Insta-Influencer: Dropscotch

Instagram’s a funny old thing. It’s the social platform I use most for my blog, but sometimes it can be a bit vacuous.

Yet, if you search hard enough and bypass the #happyvibess, dodge the #fridayfeels and ignore the celebs who get 13M views for simply blowing a kiss, there’s some real gems. Insta accounts with substance and style, their talented creators exhibiting their craft.

Like Dropscotch.

Any artist that skilfully blends clever, striking design with 1990s R&B and streetwear styles is a winner in my eyes. It was the TLC-inspired t-shirt that caught my eye and had me scrolling down the page, swiftly followed by the iconic Sade Adu set in colourful geometric style. The image of Brandy from the Sitting Up in My Room video (*finds Brandy on Spotify and listens to I Wanna Be Down on repeat*) made my stomach ache a bit with glorious nostalgia.

Dropscotch is the brainchild of artist and illustrator Luke Davis. He started the business earlier this year with his partner Emma, as a way to combine their key passions: illustration, fashion and music. Luke trained as a journalist and worked as an editor at a London creative agency, which gave him the chance to work with incredible illustrators and designers and ensured a good foundation in the software he uses to create his striking compositions.

Their work really spoke to me as it combines two of my favourite things; '90s R&B music and streetwear style. I grew up on the former and covet the latter. R’n’B was the soundtrack to my formative years and in the days before the likes of Spotify, digitalised music and streaming it filled my mixtapes and came crackling out of my first car stereo. I played SWV’s 1992 debut It’s About Time a million times in my early teens and remember being fascinated by TLC’s Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg video on MTV.

Although I’ve always been into a variety of genres of music, my tastes have further diversified with rock, indie, jazz, soul and country amongst my favourites but, to me, 1990’s R’nB doesn’t date and still sounds fresh.  From a fashion perspective, you only have to look at the likes of Vetements to see how much this era has influenced current trends. I’m just as comfortable in an oversized sweatshirt and voluminous tee than I am in dress and I’m hoping to build up my trainer collection rather than heels.

Dropscotch’s Luke cites his creative influences as including the Memphis Group style of design that was popularised in the 1980s, geometric pattern-making and classical portraiture. In addition, album sleeves, editorial designs and streetwear styles provide every day motivation. The TLC and Aaliyah t-shirts are part of a series called Down in which every illustration is inspired by a classic female R&B video of the 1990s.  They are going to release a few as screen printed t-shirts in the coming weeks and months, as well as signed art prints and possibly some accessories which is exciting.

And why the name Dropscotch? As Luke explains, all his favourite things drop - from basslines, to limited edition sneaker releases to dancing bodies, while hopscotch represents fun out on the street.

So there you have it, the power of Instagram. It’s worth enduring the not-so-good stuff to find a real gem like Dropscotch. I wish Luke and Emma all the very best and even though my t-shirt collection is getting a little out of control, I don’t know how long I can last before giving in to the S. Double-U. V. one.

For now, I’m off to listen to Brandy and Aaliyah like it’s 1994 (which it is usually is in my head).

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Trousers That Make Me Think of Wine

All of a sudden spring is well and truly here - with the lighter evenings and radiant days it has officially sprung. In my eyes though, it didn’t evolve with a subtle rise in temperature or give warning with a dip in the evening chill. Instead, spring jabbed me on the shoulder and when I span around, shouted BOO in my face.

Argh, I’m not ready. I need to have a panic-pedi. My legs are milky white and in no way ready for public viewing. I’m still sorting the jumpers from the jeans of my autumn/winter wardrobe, let alone the spring/summer one. The latter is currently wedged into a couple of vacuum-sealed storage bags under the spare bed (the ones that no matter how tightly you seal the little bugger a hiss of air will still seep out) and needs a cull.

On the streets, plastered over Instagram and popping out of fashion magazines though the S/S trends are out in full force, and I absolutely love all of them - like pastel and khaki hues , those amazing Paperbag-waist tapered twill trousers by Stella McCartney and flirty off-the shoulder tops in gingham, the super check of the summer. Despite its surprise arrival, spring is by far my favourite season. The promise of the new, of rejuvenation and even personal transformation should you so wish. Time to reveal shoulder, leg and ankle which have been concealed under hosiery and baggy jeans and act out your own dress rehearsal, ready for the main performance; summer. The block colour palettes are dreamy, the fabrics are swishy and light and soft florals and statement sleeves are ready for weddings, race meets and al-fresco dining.

There’s a real sense of everything flowering, but for me there’s a real sense that I hate everything in my wardrobe. I’m still wearing ankle boots as (*see panic-pedi*) I’m not ready to brave cold toes in sandals or chilly heels in mules. I want frills and puff sleeves, but I’m still playing it safe in long-sleeved tops. I need inspiration…

These statement trousers from The Finery might just save the day.  When I clapped my eyes on them in the concession section in John Lewis the other day on a very rare shopping trip and gently ran my hands over their soft viscose fabric, I was momentarily overwhelmed. I hadn’t had that reaction about clothes for a while. They are called Argent Contrast Panel Trousers in Lilac Vines Print (is it me or does Lilac Vines sound like wine?) and I love them.

With side pockets, a high waist and contrast hems, not to mention a bold but beautiful print, they are too floaty for the office, too in-your-face for the Toy Library and I’m struggling to picture where I might wear them but, right now, I don’t care.

I am revelling in the sheer beauty of them and have literally just impulse-bought them, gulp, and snapped down my laptop lid before I had time to change my mind.

In your face, spring. Let’s do this.

A Sentence a Day - 17 March 2017

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In 2017 I will be writing A Sentence a Day. You can read more about why here.

Today is the 17 March 2017.

Question:

Tea of coffee?

Answer:

Love coffee, but I'm such a tea monster I'll have to say tea; there's nothing a proper brew can't sort and I like mine almost black with just a dash of milk - if I could drink Kusmi Tea English Breakfast blend every day I would.

A Sentence a Day - 16 March 2017

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In 2017 I will be writing A Sentence a Day. You can read more about why here.

Today is the 16 March 2017.

Question:

One stationery item I couldn't live without...

Answer:

A notebook; I use them to scribble down my thoughts and ideas, draft blog posts, compile to-do lists and note down style inspirations - I always buy one if I'm in a gallery or museum (preferably fashion-y).