I was very pleased to be invited to attend the launch party for Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration a couple of weeks back. This new book is the latest spin-off of the fabulous Amelia's Magazine, which has been on my radar ever since it became something of a cult hit on its first publication back in 2004.
Published biannually, the magazine, which primarily covered fashion, art, design, music, photography and illustration, always seemed unique in comparison to other art and design titles. Perhaps in part that was because the magazines themeslves were such beautiful, covetable, idiosyncratic objects, featuring everything from exclusive Tatty Devine necklaces to scratch 'n' sniff or diamanté-encrusted covers. But mostly I think the appeal of the magazine came from its individual, quirky feel; its focus on new and emerging talent; and its uniquely personal approach. And indeed, Amelia's couldn't have been much more personal in its scope, for throughout its 5 year life span, its creator, Amelia Gregory, was its one-woman publisher, editor and art director. She subsequently described it as 'a labour of love'.
Sadly, the magazine itself is no longer in print, but Amelia's still thrives as an online magazine covering art, fashion, music and 'earth' - creative grassroots environmental and ethical projects. It remains hugely popular and is one of Creative Tourist's Top 25 UK Arts blogs. But for me, what continues to make Amelia's so special is its continuing emphasis on showcasing new talent, and particularly emerging illustrators. Rather than the usual press photos, reviews of gigs, exhibitions or catwalk shows on the Amelia's website are instead accompanied by lovely and distinctive illustrations, sourced through open submissions.
The launch party itself was a great event at the newly-converted Scout Hut in Bethnal Green, featuring live music from 6 Day Riot, a huge Lili Vanilli cake, DJ sets from The Pipettes and Will from the Mystery Jets, and lovely goody bags containing all kinds of treats. Yet again, I can only apologise for having no pictures of the party or the book to share, but you can see lots of great pictures of the event on the Amelia's website here, plus (what else but) many illustrations of the guests from some of the illustrators involved in the project.
As for the book itself, it features interviews with the 30 selected illustrators, and in keeping with the 'earth' theme, profiles of over 50 ethical fashion designers. It's available to buy from most art bookshops, or directly from the website here, where it comes with a set of 12 limited edition postcards.
[Image: invitation from Amelia's Magazine]