Brand Aid: MTV Voices Pop Up 
Find out how Mitchell got on at the presenting workshop in Amsterdam.
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When MTV Voices presented their own Pop-Up at the very hip club Trouw in Amsterdam, I woke up at 5AM to take the first train to Amsterdam to get an exclusive behind the scenes look at MTV. It’s so rare that such a well-known brand like MTV gives their audience a chance like this. I was really excited, but also nervous, because I didn’t know what to expect from a company I’ve been watching for such a long time on TV. 
The day started with a hosting workshop from MTV hosts Becca Dudley (MTV UK) and Barbera Karel (MTV NL). They gave me personal feedback on a video of me presenting MTV News, which I brought along with me on my iPad. They said I appeared very natural and they could tell I genuinely love presenting. It’s so crazy for me to realize that the presenters I know from TV are now sitting next to me on a couch, giving me one-on-one feedback, having a laugh with me and telling me fun anecdotes about their careers.
Then we got paired up and we got the chance to host MTV News with a professional crew recording everything. This was the real deal. After each take, we got tips and the takes kept getting better and better. Every time we recorded another take, I could immediately use the feedback I got and this really boosted my presenting skills. The tips and tricks I got were very valuable to me, because I’m very passionate about presenting. I got a lot of on screen hosting experience that day and it was an amazing experience for me, because that’s something I always wanted to try out. 
Another highlight for me that day was the speech of Kerry Taylor, the Senior VP at Viacom. I loved hearing first-hand the story about her career. It was nice that she told us about making mistakes, crying on the toilet and then putting yourself back together to be the best you. These kinds of stories made it very relatable to me. At the Q&A after, I got to ask her some questions about keeping the brand fresh and exciting and also about how MTV stays in contact with their audience. It was so cool to hear her talk about these subjects that I, as a business student, currently only learn about in textbooks.   
At the Pop-Up I met so many cool people from MTV and I’m so happy I went because it was really worth my time! Personally, I think it’s great that MTV gave young people like me, the opportunity to gain skills and experience. From the personal feedback on my hosting skills, to the inspiring speeches from Kerry Taylor and RJ Mitte, it makes me feel like MTV really cares about us, their audience. I really love that MTV organised this Pop-Up because it gave me the opportunity get skills that I know are going to help me in the future. I hope more companies will follow MTV’s lead and give young people inspiration to follow their dreams!
Thanks MTV!
Mitchell Mungroop, 21, Professional violinist/aspiring presenter 

Check out why this is important for brands here
Check out the MTV Voices website here

Brand Aid: MTV Voices Pop Up

Find out how Mitchell got on at the presenting workshop in Amsterdam.

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Brand Aid: a helping hand, not a hand-out

Recession really sucks. Help us get ahead.

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MTV Music Week & 2013 EMA

Stories Matter: find out about what we got up to in Amsterdam last month, and why it should matter to brands…

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Cinema Concerts: can live survive the distance?
Can live stream concerts be as good as the real thing? Our blogger Hannah finds out at the Keane live event in London…
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Many musical artists and performances such as ballets and operas have been shown performing prerecorded in cinemas all over the world for years. However, Musicscreen is unique in the UK in that they stream live performances to cinemas worldwide as they are happening. The most recent show was by Keane performing their ‘Best of’ album live from the Goya Theatre in Berlin on November 6th. This show was streamed to over 450 venues worldwide, many of which sold out.
The performance by the band and the technical team was superb, with a beautiful venue and a small, personal gathering of a few hundred. We viewed the show from cinema seats in Central London. The audience in our theatre was relatively calm, obviously not sure what to expect, but as the show began with a prerecorded interview with the band, the clapping and cheering began. It seems that some of the effect of the crowd on the screen was reaching those around us. However, the atmosphere remained reasonably subdued throughout the entire show, albeit with half the theatre singing and cheering along with the audience in the venue for a few of the songs.
Whilst this description may sound slightly underwhelming, that was one of hundreds of theatres. There are masses of photos and videos online from other theatres worldwide including Argentina and Monterrey, with completely packed out venues, audiences on their feet, singing along to the screen. Some can even be seen with their own banners similar to those waved by fans in the live venue. It is clear that these fans felt the same effect as those in the Berlin venue. It is arguable that the technical side of the production gets in the way of the cinema audience getting the full effect of a live show; not all of the senses are engaged as they would be with an artists performing in the same room. However, when that artist is on the other side of the world it seems to be more than satisfactory as a compromise.
 Whilst the experience in our cinema screen in London was excellent, if slightly subdued, this should not be taken as a general reaction to streaming live performances. What I think can be learned from this example is that the pros are cons of streaming live are the same as any live venue – so long as you can get a full audience of fans that are excited to be there, they are the ones that create the effect of really being ‘present’.

