects of mine done. That was an entire week straight of stress and working all day on projects. Very little sleep. After working many hours on these projects I thankfully completed and turned in everything without any problems. I was all done with my courses by last Thursday and have just been enjoying my last full week in London because I will soon be heading back to the states. Three more full days here is all I have left to relax, pack and do any last minute things before I am gone from this wonderful place. This experience has been amazing and I am so thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad. Time sure has flown by during my stay here, besides the fact that the school semester here is an entire month shorter. None the less I have enjoyed every minute of it.
Well, last week I had three major projects to work on. The projects are really enjoyable but since I had them all due around the same time, that added a little stress. One thing that is wonderful here at London College of Fashion- well at least the study abroad program- is that there are no exams and no work out of textbooks. Grades are based on one or two projects throughout the semester, usually one project broken down with the final product due at the end. The learning environment is extremely different in that aspect because back home I am used to weekly exams, quizzes or assignments with maybe one project thrown into a semester. Although, not having exams or constant assignments may be admired by most, this means that possible one project you have to turn in must be outstanding to get the grade you desire. Puts a little extra pressure on making sure your project is perfect. Theoretical and Social Fashion Studies, Start Your Own Fashion Label, and European Fashion Studies were the last of my classes. For TSFS I had to write a 2,000 word research paper based on three key words from any one of our lectures we had. I choose mine from the first lecture which were ethical, ecological fashion, and fashion contradiction. The books I checked out on eco fashion and the notes I took in class were a huge help to writing this paper but my new found interest to continue thinking deeper into the topic helped out even more. I am not going to lie, it did take me a while to complete and edit the paper mainly for the fact that I do get distracted easily. But I got it done and emailed before the deadline without any major problems and then it was on to completing my other two. My Start Your Own Fashion Label project was due next and that required a lot of research that I had been doing from the start of the class. This course was basically helping us prepare a business plan of the label we we would one day like to create. A design background is not required but it sure does help when you are going through some of the skills needed to run a business on your own. Concept for a new fashion label and the strengths and weaknesses it brings to a particular market, market research within the market your going into, supply chain and business management needed to run your label, a product range template of a maximum of 30 styles, cash flow of the monthly figures of money going in and out within a year to show how much revenue the label plans on bringing in at the end; these are some of the things that our final assignment consisted of. In the end all this information came out to 12 pages of my plan and then many other pages of research attached which I collected by using the database resources available to us online at school. The research I did was on the athletic apparel market to help see where my eco friendly leisure sportswear apparel line, I called Constance, would stand in the market. So much work went into this and I was pleased and happy with the idea I came up with. The last requirement was to presented our ideas to the class and try to persuade our tutor and classmates to want to back our labels financially. With my eager need to want to get another final assignment over with and my confidence in the label I was proposing I volunteered to go first. Once I finished with what I had to say in the 3 minutes we had, I felt great about my idea even compared to those of my other classmates. A majority of the class had some really realistic and great idea but in the end there was not one unanimous label selected for being the best. After everyone was done presenting we each wrote on a piece of paper who we would select- not being able to vote for ourselves of course- and multiple labels were voted for. I really can not wait to read the notes my tutor had to say about my proposal when we get our grade sheets back. That next day was one I was greatly anticipating, my final day of class for the semester, European Fashion Studies. That was another class I was willing to volunteer first but my tutor in that class goes by the attendance list she has and choose to go the extra long way so I was about third to last to present what we had done. The final project was basically to go through newspaper clippings, magazine articles, internet reviews on all three european fall 2011 fashion weeks- London, Milan and Paris. We had to collect these clippings and put them in a scrapbook, arrange the book by city or trends. I choose to do city and came up with a pretty good collection of articles I collected and read. The LCF library is a very helpful resource, they cut out these reviews and article during the time of the shows and store them behind the desk available to checkout for two hours. I wish I had collected the articles from the newspapers themselves because that would have saved me so much money which I spent on photo copying them to place in my book. Copying and printing was a major expense I did while here at school, it made me miss my scanner and printer back home. Another part of this project was to select a trend that was seen throughout the cities and write a minimum of 200 word paper along with a trend board. I choose- along with many others after sitting through presentations- was masculine/ feminine. This look was seen throughout a lot of the designers shows and thought it was worth pointing out to the class- and I obviously was not the only one who felt the same way. Projects like these do not seem like work because it all interests me, it was only the time that I had left to work on the project that had me stressing since I had been working on my other two projects at the same time. A designer profile on the key person that may have a new influence or has had an influence in the trend we choose was the third and last part of the project. Stella McCartney was the designer I felt was very much worth highlighting in this trend since it is something she is known for in all of her shows. Three key words I felt helped describe the look of this trend were Slouchy, Oversized and Exaggerated. Many of the masculine/feminine looks in McCartney’s show had all three of these. She also added a new touch of a more curvier woman and showing these curves in the close fit of some of the garments. In the end I felt my project went great. A weight was lifted off my shoulders once I finished my presentation and could not believe that my summer had begun. To make that even better it was a beautiful sunny almost 70 degree afternoon. Now I could enjoy the beautiful weather that had come to London the day before.
