Today is International Women’s Day, and it was very nice to be invited to celebrate the day at the shop of Swedish fashion label Gudrun Sjödén. I took my watercolours and brushes up to Covent Garden in London, and had a really pleasant, if somewhat hectic, afternoon.
You might remember my post a couple of weeks ago, in which I tried out a technique of photographing women and then painting them in a composite image. That was in preparation for this project.
This time, I approached women in the shop to ask if I could snap them. If I’d been worried about people saying no, or looking at me oddly, I needn’t have been: everyone was lovely (even the woman who didn’t speak English, but had a kind husband to translate for me).
I love drawing clothes anyway, and you can rely on Gudrun customers to be brightly-dressed and a bit different from the mainstream. There was plenty of detail to work with.
After four hard-working but fun hours, I had a finished piece of work, which I’ve donated to the shop.
It’s not perfect, but it does, I hope, sum up the diversity and cheerfulness of both the staff and the customers who were in the shop that day.
Footnote: Gudrun Sjödén don’t just celebrate International Women’s Day for the sake of it. They’re a company who actually do quite radical things for women, within the norms of the fashion world, anyway.
For example, their models are all ages, including far more elderly women than we’re used to seeing in catalogues. Their clothes come in all sizes, up to XXL: unlike lots of shops, they’re not telling larger women that they have no right to dress in bright colours or bold patterns. They don’t use sweatshops and they have a fair trade policy.
For all these reasons, I’m a fan. And also for the less noble reason that I really like wearing their clothes.