Hannah Andrews, 23, London
Game Design Graduate/Artist/Sales Assistant.

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Cinema Concerts: can live survive the distance?

Can live stream concerts be as good as the real thing? Our blogger Hannah finds out at the Keane live event in London…

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The Re-Rise of Branded Clothing?
“IT’S BACK!! The 90s are once again in full swing on the catwalks that are the streets of London. Whether it’s those daring, Gwen Stefani-esque crop-tops for the ladies, or the casual denim jackets and exuberant print shirts for the guys…its everywhere”
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IT’S BACK!! The 90s are once again in full swing on the catwalks that are the streets of London. Whether it’s those daring, Gwen Stefani-esque crop-tops for the ladies, or the casual denim jackets and exuberant print shirts for the guys. I’ve seen a great re-emergence of this extravagant bold-printed era. However, there have been quite a few casualties along the way. To my great surprise, I seem to be the only modern-day wearer of the Kangol-style bucket hat, famously worn by LL Cool J. It seems that although the ladies loved cool James when he donned this masterpiece, such affection isn’t reciprocated when I attempt to roll back the years.
 But speaking of Kangol…there have been murmurings within the fashion world that the brash, bold, big logo-style of the 90s has returned to the fore. Is this really the case?
In the luxury department, last month’s New York and London Fashion Week saw a barrage of big names, such as Alexander Wang and DKNY, proudly reassert their brand logos on every dress, skirt and glove in sight. This was a real contrast to the more minimalistic and discreet approach taken by luxury labels, such as Gucci, in the throes of the world recession. In 2010, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of PPR, which owns Gucci claimed “Our groups are moving toward fewer logos, more discreet luxury… a luxury which is more subtle, more sophisticated”. This approach was representative of more frugal times within our economy, but as we experience an ‘economic recovery’, it seems as though the designers at last month’s Fashion Weeks’ are encouraging their consumers to take a more braggadocios, ‘flaunt-it-if-you’ve-got-it’ attitude in their fashion.
For those who prefer (or like me, are forced out of circumstance to purchase) mid-budget clothing lines, you’ll find that this more ‘extroverted approach’ has proved to be infectious. With t-shirts, caps and sweaters littered by logos such as Obey, G-Star and the ever-present Adidas and Nike. Whilst the sports trainer/sneakers market will forever always be dictated by the brand logo, the canvas shoe industry seems to be engaging in a period of indifference. With the re-emergence of the 90s ‘preppy-look’, there seems to be a bigger focus on the manufacturer of the items worn above your ankles. Whether the sole of your shoes say Topman or Vans, it doesn’t seem to matter as long as you look the part on the day.
By Tommy Rufai, 19, London.
Economics Student/ Entrepreneur

The Re-Rise of Branded Clothing?