Later that night was finally ballet day with a friend of mine. I can not remember if I mentioned previously that a I had purchased a ticket to watch the ballet Cinderella at the Royal Opera House. Ever since I took ballet classes at school for the first time ever in my life I have fallen in love with this art. Besides The Nutcracker when I was in elementary which was performed by a small ballet school in my hometown, Cinderella is the first big ballet I have ever seen. The performance was about two hours long and had three intermissions in it. We had front row balcony seats off center- pretty much by one or two seats- and could see the whole stage and over see the orchestra area. At the time of purchasing my ticket I was a bit hesitant at choosing those seats on the balcony because I did not know how far it would actually be from the stage and if I would not be able to see. After being convinced by my friend that they would be good seats I made the purchase and was very satisfied after the ballet. The day of the ballet I was running on little sleep so I tried very hard to keep my eyes open although my friend let the orchestra music get her because I could see her dozing off from the corner of my eye. It was quite funny. Since this was my first real ballet I had seen I was amazed at how these performers were so graceful and perfectly on point with the live orchestra playing, just beautiful. After the ballet we had gone to the restaurant we had eaten at before the ballet where I had pizza- as usual- but for desert this time. After a successful day and the start of my summer I was finally able to get some much needed sleep.
The next day after sleeping in late I finally got up and decided to walk around Covent Garden- which is in the area of the Royal Opera House- a very nice place but you must be careful for pick pocketer’s amongst the huge crowds of tourists. Thankfully I have not been a victim of theft but I know girls who have been during their time abroad. This is not something I feel I have had to worry about but keeping an eye open most of the time is important because you really never know when it will happen. So I did a little unnecessary shopping, walked around a lot, had a bite to eat then headed back to the apartment for a little before I headed to Hyde Park to go boating with the same friend I went to the ballet with because the weather had been so beautiful for the past few days. That entire day I was in shorts and a tee shirt all day long, it was just so wonderful. The time finally came for me to walk down to Hyde Park which is just about a 10 minute walk from my apartment. When I got there I saw tons of others taking advantage of the beautiful weather and just laying out in the sun. I have taken for granted the warm- sometimes extremely hot- weather year round in Texas and have missed that so much after being here in London. But that would go for staying in any other place that actually has different seasons of weather during the year. My friends and I spent the next three days enjoying the warm weather until it went back to being cold.
On Saturday my friend Ying and my flatmate Brittany and I decided we would go to Portobello Market for the first time for all of us. I had gone to the area before but not on market day which is so much better but so crowded as well. Portobello Market-as I may have mentioned before in another post- has vendors who sell new and old things, antique furniture, jewelry, vintage clothing, new clothing, hand made jewelry, and last but not least food. I really enjoyed this market, there is so much to see. You must plan to be there for a good three or more hours to walk down the road to see everything.
Sunday I woke up early to go to church and after walked all the way to the London Eye which seemed much closer than it actually looked when I saw the distance I walked from on top of the Eye. My feet have never hurt so much from all the walking I do here in London. Once I was done doing that and sat for a while with my friend, Ying- who I have done so much with during my time here- I headed off to meet a flatmate of mine at a beautiful park called Holland Park in the Notting Hill area and also near where Portobello Road is. That park is really worth a visit for anyone visiting London. I know I did not get to see the whole park but what I saw was really beautiful, kind of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with all the colorful flowers everywhere. I had no idea where I was going when in the park, only following my flatmate who had gone there a couple days before. We sat in a cute little courtyard area, had our lunch and then laid out in the sun for a couple hours and relaxed- even took a little nap. The sun was still out but it started to get a little cool so we decided to head back to the flat.
