School Of Seven Bells’ Benjamin Curtis has passed away following treatment for cancer.

Born in Oklahoma, Benjamin Curtis came of age in Texas. Yet the musician would become synonymous with New York, with the city’s sprawling music scene and its network of probing, groundbreaking groups.

Playing drums in Tripping Daisy, the musician then helped to form Secret Machines. Taking care of guitar and backing vocals, the group allowed Curtis’ songwriting to come to the fore before his ambitions took him elsewhere.

Starting School Of Seven Bells, the trio – completed by Alejandra Dehenza and Claudia Dehenza – released their debut album ‘Alpinisms’ in 2008. A beautiful fusion of dreamy vocals and complex songwriting, the shoegaze swirl was augmented by flecks of electronics.

Claudia Dehenza departed in 2010, but last year’s return ‘Ghostory’ was a triumph. Sadly, the release was accompanied by news that Benjamin Curtis had been diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma.

Undergoing treatment, Curtis sadly passed away following a battle with cancer. (via Dallas Observer)

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Liam Hodges’ clothes are for “people who live for the week, not the weekend – by which we mean men who don't drive Volvos.” Hence SS14 was a mash up of prints and styles formulated into loose, easy to wear styles and accessorised with the most casual shoe of them all, the pool slide.

A Kent boy at heart, Hodges’ studied at both Westminster and the Royal College of Art, before Lulu Kennedy “eyeballed” him ahead of his final RCA show and he partook in June’s London Collections: Men under the Fashion East umbrella.

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What was your highlight of 2013?
Finally building my new bike. Fashion East and my first orders, that was crazy.

And what is your biggest hope for 2014?
Learning and growing as a business designer and brand!

What's your favourite piece from SS14?
Probably the oversized baseball tees. They are going to be a bit of a trademark thing.

And five words that sum up AW14, so far?
Druid, drone, roadie, tape, BIG.

Finish this sentence: London Collections: Men represents…
What makes Britain so great! *cue the national anthem.

Which musician should wear your clothes and why?
My friends, Puffer. I've been collaborating with them on the sound and video supporting the collection and just heard some of their first recorded stuff. It's pretty exciting

What song warms up the Liam Hodges studio?
Omar Souleyman, ‘Wenu Wenu’ always changes the pace in the studio when we all feel a bit sluggish.

             

Liam Hodges presents as part of Fashion East on Monday 6th January

liam-hodges.tumblr.com

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Autumn Winter 14 welcomes Nicomede Talavera into the Fashion East Installations crew, with his second full collection debuting alongside his fourth Eastpak collaboration.

Born in London, 2013 saw Talavera complete six years of study at Central Saint Martins – from the foundation to the MA – the latter giving him the opportunity to show at London Fashion Week in February.

His CV also boasts stints at 3.1 Philip Lim in New York, and time in Paris working for Lanvin Homme.

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What was your highlight of 2013?
2013 has been a mental year for me! From showing at LFW, graduating from the MA at Central Saint Martins, setting up my label, renting my first studio, launching my first collection, joining Fashion East for AW14, doing my 4th collaboration with Eastpak, being approached by and signing with Totem PR… 

But I think my highlight was when, after a couple of months break from the MA I decided to take the leap to actually set up my own label.

And what is your biggest hope for 2014?
To keep up the momentum, push forward and develop my label. 

What's your favourite piece from SS14?
The sheer black nylon t-shirt with cracked and black leather appliqued graphic. 

And 5 words that sum up AW14, so far?
Bold. Odd. Relaxed. Graphic. Progression. 

Finish this sentence: London Collections: Men represents…
Opportunity. 

Which musician should wear your clothes and why?
I haven't really thought about… But I am open to whoever reaches out.

What song warms up the Nicomede Talavera studio?
‘No Good 4 Me’, Oxide and Neutrino.

           

Nicomede Talavera presents as part of Fashion East on Monday 6th January.

nicomedetalavera.com

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Proposing a new image of masculinity (their words), Swedish label Common is amongst the newbies receiving NEWGEN support for SS14.

Set up in Malmo in 2012, designers Said Bakir and Emma Hedlund first met while studying in London in 2004 at Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion respectively.

Their first partnership was as Head of Design for Kanye West, while AW14 marks their debut presentation at London Collections: Men.

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What was your highlight of 2013?
2013 started off great with COMMON being honored Best New Brand at the Swedish Elle awards in January. We had some amazing feedback on our SS14 collection that generated new exciting collaborations with some of the pre-eminent European retailers.