“IT’S BACK!! The 90s are once again in full swing on the catwalks that are the streets of London. Whether it’s those daring, Gwen Stefani-esque crop-tops for the ladies, or the casual denim jackets and exuberant print shirts for the guys…its everywhere”

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Fashion & Music: Asian street fashion
“Fashion in Asia is evolving as a result of access to ideas and wealth”
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Most people agree that football is a universal language that crosses boundaries and brings the world together. Fashion can also be considered just as influential a force. If football is about unity and uniformity, then fashion is about celebrating diversity whilst mixing geographical and gender influences. This is especially apparent when observing Asian street fashion styles.
There are two main triggers as to why Asian street fashion is evolving as quickly as it is: access to ideas and access to wealth.
Access to ideas through new cultural icons and new forms of expression are closely associated with the Internet. One example of this is the trickle-down effect that affects mainstream culture through the influence of local celebrities. Jay Chou brings in a lot of R&B and hip-hop influences into the sound and fashion shown in his music videos, and this passes on fashion trends from the global hip-hop and skater scene that are external to Asia. Then there is the rise of Asian street fashion photography blogs that provide a sharing experience from one Asian country to another. There is a rapid and explosive morphing of street fashion styles as people learn, unlearn and relearn the countless street style variations as consumed through the Internet.
Access to wealth is also trigger for new subcultures in the region as well. It seems to be that as a country’s economy progresses; the people in the country have an increase in purchase power and can hence look to foreign influences and styles. This has resulted in the blurring of lines as to what was previously accepted as male fashion and female fashion. One example is Commes des Garcons drop-crotch pants that look like a hybrid between a skirt and a pair of trousers. Both male and female trendsetters adopted that article of clothing into their wardrobe when it was first introduced.
Fashion design is in a way an agent of change. Who is East and who is West has always been a case of relativity. As the Superpowers in today’s world shift, fashion is one of the first mediums to mash East and West and we may have to come up with new terms to comprehend the modern visual language. This fusion of fashion components from East and West is very much a trial and error process and it is exciting to be living in times where styles take on new definitions.
By Jacqueline Chang   High-res

Fashion & Music: Asian street fashion

“Fashion in Asia is evolving as a result of access to ideas and wealth”

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Fashion & Music: unique is chic
“What does todays fashion consumer look like?”
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Be Viacom undertook an in-depth research study to understand the needs, attitudes and behaviours of Millennials in the area of style/fashion. We’ve come up with three typologies which represent these consumers…
Style helicopters are a niche group standing above the mainstream with an independent, discerning and intellectual approach to fashion that is based on real knowledge and personal cachet.
Super consumers represent a larger segment and are focused on being in the know and connected with the style and fashion scene. They are social connectors and use obtained knowledge as social currency to stay ahead of the mainstream. Super consumers are the ones who will re-Tweet!
Mainstream absorbers are interested in fashion but it’s not their main focus. They absorb and receive fashion information, they look to others for inspiration, they desire guidance and are developing their own style.
What’s interesting is that each segment is partly defined by the assertion that they try to have their own style.
The current fashion consumer is style savvy, creative and has eclectic tastes…
•78% agree ‘I mix and match different styles’
•2 in 3 are inspired as much by the past as the present/future
•65% describe themselves as creative
Influence is diverse…
•2 in 3 say street style is a key source of inspiration
•56% turn to friends for advice
•57% are inspired by brand websites
•6 in 10 are inspired by music artists
•62% say their fashion choices are inspired by other cities they visit
Consumers are active…
•Clothes are the #1 priority spend for young people (ahead of tech gadgets, travel, music)
•2 in 3 agree they do a lot of shopping online as well as in stores
•1 in 3 say fashion shopping is a weekly habit
Unique is chic…
•2 in 3 like to stand out from the crowd
•9 in 10 agree ‘I try to have my own style’
Fashion is all about individuality and most young people want to experiment, they want to be seen as fashionable, they want to get noticed… but all within the confines of what’s accepted. Unique is chic.
By Lisa Cowie, Senior Insight Manager at Beviacom   High-res

Fashion & Music: unique is chic

“What does todays fashion consumer look like?”

