Platform Journal Returns With a Celebration of Diverse Creative Talent

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Last summer, Central Saint Martins students re-positioned their The F Word journal as a new magazine called Platform, with a mission to spotlight BIPOC creatives and their stories. A year later, the journal is back with a new issue in a new form: Its reach now extends well beyond the halls of CSM, featuring talent that spans the entire United Kingdom. Platform is supported by designer Christopher Kane and his sister Tammy Kane, who helped with the zine’s initial launch, as well as FACE (Fashion Academics Creating Equality) and its founder Pascal Matthias. 

The new issue’s sumptuous photography and editorials speak to the breadth of the creativity of this new generation of fashion talents. Kiara Morris, a fashion communications student at Central Saint Martins whose written work Hairy Situation speaks to the discrimation around Black hair, wrote the issue’s editor’s letter: “In the fashion industry our faces are rare, often tokenized while our cultures are appropriated, tarnished, and demonized. But here’s your chance to see the world through our eyes. There’s a huge variety of entries coming your way: Films, photography, and even some poetry on display because our skin and our lives deserve respect, night and day.”  

Among the zine’s 15 features is a profile of Joy Julius, the designer who won the first-ever Black Excellence Prize in the U.K. earlier this year, and pieces from designers Francesca Lake, Connie Osaremae, Katie Cheng, Matthew Solomon, and Maud Gardens; textile artist Leonie Edmead; knitwear specialist and illustrator Chyna Williams; creative director Natalie Vest-Jones; and photographer Valerie Obigwilo.

Discussing her photographs, which depict women in her hometown of Birmingham, Obigwilo says, “my work allows people to see my vulnerable side as I feel it is important for the audience to gain an understanding of who I am and what I represent. Being in lockdown with my family pushed me to look more inwards; as a result I got to explore things that are not only important to me but my family as well.” She continues: “I want my images to communicate the love I share for my culture and how there is so much beauty within it.”

Personal narratives run throughout the journal, with designer Francesca Lake looking to her own childhood obsessions to create a spectacular golden dress with a cross cut-out on the bodice. “This project was an exploration of my own rebellious nature as a child and wanting to discern where that came from,” Lake says. “ ‘Church and the Dancehall’ looks into the two opposing cornerstones of Jamaican culture in amplifying what makes our culture so vibrant and morally grounded. It is what makes me who I am.” Photographed by Nathan Haddad on model Lincia Haughton against a vibrant red backdrop, Lake’s work has instant visual appeal. 

Building a connection between people already in the fashion and creative industries and emerging talents is another of the journal’s goals. Says Kiara Morris: “Black and brown creatives are fighting for our places in the industry, without realizing we always have belonged here. I want people like myself to know that we deserve to be heard and we are entitled to that. We have all discussed different ways we’ve shown resilience and bonded over our combined strength. There will always be a place for you and you will always find other incredible, like-minded creatives–just don’t stop looking until we reach each other.”

Work by Natalie Vest-Jones

Work by Natalie Vest-Jones

Work by Matthew Solomon

Work by Matthew Solomon

Work by Leonie Edmead

Work by Leonie Edmead

Work by Katie Cheng

Work by Katie Cheng

Work by Joy Julius

Ji Julius

Work by Joy Julius

Ji Julius

Work by Connie Osaremae

Work by Connie Osaremae

Work by Chyna Williams

Work by Chyna Williams

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