Archive | October, 2011

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Metronomy: True Contenders

Last year we saw Metronomy rise to the occasion. Their world-wide English Riviera Tour was a complete success, proving to be top contenders in the music scene and towering above the melting pot of generic, boring and predictable alternative/electropop stuff out there. Little Wing was lucky enough to witness their very last show, the grand finale of the tour, at the Royal Albert Hall. We were mesmerized, to say the least, and thought that this is most definitely a band worth writing about.So, on a warm autumn evening in early October, Hana and I rocked up an hour late (as per usual), power-walking through the tunnel at High Street Kensington tube station, which by the way always seems like the longest tunnel in the history of tunnels. As we briskly walk up the stairs onto the street, Hana lights a cig and I pop a pill (Cold&Flu All in One – I had a terrible case of tonsillitis) and we leg it to the Albert.

To be completely honest with you, neither of us were die-hard Metronomy fans at this point. I’d heard of them about a year ago through my friend Lien, who actually bought the tickets but sadly couldn’t make it, and Hana had heard of them…24 hours prior to the actual gig. Needless to say, we were excited to be at a concert because we were in dire need of some live music for our ears, but we didn’t really know what the hell to expect. The result was a more than pleasant surprise –Metronomy is composed of four hugely talented musicians with a whole lot of stage swagger.

We caught one of the opening acts after getting a few bevvies in at the bar; an awesome foursome based in East London called Django Django. It’s a little difficult to really describe what they are all about. Not really electro-dance and not quite punk-funk, this band is definitely different and one to watch out for. They had a cool vibe, mixing live instruments with recorded electronic sounds, but you really have to listen to them yourselves to gather some sort of conclusion about their bizarre, yet oddly captivating soundscape. They definitely got us going, though!

After a short interval, and another whiskey and coke, it was time for Metronomy – that is of course after a rather unusual, muffled and far too long, introduction by a recorder quartet. They opened up with the title track to their third album, The English Riviera, and a brilliant mix of old (from their second LP, Nights Out) and new followed suit. It was a strange setting for a band that usually propels their listeners into a dancing frenzy, and the angst was palpable as spectators sat with their hands on their knees, edging off their chairs bit by bit to drummer Anna Prior’s pounding beats. Soon enough, producer and front man Joe Mount, with the help of super talented Oscar Cash on the keyboard and effortlessly cool Gbenga Adelekan on the bass, fired up the hall with Holiday and The Bay. People were buzzing, propping up from their seats bopping on the spot or rushing as far front as the ushers allowed.

About half an hour in came out favourite bit, when they played The Look. Not only was it one of the favourites, but Mr Cash got wheeled on stage in a movable keyboard contraption, playing that unmistakable tune. It was visual and audible perfection!

And so, midst a pumped up (mostly hipster) crowd, there we were, witnessing a sell-out, stellar performance that will stay with us forever. The lighting was also immense; it sucked you into the powerful synth of Metronomy’s music. It’s clear that these four are going places; it was hard not to be impressed. If you haven’t been to one of their gigs, go! I seriously recommend them.

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A Lesson of Expression Inspired by the Great Lady GaGa

The Personal Thoughts of Hana Difrawy...

 Well, there have certainly been been mixed views about Lady GaGa ever since she started to become widely known, I personally believe this is because people just don’t know how to read her!  I certainly don’t understand a lot of the things that she does, but I do know that I find her extremely creative and intriguing.
I have chosen to showcase Lady GaGa as a particular musing for us because she encompasses a lot of what Little Wing is about.  Lady Gaga is an outrageous fashion icon, a misunderstood (at times) artist and an amazing musical talent, someone who is not afraid to experiment and break boundaries… really break boundaries!I love the fact that she is so random and confident with what she does.  She expresses herself in so many ways, through fashion, music and stage design.  GaGa is not alone however, she has a crazy creative team behind her, known as the ‘Haus of GaGa’, they are a group of artists and designers who help to come up with some of GaGa’s famous creations.  Although she has all of these creative people to help her, when it comes to the performance or the public appearance, GaGa is the one showcase the work of these artists and herself, she is the only one there to take either the praise or take the slaughter!

In my opinion, GaGa is an inspiration because of her confidence and her creative expression.  Most of us would say that we do express ourselves through our clothes, music choice, even the way we walk, talk and carry ourselves.  It can be said however, a lot of us are much too safe with our choices.  If everyone had a little bit more of GaGa’s fearlessness in them, I believe the world would be a much more creative, interesting and forgive me for bieng so blunt.. FUN place to live in.

I put it to everyone reading, try and overstep your boundaries of expression just one step further and see where it takes you, it may just give us all the extra boost of confidence to jazz up our current selves!

