My mum has a taste for the finer things - something that she's passed onto me from a young age. She has always had a creative touch on simple colour combinations and layering, along with a few items of focus. Here she is rocking the Snek Sunglasses.
Like mother, like son, eh? Here's me with the Seneca 2.0 Sunglasses, featuring Valencia lenses, like the Instagram filter, but for your eyes.
Both frames were designed for London Fashion Week and London Design Festival as part of our AW17 Collection. We did a shoot because mum wanted to flex on her Instagram (she's learning the art of hashtagging at the minute), but she's probably going on the Lookbook.
The title of “world’s best nightclub” has been applied to a number of venues, but perhaps none more so than Berghain. Known for its chaotic week-long techno parties and housed in a former power plant close to the centre of Berlin, it is the most famous (or infamous) fixture of the German capital’s legendary clubbing scene, attracting music aficionados and partygoers from across the globe.
Berghain does not hold the same mystique for the German tax officials, however. The club came under fire from the Berlin finance ministry back in 2008, who claimed the venue was “ruled by entertainment, not culture”.
Such a branding would have had more pragmatic consequences for Berghain than a simple criticism of its cultural value, namely a move to a higher tax bracket. Prior to the officials’ controversial diagnosis, the club had paid a 7% tax on their revenue – the same rate as other cultural institutions like theatres, museums and concert venues. If reclassified as a place of entertainment, this would shoot up to 19%.
But this month, the protracted legal battle between Berghain and Germany’s tax authorities came to an end: in a landmark ruling, the Berlin-Brandenburg fiscal court reaffirmed the nightclub’s status as a place of culture. Crucially for a country which gave to the world such luminary composers as Bach, Beethoven and Wagner, this repository of dark, industrial techno will remain in the same tax bracket as those that play classical music.
It is tempting to see this as an official endorsement of contemporary culture’s place within Berlin, its future now secured, and a triumph over out-of-touch bureaucrats who have probably never heard a DJ set in their life.
The same cannot be said, however, of the situation here in the UK. Over the last eight years, London has lost an astonishing 50% of its nightclubs; tellingly, the German court’s decision came on the same day that the famous Fabric nightclub in Islington was forced to close its doors after two young attendees died of suspected drug overdoses.
The safety of customers must of course come first, and these deaths are undoubtedly tragedies. But the question of cultural value has again become a point of controversy, as it did in the Berghain case.
Fabric’s management are now using the hashtag #SaveOurCulture in their campaign to get Islington Council to reinstate their license. It is also significant that, in their statement, the loss of Fabric is framed as an attack on youth culture in particular, with the nightclub claiming they fell victim to ‘archaic’ licensing laws.
The club and their fans, many of whom are international artists who performed there multiple times, have complained that the real driving force behind Fabric’s closure wasn’t anti-drugs sentiment, but mega-rich property developers and a persistent campaign of ‘police oppression’.
Fabric and its supporters are positioning themselves as cultural representatives at the cutting edge of society, standing up against authority and championing the zeitgeist. Culture, for them, is neither static nor immutable.
The salient point to take away from these two cases is that no one person, or authoritative body, can be a true arbiter of what is or isn’t culture.
The German courts must be applauded for their protection of Berghain, and for the tax breaks that allow venues more freedom to provide their services to the public.
But the fact remains that the true power lies with us. Even if the decision had gone against Berghain, its cultural value would have emerged unscathed, and it would have been considered mere “entertainment” only by the bureaucracy that dubbed it as such.
Culture belongs to us all. In time we will hopefully see more campaigns like Fabric’s, which aim to reclaim culture for the people and to stop the imposition of definitions and regulations onto a concept that by its very nature defies this kind of control.
All we need is a change in perspective.
Beyond the standard issue tent and sleeping bag, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to packing for a festival. Some of you may go heavy on the toiletries and others on the food. There are some things, like portable speakers, which just one person in the group needs to bring. But before you start thinking about the luxuries, make sure the essentials are accounted for.
Yes, you will have to go to the toilet at a festival. Holding it in won't do you - or anyone around you - any favours. So when you do at some point make your way to the portaloo, make sure you carry one of these when you get there. There may not be a roll provided and even if there is, it’s usually bargain basement. Take a little slice of home with you and pack some of the super soft stuff. You’ll also be able to mop up all manner of spills and bodily fluids that may be adorning the walls of your tent by the end of the weekend.
Unless you literally have buns of steel, taking a portable chair with you is essential. Popping a squat on the ground is alright for a little while but not when you’re sitting around the campsite for ages waiting for your mates to get ready. And if it comes with a cup holder then having your beverage knocked over will be a thing of the past. If you’re allowed to bring chairs into the arena, you can even sit away from the sweaty throng surrounding the main stage if you want, and pretend you’re a little bit more civilised than everyone else there.
Once the sun sets you’ll never be able to find anything in your tent without a light source, and if you’ve got a smartphone you’ll be wanting to conserve its battery as much as possible. Take a small portable or wind-up one and you’ll be set for the weekend. It’ll also come in handy if you get lost in a sea of tents on your return from the burger van and need to find your way back to camp.
Your body goes through a lot during a festival, so the least you can do is prevent it from being burnt as well. No-one wants to spend those few precious days peeling their skin off in the shade, so make sure you know what SPF to bring. Once you’ve got that figured out, consider taking spray instead of cream: it’s easier to apply and won’t make as much mess.
A pair of Catseye Diffraction Glasses
A beautiful array of of bright colours, costumes, and lightshows, there are few better places to use these at than a festival. Much more than a means of hiding your bloodshot eyes in the morning, Catseyes change the way you see the world, so they’re a great way to make friends as well. Get someone to try them on and their jaw is guaranteed to drop. Because why wouldn’t you want rainbows dancing on your eyeballs?
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