Well just so you know I will continue to catch up on my blog. It has taken me longer than I thought to finish this entry and now my time has already come to an end. I will be leaving tomorrow morning (Tuesday, April 19th) so I will have plenty of time to write on the plane and post more once I get back. Once again I apologize for taking so long but will be sure to fill you in on what else I have done on my last days in London. As you can see with this post I have tried to enjoy it to the fullest and do as much as I could before it was time to head back to the states. Until next time!
Hello Everyone! This past week- and the next to come- has primarily consisted of school work but it has still been just as beautiful and wonderful. The weather particularly had been absolutely amazing a majority of the week. Temperature of around the 60’s and with the sun it was perfect. Friday, I was actually able to sit outside in the sun with only a thin cardigan all day. In London the sun is unpredictable so when its out I - and everyone who lives here- take advantage of it and walk everywhere or go for a little run because it could go away and for a while at any moment. I have to admit- as ridiculously hot as it gets back home- I deeply miss those hot Texas days. Just seeing the sun always brings a smile to my face and makes the day so much better.
Well this past week I had my only four of my remaining classes, which are ending one by one. With only one more week of classes then the following is my last week which I have presentations in two classes, the weeks -as I am constantly saying- are really flying by. Monday in my theoretical and cultural fashion studies class which we had another new tutor was about Soho-an area in central London- and the history behind it. It was interesting to learn a little about the history of the area. I felt the tutor was a bit repetitive in what she was saying but basically soho was a very unique, creative and cultured area. Though I did loved the way she described Soho as being ‘the girl your mother wouldn’t want you to be friends with’ because it had a reputation. Today the area really is a good representation of that because it is an area with a mixture of things; pubs, newsagents, vintage shops, big and small retail stores, restaurants, gay clubs and adult entertainment. No one really knows how the area got the name ‘soho’ but some say the area was once a hunting ground and some way that is how the name was given. The first documentation referring to the area as ‘soho’ dates back to the 1600’s when it was a rich location where dukes and duchesses lived then it gradually became home to French, German and Italian immigrants. Many creative people came to this area to live or came from soho which is depicted in a mural somewhere in the area- I have yet to really come upon it although I feel I already have- called The Spirit of Soho. The mural is composed of many portraits of various people who each were of special significance to the area. Next time I will be sure to keep an eye out and stop to admire it.
Tuesday was a very easy day since I completed the class the previous week. One of my flatmates asked if I was interested in going to some vintage shops with her that morning and thought it wasn’t a bad idea. I was planning to just look around unless I found something that I really really liked and at a good price of course. We visited a couple of different vintage shops in the soho area and it took me until our last shop to come upon something to catch my eye. We did a decent amount of searching though so many purses, shirts, dresses, skirts, accessories and shoes; and found a pair of below the knee leather boots. The boots had a burnt tan tone to them, that I loved and just happened to be my size for only 40 pounds. After calculating the price of them in US dollars, that may not have been the best deal but still a pretty good find for the great condition they were in and they were real leather. I am a pretty picky person when it comes to shoes- and clothes- so the fact that I truly did love them and haven’t seen boots that appealed to me like these back in the states, made me feel less guilty for my purchase. They were the only pair in the store and if I had waited and came back for them later, who knows if they would have been there the second time.
Like I had said before this week was very sunny so it was perfect walking weather for my British Cultural Perspectives class on Thursday. That was a busy morning because I had my European Fashion Studies Class from 10:30am-12:30pm then right after I had from 12:30-2:30pm to head over to a museum really quick for an assignment I needed to complete and email before 8pm of that same day and then get back on the tube to make my BCS class at the London Tower tube station exit by 3:00pm. I was pretty nervous the day before about all the things I needed to do but thankfully successfully completed what I needed to get done for the day. Although, my friend and I- who went to the museum too- were slightly late for BCS because we didn’t give ourselves an appropriate amount of time for tube travel since we had to transfer lines but luckily the class was still waiting for people to show up. We even managed to buy some ice cream before we started walking. Perfect weather for a chocolate ice cream cone. You can always count on walking throughout the entire two hours of that class but our tutor was speed walking us and ended up finishing about 15 minutes earlier than usual. Such a relief because I needed to get to a Starbucks to finish up that assignment I needed to email out by 8pm. I had a little something to eat and then got to work, did some research and wrote a 200 word review on one item from the museum I went to earlier that day. Even though I was cutting it close I was really happy with what I submitted because the item I choose really fascinated me and after doing some research, the words just came to me. Got it revised and submitted- along with an 350 word article on a particular experience that we had in London I had finished the week before- 45 minutes before deadline. Success. It is astonishing to me that this was the only assignment for the class, which is essentially what our grade is entirely based on. Crazy stuff.