However the absolute highlight of the year was to receive NEWGEN from the BFC in October. We feel honored to be part of London Collections: Men and very much look forward to our debut in January.

And what is your biggest hope for 2014?
Our hopes for the coming year are to establish and strengthen COMMON as a designer brand on the international market. We have got the great opportunity to be part of LONDON show ROOMS in Paris where we are hoping to add additional leading retailers to our current stockist list.

What's your favourite piece from SS14?
The perforated bomber jacket represents our signature piece and communicates the mood of the season.

And five words that sum up AW14, so far?
Technical performance meets sophisticated elegance.

Finish this sentence: London Collections: Men represents…
Young creatives of fashion.

Which musician should wear your clothes and why?
Frank Ocean for his sartorial laidback, sporty meets smart look.

          

Common presents on Tuesday 7th January.

www.common-swdn.com

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Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Matthew Miller’s education includes a degree from the Royal College of Art and a stint in the MAN gang alongside Martine Rose and Shaun Samson (circa SS12).

His ideas range from the exquisitely minimal of SS14 – diluted colour palette, simple shapes – to suiting dripped in prints taken directly from photographs of his environment (AW12).

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What was your highlight of 2013?
A robot restaurant in Tokyo. I N S A N E ! 

And what is your biggest hope for 2014?
To figure out if we’re living in a projection of the universe or just the universe. 

What's your favourite piece from SS14?
Our bonded selvedge edged denim pieces were pretty special. 

And five words that sum up AW14, so far?
Textural, Aggy, Militant Destructive Sports Casual. Six words, I'd apologise but I'm not sorry. 

Finish this sentence: London Collections: Men represents…
London perfectly. Diverse and rich in culture. 

Which musician should wear your clothes and why?
Bobby Gillespie, he's been quite prolific and political over the last 12 months, I enjoy his point of view.   

What song warms up the Matthew Miller studio?
Anything by The Amazing SnakeHeads. 

           

Matthew Miller shows on Monday 6th January. 

matthewmillermenswear.com

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Bombastic instrumental hip hop project TNGHT has been placed on hiatus.

TNGHT was a conversation which took on the world. Begun on a whim, Hudson Mohawke and Lunice released their debut EP in 2011 and promptly smashed their maximalist take on trap-style hip hop into the foreground of clubbing

Unveiling a titanic live show, the duo have taken TNGHT around the globe. Over the festive period, though, the production pair delivered some sad news for fans.

Uploading a video titled ‘Waning Moon’ to YouTube, the clip was labelled ‘Until Next Time’ and features lightning clouds interspersed with whale song. Asked by fans if they were retiring, TNGHT responded with links to their respective solo accounts.

Placing a clip of Optimus Prime’s death scene in ‘Transformers’ on their Twitter account, TNGHT are now set to focus on solo projects.

Check out an archived TNGHT feature HERE.

(via FACT)

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It’s been a tough ol’ year for Kanye West.

Returning with new album ‘Yeezus’ the rapper was thrust back into the limelight, with his every utterance pored over by elements of the press.

If Yeezy said something controversial, it would begin trending within seconds. If what he said wasn’t controversial – hell, re-tweet it until it does.

Bringing his ‘Yeezus’ tour to an end in Toronto on December 23rd, Kanye West vowed not to ‘talk shit’ for at least six months. Tough talk, Yeezy, but can you walk the walk?

His words (via NME): "Everything I'm saying that's not allowed, soak it in right now. This might be the last time y'all hear me talk shit for a long time. Might be another like six months. At least. You're just gonna have to run back the interviews and shit if you wanna hear some realness."

Continuing, the rapper vowed to be ‘positive’ when discussing topics such as the Grammy awards and Nike. “I'll never bring up the Grammys again in a negative light, because I actually appreciate the 21 Grammys that I did win… So I'm letting you all now that this is the last Yeezus show, and this is the last time you'll ever hear me say (anything) negative about anyone."

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Christmas is a time for suspending belief.

What other seasonal holiday could embrace a fat bloke dressed in red, delivering presents in record time across the globe?

It’s a feeling which ripples through the best in Christmas music. That sense of innocence, that ideal of simply putting your worries to one side and offering good will to all in your path.

Cloud Control are clearly in the Christmas spirit. The Australian group released new album ‘Dream Cave’ earlier this year, spending 2013 on the road.

Finally able to return home, the band have been inspired to lay down a festive cover. Originally recorded by Saturn born jazz legend Sun Ra (but inspired by doo wop group The Qualities) ‘It’s Christmas Time’ contains every you’d expect/want/need in a Christmas track. Sleigh bells? Check. Blissful harmonies? Double check. Lyrics that reek of unbridled innocence? Triple check.