Check out some of the Haus of GaGa's amazing creations at: www.haus-of-gaga.com


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Q&A: College Fashionista’s Amy Levin

Six years ago, circa 2006, people armed with just a computer, an internet connection and plenty of ideas began to partake in the fashion blogging phenomenon. Thousands of personal on-line logs were kept, updated on a daily basis, adorned with pictures, filled with confessions and thoughts. Bloggers gained a cult following almost immediately, as they provided the ever-growing cyber audience with a nice alternative to the mainstream media. Many of these blogs have grown to become businesses or helped the bloggers themselves make a name for themselves. Amy Levin was one to capitalize on the so-called "blogging revolution." As the founder and editor of CollegeFashionista, a site dedicated to cataloguing college/university fashion all around the world, she has taken fashion blogging to another level. She is one heck of a lady; an entrepreneur of the highest calibre. Little Wing caught up with her to ask her a few questions...

Hi Amy! Thanks so much for talking to us! So first off, how did College Fashionista begin?

CollegeFashionista started as a personal blog of mine during my senior year at Indiana University. After several internships in various sectors of the fashion industry, I felt I was most passionate and excited about photography and writing. I decided to channel those interests into a personal blog at my university. One thing led to the next and after picking up momentum by friends reading my blog I decided to expand this hobby into an actual company. When I graduated in May 2009 I spent the entire summer planning for our August launch of CollegeFashionista. I brought on investors to help start my idea, build a website and all the other elements that go into a company. In August 2009 CollegeFashionista launched at 5 schools. We are now at over 200 schools worldwide.

Why was London your big inspiration?

As a child I travelled immensely and had been to London several times but it was during my Junior [second] year when I actually lived in London that I became extremely inspired by this city. The way people dressed on the streets is what really caught my eye and I often found myself taking inspiration from looks worn by my peers at uni or on the streets for my own wardrobe. It was from this experience that I decided I wanted to document the college demographic. College is such an interesting time in our lives because it’s the first time most people are away from home and really figuring out who they are. A lot of this comes through in your wardrobe and I felt it necessary to showcase this to the world. Hence CollegeFashionista. I still hold a very soft spot for London and always go there to get re-inspired.

Did you always want a career in fashion?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love fashion or want to pursue a career in it. I wasn’t sure what sector of the industry I was going to be involved in but I always knew I would end up in the fashion world.

How much did the blogosphere facilitate your career?

My entire company and brand is web based so without the blogosphere CollegeFashionista would absolutely not exist. I also started CollegeFashionista as the blogging world was beginning to explode which always plays a key factor in the success of my site. Now the market is very saturated and to start something new takes a lot of innovation, but it’s definitely still doable.


Do you think that blogs are important to have if you want to be seen/heard in the fashion business?

Absolutely. Social media is such an important part of creating a brand whether your brand is online or not. It’s the best way for a brand to communicate with its consumers and to get feedback immediately. I don’t think social media or the new way of media is going anywhere so for a brand to fall behind on this is putting that brand at risk of missing out.

How has CollegeFashionista made an impact on the fashion scene?

CollegeFashionista shows real fashion worn by real people. It allows college students to see what their peers are wearing all around the world and to take tips and advice from this demographic for their own personal wardrobe. Often fashion can be very intimidating and I believe CollegeFashionista shows the more realistic, obtainable side of fashion and how real bodies are wearing clothing.

Many people seem to think that blogging has broken down the barrier to the seemingly impenetrable industry that is fashion. Do you think that with what you are doing you have contributed to this?

I think like any industry, fashion is competitive and difficult to break into. I do think blogging has taken away a lot of that behind the scenes glitz and glamour we all use to dream about. Now people can see exactly what happens in Vogue’s offices through editor Twitter handles, reality TV shows, Tumblr, and other platforms like these. I don’t think that it’s “easy” to get into the industry now I just think people are more aware of the various sectors of the industry and what jobs really do exist. This industry is still beyond competitive and will only allow for those who are driven, dedicated and talented to survive.

Do you think that the ‘social order’ of fashion reportage is changing due to influential young bloggers, like yourself?

I think bloggers in a sense are the celebrities of our generation. It’s very surreal to see bloggers like Bryan Boy sitting alongside Beyonce at Fashion Week. It’s encouraging to know that the industry is changing and no longer do you have to be a traditional celebrity to make it to the top.

Do you feel that you (and other bloggers) are contributing to the journalistic aspect of the fashion industry with what you do?

Of course! Bloggers are the journalists of our generation. Bloggers are providing content, lots of it, on a regular basis. While it might not be in the traditional form it used to appear in blogging, it is definitely still journalism.