Friday was another day to enjoy the weather that was happening in London. My friend and I went to Spitalfieldz Market which is mainly fashion booths on Fridays. I only purchased some small sterling silver pointed stud earrings for 5 pounds. I had been searching for some earrings to replace a pair I lost that I brought with me to London. I was getting a little tired of wearing my chandelier earrings all the time, I missed wearing little studs and my ears felt naked when I didn't wear any. Later after we had done our browsing we planned on renting a bike and just riding around the area. So much fun! I had not been on a bike in a while and it was nice to rest my feet from all the walking I always do. In London they have bikes you can rent all over the city, this was the first time I had rented one. It really is not as difficult as I thought- now I know why I see so many people riding bikes in the city- really convenient. We ended up staying around the area, had lunch and even stopped by the pub that I mentioned in one of my first posts-where Jack the Ripper used to hangout. The place was nicer than I had expected and I fell in love with the patterns on the tiles that were all over the walls, reminded me of a Fall/Winter 2011 London Fashion Week collection, Jonathan Saunders. My friend and I had a wonderful time relaxing from a long day and just talking, luckily we found a spot to sit rather than standing outside like a number of people had done. Great way to end a fun and fashion filled Friday.
Saturday morning I made it a point to get up early and head over to school to get some work done. I was there pretty early because I felt like the only one there for a couple of hours. When I entered the computer lab at school I had to ask if it was open since it was dead quiet- I felt a little silly for asking that when obviously the men sitting behind the desk would not have been there if it was closed- oh well. One of the men responded yes and told me I could pick from any one of the many computers in the lab- like I said I felt silly after asking that question. Later that afternoon I heard a lot of people yelling from the open door to the balcony of the library. There was a major protest on the government budget cuts that I believe had a huge affect on education. The exact story, I am not really sure of but there were thousands of people. Some caused riots throwing paint into officers faces, braking store windows and causing havoc. When I stepped out to walk to a stationary store I unintentionally ran right into the huge group of protesters. I had no idea they were planning to go down this particular street I decided to walk to. My heart stopped a little because the crowd was so massive and there were people in black ski like masks. And the number of police officers along the streets frightened me a little. Thankfully I was able to get out of that without anything crazy happening at that point of course. Later that afternoon when I got back to the flat, I read the protesters had vandalized Topshop which is just opposite the corner where I had ran into the protesters. That was a close one. My school is right in central London along a really busy retail intersection- Oxford and Regent Street- I guess in some way you could compare it to Time Square in New York City. I did get a photo of the protesters but I got a quick snap of the many officers and right near Topshop.
Well I really must get back to work, I need to get three projects done for next week. I must back to my project mode. Can’t believe I only have this week and next week left of classes, it is going by too fast. Until next time!
Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Back home this past week was spring break so hopefully everyone had a fun and safe break. I still can’t believe I had a whole two weeks off as our 'spring break' in February. My semester here has consisted of many days off from school, which to some may be a wonderful thing but I really wouldn’t mind spending more time in class- cause that is why I came here in the first place. The bright side of that is having plenty of time to work on the few projects that I have had and have due within the next three weeks left of classes here. Wow, only three more weeks of classes left, then a week off until our program graduation on Friday April 15th. I am defiantly going to continue to make the best of the time I have left in London.
So unlike those of you on break back home, this past week for me consisted of classes and visits to multiple museums. On Monday I had my Theoretical and Social Fashion Studies Class which I forgot to mention is different now because we have had a different tutor for the past two classes. The week before was about swinging London. Our tutor gave us a presentation of the style, music and fashion in London during the 1960‘s. Fashion during that time was drastically changing from that of the previous years. Mod style, modern jazz, The Beatles, Mary Quant and the mini skirt, swinging London movies and psychedelia were all very significant during the this decade. Today, many fashion designers look back to the fashions of the past to provide inspiration in creating their collections. People say fashion is always changing but in reality it is actually just a recycling of fashions from the past reinterpreted. In my opinion few designers today actually go completely out of the box to create new and innovative collections. Don’t get me wrong I like seeing references from the past especially those of the 60’s and 70’s -since I didn’t experience it the first time- but it is always nice to see something completely new and a defining style for the time. I'm always interested in fashion history and especially learning about 60's but the subject or what the tutor was saying didn’t get me to think critically as I had in all my past classes with our previous tutor Emmanuelle. To some people, she may have been thought of as a debbie downer because of the negatives side of the fashion industry she always pointed out during her lectures but that was the best part for me. Emmanuelle discussed the dirty side of the fashion industry that many don’t pay attention or realize until- sadly- someone like her does it for us. Her lectures always made me think of ways that I could help improve issues she spoke about that were occurring in this industry.