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Fashion & Music: music showcases fashion trends
“Music videos are a representation of the last thirty years in fashion”
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Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (1975) is regarded by many as the first ever proper music video. 37 years later videos have become ingrained into the fabric of music and they represent style as much as the song.
Music videos were revolutionised in the ’80s, especially with the advent of MTV during this decade. Subsequently, musicians also became entertainers. Fading were the days of musicians just standing still, singing and playing a musical instrument. Dress sense, behaviour and sensuality all became implicitly important.
Madonna became renowned for pushing boundaries and represents one of the first artists to showcase her evolving fashion style through music videos.
’80s hip-hop, meanwhile, is remembered with a sense of nostalgia and a time when fashion exploded. Adidas trainers were in, so were tracksuits and bomber jackets. It wasn’t until the mid-to late ’90s, however, that the ‘bling’ culture was made popular. More recently, rappers Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa have popularised fully-tattooed bodies.
The ’90s also saw artists dress colourfully (Missy Elliott: The Rain; Blur: Parklife and Will Smith: ‘Gettin’ Jiggy wit it,’ to name a few); backward caps were also a huge trend, with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Will Smith typifying this. But Air Jordans were the greatest trend of the decade. Indie male bands since the nineties and into the new millenium have also made their own respective fashion statements. ‘Band style’ has become a trend in its own right with the likes of Oasis and Blur in the beginning and more recently The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian.
Nowadays, there seems to be a trend in returning to the past with retro fashion. Described as a “gangsta Nancy Sinatra”, Lana Del Ray is symbolic of this. Other artists are champions of 80s fashion, but many are adopting an eclectic style pulling in influences from different eras.
Since the new millennium boundaries have continued to be pushed and that seems to be a focus for many artists. Rihanna, arguably the world’s biggest pop star, has become synonymous with her risque style. Lady Gaga, similarly, has provided the shock factor in her music videos, with constant consume changes, bondage and sadomasochism.
So why is it that music videos have always tried to push boundaries? Neuroscientist Lawrence Parsons says: “It’s capitalism. The capitalist system wants the product to be talked about and this happens when there is something new or outrageous. Rihanna and Lady Gaga are good musicians, but to be talked about, they have to do things that demand attention”.
”What will the future of music videos be? It’s exciting to see what will come next.
By Omar Shahid

Fashion & Music: music showcases fashion trends

“Music videos are a representation of the last thirty years in fashion”

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Fashion & Music: hip-hop’s fifth element
“The most important sneakers in hip-hop history”
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In Hip-Hop culture a necessary part of the uniform is sneakers. More than just the leather, mesh and rubber of which they are comprised, the sneaker is seen as a representation of your style and status and can solidify your relevance and rating. Over the years many other elements of Hip-Hop may have changed or diminished in importance but the love and respect for the right pair of fresh kicks has never. Why? Perhaps it’s because sneakers have and always will be a consumable aesthetic and representation of the culture and its values. Here is a breakdown of arguably the three most important sneakers of choice in Hip-Hop history.
Adidas Superstars
When Run-DMC proclaimed that it was all about ‘My Adidas’ legions of fans and aspiring artists took that to heart by incorporating Adidas Superstars into the prerequisite section in their wardrobes. As legend has it the execs at Adidas didn’t believe that a Hip-Hop song and Hip-Hop in general could have such a big financial benefit, until one evening at a sold-out Run DMC concert in Madison Square Garden. Tens of thousands of multi-cultural youth all held up their fresh Adidas as directed to by Run. Point proved! To this day, if you are a true Hip-Hop head, you’ll have at least one pair of Superstars.
Nike Air Force 1
When the Nike Air Force 1 shoe dropped it took a minute to become a favourite of the Hip-Hop community. It had to trickle from the basketball courts to the street corners before becoming a staple of Hip-Hop style. Now, nearly three decades later, the shoe, despite maintaining the same original shape and design, is still a favourite. The various colour and textile options and ability to customise meant that it reflected Hip-Hop’s key values of self-expression and variation. However the number one version of the AF1 may still be the mid white on white, just ask Nelly.
Nike Air Jordan 1
In 1985 Michael Jordan entered the NBA, quickly catching the attention of America’s youth with his above the rim style, not to mention his blazing red and black Air Jordan 1′s. Young people weren’t the only ones who noticed; the suits of the NBA took offence to the flash footwear, actually fining MJ every time he wore them in order to make him stop. MJ chose to keep ‘repping’ in spite of this. His defiance struck a chord with the Hip-Hop community and youth, who saw MJ and the AJ1 as a representation of their fight for expression, as well as their challenge against oppression. The AJ1s will forever hold a special relationship with the Hip-Hop community. Therefore it wasn’t a shock when the retro versions dropped in 2011 and flew off the shelves as if it was 1985 all over again.
Honourable mentions: Converse, Reebok Pump, Reebok S.Carters, Nike Air Yeezy, and Reebok Freestyle.
By Yaw Owusu   High-res