Did you ever feel that as CollegeFashionista became more of a business and gained important links to brands you lost the authenticity and ‘street cred’ that is usually identified with a blog?

Not at all!

Written by: Nicole McLennan

 

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Meet Two Inspirational Young Women

 

One sunny afternoon, somewhere in the United Kingdom, Little Wing met two very inspirational youths, both unique and compelling in their own ways.  Showcasing these two characters together was a last minute, but so it turns out, a perfect decision.  May Calamawy and Yasmeen Al-Naif are very different in many ways but manage to live together in total harmony and somehow bring out the best in each other.  These two girls live together in Dubai and both come from very diverse backgrounds.  May is half Egyptian, half Palestinian and Yasmeen is half Iraqi, half English, both are 24 years old.  Just by knowing their backgrounds you can be sure that they have travelled around a lot, met many people in different walks of life and heard many differing opinions about how life should be lived.  They have both taken all of their experiences in their stride and from this become well-rounded and enthusiastic young women.  Even though they have had similar up bringing’s, May and Yasmeen have grown up with separate ideas and differing ambitions.


May Calamawy is a strong minded person who knows exactly where she wants to go in life and knows the path that may take her there.  Everyday, she continues to take steps towards her ultimate goal of becoming a successful Actress and is already making a name for herself in Dubai.  May has made her own opportunities in her career, which is something to be particularly admired about her.  She has created and maintains a personal blog called ‘May’s Mad Tea Party’ where she writes about her thoughts, inspirations, goals and posts funny anecdotes.  From this alone, May has gone on to receive so much attention that she has bagged many an acting role and some free merchandise for advertising on her blog.  These rewards come from her sheer determination to publicise her own talent and personality; something that takes a large amount of confidence to do.  Using all of the media that is so easily accessible to us in this modern and technical century, May has taken full advantage and used it to benefit her career.  With the kind of ambition and perseverance that May holds, one can know that she will go far in her career.  May’s blog acts as her continually updated, creative and insightful CV.  To be inspired, visit her blog at: www.maysmadtparty.blogspot.com

Although May has known exactly what she wants to do in life at the tender age of 5, not everyone does, the journey to the decision of what to do with ones life can seem just as daunting as the journey of building one’s career.  For many youths in this generation, knowing what you want to do in life is a very tricky decision indeed whether your 18 or 28; especially with the amount of career choices there are these days.  From the entertainment industry to the ever-growing Internet industry to old-fashioned manual labour, there is a huge burden upon youths to decide what to do.


Someone who has taken this into consideration and overcome it by living for the now is Yasmeen   Al-Naif.  Yasmeen has experienced, just like many of us have, the uncertainty of what to do in life and how to get there.  Yasmeen, however, instead of dwelling on this thought over and over again to find the perfect solution, she grasped at a possibility that looked good for now.  She tried out banking for a while but wasn’t happy and didn’t quite enjoy it; she felt she needed more out of her career.  When visiting family in Dubai, Yasmeen was looking for a change.  She took a chance and applied for a couple of jobs in Dubai, a few days later one was hers and the change she was looking for had arrived.  That job was in Media and Advertising, something that she may have thought of in passing but never really dreamed about.  Over time, however, Yasmeen became good at her job and started to really enjoy it.  Sometimes, you have to grow into your career by going with what seems to be a good choice and seeing if you like it.  If it so happens that you become knowledgeable at what you do, you may start to enjoy it; after all we all love to do what we are good at in life.  This is a concept that Yasmeen demonstrated, she loves what she does now but also still maintains that when she decides its not for her she will move on to the next idea and see what’s best for her at that time.  She never wants to be held down and prefers to ride the waves as they come instead of forcing anything.  A different approach to May’s but one to be admired just the same.

Both May and Yasmeen demonstrate two different but equally effective ways of building their lives in the way that they choose.  Although they may not always agree on everything, they both appreciate each other’s way of approaching things, whether it be the dishes or their careers.  The key, it seems, to getting along with someone who is different than you is to understand and accept everyone’s views for what they are, and to use this knowledge to help yourself, rather than attempting to compete against it.

Written, Filmed and Photographed by: Hana Difrawy

Have a look at May's latest venture, she is one of the originals for the Stoli campaign in Dubai!

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Professional Rugby Player Orlando Stott

On a visit to the south of France, a member of Little Wing grabbed the chance to interview a professional rugby player who is living a dream which he has been chasing since the age of 10. Orlando Stott is now 25 years old and has been playing professional rugby for 2 years now.Since a young age Orlando and his family have always loved sports and encouraged each other to play. Growing up, I suppose most of us do dabble in a bit of activity here and there but for many the novelty of it will fade away in time and be taken over by responsibilities of work and such. Orlando, however, has broken the typical mould and continued to play sports and actually has managed to make a good career out of it so far.