Our last class we again had another tutor who gave us a more interactive activity. We all became dress curators for a class. The tutor for the days lecture was named Ben Whyman and the topic for the class was on material object analysis. Material object analysis consists of three major parts: description, deduction and specification. Those three things are integral when trying to learn about dress which comes with a ‘silent history’ as Ben called it- which basically means its background is unknown since a garment obviously cannot speak to us. The class got interactive when we were put into about ten groups to investigate a random article of clothing that he had brought with him. Each group was given a completely different garment, ours was a jacket that one of my group members said belonged to our study abroad director because she remembered her wearing it the first day she spoke to us during orientation. It was a red wool Vivienne Westwood jacket with black velvet heart detail on the center circa 1987 - for some reason always seems to be the year of clothing I come upon. My group did not have difficulty answering the questions under the three areas that we needed to answer- compared to the other nine groups- probably because the jacket was in good condition with all its tags still intact. One of the most interesting pieces from the groups was a jacket made out of long black monkey fur from the 1940’s ( yes I said monkey fur) which fooled us because many of us thought it was a piece from a recent time period. That hands on activity was very beneficial in reinforcing the lecture for that day.
Tuesday I had my last Historical and Contemporary Fashion Research Studies (HCFS)class for the semester. I really enjoyed that course because every class we were at a museum, gallery or exhibition and there was always something amazing and inspirational to me. Our assignment in that class always was to sketch some of the objects or details that we would come upon and interested us in the places we went. That last visit we went to the V&A for the second time to see a Yohji Yamamoto fashion exhibition that had just opened the day before. Japanese designers are so innovative and come up with the most bizarre and interesting creations. As soon as you entered the room you were distracted by the sticky floors at the entrance - I didn’t understand the meaning of until another student in my class pointed out why- which was to clean the bottom of our shoes before we stepped onto the white floors in the exhibition space. In all the exhibitions I have gone to here, photography is never allowed so sketching is what we relied on for class to capture some of the amazing things that were displayed. I was just about to being drawing when one of the museum supervisors came up to me and said there was not sketching allowed in this exhibition- my tutor had no idea. So we were relying on our memory to be able to quickly sketch one piece or detail on a garment as soon as we exited that section of the museum. This was a really incredible fashion exhibition because even though you were not able to sketch or take pictures- and of course touch the garments- you were able to get so close to each one and get a complete view of all around each piece- really amazing. Luckily, I was able to find photos from the exact exhibition on a blog that I read, http://stylebubble.typepad.com/ this is the link if you would like to see those photos- I don’t think I am able to post hers on my blog. After seeing the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition we went throughout the V&A to search for the more of his pieces that were scattered throughout the museum, only finding two more in that extremely huge building. You literally need three-four hours to go through the entire place and that is if you don't get lost along the way. I may have to pay another visit to the V&A sometime within the four weeks I have left in London.
On Friday two of my flatmates and I went to the Museum of London for our last outside of class museum visit for HCFS. This museum was basically, the history of London. I really enjoyed this visit- much more near the middle to the end for the fashion history of London. It inspired me to want to design another hat or pair of shoes- as I did last semester- after seeing some pretty avant garde hats that were displayed.The hat creation I made for my fashion history course was inspired by the patriotic influence on dress because of the French Revolution during the Directoire Period (c.1790-1800). After seeing some pretty extravagant hats, the one I had created did not seem as over the top compared to the ones at the museum. The lighting was really bad in that section of the museum so I was only able to get a few decent pictures that I posted below. I learned a little about the fire that happened in London, saw some things on women’s rights and further down in the museum were objects and fashions from the 60’s and 70’s. So many fascinating objects in that museum, didn’t really think I was going to enjoy that visit as much as I had.