Listen to it below.

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He’s spent part of the last month of the year shooting in Sri Lanka and his ‘ihavenothingtosayandamsayingit’ Tumblr page will no doubt showcase this soon enough, acting as the diary to his CV (the role of which his website plays).

In 2013 Alastair Strong shot a Simone Rocha special for Clash, as well as teaming up with Lola Chatterton for main fashion. In 2014 he hopes to frown less, but don’t we all?

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The day job: Photographer.

The reason: I just did… Got given my Dad's old 35mm and that was it. 

Clash connection: A couple of things, bit of fashion and some portraits. Lots of late night retouching!

2013 highlight: There are probably loads, lots of travelling and laughing lots with friends, mainly at myself. Too many to remember and list, maybe the road trip in Sweden is a great highlight; saunas, skinny dipping, slutdrops, beer and laughter. Hanging with a great friend in NYC for a while and becoming like a married couple and then finally to see him come to London so I could show him my town.

Ideal stocking filler: Maybe my old Blackberry… Ask me in 10 minutes, I will say something else.

Waving goodbye to 2013 to: Probably Schoolboy Q, 'Man of the Year' or something like that. Maybe Action Bronson, but more likely its going to be Orbital, but its depends on where I am.

           

 

Hopes and dreams for 2014: More of the same, bigger and better, more shoots, more travelling, lots more fun, to make use of that gym membership more, to learn to sleep better on planes, to see my friends more, to spend time with my family more, to frown less. 

alastairstrong.net

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“I can’t wait for you to see our invites!” Kit Neale is excited, and rightly so. The label he launched at London Fashion Week in February 2012 – the season Dylan Jones first confirmed plans for a men’s event to contest LFW – will be presenting solo at London Collections: Men AW14.

Formerly part of the Fashion East crew, last month the label was named alongside Swedish pair Common and footwear designer Diego Vanassibara, as a new recipient of NEWGEN MEN, the Topman sponsored initiative active since 2009. 

“We are very grateful to the BFC and Topman for selecting us to be included in their NEWGEN gang,” he continues. “It is an incredible programme that shows its success in the amazing alumni that has shown before.”

Of his peers, Craig Green and Astrid Andersen top the must see list. “We always look forward to seeing what Craig Green’s got up his sleeve, and how Astrid Andersen will continue to grow and develop. They’re the nicest people and I wanna buy everything I see.”

            

On the prospect of pulling it off without the network Fashion East provides, Kit says, “It is a lot more pressure and more workload, but the freedom and creativity to plan your own presentation is very exciting.”

Previously his models have been filmed doing the Macarena in motorbike helmets, perched atop a giant green snake, and sat around a greasy spoon in comically large slippers.

For SS14 the label upped its game with the slickest presentation yet and a video to match, courtesy of director Rhys Frampton. It paid off, and Kit Neale has since produced the ‘Tutti Frutti’ line with Bompas & Parr for Kew Gardens – stocked exclusively at Opening Ceremony – and seen his lobster prints adorn Sky digital boxes.

Last month saw the launch of a new website complete with an e-commerce store “and everything”, the significance of which isn’t lost on Neale. “I think it is important for emerging brands to establish themselves as quickly as possible. We are keen to continually develop our brand presence and this includes in the digital field.”

The latest collection – inspired by his native Peckham – brilliantly illustrates his preoccupation with bright colours and print, a typically Kit Neale trait that devours each collection, as it offers “the opportunity to start with a blank canvas and truly stamp your mark on it,” he says.

             

Talking about SE15, an area that’s invited much attention in 2013 thanks to the extension of the London Overground. Neale advises, “Peckham is an incredible neighbourhood, it served me well while I was growing up.”

“For as long as I can remember the council has been trying to regenerate Peckham but failed. I think it’s a positive move that the change we are seeing in Peckham is happening more organically and not forced by government officials. I just hope the locals that have built Peckham’s history benefit from its future fortunes.”

For the forthcoming season – which will be presented in just two weeks – Kit Neale has gone down the road for inspiration. “AW14 is turning out to be a homage to the area of Elephant and Castle,” he advises, and the aforementioned invites suggest as much, being an Elephant and Castle shaped car air freshener in suitably bright colours.

And after that, Waterloo? “Maybe.”

www.kitneale.com

Words and styling: Zoe Whitfield
Photography: Charlotte Hadden
Grooming: Sarah Kate Thorne using Nars Cosmetics.
Model: Jackson Hale @ SUPA

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