Fashion & Music: hip-hop’s fifth element

“The most important sneakers in hip-hop history”

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Fashion & Music: global inspiration
“Travel is intrinsically linked to personal style ad fashion choices”
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Cultures of cities echo through my fashion choices…
The world and fashion have two things in common; they are both in a constant state of change and they influence each other simultaneously.
This is reflected at a personal level in terms of my style. Global experiences play a very instrumental role in inspiring my clothing choices. I have been fortunate enough to travel to a number of great cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and Paris. The culture of each city echoes through my fashion choices. This is in order to tell a story and enhance my individuality. For instance, the retro sunglasses I may wear with a Hawaiian print t-shirt on Monday will emanate the vibe of an LA urbanite that enjoys skateboarding. Global influences have bolstered the different facets of my individuality.
Travel has made a lot of important contributions to my personal development. Fashion has and still is one of the channels I use to reinvent myself. For instance, I used to wear clothes that were twice my size but my visit to Paris drastically influenced me to include some elegance into my outfit ensembles. This was done through selecting the right cuts that complemented my body shape. Through being open to learning about different cultures and trends I allowed my style to be moulded. I think I will need a bigger wardrobe.
By Joshua Okungbaiye   High-res

Fashion & Music: global inspiration

“Travel is intrinsically linked to personal style ad fashion choices”

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Fashion & Music: connection through authenticity
“’Home-grown fashion appeals with the help of social media”
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It seems as though the shine has begun to wear off reality talent shows. Genuine music fans long for something more authentic and organic. New eras make way for new trends.
The home-grown era
The biggest influencers in music are the ones who are not afraid to promote their individuality and develop their own sense of style. It has to seem authentic, real and distinctive.
Take Lady Gaga for instance, she took the world by storm with her catchy dance tunes and her outlandish outfits. She was the first global music artist of the noughties who fused high fashion with the dark side of dance music.
Soon after Gaga, came Hip Hop’s musical equivalent; in the form of Nicki Minaj. She made waves through the hip-hop scene with her fantastical Barbie personas, fused with raw rap lyrics. In the last few years, she has crossed over to mainstream pop, re-inventing the way female rap artists are portrayed by mainstream media.
Then comes Jessie J; a seemingly self-made, self-styled songstress, with a unique sense of fashion and a raw sense of honestly. Despite her immense vocal ability and eclectic fashion sense, she still has a girl-next-door quality, which most girls can relate to.
These artists have managed to carve style leader statuses, enabling them to become brands in their own right. They appeal to the mass audience because they’ve found innovative ways to connect with their fans with authentic style.
The Importance of Social Media
Social media creates new ways of being inspired. It’s a place for people to discuss, connect and gain access to a piece of the artist’s world. Social media is instant and crosses boundaries with the click of a button, enabling anyone to access style from around the world.
As a music fan, I find that I am more likely to connect with my favourite artists on Twitter, because they actually share their style tips through their tweets.
For instance, Jessie J often presents her latest fashion outfits, while she gets ready for a gig, or a casual day out using Instagram photos. I love finding out why she has picked a certain outfit on a particular day and hearing her personal account on what style items work best for her. The Twitter interaction makes her seem more real and I connect with her as a person – rather than just a famous singer. By viewing her Twitter page, I am more likely to gain direct access to her personal style and witness her image development first hand.
By LiLi Julian   High-res