This weekend I decided to take some time to work on some projects that I have due within the next three weeks but yesterday I made sure to have time to go to church and another museum since I was in the are. The only church I have attended mass here is St. Paul’s Cathedral. I love sitting in the very front and before it starts I am always in aw at how magnificent the interior is. So much detail in the mosaics and paintings on the high dome ceilings with the moulding adding even more detail. I am not sure if it is only on Sundays during mass that you can not take photos but I really need to go during the week to see if I can then because it is something you must see. After mass I walked across the bridge that goes over the Thames River to the Tate Modern. If you remember from a past post I mentioned there a bunch of different Tate Museums and Tate Modern is the one I visited this time. Very different from all the other museums I have seen while here in London. The name speaks for itself, Modern. Even the place it which the are is displayed, looked like a huge warehouse with concrete floors and very big open space- like a lofty feel, if you can understand what I mean. Not like the other museums in these historical looking buildings that are pretty much an art piece itself. This museum was just a bigger version of the little galleries found throughout London that showcase modern art. There was an exhibition at the moment that I was interesting in checking out because it was the work of a mexican artist, Gabriel Orozco. His work is made of objects in our everyday life and manipulated to alter its appearance or get a different view on what is being displayed. There was an elevator he had taken from a demolished Chicago building and cut it into three pieces to take away its central space leveling it to his height. He also cut a car he found in France into three pieces removing the center of it to make it a single front and back seat car- unusual but very fascinating. I really enjoyed that exhibition, its nice to know there is a mexican artist whose work is appreciated and displayed internationally- his work was also displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Well this week should be an even faster one since I have one less class with only four remanding but it is still going to be filled with working on projects. According to my roommate the weather tomorrow is suppose to be nice so we are going to check out a vintage store in soho- hopefully I will come across some good finds. Until next time!
Museum of London
I went to St. Paul's for Sunday Mass:]
Hello Everyone! The weeks are starting to going by even faster, now just five more weeks of classes left. I have had yet another eventful week. Don’t get me wrong, living in London has really made me watch my spending habits. When you come to London for an extended time not just a short vacation, you will definitely spend a lot of money on transportation and feeding yourself here. This has been the most challenging part of my experience living abroad. I am very thankful to have received the Gilman Scholarship to help me out. So those of you interested in studying abroad take advantage and research the scholarships available out there to help in paying for this experience.
Well this week I visited a 19th century suburb area in London for my British Cultural Studies class. We walked through an abandoned cemetery that is a park now and then visited a small little market near the area. The weather that day reminded me of home for some reason, it made me think of the of San Antonio the way cold felt to me there. I have now got used to the cold and deeply miss the sunny days of south Texas. Oh and incase you were wondering, yes I said cemetery. We walked through this abandoned cemetery that is now a park for walking. It was a little creepy feeling but really interesting. This was not like the well kept, colorful with flowers, and spread out cemeteries back home. As I was looking at the dates there were some tomb stones that dated from the 1800’s. Our tutor told us venture out into this cemetery and then find our way back to the front in 15 minutes. Myself and five of my other friends in the class decided to stick together and see if we could get ourselves back in the time given. We saw some interesting graves, came upon a group of them one right behind the other. We assumed those may have been children by the close proximity with one another, but who knows. So many amongst trees, vines and weeds coming from all over the place. It looked like no grave was visited by loved ones for many many years. My friends and I ended up being the first group back from our venture deeper into the cemetery. The next group came about five minutes after us. Then our next task was to walk or take the bus down to the dalston street market down about three blocks. We figured the bus would be faster. This market was mainly a local fruit, vegetable and meat market very small just half a street long. It looked like it was closing down since it was 3:45pm on a Thursday. There was fabric for sale, shoes and sandals for 5 pounds kitchen wear like stuff things being sold. That was our shortest BCS class but it was nice though to see this actual London suburban neighborhood because I probably never would have gone to this area. Along the way to the market I had seen a place called Rio Cinema-a small independent theatre- which I just I may go back to later in the month or some time before I leave.
