D&AD New Blood Round-Up 2015: Firuze

by Jul 29, 2015

We recently visited the D&AD New Blood exhibition where we viewed final degree projects from students nationwide. Here Firuze showcases Charlie Miles and Michael Driver in her round-up of favourite picks from the show.

Strolling through the stands at D&AD I found it hard not to find work I had already seen before, which either says something about the current trends in graphic design or how the current graduate’s have an ability to display industry standard work. However some of the New Bloods stood out from the crowd, displaying original and interesting ideas. Here are a few of my top picks:

Equal by Charlie Miles: A publication that challenged gender lines

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The piece combines images of both genders but transforms them so that they appear either genderless or would appeal to both. Androgyny shines through the editorial pieces as well as the photoshoots. I asked Charlie a few questions about his final piece:

Equal can be classed as visual communication through fashion. Should it become a major publication or brand, how do you envisage Equal progressing further?

“I envision Equal progressing as equality does. Equal was all about acceptance of not just sexuality but connotations and expectations of gender. The growth would be organic, up to date and most importantly honest. It all depends on how the world adjusts and regards to the ever changing universe. With America legalising same sex marriage in all 50 states the only way is up from here! Equal would grow to not just be a magazine, but an entire brand that expresses the lack of importance of gender in modern society”.

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You looked into Tom Ford Oud Wood and CK One as they create a single product for both genders. What are your thoughts around this and are there any other brands you think do this well that are worth noting?

“Clothing and cosmetics being gender neutral is a fantastic move and progression in modern day society, I believe it breaks down barriers of what men and women are expected to wear, and instead the focus is on if they like it or not! I’ve always considered American Apparel as a very unisex clothing brand on the high street, something more up market would be Margaret Howell. One thing that really caught my eye recently was the Agender installation store in Selfridges, which was all about a creating an unbranded, sexless store selling unisex clothing – the emphasis was on the actual clothing itself instead of stereotypical gender roles. With such a well known, landmark brand like Selfridges promoting this move, it’s inevitable that other stores will now follow suit”.

D&AD new blood - Firuze Showcase - Charlie

You mention that Equal looks into “both least and most important factor” of physical appearance. What are your thoughts on psychological androgyny (behaviours as well as appearance) and what it could mean for developing equality?

“Being Physically or Visually androgynous to me stands for not abiding by stereotypical gender norms and values. It means being able to live your life how you want and without rules written only by society, which in itself replicates psychological standpoints based around androgyny. Whether you choose to be androgynous in the clothes you wear or the way you present your personality does not matter, but only further helps everyone to become more accepting of the world that is constantly evolving around them. Even though the way we dress is more obviously seen and therefore judged, they contribute to challenging stereotypes and making people understand how unimportant gender has now become. As gender becomes less important, with the introduction of gender neutral pronouns, we will become a more accepting world that is truly Equal”.

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Stay Connected by Michael Driver: A series of prints exploring technology situations that have become the norm

D&AD new blood - Firuze Showcase - Michael

Michael Driver, illustrator and animator, popped out of the Kingston University stand with his abstractly drawn characters. His ability to summarise modern life in pictorial form sets him up as an editorial illustrator and shows his ability to apply crafted art and graphic design to seemingly ordinary situations. His work speaks for itself, so instead of trying to explain I will let the work do the talking. Definitely one to watch.

We will be bringing you more from the grad students at D&AD New Blood so watch this space.

Words by – Firuze French

[Images courtesy of Charlie Miles & Michael Driver]
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About Firuze French

Firuze is headstrong but a fan of cute things. Although she’s a minimalist on the outside, she’s overly technical on the inside. As a design consultant, Firuze is always on hand to offer advice on creative and tech trends. She’s a London lover but New York dreamer who loves city life. Firuze considers herself an interior designer in training, DIY hobbyist and a lover of Michelin star dining for a bargain price.