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creative direction & photography
Shini Park
created for
Tu at Sainsbury’s
model JOLINA PEPPINA (WILD LONDON MODELS) production PARK & CUBE stylist SIMON SCHMIDT assistant ZANA WILBERFORCE
Embroidered dress – Tu.

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Ladder-lace top – Tu.

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Behind every Women of Substance there is a wide-eyed girl, pivoting shyly on the heels of her muddy sneakers, cumbersomely picking at Sophie’s World curiosities in her mind while entertaining a rudimentary to-do list that will eventually keep her occupied for, what, the next few decades. I know this, because my mother is perhaps the strongest woman I know, and my absurd certainty on feminism (and surprising indifference to the general cause*) and wild pragmatism is to attest to years of nipping at her feet.

It doesn’t even cross me to think that a man could do what I do better. Or worse, for that matter.

When the Sainsbury’s Tu x Graduate Fashion Week samples arrived at the office for consideration there was no question that the collection was the uniform of girl with messy hair, that rolls her eyes at Dorito-coloured fart balloons and sighs at the ‘state of the world’, who eventually grows up to lead – a nation or a household full of mongrels in a foreign land. Whichever she damn wishes.

*I’ll come back to this later. **
** Will I, though? I haven’t yet had a chance to voice this out in a manner that justifies my existence as a female adult, supposedly strong and also representative of some social niche given the boxes I tick (Interracial marriage, immigrant, born of world’s top five patriarchal nations, blogger-cum-not…etc) But if my upbringing taught anything about actions and words, I won’t be wearing no wordy Dior t-shirts anytime soon until my actions prove it so. What I will eventually want to address though, is feminism based on merit over preferential treatment. So, back to *.

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dungarees & top TU heels CHARLES & KEITH
Boiler suit – Tu. Earrings – Cadenzza.

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Above: Embroidered dress SAINSBURY’S TU sunglasses REJINA PYO. Below: top & culottes SAINSBURY’S TU
slippers DEL RIO carpet LRNCE

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Created for
Sainsbury’s Tu

From single-handedly sustaining the pot-noodle industry to eating said noodles daily with chopsticks made of Windsor & Newton watercolour brushes (numbers 00 and 0 are best for grip and precision) on account of leaning tower of pizza boxes and various unwashed crockery, I have lived the ‘uni life’. Thoroughly, might I add. This very site – now my livelihood – was in fact a love child between Chronic Procrastination (who may be the love of my life) and myself, thick into second year of my BA course. Which, just like the tuft of window moss I passionately nursed right around the same time, or learning how to knit, were anything BUT conducive to my higher education. The common denominator for all this being: deadlines.

…for we all remember the penny-pinching days of living exclusively on instant noodles and PB (J too if lucky) sandwiches.

Top – Sainsbury’s Tu GFW collection. Trousers – Rodebjer

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The lucky graduate
i.e the one who secretly worked her ass off to the demise of her procrastinating peers
Ladder lace detail top – Sainsbury’s Tu

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By the time my graduation show rolled by, all I had to show for the four years was a crude, ill-executed prototype of – to my defence – a grand concept that was meant to get me a D&AD award, if not an Oscar, with a side of Would sir like to see my hand-knitted SpongeBob, or a DIY moss garden, OR MAYBE MY FASHION BLOG? Of course, no amount of grovelling and showing off of various love-children would win me a job. So, hats off to Genevieve Devine of Northumbria University who was awarded the 25th Anniversary Sainsbury’s Tu Scholarship Award and a rare opportunity to start the relationship with the public through an accessible collection backed by a strong patron.

Here’s first glimpse of the Tu x Graduate Fashion Week collection (already in stores), comprised of historical workwear* silhouettes in natural fibres and punctuated by sweet embroidery details that hint at a carefree summer days and simpler times when I could coast by, dodging deadlines and knitting the crap out of things.

*Oh the irony…