Now Saturday morning I needed to make sure to wake up early because I was going on a bus tour to Stonehenge and Bath with a friend of mine. We were both so excited for this day trip. My parents had been reminding me not to forget to go see Stonehenge so I found a wonderful trip to there and bath for a really wonderful price- just 44 pounds- through Anderson Tours. After I was picked up on Baker street there was three more stops before we finally got on the road to our first destination, which was Stonehenge. The bus ride was only a little over an hour there and the ride was really comfortable. I got to see what land looked like beyond London. So much open green land, really beautiful. We finally came to Stonehenge at about 11:30am and were there for a good hour. That was the perfect amount of time to spend there. Enough time to listen to the audio tour and take plenty of photos all around the henge. The stones were huge and it is interesting that no one knows who they were placed in the positions that they are in. That mainly has to be because there are no towns or villages anywhere within a close proximity that would have helped in figuring out the story behind the monument. Giants or aliens, who knows... Our tour guide said the outer stones date back to 3000 BC and the inner stones 1,600BC- really incredible.I took a bunch of pictures from different angles of the stones- as you can see below. There is really nothing in the area besides the gift shop and cafe next to the ticket office. I appreciated and enjoyed this visit so much, one less thing to cross off on my list of things to see. Once we were all accounted for and got into the bus we were then off to Bath. The trip there was another hour from Stonehenge. I really did not know much about this city other than the Roman Baths. This trip exceeded my expectations. In the city of Bath every building and house is literally made of bath stone. There is some sort of regulation that requires any new building to be built in the same stone and the same style which I can’t quite remember the name of that style. The only building in the entire city that is not is the newly remodeled bus station which caused controversy because it did not follow regulations. Since the building was around before the regulations was made mandatory the station was not breaking any rules. Bath seemed like a tourist destination by the looks of the amount of people walking around that afternoon. We were given two hours on our own after the tour of the Roman Baths which was pretty incredible too. Another audio tour filled with so much enlightening information about the monument I never know before. The waters were meant for healing back then but now it is not kept up for that purpose so there are traces of lead in the water- not very healing anymore. When we went through the tour and had went off on our own we were on an adventure to try and find this small little market we had passed by when we were on the bus. For an hour we were walking around and were actually close to the market on our first attempt but unfortunately were not successful in finding it. Of course on our way leaving the city when we were back on the bus we passed it again and were just so close to it when we had been walking around searching for it. After all the walking we had done I had used so much energy and needed to have a meal. My friend and I went into this cute little italian restaurant and I had a pepperoni pizza that was delicious. I have noticed that pizza is something I eat a lot here but that might be because its usually one of the cheapest things on the menu and it never fails to fill me up. Time was going by so fast we had just enough time to pick up some gelato for the ride back home. The chocolate and pistachio gelato cone I got was just scrumptious, good way to end the day in Bath. Despite not making it to the market we wanted to go to, the walk around Bath was still wonderful and still got to see a lot of the city. The weather was was beautiful during the visits to both places and we left just at the perfect time when it actually started to rain as we had just got back on the road. I am thankful to have had the chance to visit those two places during my time here in the UK. Even though I am not doing travels to the other extraordinary countries near by, spending an entire semester going to school and living London is just as much an experience for me.
Well, I really must get back to working on an assignment for my fashion label class due this week. Until next time!
Hell0 Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week, mine went great. Accomplished a lot this week, including getting the tickets to watch The Children’s Hour as I mentioned in my last post.
On Tuesday I went to The Wallace collection for my Historical and Contemporary Fashion Research Studies class. This is a national museum which is the a London townhouse which was owned by the widow of Sir Richard Wallace, Lady Wallace. There is an extremely large collection of paintings in this house along with all the original baroque inspired interior. This house is full amazing detail which was all so inspiring. I must say I enjoyed this visit out of all the other museums we have visited. I am actually thinking about going tomorrow afternoon to enjoy gaining more inspiration from the collection for an assignment I have in this class. If you plan on visiting London, this collection its worth a visit and it is free to go in, http://www.wallacecollection.org/index.php .
Thursday has now become my only busy day of the week because I still have two classes on that day. In my afternoon course we were on fast forward becasue we did a number of different things in a two hours. We visited an exhibition called Medicine Now which was basically about diseases, health and the body, saw an permanent ancient egyptian exhibition in a university in London- pretty amazing how they had their own collection of ancient artifacts from egypt. Then we browsed through an underground contemporary art exhibition in a venue located directly under a church- I am pretty sure my tutor said they used to store dead bodies under there, creepy. Our last stop was at the British Library, this library carries the largest collection of books in the world. In this library there was a gallery with books like all the versions of author Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and text and there was a section for the Beatles which has scrap papers of hand written lyrics by John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney. On our way to the library we had passed by St. Pancras Hotel which is familiar to many, particularly Spice Girls fans. The Spice Girl’s video for ‘Wannabe’ took place in this place. My tutor for this class used to live in that building which was abandoned at the time, so somehow he would rent out the space for videos like Wannabe and movies like Batman Returns (I think). I enjoyed that class and thankfully the weather was good for walking.