Fashion & Music: connection through authenticity

“’Home-grown fashion appeals with the help of social media”

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Fashion and Music: celebrity endorsement
“You get to see more of who they are as a fashion icon”
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Watch any style or beauty advert and you’re likely to see a celebrity, often a musician, as the face of the commercial. Jennifer Lopez promotes Gillette Venus hair removal products, Nicole Scherzinger promotes imPRESS Press-on Manicure fake nails, Katy Perry promotes Proactiv skin care, and Cheryl Cole promotes L’Oréal hair dye. I could go on…
There’s no denying that this celebrity endorsement is effective; having a well-recognised face on the front of a product is certainly one of the best ways to connect to the audience and appeal to a broader market. You get a look into the style of the artist and can see more of who they are as a fashion icon.
It’s not only through music videos that artists can now promote their style. More recently musicians are starting to sell their own brands as well, from Beyoncé advertising her latest perfume to Cheryl Cole’s shoe collection at Stylist Pick.
 People like me (female in early 20s living in UK) are attracted to celebrity products but we’re also savvy to the industry of endorsement. This quote from my peer says it all…
“I love all things celebrity, and am particularly drawn to celebrity perfumes. The name of the celebrity puts a confidence in me that the product won’t be of poor quality, but I am also very aware that they have nothing to do with the process when it comes to any of their products”.
Another peer of mine is totally influenced by products they see on celebs… “If the product looks nice on the celebrity then I’m more likely to buy it.”
So what is the impact of celebrity fronted products? Fans hold the celebrity accountable for the quality of that product and it can be very damaging for them if the product is then reported to be poor. Celebrities also need to think very carefully about which brands/products they endorse, as well as ensure the quality of their ‘own’ designs and ranges.
That said… From the dress that Lana Del Rey wore in the recent H&M advert to Gwen Stefani’s lipstick, if we like what we see, we will buy it.
By Charlie Derry

Fashion and Music: celebrity endorsement

“You get to see more of who they are as a fashion icon”

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Fashion & Music: freedom of expression
“Women are making a positive fashion statement with their bodies”
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Flesh-flaunting female celebrities can be viewed as either empowered or undignified. Whether we see thigh skimming shorts and nipple cresting tops as offensive, or not, we cannot deny that it works to sell records and tours. This infers that the women out there, unlike the political commentators who condemn this kind of appearance, are welcoming the opportunity to celebrate their bodies. The confidence these artists exude when performing insinuates that they are celebratory of their sexuality and turn this into a style of their own.
There was the controversy over the filming of Rihanna’s music video “we found love” on a farm in Ulster. She was ordered to cover up by a Christian farmer who took offense to her “inappropriate behaviour” while filming the video on his land. Despite the video attracting criticism from dogmatic reporters, who questioned its suggestive sexual nature, fans were not deterred and the sexy shoot helped the singer secure her eleventh number one single. Female music artists are tactically dressing to shock and gain attention.
Popular culture reporters are often quick to say that the hyper sexualised image of music celebrities degrades women and threatens the innocence of children. Surely it’s better to teach young people to love their bodies rather than hide from them. Rihanna and Beyoncé are both women who have real thighs and real bums but wear shorts that expose their natural bodies, so could this be conceived as a more modern and honest approach to role modelling?
It’s hard to deny the stimulation that the fashion industry has received because of the surge in popularity for female musicians. The current trend is all about being edgy and pushing boundaries, this has helped many items like crop tops and hot pants see their revival in magazines and on the high street.
For artists it may be about marketing their music and self-image, however, for young girls it’s about freedom of expression and fashion. One of the important lessons these celebrities can teach young females is to realise that we have the right to feel safe and confident whilst retaining the ability to wear whatever we want.
By Freya Bromley   High-res

