Wasted Spaces. Happy faces.

25 03 2010

As the most ethnically diverse borough in London, Brent does a pretty good job of bringing people together.

In the past they’ve paired up with Wasted Spaces, an artists’  organisation that uses unused and decaying spaces to promote artists’ work and to give local communities a little something to smile about too.

From The Smile Project by Wasted Spaces

Now I reckon Brent is one of the few London boroughs who sometimes actually get it right.

Some may disagree, but I think they’re good at creating a unified and equal community that celebrates the many many diverse backgrounds that make up its colourful (if not quirky) identity.

The latest project in partnership with Wasted Spaces is a photography competition called Impressions of Brent. It’s a fairly simple idea: local residents just have to take pictures from their mobile phones that capture the spirit of their local community.

The best photos will be picked and displayed as part of an exhibition at the Ealing Road Library. Oh, and the very best photographer could win a digital camera worth £200. But to be immortalised at Ealing Road Library is surely priceless!

I think this is a excellent way for residents to really take a look at their local space and see something special in the every-day. Despite my lighthearted grumbles (not to mention my amusement at the recent launch of the only Paan-spitting campaign in the country),  I’m often quite intrigued by the constantly changing face of my local community. It’s interesting how not only people (or peoples?) change and readjust, but how the landscape, the streets, the shopfronts, all evolve with that.

I’ll be bringing out my phone and taking a few snaps to send in, and if you’re a Brent local, maybe you’d like to do the same!

To enter the competition, you just have to send the picture in a message with the word SPACES to 07843500911. The deadline is Saturday 10 April.  The exhibition at Ealing Road Library will be on display until 24 April.

Keep in mind, it’ll cost 25p on top of your standard network MMS charge.

All my fellow Brent locals might like to follow them on Twitter here.
Wasted Spaces are on twitter too. Tweet ’em here and say hello!

(A big thank you to my sister Bhavini for coming up with the lovely title of this post!)

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ASOS + SOKO =

3 02 2010

I’ve been naughty and not posted for a while. My sincerest apologies!

To start the new month, I have an update from the world of every woman’s guilty pleasure – ASOS.

In the most recent issue of ASOS Magazine that popped through my letterbox, I spotted this page:

(click on the image to go straight to the interactive online ASOS magazine)

ASOS have teamed up with SOKO Kenya to create ASOS Africa, bringing the bold prints and unique designs of Kenya straight to our wardrobes. Importantly, this partnership highlights an endeavour on ASOS’s part to “help create a sustainable solution to unemployment with ethically traded and environmentally aware fashion”.

Now, I must admit, I am a bit sceptical. ASOS in its ultimate popularity could possibly skew the message and the authenticity of the Kenyan-inspired fashion just for a bit of commercial gain and sellability. It’s all too easy for the big dogs to drop buzzwords like “sustainably sourced”, “ethically traded” and “envrionmentally aware” to stay in the good books of an increasingly conscious buying audience without actually following through.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m not a massive fashionista but it would definitely be amazing to see genuine ethnic inspiration coming through in future trends.

ASOS Africa will be launched mid-February as part of The Green Room, a new section in ASOS specifically set up for the promotion of products that are people and planet-friendly.

Read more about the grassroots nature and goals of the SOKO  project on their website here.