Friday was another productive day for me. I made sure to wake up early to get tickets the the Keira Knightley play The Children’s Hour. I stood in line for an hour in the cold-might I add- hoping that I would get tickets so it would be worth it. Luckily I was the sixth one in line and found out they only gave the 15 pound ticket deal to the first eighteen tickets sold. Since each person was allowed to get two tickets max- and I know everyone in front of me bought both- I bought the 11th and 12th ticket left. It was a relief to know I was able to get two, they were not together but sitting one behind the other on the dress circle section which is like a balcony view. The theatre was smaller than I imagined, but it was nice. Once I bought those tickets I had to rush back to school to finish up some things for a scholarship that I needed to turn in that day. All that was successfully done by 12 pm. Successful morning.
I spent the afternoon resting because I was running on very little sleep and I had enough time before the play to catch up on Glee, watching it online. Living in the United Kingdom television and movies are very behind than in the states. For instance, Glee is a half season behind, Gossip Girl is a week behind, and American Idol is a day behind from when it is shown in the states. And because I am abroad so many websites do not work or do not provide full access like watching the episodes! But I am back on track with my two favorite- Glee and Gossip Girl- after finally figuring out what the UK’S equivalent to hulu is.
I lost track of time and got ready really fast to meet my friend for dinner before the play at this italian restaurant right in front of the theatre. I had spaghetti which was not any better than I can make but for dessert I just had a scoop of chocolate and pistachio ice cream which made the meal so much better. After eating pistachio macaroons in Paris for the first time ever, I have become obsessed with how delicious pistachio tastes. Green is not the most appetizing to me but pistachio macaroons and ice cream is just scrumptious. After ending that dinner on a good note it was show time. The play was really good. This play was also made into a movie which stared Audrey Hepburn and Shirley McClaine in 1961. I had seen the movie before so I vaguely remembered the main idea when I saw the play. The play is basically about two headmistresses falsely accused of having an ‘unnatural’ relationship with one another by one of their troubled school girls, you must watch the movie! The acting in the play was very good and you could feel the emotion in but the accents from all but one of the actors were not the best. Keira Knightley was trying very hard but you could here her going in and out of what ever american accent they were trying to mimic. All in all it was a great play, well worth the 15 pounds I spent for the ticket.
Week eight begins on Monday, time here is going by so fast! And next weekend I am taking a bus tour to Stonehendge and Bath, excited for that. Until next time!
Above are just some pictures I took at from The Wallace Collections
St. Pancras where the Spice Girl Wannabe video(below) takes place.
I give The Children's Hour two thumbs up:]
Hello Everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend:] Today I finally returned to class after a two week break (spring break, I guess) and it was good to be back. The second week of my break I dedicated it to rest and working on my magazine project which was due today. My day went pretty fast but I had butterflies up until after I gave my presentation in my magazine class which was our last class for the semester.
If you remember from a previous blog I mentioned that I was developing a magazine and the name I proposed was Lipstick. Well for our final project in the class we had to mock up a cover and a double page spread(DPS) in a format that we would want our magazine to be and a flat plan of the content we would want in the issue. It was interesting to see and listen to the ideas of the other students but while listening to them I must admit I was very nervous for some reason to give my presentation. I was not doubting my idea or what I had to present I just have been this way lately when having to give presentation in my classes here. My magazine -as I said before- is called Lipstick and it would be targeting women ages 18-25- around university age- and I pictured it being a biannual magazine, spring/summer and autumn/winter. With the continuously growing blog phenomenon it would be somewhat blog inspired in that the content in the magazine would be written by bloggers to give a different but relative perspective on fashion, beauty and pop culture. I could go on but that is the just of what I had proposed and below are images of my mock up. After my presentation today- once again- a huge weight was lifted of m shoulders because it is one less class to worry about for the semester. My weeks may feel wither longer or go by faster now that I have only one five classes out of the seven that I originally had. The classes here finish so much sooner than back in the states and it is a bitter sweet feeling but I am enjoying my time here very much. I have already been seven weeks in the UK and now just seven more to go until I go back to the states.
This week I have four more classes to go and on Friday I am going to try to get some tickets to see The Children's Hour with one of my friend from school. Hopefully I make it early enough to get the 15 pound deal and for good seat too! I will definitely be letting you know how that goes. Until next time!