Orlando grew up in a small village in the south of France called, Romaneche-Thorins. Starting to play rugby in the youngest team at school, he quickly realised how good he was after receiving praise from his coach and teammates. From this young age, he watched the professionals play on television and could only dream that one day he would play for the big teams. He has made this dream come true. Achieving his dream of being a rugby player, however, has not come without persistence, ambition and confidence on his part.

Going into playing professional sport is a very highly sought after but a very fragile career. One has to ponder over the question of how long it will last and what will happen afterwards should it fall through. Orlando decided to prepare himself for the worst before even starting his rugby career, which in many minds was a very wise decision. He decided to go to University in Bristol, England and get a degree so that he would be in good stead for a job should he ever have to stop rugby. While he was there he proudly continued playing rugby at a good level, for the Dings Crusaders in Bristol.

In the process of going to university, sadly his opportunity at playing professional rugby was delayed. When asked whether he regrets taking those four years out to do a degree he replied, “yes and no, I’m so glad that I have a degree to fall back on but will never know where I could be now if I had gone straight to playing rugby after school”.


After completing his degree, Orlando decided to pursue a career in rugby, he cleverly discovered that in France there is a lot more money circling around for players than there is in England. So at the despair of many of his english friends, Orlando made the move to France. Currently, he is a starting winger/fullback for Valence D’Agen, a federal 1 rugby team based in the south of France. In the coming years he hopes to achieve a higher rank in rugby and aspires to keep climbing higher on the rugby ladder whether it be in France or in England.

When his time eventually comes to leave the sport behind, Orlando will then happily use his degree to become a businessman of sorts and will work hard at whatever gets thrown his way, all the while knowing that he went for it and enjoyed a great few years on the pitch, under the flood lights.

For now, Orlando is continuing to follow his dream of playing rugby as he enjoys it more than anything in the world, and if you can make a living doing something you love? It would be a crime not to.

Written, Filmed and Photographed by: Hana Difrawy

View some footage here of Orlando Stott in action!

 

 

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Unemployed? No, I’m an intern

As we all know, times are tough at the moment. It’s never fun talking about unemployment figures, tax and benefit reforms, the likelihood of a double-dip recession and all other doomsday-esque factoids about our modern society; but I guess most, if not all, of these things are harsh realities which affect a large portion of the population. These are things that are hard to escape and, seemingly, are only going to get worse in the few years to come.

A news headline which has been haunting me for the past two months is that employment for 18-25 year olds has plummeted to an all-time low and that the UK is experiencing the highest unemployment rate in 17 years. So according to the BBC, one in five of us “youngsters” are neither in education nor working nor training. That actually scares the shit out of me. I try to ignore it and tell myself that if I believe it, it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby I get lazy and just blame my redundancy on David Cameron and all those damned Tories, and end up having heated political conversations with my parents.

I say fuck it. There MUST be something out there. I, my friends, have not lost hope quite yet. I have nearly finished my Masters, and for nearly a year now I’ve been interning here, there and everywhere, from magazines to PR to sales. This isn’t me writing this to say, “Hey guys, look how awesome I am! I’m an intern and I try really hard, wooo!” Nope. Because, first of all, anyone who’s done placements before knows how belittling it can be; and secondly, placements are a euphemism for free labour, so there’s nothing to brag about here really. I just refuse to render myself useless because I still need to feel that this whole “Life” thing is going somewhere. I’ve been called naïve or been told, “Good for you, sport!” with a little wince and a pity pat on the back, as if what they truly wanted to say was, “Good luck, kid. But grown up life actually sucks.” Well, maybe, but I like to think that if I want something badly enough and work myself down to the bone then I’ll eventually get somewhere. And if I want it that badly it's only because I love to do it. I like to think that I have it in the locker, as my friend likes to put it.

I haven’t got a concrete offer from any of the places I’ve interned for. I’m pretty sure I’ve harassed secretaries and bombarded editors with my CV a few hundred times. But I’ll wait. And in the meantime, I’ll continue getting coffees and deliveries; running like a madwoman around the office trying to find that very specific shirt in a stockroom stacked full of unlabelled containers that has to be sent to Vogue ASAP; or transcribing that four-hour long interview in three hours, all the while trying to make myself be heard, known and liked in the hope that they’ll turn around and say, “Hey, you. Yeah, the one carrying three boxes and three times your body weight. We’re keeping you on. Here’s your desk and your contract. See you Monday.”

Written by: Nicole McLennan

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