Three years ago in an empty apartment in King’s Cross I was in a depressed state. I just had the worst experience of my life living with a flatmate. I was skimming through Teen Vogue (technically I was coming of teen then) and read an excerpt on a lean, awkward-looking fashion blogger, Susie Bubble. At that time I was working with fashion designerextraordinaire Liza Bruce and her husband Nicholas Alvis Vega in Knightsbridge, where I was getting my first taste of and learning the ropes of the fashion industry. I was being exposed to style, fabrics and decor from Morocco and Italy. I was also hoarding fashion magazines like cake.
At the press of a keyboard button, I was transported into Susie’s world of DIY fabrics, collaged moodboards, obsessing over her daily activity of playing dress up and photoshopping herself unto Vogue backgrounds. To put it mildly, I was entranced. To understand how I came to be in the realm of blogging I have to take you through a past state of mind. In that King’s Cross flat I was confused about my life more than ever. I was studying Interior Design and I loathed it. It must have been the rulers and tractors or the evil tutors who thrust criticism my way at every corner; whatever it was, the atmosphere just wasn’t for me. To vent out my frustration, I started exploring the city of London which became like my playground. I went to every gallery, exhibition and talk given by a creative person desperately trying to find a way out of my situation.
I must have been out every night dragging the odd friend with me to meet illustrators, art curators, and young entrepreneurs, capturing everything with my digi-cam but then having no space to showcase what I’ve seen.
At that same time, Style Bubble came into my life and it just seemed to fit. Here was this girl in digital media, blogging about fashion 3 times a day.
Her level of commitment, consistency, and constant pushing of the envelope by trying new things in each blog post blew me away. She made it look so easy knocking out one personal blog post out after the other. She managed to relate fashion to her childhood, her work, her life in the city, and current issues, which made me in turn, relate to her and reflect on my life.
After following Susie Bubble with no fail for 3 years, I finally launched my own blog-Fashion Ambitions. In my very first post, I wrote about my quest to find myself, my likes, my dislikes. I always aimed to treat the blog as my experiential playground, showcasing my daily life in the city. I dabbled in fashion news and updates, interviewed my idols in magazine publishing, did some street style photos, and captured behind the scenes of fashion shoots I helped to assist in.
Along with my blog, I was also interning with different establishments in fashion, working with London Fashion Week catwalk organizers, assisting various stylists on fashion shoot locations, and becoming a personal assistant to designers. What I discovered in this period was a few things: 1.The blog had become the most consistent thing I have done in my life and pretty much acts as a backbone to my work structure where I must continue to archive my experiences as a city girl who has a passion for design and art; 2. I did not want to be a stylist; and 3. I was head over heels, madly in love and insanely obsessed with print publications.
It became a habit way out of my control. I bought them everywhere, always clutched them against my chest as I strolled home to have tea and flip the pages one after the other with some soft ballad in the background.
A year ago I started to mastermind a print publication in fashion, art and culture called Sketchbook. Sketchbook was conceived as a magazine aimed at exploring and reporting on the behind-the-scenes of these industries. My love and craving for the process, the moodboards of inspiration and the general trinkets that go by us everyday without a notice, but could create an entire collection of structured jackets a la Balmain, or a series of Romanesque ceramic bowls in the shape of body parts a la Ioli Sifakiki. It was not just about the product itself anymore, but also about the beauty of the process of conceptualizing it, creating it and appreciating the means to an end.
With Sketchbook, we also wanted to open up the doors to what previously seemed untouchable and unknown to an outsider in fashion, art or design. Sketchbook, as its name suggests, is a page in the notepad of a journalist, a music sheet from a violinist’s
music book, a sketch from an artist’s drawing pad or a piece of cloth from a fashion designer’s studio.
It is a collection of inspirational, coveted and precious items, which to some may not mean much, but to the designer, the upcoming series of designs, and to those who see potential in such. Sketchbook’s aim is to provide an entrance into the minds of creatives and inspire those who wish to be part of such an exquisite industry.
It seems like just yesterday that I was having coffee with Luma Bashmi, the features editor of the magazine, in Patisserie Valerie on King’s Road as we discussed the mood and feel of the magazine, bringing it to life.
There are over 100 people involved in the first issue. This issue would not have been possible without Richard Wilding, web genius and the creative consultant of the magazine. His studio, which I nicknamed the design spa, has been a heavenly place to attend. He might not know this but he really is a mentor to me, the tutor I never had at university. I absolutely cherish our time together at the design spa, pouring over his precious collected papers and found objects discussing quality of publications. I also need to thank the logo designer Charlotte Nicod for bringing the brand to life and by giving it a signature look; she
really understood and brought my vision to life.
Alberto Newton our photographer has been a treasure, he was always available to shoot our stories and am glad to have his credits for both the Fred Butler and Bompas and Parr story.
Our astounding cover would not be possible without having John Paul Thurlow on board He is extremely talented and we would love to continue working with him. Kristin Knox our fashion editor is juggling a million projects and book deals but still had time to get involved with our publication, despite finishing her MA from Oxford University and travelling to
Sardinia at the same time.
Luma Bashmi, the features editor of this publication deserves a paragraph on her own. Luma, thank you so much for being my backbone, and for your ongoing patient support. Luma single handedly oversees the quality of all the features and lands us the large features. Sketchbook would not be possible without you. I am forever grateful to have you as part of the Sketchbook family and I hope 12 issues down the line we are still as positive and creative as we are today.
I will not be able to escape unscathed without thanking my dear mother, who supports me and my ludicrous projects. There are 4 more projects coming your way and it’s all thanks to this woman.
Lastly, I know Susie has heard this a million times before but in case you want to hear it again, you have influenced my choice of career and opened my eyes to a whole new world. I really do believe I am doing what I love to do because of you and your blog. I am honored to have you in the first issue of my magazine. I cannot wait for the day where I can buy your own magazine from the shelf.
The support system of an international body of writers, designers and photographers made it possible for us to express our ideas and produce a great volume of work.
Enjoy the first issue of Sketchbook, look out for our next issue—The London Fashion Week Issue—and thanks for being part of the SB family.