Fashion & Music: freedom of expression

“Women are making a positive fashion statement with their bodies”

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Who I Am: inspiration in a recession
“Finding inspiration within a difficult economic context in Southern Europe”
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While I was tiding up my bedroom an old piece of school work written when I was 6 years old fell in my hands. TITLE: “Who inspires you?” OMG, what a difficult question to answer… So who is inspiring Italian youth? I try to answer the old question again but from a more mature perspective, at least I hope so!
I think we could find two main sources of inspiration: the global and the local one.
In this difficult period dominated by unemployment and uncertainties, young Italians have to face a very difficult situation. Finding a job is harder than finding an oasis in the desert, and future perspectives are not so good. A large number of my friends have found a way to overcome this situation – they are leaving to work abroad. The most interesting thing is that there is no fear of living in another country because we are very open-minded people.
On the other hand, those who decide to stay find hope and motivation to go on and strive to achieve goals. That is the reason why the spectrum of inspiration becomes wider and wider, reaching countries far from Bel Paese. The willingness to build a better world has a leading role in selecting icons. People like Steve Jobs have shown the importance of focusing on creativity and personal intuitions to reach great objectives, without giving up at the first obstacle. After all, he was the father of “Stay hungry, stay foolish” motto….In a country dominated by uncertainty there is no better thought: always push yourself and never be satisfied.
Besides ‘self-made men’ who create their fantastic careers from nothing, we have also experienced philanthropists fighting globally to set a more equal world. Worldwide problems like wars, global hunger and diseases affect young people more than you think. For that reason people acting globally to fight against these issues and to establish minimum rights in every country of the world are so influential for young Italians. The lesson provided by people like Aung San Suu Kyi or those involved in peace keeping and peace building is stronger than ever, since we are conscious that we are part of the wider world.
Day by day reality helps us to find more ‘reachable’ inspirational people. Friends and families are seen as important figures in shaping our personality. Global ideas and icons can be calibrated according to the closest circle of knowledge; we can turn the world into a better place to live, but firstly we have to know ourselves and our supporters, i.e. our friends and family.
Stefano Pirotta; aged 28; Italy   High-res

Who I Am: inspiration in a recession

“Finding inspiration within a difficult economic context in Southern Europe”

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Who I Am: growing up in SE Asia
“Family ‘happens’ before friends then shapes future relationships”
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“A man is known by the books he reads, by the company he keeps, by the praise he gives, by his dress, by his tastes, by his distastes, by the stories he tells, by his gait, by the notion of his eye, by the look of his house, of his chamber; for nothing on earth is solitary but everything hath affinities infinite.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
When I read the quote above, it resonated deeply in my heart. However, if I had to distil my sense of self down to a single factor, I would say the relationships I’ve acquired, sustained or lost over my lifetime have had the largest impact. By deciding on the sort of relationships I am engaged in, I am indirectly making an inherent choice on the sort of person I want to be. I will talk about this in the context of Southeast Asian cultural nuances.
‘Family’ happens before ‘friends’ and thus the family environment you are born into affects the type of friends you keep in the future. There is a relatively larger emphasis placed on family obligations and filial piety in this part of the world and it often translates into a pressure to perform to societal standards to avoid being a disgrace to the family, eg: in terms of academic grades. Growing up in such a family environment results in the easily influenced minds of young people to either judge their friends in the same manner or to seek friends who offer release from those pressures.
However, there are also families who approach love in a different manner, teaching their youths to prioritise strength of character over accolades, career, wealth and material possessions and this in turn affects their friendships. Although there is a lot of pressure on young people in Southeast Asia, having the right relationships to build you up will make sure the pressure doesn’t tear you down.
By Jacqueline Chang, 26, Singapore   High-res

Who I Am: growing up in SE Asia

“Family ‘happens’ before friends then shapes future relationships”

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